I had recently joined a public-speaking class and so one of the exercises was to speak on a given topic. As I began my practice, I realized that giving speeches is not as easy as it looks. And mind you it does look easy, specially when the speaker is confident and ease with himself and the topic.

But as I began practicing for the course, I realized that there is a lot of hard work involved and consistent practice was required like any other field. Of course, all of this is if you are aiming to be a good, consistent and confident speaker.

Otherwise, you can wrap up your speech within 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes would also take some work. My eureka moment came when realization sank in that the first step towards good speaking was good writing!

So researching the topic, collecting information and analyzing it was required. Next was to narrow down the points you feel connected to or those that strike you or you feel vehement about. 

Then connect all the points together, read it aloud and add expressions to your speech so as make it engaging for the audience.  After that practice in front of your mirror or with a family member and of course time yourself. Timing is very important as you do not want to exceed your given time-limit.

Most important is to memorize your speech and then practice again and again and again! Till it doesn’t sound phony or unnatural…it should be as if you are conversing with your audience.

Well, I wrote all of this because my topic for the public speaking exercise was The Olympics, and I was like what the…! Is this really a topic? It sounds rather like an essay. What can I say about this topic that is already not known?

And just like that someone shared this story on a WhatsApp group and it gave me a beautiful learning so sharing it here:

The scene is the final of men’s high jump at the Tokyo Olympics:

Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi was facing Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim in the final.  Both of them jumped 2.37 meters and were on par together! 

So, the Olympic officials decided to give three more attempts to each of them, but they were unable to reach more than 2.37 meters. They were still at an impasse!

One more attempt was given to two both of them. But Tamberi the Italian player withdrew from the last attempt due to a serious leg injury.  Now there was no other opponent for Barshim, this was his moment when he could have easily approached the gold alone!

But Barshim asked the official ‘Can the gold medal be shared between the two of us if I withdraw from the final attempt?’  The officials checked and confirmed ‘Yes, if you withdraw then the gold will be shared between the two of you”. Barshim then had nothing to think about, he announced his withdrawal from the last attempt.

Seeing this, the Italian opponent Tamberi ran and hugged Barshim and screamed!  What we saw there was a great share of love in sports that touched hearts.  It reveals the indescribable sportsmanship that makes religions, race, colors and borders irrelevant!!!

Barshim’s kindness in this story really inspired me, it would have been so easy for him to be selfish and want to hog the gold alone for himself. After all he deserved it, he had toiled day and night for it, so it was natural for him to feel this way.

Yet he thought about the other person, who was in fact a opponent. He felt Tamberi too had worked hard, toiled for the gold and deserved it.

He went out of his way to think about him as well and share his medal. This is a real hall mark of greatness…humaneness…and kindness and this is what the Olympics is really about I realized. And the topic which I thought was so mundane and small turned out to be anything but.


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