Just the other day, I had the privilege of speaking at an event organised by the LadiesFirst Professional Development network. As I prepared for my talk, I found myself reflecting on my unique journey. Born in the UK to Indian parents, I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when combining Eastern culture with the Western was not the norm. I embraced both, and in doing so, I learned that being different is not only okay but also a strength.
I always remember this in everything I do, especially when I give a talk or engage in public speaking. It’s not just about the words I say, but the experiences and perspectives I bring to the table. It’s about sharing my unique journey, the lessons I’ve learned, and the insights I’ve gained. It’s about connecting with my audience on a deeper level, inspiring them, and encouraging them to embrace their own unique paths.
Public speaking is more than just standing on a stage and delivering a speech. It’s about sharing our stories, our insights, and our perspectives. It’s about connecting with others, inspiring change, and leading with confidence. And for us women, it’s an essential tool in our leadership toolkit.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
Being different means there are so many lessons to learn when you are pushing boundaries! Whether it was moving away to study at Sussex University, a rare feat for an Indian girl in 1989, or carving a career in the media without knowing much about the industry or a single person in it. These decisions paved the way forward for others – and that makes me proud.
Love Yourself First
The biggest lesson of all is that loving yourself must come first and foremost – it’s not selfish and there is nothing to feel guilty about. Only then can you really share the love, connect deeply with others and build great relationships.
Public Speaking is About Understanding the Audience
Public speaking, whether it’s delivering a keynote address or being a guest speaker, is a nuanced art that goes beyond just delivering a speech. It’s about truly understanding the audience you’re speaking to. It’s about recognising their needs, their interests, and their challenges, and tailoring your message to resonate with them. It’s about creating a connection, a dialogue, rather than a one-way flow of information.
My Top 5 Tips for Public Speaking
- Tell a Story: Weave a narrative that engages your audience and makes your message more memorable. Stories are powerful tools that can help illustrate your points and keep your audience engaged. Use personal anecdotes, case studies, or hypothetical scenarios to bring your message to life.
- Engage with Your Audience: Make your speech interactive. Ask questions, seek opinions, and encourage participation. This not only keeps your audience engaged but also makes them feel valued and heard. Remember, public speaking is not a monologue, but a dialogue.
- Be Authentic: Authenticity resonates with people. Be yourself, share your experiences, and speak from the heart. People can tell when you’re genuine, and they’re more likely to connect with you and your message when you’re authentic.
- Keep It Simple: Use clear, concise language. Avoid jargon and complex sentences. Your goal is to communicate your message effectively, and that means making it easy for your audience to understand.
- End with a Bang: Conclude your speech on a high note to leave a lasting impression. Whether it’s a powerful quote, a compelling call to action, or a thought-provoking question, make sure your closing remarks are memorable.
As I stood there at the LadiesFirst Professional Development network, sharing my experiences and insights, I was reminded once again of the power of public speaking. It’s not just about delivering a message; it’s about connecting with your audience, sharing your journey, and making an impact.
About Ladies First Professional Development
I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of public speaking through my involvement with the LadiesFirst Professional Development network. This incredible organization, based in the UK, is dedicated to inspiring, informing, and introducing women to new opportunities for personal and professional growth. They hold monthly events featuring inspirational speakers and informative workshops, creating a nurturing environment for women to learn, grow, and connect.
The driving force behind LadiesFirst is its Director, Tracey McAtamney. With over 30 years of experience her diverse career spans multiple industries. She is also the author of “Hidden Strength,” the founder of “Surviving Bereavement – Life after Loss,” and a Grief Recovery Specialist. Her work, which includes offering Pop up Bereavement Café’s across Warwickshire and providing free memory boxes to children and young adults, is a testament to the power of one’s voice and the impact of sharing one’s story.
So, whether you’re a seasoned speaker or just starting, remember this: your voice matters. Your stories matter. And the world needs to hear them. Embrace the art of public speaking, and let your voice be heard.
Until next time, keep speaking, keep inspiring, and keep leading.