Public speaking success

On Tuesday 5th March, I was invited to participate in the annual Beverley Rotary Club Public Speaking Competition at Tickton Grange Hotel. I was honoured to be selected along with Jacob, and was delighted to be selected for such a prestigious event.

Six schools were invited, including Beverley Grammar, Hornsea and Cottingham High School, each with two participants ready to speak on their chosen topic. Immediately, I began to feel nervous, when I was told about it, as public speaking is very nerve-wracking: it requires a sense of confidence, being able to keep your audience interested and entertained, and, most importantly, fully illustrating the message of my chosen subject.

The speech I gave was on patriotism in our country and I how I feel that, on the whole, we are not patriotic enough. Going to the Rotary Club to speak on such a topic seemed to fit in well; a club that is all about putting others first, will also have a good sense of pride in what they represent and what represents them. After a delicious meal, the nerves began to take effect: we, the six of us, were taken outside of the room to patiently wait for our turn. One by one, we each went out and gave our speech: I was left until last, as the painful wait dragged on. The sound of an applause as each participant both entered and left the room was fairly comforting: they each came out with a smile on their faces so I could only assume that it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.

When it was my turn, it was quite intense: my first time doing a public speech was quite a daunting task. Still, I gave my speech to the best of my ability: the audience chuckled a little, seemed engaged, and I was happy enough coming out of it. We were then invited back into the room as we awaited the results. I didn’t care too much about the result: I had actually forgotten beforehand that it was a competition; I was just enjoying the occasion and looking forward to giving it my best shot. The results were announced, and I am proud to say that I won! It was a very big shock for me; I was pleased to have placed but even more delighted to have won! Credit where credit is due however: I heard that the other speeches were also excellent, with wide-ranging topics from Buddhism to the Nature of Fear and I’m sure they all did a fantastic job. Jacob did an impressive speech on the importance of history. We had our photographs taken together and we all each received a plaque and a signed certificate. Being the winner, I also received a trophy that will sit in the Beverley Grammar School trophy cabinet for the next year, and also a £50 cheque for the school, a very kind and generous offer.

All in all, the experience was fun and satisfying: the members of the Beverley Rotary Club were warm, welcoming and very gracious. The meal was delectable and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.  I would like to thank the Rotary Club greatly for inviting us to such an event, as well as the school for selecting Jacob and I to represent them at this evening, in which I hope made the school proud. I learned that public speaking isn’t actually terrifying at all. Granted there will be nerves, but if you ever get the opportunity, I advise you snap it up. Giving a public speech in front of an adult audience gives you a tremendous sense of achievement. Every competitor there agreed. I thank everybody involved and hope next year’s Public Speaking Evening will be just as good, if not better. After all, BGS has won in 4 consecutive years. That is some tradition to uphold!

Elliot G

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