I know public speaking can be scary for a lot of people, but to me, it is surprisingly not so bad as I have heard. Here is how it all began..
My public speaking skills started back in high school. I was part of a peer leadership program in my senior year of high school. The peer leadership program not only helped me develop leadership skills, but it helped me develop my public speaking skills too. Every time that it was a day to perform infront of the class, I always would raise my hand first, since I knew getting it done would make me feel better. When I stood infront of the class, I would take a deep breath before I began to perform. As soon as I began to share my speech, I would look at a wall towards the center audience but towards the back people, that way I can imagine I am performing in my bedroom. Then, for the rest of my speaking performance, I was able to imagine I am speaking in my bedroom, without realizing I am using eye contact towards the audience. I was able to incorporate hand gestures when necessary, and demonstrated good posture when speaking as well. My trick for public speaking was finding something I know that reminds me of my practice space, that way I can perform like a professional, public speaker.
This technique I used in the peer leadership program helped me a lot when it came to the day I was performing my first ever keynote speech, which was for a student-leadership conference called, “Dare to Dream”. I learned that my high school had their own group of student leaders with disabilities, and I was chosen to join the team. Through this team, I was chosen to represent my high school to share my life story at the Dare to Dream conference. For this conference, I spoke in front of an audience of over 500 people, including my family. My speech was about living with Autism, from beginning to present. I shared my obstacles of when I was younger to that present time, which included about my decision to attend college. A few weeks later from the conference day, I was featured on my high school’s website about my keynote speech. I was 18 years old when I spoke at that conference. Ever since that conference, I have been performing motivational, keynote speeches.
In my college years, I was getting contacted to speak for more places. For example, about a year after my “Dare to Dream” student-leadership conference that I performed a keynote speech for, I was contacted by a lady name Karen, who is in charge of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), to perform a keynote speech for their two-day conference. I was 19 years old by then when I spoke for the two-day conference. I got to perform the first day in Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the second day in St. Matthews Church. After performing for the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), I was already contacted to speak for a couple of Special Education Parent Advisory Groups, which were for in Old Bridge and Marlboro. I even got to perform at my college! I spoke for my college’s Public Speaking class and the Governance group. With each speech, I always updated about what I have been up to in that present time.
As you can tell, I’ve been fortunate to been sharing about living with Autism throughout the state of NJ. If you would like for me to share at your conference, Special Education organization, or Special Education group, please contact me through my page, “Exceptional Shell”. My account is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may contact me through my email as well: firstname.lastname@example.org