George Bernard Shaw, one of the most compelling and successful speakers of all times was once asked, “sir, how did you learn to speak so effectively, convincingly and persuasively in public”. He replied, “ I did it the same way I learnt to skate, by failing enough number of times and doggedly making a fool of myself until I got used to it!”

As a youth, Bernard Shaw was one of the most timid persons in London. He used to walk up and down the embankment of his friends house for more than twenty minutes before venturing to even knock at a door.

“Few men like me”, he said, “ Have suffered more from simple cowardice and have been more horribly ashamed of it”. But he decided to make his weak point his strongest asset. Finally he hit upon the quickest and surest method ever devised to conquer timidity. He joined a debating society, attended every public discussion and by throwing his heart into the cause of socialism and by going out and speaking out for that cause, George Bernard Shaw transformed himself into one of the most confident and brilliant speakers of the twentieth century!

Friends, Effective speaking is much more than just “saying a few words to the audience. It is the revealing expression of a human personality”. There is no predicting how far the ability to speak on your feet will take you. It will appeal to your pride of personal accomplishment. It will set you off from and raise you above your fellow men. It gives a sense of strength, a feeling of power. There is a magic in public speaking and a never to be forgotten thrill.

All the great and successful persons in this world, whom we look today with awe, praise and wonder were all excellent speakers apart from their contributions to the world in different fields. Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Dale Carnegie to name a few.

Now, many of us are under the impression that public speaking is not for me. Although the ability to speak well before groups may be absolutely essential in some professions, the need to do so can arise in almost any line of work at one time or the other.

Many lives were transformed by the ability to speak; many of them have received promotions far beyond their dreams or have achieved positions of prominence in their professions and community.

The benefits of public speaking are manifold. You become a more attentive person, your concentration, co – ordination and query-handling skills increase. You become a self and emotionally controlled person, more relaxed, more humorous and with these qualities you will be able to project an image of assurance and credibility. Apart from these skills you will have the ability to think on your feet, body awareness, resistance, memory, vocal and imagination skills.

Is there so much to public speaking? Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it? It is a miracle, a 21st century miracle to lead you to the paths of fame and glory!

Although being aware of the multiple benefits it can bring into our lives, the basic problem that stands between successful public speaking and us is FEAR.

The chief reason for our anxiety is that firstly, the audience are listening to you and looking at you as a group, but you are facing them alone. Secondly it seems to you, although not to the audience that every movement you make, every gesture, every slip of the tongue is magnified a hundred times in size and importance.

But when you hear a great orator speaking, you listen to his talk. Your attention is riveted on the ideas he is projecting. You are not conscious of his appearance, gestures, looks, dress and such matters. What is true of him is true of you! So the next time when you feel under confident, hesitant or shy just stop and ask yourself where is the need?

One of the psychological reasons for fear could be the fact that we have all been well trained in the role of audience members; at a minimum the first twenty or more years of our lives have been spent as learners and receivers as members of the audience. But there comes a point, when if we are to be successful in life, we must turn around and become teachers, givers and leaders.

It is very well said, the moment you begin speaking to a group, you automatically become the leader of that group and all of us want to be leaders in life.

Let’s understand that ”the ability to speak is a short cut to distinction in your life”.

Public speaking is an adventure that can change you in and out and make you lead a richer and fuller life.

Public speaking can give you a major breakthrough in your life and help you accumulate a record of successful experiences behind you and serve as your passport to the hall of fame!