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NOT FOR THE FAINT AT HEART by Atwiine Timothy

PUBLICSPEAKINGPublic Speaking is an art not many are confident to undertake. Having dozens, hundreds or even thousands of eyes looking at you is quite intimidating. But when mastered, it fills one with joy just to address big and bigger crowds. Several avenues to train the trade are increasingly being used including the one herein described.

It was a course unit in class, taught by respected psychologist, Dr. Jack Smith. ‘Public Speaking’ it was called. What was supposed to be an activity to enhance our public speaking skills, turned out into a competition of sorts for some of us; and that was thanks to the marks that were being ‘dished’ out by Dr. Jack, of course only to the best.

The setting was a lecture room and we were all very eager for our first class. Dr. Jack as was to become the norm was always there before we were out of our previous class waiting for us. With him were an army of critics ready to do their job. These were students or former students of his who had excelled in his class and sure did they do a great job!

The whole class had its turn to go in front of us and speak. We impersonated all sorts of personalities, from Spokespersons to ministers, from the Inspector General of Police to Guild President Contestants, Presidents to all sorts of famous people.

If i didn’t admit that it was great fun, i would be telling a very big lie. My classmates did indeed put up a show to remember. The impersonation was wonderful, and so were the public speaking skills. Not all certainly were very good but the gradual improvement was very evident throughout the rest of the proceeding classes.

There was a disturbing lack of confidence amongst most of the girls though; one couldn’t know if it was fear, diffidence or mere disinterest driving it. But as was the aim of the class to improve everyone’s public speaking skills, they were as good as any by the semester’s end.

Back to the competition, we got the marks, and very many marks. Yours truly was a tad too perfect and several were very near perfection. But at the end of the class, we were all smiles because we were better speakers than before and had also become closer. Kudos rightfully go to Dr. Jack Smith our facilitator.

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