‘Good education is numero uno when it comes to developing Public Speaking skills’ says Sunil Gavaskar in LEAD MasterClass
Sunil Gavaskar started out as a regular kid from a middle-class family. He fell in love with cricket at a young age. He was inspired by his father, a General Manager at a yarn company, who took out time to play cricket. As a kid, Sunil Gavaskar used to go and watch his father during his cricket matches and observed the importance of communication skills in cricket. He keenly observed how the captain communicates with the team, how he ensures the entire team is on the same page to achieve their common goal.
In college, he also realized the importance of having good communication skills to connect with people and make long-lasting friendships. All this inspired him to improve his own communication skills and in turn his public speaking ability.
Here is a summary of some key points he presented to the live audience of LEAD MasterClass held on October 24th, 2021:
1. Know your audience:
Public speaking need not be restricted to speaking to a large group. Your audience can be one person, two people, or even hundreds of people. What’s important is knowing who your audience is.
In order to contextualize your content, and communicate more effectively prepare the following points:
- What is the general thought process of your audience
- What are their expectations from your speech
- What is their language proficiency
2. Know your content:
Once you know your audience, do thorough research on your topic. Refer to multiple sources to get different ideas and ways of putting forward your thoughts. Get a few data points & try to reframe them in an interesting manner. Visualize how it will go – your gestures & where you will emphasize. Know the punch points that will help you in keeping the audience engaged.
For example, in cricket commentary, Sunil Gavaskar had to do a lot of research including cricket records, names of people, even pronunciation of names of people. He had to take special care so that the commentary appears to be more conversational. He also had to be careful of not making it seem judgemental. Being a skilled public speaker, he made sure that the commentary catered to a wide variety of audiences and not just the cricket connoisseurs.
He also emphasized building the habit of reading to become more knowledgeable as it provides:
- New vocabulary
- New knowledge
- New perspectives
3. Get your audience attention at the start:
The first few sentences you speak have immense power in grabbing the attention of your audience. It can be something funny, an interesting life story or incident, or something shocking. But be careful, it all depends on what kind of audience you have. You want to generate a positive response in the audience. You want people to sit up & take notice, but not get offended.
4. Keep it simple:
Don’t use big words to impress. The objective is to enable the audience to understand your point of view, not to intimidate them. Using simple words helps you connect with your audience better.
5. Connect with your audience:
Look people in the eye. You cannot be looking here and there or looking at your notes throughout. Also, take care of your body language. When you become a public person, it is very important for you to look them in the eye and have correct posture.
6. Keep notes at hand to refer to:
Notes are helpful, but use them only as a reference to keep track of your speech. Avoid reading out from the notes throughout. If you don’t want to carry notes, you can use your fingers to keep track of the points you want to make. It is always helpful to have a broad outline in points that you can refer to.
No skill is built in a day. The more you practise, the better you become. Before you go to speak publicly, practise before a mirror or with a trusted partner. And irrespective of whether the first attempt goes well or not, keep practising.
Sunil Gavaskar also emphasized the importance of good education in becoming a good public speaker. He recalled his days at St. Xavier’s high school where the English spoken was superb. He said a good school education gives you the required confidence from a very young age.
Even in sports like cricket, it is easier for a person who is well educated to understand the game better and communicate better.
Post an insightful session, he also addressed a few live questions from the audience. We are hopeful that all the kids who attended the session took away some great points to help them get started in developing their Public Speaking skills.
Interested to hear from the legend himself? Watch the recorded session here!
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