Monday, January 23, 2012

public speaking

Do you remember your first experience standing in front doing public speaking or a presentation?

I do, mine was horrible,
and I decided that it will be one of the top three things i will hate for the rest of my life.

I remember standing up on the small stage in front of nearly a hundred of my schoolmates and teachers with absolute nervousness. As much as I wanted to show total confidence, both of my hands trembled, one holding the microphone and the other holding a piece of paper. I am sure I saw the youngest of my classmate who stood right in front of me grinned as he saw how nervous I was.

I was a school prefect back then, and it was compulsory for each of us to take turns giving tazkirah during the school assembly on Mondays. I do not remember what was I talking about, but I obviously did not deliver a good talk. And I decided, I hate speaking in public.

As I grow up, small training sessions come in my way, but informally.

I received my Black Belt TaeKwon-Do degree and became an instructor at the age of 13. I mainly taught ladies, most were younger or about my age, and some were way older than me.

Of course, along the way, I could never run away from the public speaking sessions during assembly, because I was a prefect until I graduated from school.

After high school graduation, I conducted a small weekly usrah group with my school juniors.

And instead of joining clubs or student representative councils in university, I joined an NGO and started to be active in the Palestinian issue. While learning and feeding myself with the issue, I shared what I know with others. I volunteered in exhibition booths and informally trained myself to speak in public.

As I was becoming more active, I had to deliver small talks on the Palestinian issue in front of maybe 20-40 people. And all those while, my hand would still tremble if I hold a microphone!

Then one day, I was asked to deliver a talk to some lower secondary students during their general assembly. I hesitated at first, but took the challenge. I thought there will be only at most 100-150 students, just like the weekly assembly back in my school. But my estimation was not even near. I was totally shocked when there were at least 500 - Yes, FIVE HUNDRED - pairs of eyes which belongs to students younger than me, and at least 20 pairs which belongs to the teachers!
But already standing there, I couldn't turn back.
I held the microphone and tried my best to hide my trembling hands. I gathered all the confidence (and ego) that I have in me and said "Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh"
all the trembling DISAPPEARED!

Subhanallah walhamdulillah wallahuakbar!

I continued my presentation, of course with no perfection, but getting rid of the trembling was to me a great achievement..

I am formally a teacher.
Talking in public is, maybe, now a second nature to me. Maybe, hehe... But I still need all the preparation time and resources I can have in order to deliver nicely.
But oh, somehow I still have this "aaa..." every now and then when I do formal public speaking... Which totally spoils everything!

Until today, I adore several people I've known closely for their ability not just to speak in public, but also their 'wise-ness' in dealing with all matters we've came across. We've gone on separate paths but I'm sure I will still bump into them now and then because our aim is the same, inshaAllah.

So, my advice to my dear students and others who read this piece, whether you like it or not, just TRY YOUR BEST. You might not be able to meet success immediately, but it will definitely come your way.


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