“All Island Best Gavel Speaker 2nd Runner-up for the Impromptu Category is…. Naethree Premnath”For a split second my mind was blank. Like how a wave rushes back to the shore, I came back to reality, got up and went to receive my first ever award for an impromptu category. I was a mess and pretty much everyone knew it when I forgot to collect the certificate, because at that moment everything seemed blurry. Blurry but brighter, what a moment I was stuck in.
I came back to the table where my very friends that turned into family sat beaming at me proudly. It had indeed been a journey to getting to this victory and no one else other than the few people at that table knew the rocky path. Well, now all of you would too. So are you ready to go back in time to trace my steps to this victory? Let’s rewind.
It was my first gavel meeting when I took my first table topic. The theme was about music and my first table topic was about emotions and music. I pretty much blew it, and I knew it. But the best thing was the feeling after; the adrenaline rush, excitement and relief. I knew then, that I will be taking a lot more table topics just to experience that feeling.
Fast forward to a few meetings later, on one fine evening we had a very fun educational meeting under the theme “the art of lying” and as always, I took a table topic for which I received some very positive feedback from members of the club. That was probably one of the table topics which was structured and delivered well. That is when I was able to see the improvement. It came as a sweet surprise to me as for a girl who was running after the adrenaline rush, she had started improving on her impromptu speech skills without her knowledge.
What other motivation would you need when you had seen the improvement taking a few table topics could do to you? I also joined a few Global Impromptu sessions where people from all around the world joined to speak on different impromptu topics. It was a wonderful experience listening to people from different age groups, all around the globe. Every session there was something to learn and I started working towards listening more deeply to what people had to say.
“You become a better speaker when you become a better listener” is a quote I strongly started believing. Every gavel meeting I would listen, think and appreciate qualities of other budding speakers. There was always something to learn from each person. The way they describe their story, the way they move, the energy they carry within their speech etc. As a person in the audience I thought about what parts of the speech did I resonate with, which parts did I love, which parts did I think can be improved. After every table topic session, I thought about what I could have done differently if I had taken that topic?
With every passing table topic session, I had now created speeches for more than 50 topics in my head. I had 50 different stories and 50 different messages. It was never aimed at any competition however when I went for the All Island Best Speaker competition 2022, I could truly understand the importance of all the table topic sessions I participated, listened and thought about.
“All birds can fly” was the topic for the semi final round of AIBGS 2022. As soon as I entered the room, the topic was read out and I started immediately. I spoke about how people in life have limited me just because I didn’t fit their expectations. I went on to say how it led me to believe that each one of us have our own strengths which makes us fly higher in life or sometimes stand tall or sit straight. Whatever we choose to do, we are strong in our own ways.
With a sigh of relief, I came out and instantly forgot parts of my speech. It was all a blur and at this point you must understand how quickly my mind becomes blurry, lol. I knew I could have done things differently, even better. What if questions surrounding my head. A tip for all of you reading this: Never ignore these questions! Self-evaluating yourself is an important part not just in public speaking but in life in general. When you can reflect back on your actions and evaluate them, you truly start seeing things differently.
With excitement and nervousness and the drive to bring glory to Gavel UOC, I was determined to do my best at the Grand Finale of AIBGS. The time had come….I entered the stage and the topic was read out. “Naethree Premnath It’s Okay It’s Okay Naethree Premnath”.
I went and delivered my speech which closely resonated with my CC5 that I had just done the previous week at the Weekly Gavel Educational Meeting(Yes, doing your CCs does help you in ways you cannot imagine). I felt confident and strong but most importantly at ease. 10 year old me would have never thought that I would be standing on stage delivering an impromptu speech in front of a crowd. 10 year old me would have never thought that she would lose her fear of speaking. 10 year old me would have never thought she would be standing tall as the second runner-up of AIBGS 2022 Impromptu Category with her award and the certificate which she forgot.
10 year old me would have never thought, because she had no clue about passion. As a 22 year old, I now understand that every single dream you run after is worth it only if you are passionate about it. No matter how tough the road is, how intimidating and scary the world makes it seem, if you love it and want it as much as you love, you will reach it. So to all the budding speakers out there, take that first step! Roads are rough and the initial stages are always the hardest but from where I am standing right now, the view looks brighter. I hope to see you all passionate speakers beside me soon so that we can share this view and walk towards a brighter future of Gavel UOC.