Speaking Better

There were a few things I did differently in my talk this time (a few points recommended by Atanu). Public speaking is something I am learning to be better at. So, talks like the one I gave at Columbia are a good opportunity to learn and improve. It is hard to create the same setting in an informal environment.

  • Tell Stories: Stories create a lasting impact. My speeches in the past have tended to be dry. This time, I peppered it up with a few stories.
  • Keep an Outline: Like newscasters, an outline in front helps in sticking to the script. I did not show any slides – they tend to distract the audience. But I used a slides outline to ensure I did not have to either enitirely memorise or read the speech, both of which would not have been good. The former because I would always worry about what I had to speak next, and the latter because I would have lost the spontaneity.
  • Have a Timer: I had a fixed time limit, and intended to stay in that. Without a timer, it is easy to lose perspective of time and get carried away with speaking too long.
  • Speak Slowly: I slowed it down a wee bit this time around, and that helped.

I also shifted the focus of the talk from the “what” to the “how” of transforming India. That created an element of surprise, which again helped.

Feedback on what I could have done better is appreciated!

3 thoughts on “Speaking Better

  1. Great speech, good stories. Numbers make us put things in perspective, the contractor’s case was a good example.

    On the down side, it sounded like pro-BJP talk from the very get go. I would highlight the issues, essentially due to lack of leadership and its effect on current political paralysis. We need a center-right govt with conservative fiscal policies. And, its only BJP which is the lesser evil of them all.

    Liked the end with an appeal for all of us to chip in their part.

  2. Speaking slowly is must for people from subcontinent as we inherently speak fast and loud. Takes a lot of practice to over come natural instinct. I found your speech goood with examples esp the toll one.