Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking
May 4, 2011
In many parts around the world, fear of public speaking is the number one fear in most people’s minds, ranking higher than even fear of death.
Helping Amrita students overcome this fear, the Center for Corporate and International Relations (CIR) at the Coimbatore campus organizes a public speaking contest for third-year engineering students every year.
The contest is also aimed at helping these students prepare for the upcoming campus placements, wherein they will be called upon to impress prospective employers with their poise in speech and manner.
This year, of the 100s of students who participated in the contest, 34 were short-listed for the semi-finals. Of these, 17 made it to the finals.
The first prize was finally won by Sri Vaishanvi, who will complete her B.Tech. in Information Technology next year. The second prize was claimed by B.Tech. student of Computer Science, Saravanan Ganesh.
Two students, Ragavender and Ashwin Ravinchander, both of B.Tech. (Computer Science) tied for the third spot.
All winners received cash awards, courtesy Accenture India. The first prize winner received a cash award of Rs. 7000, while the second and third prize winners got Rs. 5000 and Rs. 3000 respectively.
Books on public speaking and motivational topics were also awarded to the winners.
The winning students and others were free to speak on any topic of their choice. An overwhelming number spoke on Anna Hazare’s bold crusade against corruption.
Although they had prepared for this event for the past four months, it was this contemporary topic that had most fired their imagination.
“We have organized this contest for three years now,” stated Dr. Ajay Kumar, Deputy Manager (Learning), CIR. “Every year we have over 90% participation.”
“Our main aim is to help students improve their communication skills,” he added.
Not only does the event help students become better at public speaking, it also helps foster a keen sense of cooperation and team spirit in them, as they seek to help their peers.
Students are grouped into teams of ten to practice and prepare together. “They have to help each other out to sort out their inadequacies as speakers,” said Dr. Ajay.
Students are given evaluation charts to evaluate each other’s performance using specific criteria such as body language, tone, diction, confidence level, content, style and relevance of topic.
Such extensive preparation eventually bears fruit. Although not all can win the public speaking contest, the students’ fear of public speaking is overcome to a large extent, helping pave the way for stellar performances during campus placement season.