I am a tech entrepreneur. I have a team of 200 people. Why then did I become a student of public speaking?
This happened around 3 years ago. I was busy in my life, busy working, a normal casual office day. Suddenly I got a call from my college professor, from where I did my pharmacy.
BTW, even though I am running an IT company, I am a pharmacy graduate. There is no connection between your business and your education. Entrepreneurship is all about learning how to be with people.
So I got a call and my professor, on the other side, said “Praveen, Congratulations”.
I said, “What happened Sir?”
He said, “We heard that you are doing good in your life, you are successful, you have an IT company”.
I said “Thank you very much for that”.
He said “We would love to invite you as a Chief Guest in our annual gathering.“
I was surprised. No one in my life had invited me like this.
I said “Thank you very much Sir. When is the event?”
He said “Thursday, Praveen”.
I said “Really Sir? Are you serious? Tuesday evening you are calling me to tell me that the event is on Thursday. Don’t you think it’s a little late to invite a chief guest?”
He said “Actually Praveen, we had invited someone else and at the last moment that person is not available. Some students suggested your name.
Let me show you that image. There are some moments in life when you have to think whether you should feel bad about it or grab the opportunity.
I just decided to grab the opportunity.
I told my professor that “Don’t worry Sir. I will be there.”
BTW, my college is near Shirdi. Even from Shirdi, you have to go further 28 kms to reach my college, called Loni Pravara Rural College of Pharmacy.
I am child from a small town, done my school and college from very small cities.
So, When I reached the venue, I was pleasantly surprised with the way they decorated the stage and I was even more pleasantly surprised with the way they decorated me. 🙂
Something happened here and I want you to understand what happened here, why I became a student of public speaking or why you should become a student of public speaking.
I was speaking there and I was under the illusion that whenever I speak in front of people, I speak well. Many of us are under that illusion especially when you reach somewhere in life.
But fortunately, that day my driver was sitting in the audience and he was taking my video. He not only captured me, speaking but he also captured the audience also. I could see him shooting the video while I was speaking
And while coming back to Mumbai, the drive was about 200 kms, I asked my driver to show me the video. While watching the video, fortunately, I could see what the audience was doing throughout my speech. It was visible that the audience was not very interested in listening to me. Now I could stay in denial mode and think that I am a good speaker or I could be honest with myself and consider the fact, that I could not keep the audience’s attention.
I chose to do the latter. I thought this was the best acid test. If you really want to learn, that where you are with respect to your ability to speak to people, which is the no.1 skill required in leadership, where you have to share your ideas, values, suggestions, thoughts, speak in front of a neutral audience.
Those students in my college had no idea who I was. As an entrepreneur, when I stand in front of my employees, they have to look at me like this, as a boss when you stand in front of your team member they have to look straight at you, even as a junior, when you stand in front of your seniors, you have to look at them, you have to maintain the decorum but when you stand in front of neutral audience, they don’t have any compulsion of looking at you. That’s the acid test.
That day I realised that I need to speak effectively, irrespective who the audience is, they should listen to me. And that day I decided that I have to become a student of public speaking. My life changed.