Contest chair…

By Fathima Salihah

Instagram: @fathima_salihah_

LinkedIn: Fathima Salihah


Expectation: (Smile to yourself after the confident introduction was delivered, then turn to contest chair) Contest Chair, distinguished panel of judges (and continue with the amazing content)

Reality: (turn to contest chair…shivering) C-c-can I have your chair? (Wait…did I just say that!)

Trust me, it’s ALWAYS easy to be bold and confident in your speaking skills…backstage or at home! Regardless of how experienced you might be, stage fright is undeniably a struggle most speakers face. It’s the least challenging to advise your friend to be confident, but how far could you convince them?

Usually, I talk quite fast, and when I’m suffering from stage fright, I put up the fakest smiles to hide it from the audience, there’s nothing more to say- I DO NOT EVEN HEAR MYSELF AS I SPEAK! So how does one improve?



At one point in my life, I had to face a new audience in my eleventh grade, which had some students I had not met before. But I can still remember how carefree and brave I was to speak in front of them and I felt like I had known them for years- the secret was the fact that I chose a topic that everyone wishes to know about-stage fright, of course! And there was not the slightest sound and everyone was all ears and supportive because I had spoken of a topic they could relate to as well. So, if you want to be confident in your speaking, pick a topic that not only you but also the majority of your audience would like to listen to.



Secondly, practice as much as you can. Before you start each time you practice, look into the mirror and convince yourself to bring the energy you need for the practice, because it is absolutely important to ensure that throughout your speech that you carry energy with you, especially when you practice alone and you might get bored of the fact that only your bed is listening to you!


Another point to remember is to present yourself the way you had practised. Sometimes, you might go to a speaking session and realise how talented the other speakers are, and then when it’s your chance, you try to scream your words out and throw your hands to emphasize your gestures, it, unfortunately, won’t work, because you prepare for the unique speaker you are, and some topics and gestures might just not be the right ones for you, and that’s perfectly alright because an audience will not want to hear the same speech a multiple times or to witness the same speaking style repeatedly. Stop imitating, start inspiring yourself to be you!


Inspired by a TEDtalk and life, one of the most important things is, even if you do multiple mistakes on stage or forget your words, always remember that a real audience will respect you than rebuke you, this does not mean there won’t be critics in your audience but keep in mind that there is a proportion in that audience willing to listen and learn from your words, and then recall the energy to continue with your performance on stage.

Over to you!

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