Last year, I was in Year 10 and was chosen to take part in the “Speak Out” Challenge! and was more than excited to be a part of it. As a constant talker and a confident person, I was exhilarated to take on this workshop and gain more skills about speaking than I had before.
The workshop consisted of many activities and they all focused on the 10 top tips to help us with our speaking and become a confident performer. This included: pace, pitch, timing and many more. During these activities, I discovered more about myself and what type of speaker I am. I really enjoyed the activities and the leader/mentor was very funny and engaging and made the whole experience even more fun and inspiring. For the end of the workshop, we had to build a speech and rehearse it using the top ten tips that we were taught. I chose the topic ‘Why we should not let grades decide our fate’ as I felt very strongly about this topic. I feel as though teenagers my age should not be defined with a number or letter on a piece of paper. I rehearsed and built on my speech through during the time given and through lunchtime. Although I’m a very confident person, the nerves got to me. I was chickening out and was very nervous to perform in front of my peers. But with the encouragement from my friends and teachers, I presented my speech and felt more happy and proud of myself than I did before. The judges who were 2 of my teachers, my Head Teacher and the mentor, could not decide the best speaker, so myself and 3 others had another week to prepare and build on our skills. During that week, I was rehearsing in front of my parents, friends and even in front of the mirror. I was motivated and wanted to know the speech like the back of my hand.
Finally, the day arrived. I had to present my speech in front of entire year group and was up against my 3 peers. After 2 speeches it was my turn. I was shaking, but I took deep breaths and was ready. I put on a smile and performed my speech. Before I knew it, it was over and I heard a round of applause. Now we had to wait for the results. After a day, the teachers had decided who would go on to perform in the regional finals. I so clearly remember I was completing my work in History when my teacher walked in and asked if he could speak to me outside. He announced the good news and I was officially a regional finalist. I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to go home and tell my parents. As soon as he told me I couldn’t contain my excitement and was already jumping around and said more “thank yous” than I can remember. I walked into the class and the class was also waiting patiently to know the result, I blurted out ‘I got through’ and there were cheers all around.
Then finally came the day of the regional finals. I was both excited but nervous to see what the rest of the day would hold. Myself and about 15 other students from different schools were in the regional finals and we were all sharing the excitement. We soon sat down and got onto doing warm up exercises with a mentor/leader. She also gave us amazing tips on how to improve our paces, what to do when we get nervous and how to own the stage. Meeting other people from around the Harrow borough was an amazing and fantastic experience and I wouldn’t think twice to do it all over again.
Not only did this experience teach me how to be a better speaker, but it also taught me how to believe in myself more and how to tackle every obstacle that comes in my way, whether that is nerves, not knowing how to pace myself and remembering the speech.
Manzil, Park High School