MISS AFRICA VANCOUVER 2017, SPEECH ON FGM AND EDUCATION FOR THE GIRL CHILD
"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience" - Eleanor Roosevelt
It is important to view public speaking within the context of its intellectual heritage. Once that perspective is established, we would be able to deduce that there is no single approach to teaching public speaking.
A few months ago, I was approached by Bintou Bangoura. The organizer of Miss Africa Vancouver 2017, asking if I wanted to participate as there was a slot available to deliver a speech. Without an atom of doubt, I quickly sprung up to the opportunity.
The thought of giving a speech was insanely exciting. I am a toastmaster, which means I am either listening to r every week. This was more exciting because there was an expected audience within the range of 350-400 people.
CHOOSING THE TOPIC
It was indeed a challenge. I didn't realize what I was up for until it was time to decide on a topic choose
Three topics came to mind
-Education for the girl child
-Girls do not succumb to societies standard of beauty.
-Embrace your natural hair, as your hair represents your identity to some degree.
If you follow me on Instagram @sosaeweka, you would know I went with the topic "Education for the girl child".
My choice was solely inspired by Michelle Obama's campaign "we will rise". Here, CNN films produced a new film about the challenges girls face in other to get an education with contributions from Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Freda Pinto and CNN journalist, I respect and admire so much, Isha Sesay, singer Andra Day's motivational anthem, ‘Rise Up’ served as the theme for the film. The Documentary Group, which produced CNN Films’ first co-production, ‘Girl Rising,’ also produced this special one-hour film.
I believe this issue doesn't get as much media coverage as it should and some African countries do not take cognizance of the peculiarities of the girl child.
HOW DID I PREP FOR THE SPEECH?
It took months and months of preparation. I was so cautious, I didn't want anything to go wrong. I low-key wanted to memorize the whole speech, but you know what? What makes a great speaker a great speaker is how naturally you are able to deliver a speech. Memorizing a speech could be very dangerous. What happens if you forget a word, you ruin the entire speech!!
Memorizing not only makes your speech very rigid but it also makes you seem very robotic. It wouldn't hurt to add your sense of humor which makes the atmosphere less tense, making you and your guests feel relaxed and comfortable
My outfit was carefully picked out. I wanted to wear something African as it was an African even. I intentionally chose a fabric that didn't have lots of patterns on it as that will distract my audience.
I decided to go with a crop top and pants. I specifically chose pants as I wanted something I could move around freely in.
THINGS DO NOT ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED, BE OPEN MINDED
As the quote says "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade"- Unknown
The format of my speech was planned with having access to a projector. Sadly, things took a different trajectory during the early hours of the event and I wasn't able to gain access to a projector. I was faced with the decision of delivering the speech without a projector or walking away. To be honest, I couldn't phantom the thought of walking away so decided to improvise by placing my laptop on a stand.
Public speaking could be very nerve-racking especially when you have a huge crowd of people staring in your face. Here are some tips that have worked for me.
PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS
80% of public speaking has to do with body language. If you aren't confident, it would definitely reflect in your mannerism.
PICK A TONE THAT MAKES YOU COMFORTABLE
Voice Variation is very important which includes volume, pitch et cetera.
An increase the amount of fluctuation in your voice tone, volume and pitch, definitely increases your charisma and credibility. A recent study showed that the most successful TED speakers have 30.5% higher vocal variety than less popular TED speakers.
SHOW ENTHUSIASM AND ENERGY
If you aren't excited for your talk no one will.
DO YOU- THIS MEANS NOT LISTENING TO EVERYONE'S OPINION
We are wired differently. People come with their own rules on public speaking, but in the end you have to figure out what works for you. It is your speech and you have the power to tweak it.
THE TAKE AWAY MESSAGE
After delivering your speech, can your audience understand the point being driven at? If someone was absent from your speech, do you think they will be able to give the summary and build around it?
WHAT DID I LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
It always seems impossible until it is done- Nelson Mandela
Surround yourself with positive people, those who see the best in you.