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On Public Speaking | George Charisma


"When it comes to politics, he is an institution. He is celebrated nationally and sought internationally. His name is synonymous to scholarship and we are certainly honoured to have him on our list of speakers at this event. Ladies and gentlemen, if your hands are not busy, put them together as we make welcome one of Cameroon's finest, Dr. Ambe Valentine Ngwa"

Some masters of ceremony can make a speaker's head swell. They add toppings, icing and a little bit of leaven to your profile and you come on stage feeling like a total stranger to your own profile. Public speaking!!! Public speaking!!! Let's see what is in today's can of worms. STAGE TIME AND STAGE LIFE!!!

It actually feels like the clock stops when a speaker makes it to the stage. The world waits and his/her heartbeat accelerates with a mixture of anxiety, excitement and maybe, fear. To start with, the way you walk to the stage matters. Quite frankly, I have met speakers who actually run to the stage. I tried that sometime last year and almost kissed the ground like a crashed plane. Ideally, a speaker should not walk to the stage rather leisurely or timidly. There should be a good measure of confidence in your gait.

Now, there are ways to take off. Typically, a plane needs to taxi on the tarmac before it levitates. Don't be so engrossed in your topic that you fail to begin with the basics. Great, acknowledge your host and other speakers where applicable. Move a vote of thanks for the privilege accorded you to speak at the event before you dig into your subject. There are a variety of ways to start a presentation. You could start with a video, an anecdote, a rhetorical question, a recapitulation of your take-home message from the previous speaker or an experience you had on your way to the event. Irrespective of what you choose to settle on, do well to earn the right to an audience within the first five (5) minutes of your presentation.

A speaker should be exciting to listen to. This will require that you combine the ingredients of effective communication in their right proportions. Inform, educate, persuade, entertain and inspire the people you're talking to. However, strike a balance while you are at it. Tell relevant stories, but do not reduce your job description to storytelling. Inject comic bites into your presentation but don't come across as a clown or career comedian. Inform and educate with well-researched facts but don't sound like an almanac or history book. You choke the life out your presentation if it is characterized by dry statistics.

Most importantly, there is need for you to be original. Don't try to sound like some other person. Avoid plagiarism in all it's forms and communicate authenticity. In trying to impress people, a speaker may end up betraying the cracks in his preparation.

  • George Charisma

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