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Public speaking: you either hate it or you love it!

28 June 2019

3 mins

In this blog, we hear from current student Selsabil, who recently attended a public speaking workshop run by our careers and employability team.

Public speaking: you either hate it or you love it!

But we all have to do it. Good public speaking skills allow us to engage audiences, grab the attention of decision-makers, and win clients. The great thing is that could be you, and the opportunity is closer than you think.

On 15th May, the University welcomed Julie, a public speaking coach, to deliver a two-hour intensive workshop on public speaking. I was there, along with a diversity of Master and PhD students from across institutes, all present for an array of reasons. Some wanted to learn how to command an audience through the development of a strong voice. Some wanted to refine their body language to appear more engaging. Others, like myself, wanted the chance to learn from a professional the evening before an assessed presentation…

Julie took us through key elements of good public speaking, went into detail about how a speaker connects with their audience, and most importantly, explored remedies to classic slip-ups. It wasn’t all theory, however, as we discovered when Julie invited us to participate in a variety of impromptu speeches! It was the moment perhaps many students dread, but Julie’s guidance was easily put into practice, and soon enough, blank faces melted away to uncover energy and enthusiasm. 

Harry, a current student from England with a background in activism and a substantial amount of public speaking experience, said he thought the workshop provided structure to the way he thought about public speaking, and that the workshop was an invaluable resource in his future career.

Caprice, an eager student from China with limited experience in public speaking, said the workshop took away the pressure of having to be a ‘perfect’ public speaker. Caprice, like many students, bought into the idea that good speeches or presentations are only claimed by natural-born performers speaking in their first language. However, Julie’s workshop really emphasised how you don’t need to be born confident to be a good public speaker, whether done in a first, second, or third language. 

Selim, a current student from Turkey who is passionate about communication in marketing both in person and online, said the workshop helped him to better understand what his audience wants in a public speaker. Julie’s workshop eradicated public speaking as a one-way activity, and explored ways in which speakers can effectively engage with their audience.

During the various activities we participated in, it was clear that public speaking skills were as accessible as ever. Julie’s workshops are a fantastic way to revisit how we practice public speaking, whether you want to polish your skills or take the first steps under the spotlight. And with such interactive and welcoming culture of learning, there is a space for everybody to bring something new to the table, or rather, stage.


We would like to thank Selsabil, a current student within the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance for writing the above blog. For other events, make sure to check our events page online.

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