TALKING IN FRONT OF A GROUP OF STRANGERS

“There are only two types of speakers in the world: 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.”
Mark Twain

If you would have asked me to speak to a group of 10, five years back I would shake like a leaf. Someone told me you need to be confident to speak publically. Confidence? What is that? I had no relation, what so ever, with this word. But, somewhere deep within I always wanted to be that ‘bold’ guy to just go up there and speak.

Even now, when I look back at my school life, one instance which I can clearly recall is my principal calling out students randomly during the morning assembly to recite the morning news. And every single time my heart would pound fast, even after I was aware that I was not the unlucky one! I was scared to death to face the entire school.

I was lucky to be hit by opportunities, which forced me to speak and speak in front of a variety of crowd. Especially when I was an organizer of an event, I had no option but to interact with the ‘strangers’ there and ease the environment. With time I, in fact started to love this; everyone is an unread book and knowing them, sharing my views, debating gave such satisfaction. In the last few years, I have addressed school students to people double my age and even MBA students (being an undergraduate). Most of my talks are regarding my experiences (No, I do not market Startify) or on building a startup and making most of the college life and have also conducted a few workshops (very long ones too) on entrepreneurship and starting small. Have been lucky to present and share my knowledge at a few places you might know, IIT Jodhpur, NIFT Jodhpur, TEDxNLUJAA, Startup Assam and many colleges, schools, and events you definitely don’t, so won’t name them here.

Here are a few things which have really helped me be a decent presenter:

  • Presentation only to focus on a few keywords and to give a structure to the entire talk. Never used more than 5 words a slide. (Have a look below)
  • Even though I was (am) not a very confident speaker, but I am very confident and passionate on the topic of the presentation. Moreover, if I am nervous I generally admit it at the start and that works like magic
  • At the start of any talk you must have heard, “Let this talk be two ways, please interact!”. I was lucky to connect with my audience with ease (not always, though); maybe they could relate to me because of my age
  • Have wasted (or invested) a lot of time thinking of icebreakers and activities and that has always paid off
  • The book, “Talk Like TED”  (highly recommended, or read the summary here)
  • Being a good listener and being observant

Speaking publically has given me the confidence I needed to grow as a person and has helped me get out of my comfort zone. Being on the other side of the stage is a must have experience and it can really change who you are.

I was invited for a podcast interview on FoundersGyan and this was a nerve-wracking experience.

As scary interacting to a group of people (some call this public speaking) seems, it is as addictive!

I have been lucky to be featured by a few media houses. Here are the links of a few articles –

A few others on the Startify journey include TheStartupJournal, KnowStartup, IndianWeb2

For queries feel free to drop a line at himanshu.sikaria@gmail.com