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Why public speaking is a most effective means of sharing ideas

PUBLISHED: 09:26 07 March 2018

Liam Heitman-Rice. Picture: Submitted

Liam Heitman-Rice. Picture: Submitted

Supplied by Liam Heitman-Rice via Trevor Heaton

Ideas are the most public form of creativity.

Every outlet of human expression – paint, motion picture, poetry, literature, lyric – is built upon the inception of an idea.

And what makes an idea so vibrantly human is its collaborative nature: ideas must be shared in order to be realised.

The process of constructing an idea into a finalised product is one dependent upon feedback and input from one’s peers.

There is no more effective means of sharing ideas than through the medium of public speaking.

From JFK’s plea to the American people, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” to Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s seismic admission of guilt to the Aborigines, “that it was we who did the dispossessing,” the power of speech can open the ears, eyes and minds of all who experience it.

It is for this reason that UEA once again hosts its annual World Speech Day. Taking place in the university’s Enterprise Centre on Thursday, March 15th, between 6.30pm and 9pm, 12 speakers will be presenting speeches shaped by this year’s theme, ‘Ideas For A Better World’.

Having participated in last year’s World Speech Day with a speech about spontaneity, I have kept in mind the fun of courting the unfamiliar.

This year I shall be presenting my ideas of how one can become a product of their persistence; how it is a valuable thing to be impatient.

Think not of a ‘No’ as an obstacle, but as an accelerant.

I bore this in mind when applying for summer internships in Germany: after nineteen rejections, someone finally wanted to take me on. I now have ahead of me three months as a social media intern in Cologne!

Be impatient. Keep applying. Ideas such as this, and others ranging from how to acknowledge invisible disabilities to embracing GM crops, are open to the public on World Speech Day.

“Whether it be in an academic, professional or recreational setting,” says Mauricio Salazar, 21, one of the three student organisers behind this year’s event, “we are urged from an early age to ‘give it a go.’”

For Mauricio, public speaking “is a skill which can be developed with the right amount of will and motivation.

“Not only does it build confidence, it can also allow you to contribute to society by informing, inspiring and persuading a crowd.

“World Speech Day was founded with the aim of doing this, while giving a platform to unheard and unexpected voices.

“This event gives the everyday person an opportunity to communicate and share their ideas.”

Given the large body of UEA student speakers at this year’s event, Mauricio offers them “a chance to express their ‘ideas for a better world,’ hoping they motivate others to do the same.”

A participant in last year’s World Speech Day was Jack Ashton, 20. His talk on toxic stereotypes of masculinity and the alarming suicide rate among young men was so impressive that he was offered a platform at the TEDx Norwich Conference.

It was here that he was awarded Best Newcomer, having learned how to refine “the syntax of my sentences, my body posture, the tone of my voice, and the use of visual aids,” to the extent that when he stepped off stage, “my former self was unrecognisable”.

The impact of his speech was both surprising and rewarding.

“I received offers to speak to sixth-formers at schools all over Norwich, as well as youth rehabilitation schemes and local radio stations - the thought that I can at least give a couple kids another view on life is extremely satisfying,” he said.

To paraphrase Mauricio, I would urge you all to give it a go and come to our World Speech Day at UEA’s Enterprise Centre on March 15.

The purpose of the event is to put ideas in your head.

If we can give you an idea of how to make a better world, we, and the power of public speaking, will have succeeded.

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