I am an avid public speaker, and I believe that to truly present your work to the world, this is a must-have skill, virtually unimaginable to not have in the fields of research and entrepreneurship to be truly successful.
Some of the most successful researchers and entrepreneurs on the planet are first and foremost, incredible salespeople.
I had -
- Been a shy speaker my entire life.
- High social anxiety, locking myself inside the room when guests came to socialise.
- Been Hesitant to speak up when talking to groups of more than three people.
- Been Not fluent in English.
- A long list of below-par presentations, speeches.
- A high degree of stage fear.
Here is what I did to overcome it -
- 2014 - Had my first major setback at public speaking.
- Made it a lifelong commitment to get better at this. Gained motivation.
- 2014 - Got rejected to join PCr (A BITS Pilani cultural fest club) due to inability to speak fluently.
- Got really good at designing posters, something they needed, joined the club on the basis of this skill the next semester and pushed myself to talk to the incredible conversationalists at the club. Gained Fluency in English.
- 2016 - Took the Effective Public Speaking course at BITS Pilani.
- Couldn’t get an A but pushed myself to face my fear of public speaking every class head on. Gained courage.
- 2018 - Joined the Bangalore Toastmasters Club
- My first speaking instance at the club also happened to be the Table Topics contest. I signed up for it and got disqualified because I couldn’t speak for the entire one minute. Gained confidence.
- 2019 - Learnt Improv Theatre formally.
- Went and participated in dozens of Improv open mics. Gained wit and quick-thinking.
- 2022 - Started the Google India Toastmasters Club
- Led it as the President and inspired 50+ members to take up and get better at Public speaking. Overcame Imposter Syndrome.
- 2023 - Took over as President of the Georgia Tech Public Speaking club
- Trying to bring new life to the club and helping it setup weekly operations, while building a new Toastmasters-like operation model that is less formal and more hip. Seeking to gain confidence for building at scale
- 2023 - Started the Georgia Tech ML Paper review club
- Combining weekly ML paper reading sessions and presentation ability directly to prepare for presenting at International conferences, while indoctrinating habit of reading papers. Seeking to directly experience the intersection of research and public speaking
I plan to record some of my speeches for my portfolio in the future. Stay tuned!