Search Syed's Aphorism


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Successful Public Speaking

Some useful tips on the art of public speaking:

There is a natural tendency to feel nervous before giving a speech, which is quite ingrained and healthy. It shows that one cares about doing well. But too much anxiousness can be detrimental. Here are some tips that may help to control the anxiety and make effective and memorable presentations:

Know the room

Arrive early at the venue and get yourself familiarised with the microphone and the visual aids. Walk around the room to become familiar with its size.

Know the audience

Greet some, if not all of the audience as they arrive. Remember it’s much easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.

Know your material

If you’re not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it if necessary.

Try to relax

Ease your tension by doing some short relaxation exercises.

Visualize yourself giving your speech

Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and assured. When you visualise yourself as successful, you will be successful.

Realize that people want you to succeed

Your audience wants you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. Remember they are there to listen to you, and wouldn’t want you to fail.

Don’t apologize

If you mention your nervousness or apologise for any problems you think you have with your speech, you may be calling the audience’s attention to something they have not noticed. The best approach is to be silent about it.

Concentrate on the message –– not the medium

Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and towards your message and your audience. Your nervousness will dissipate.

Turn nervousness into positive energy

Harness your nervous energy and transform it into vitality and enthusiasm.

Jinnah ka Pakistan!

Santa comes not just to the Christian world but has been a regular visitor of Pakistan as well, thanks to globalization, he finds us on his map. Ironically though, Santa hijacks our own little parties, EID and the birthday anniversary of Pakistan's founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. EID luckily finished before xmas started but poor Mr. Jinnah, he had to share his viewership today with Santa Clause. Even though, I like the concept of xmas and all, I really don’t fancy it because with all due respect to Christians, we Muslims don’t believe that Jesus (PBUH) at anything to do with this date. Anyways, what bothers me more is that Jinnah Sahib who usually gets only a day a year to evangelize his "interpreted" messages to the third and fourth generations of young and nascent but confused and bemused Pakistanis because as much as some made Jinnah a local superman, many still believe of deep undercover conspiracy theories surrounding his persona. Regardless of any of his backdoor life, what adds dimensionality to this chapter of Pakistani life was his agenda for Muslims and for Pakistan. A British educated person as he was, he underwent a Shakespearian tragedy and joined the ride. He died, and we, very recently....Jinnah"s reference starts from this first official Pakistani speech (please reconfirm):
In the words of Stanley Wolpert, "Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three." Stanley Wolpert Jinnah of Pakistan."
Really? Give me a break, what a lost affair is Pakistan on the map these days. I don’t have to reiterate the bad patches u and I normally hear about this place, how could it be a 'nation' state? Well elders with distant relations always talked about how he designed an "Islamic State" where Shariah will be practiced, while some elders degrade him by tagging him a British agent of divide and conquer the Indians, while still some elders talk about Jinnah as the savior of Muslims (not Islam) from the caste dominant Hindu population of India eyeing to revenge the Muslims after the British would leave eventually for the long and mostly useless rule of the Mughals. So here we have it, three Mr. Jinnahs and maybe more, sidelined to one lousy day which Santa steals (to give) to our less than 3 percent population but very worthy population, no doubt, but the point remains...Why just one day of debating the vision of Pakistan.
With all the diversity of opinions one could imagine, I am sure not many if not none lead up to the mess we have today in a country it never envisioned itself to be. My brother who is in high school still believes that Mr. Jinnah was a noble man, too pious, too righteous, that no Pakistani can repeat his achievements. Of course that’s not true, and he wasn’t a Massiah either lightening the torch of an Islamic Renaissance. No way, as Hamid Mir says, he was only a Muslim, not a Shiya, not a Sunni; he couldn't lock in to the demands and emotions of the masses that were always critical of sects and creeds. Though he always had a problem in truly connecting with the locals who were foreign people to him, he did give them their required agenda and implemented it with huge success. A leader in the sense that he took his movement by storm and made the impossible into inevitable. Yet after 60 odd years when we have a totally different state organism, people and even culture, the achievements of Mr. Jinnah had been unmatched. It would be cliché to say how ungrateful we have been or that if Jinnah was here today, how ashamed we would have felt but I guess its more embarrassing not to have a clear idea of who he was. For instance, on LK Advani's (Foreign Minister of India) recent visit to Pakistan, he acknowledges Jinnah as a secular (not anti-religious) on which he had to face public pressure and a crisis, strangely from a country boasting about it being secular herself. Anyways, the two nation theory which was the start of his political activism which some credit (or blame) to Allama Iqbal's influence on him, was all but secular. Further one, his idea of a secular state was still confined in an Islamic State. You can be secular in Jinnah's Pakistan as long as you are governing the constitution according to the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. We have seen neither a secular state, nor an Islamic State nor a hybrid like Jinnah's recommendation. Anyone of them is welcome at this dire state, as long as we believe in an evolutionary democracy rather than shortcut military interventions. When I think of Mr. Jinnah and his history, his change in attitude over the years, he appears to be a strictly secular in the beginning and later a theocratic towards Islam which is secular to non-Muslims and in fact provides ways to ensure their proper representation and rights. However, his late hour speeches, when taken out of context, represent only a secular view point, but as i said only out of the context. However, a lot of people won't agree that the context was a presupposition that the constitution will be built upon Islamic Laws to start off with. For such people, I ask, if Jinnah was a secularist and that he fought for the rights of Muslims rather than Islam, then why not fight for the rights within the state (India) and why demand separation? And when certain provinces in Pakistan are demanding separation, they are labeled rebels by the same secularists. Was then Jinnah a rebel too? Interestingly, people who defy these separatists groups within Pakistani mediocre provinces always claim of foreign mischief. Same must be case of those claiming Jinnah to be a British agent dividing the land...Regardless of what he said, what he actually did, and regardless of all his critics and all his fans, he was just a human being, unlike the over patronized character we hear of in text books and unlike the spy type which some people accuse him of. And when he was just a human being, he can be inspired and learnt from. Pakistani struggle is a relay race, Jinnah did the first phase, ZA Bhutto 'attempted' the second phase but nothing till now. The troche has to continue forward and we have to realize that our struggles are not the struggles of Jinnah's Pakistan but a new colonial fight back. There are military dictators who take over, change constitutions to their favors, carry out extra judicial crimes, involve in looting and dacoiting the national assets, build their own social networks, deprives the nation of their rights, there are those bureaucrats who help them achieve all this, there are those politicians who justify them. All these various corruption networks prevail in our society and as time after time, I see various programs where youth is encouraged to spring up and failed, I believe it is time to create a civil society network, who even if don’t agree with what Jinnah' vision was, are aware of the vision of Pakistan to be pursued today, starting with all those fundamental benefits which recently Mr. Jinnah highlighted. A network which can sweep through sectors, departments, cities and overcome local resistances, I don’t think Pakistan deserves to be on the map anymore. After all, what is Pakistan if not about its People, that was one vision of Jinnah we all agree with.....!