Column UINSA


By Nur Luthfi Hidayatullah
Lecturer of International Relations, UIN Sunan Ampel Surabaya


During their studies, university students could use their spare time to obtain several skills to prepare for their professional career. One of those important skills is public speaking. By practicing public speaking regularly, students have the ability to convey their ideas clearly to their peers. This will enable students to stand out in academic activities such as class presentations and student forums, as well as extracurricular speech competitions. Even so, mastering public speaking require intensive practice, which starts from the student’s personal commitment and hard work.

Initially, learning public speaking starts with sincerity. If you are committed to learn public speaking as new skill, then you need to search for available resources to do so. Join public speaking clubs in campus, or else start your own public speaking club with your friends. Set a schedule to practice regularly. Begin by discussing simple topics in a well-structured manner. For beginners, public speaking practice could be held through fun activities such as: Ice breaking games to get to know your peers; Reading out a paragraph from an article to practice correct pronunciation; Picking random words and talk about them to make a story; and performing role plays to practice dialogues of the characters.

Next, be consistent in hard work. Intensive practices require patience to fight mental blocks. At first, you may find it difficult to speak for three minutes, but with support from your friends, hopefully you can conquer your fear of speaking. Pay attention to the 3 ‘M’s while delivering a speech: Matter – selecting an interesting topic to stimulate discussion; Manner – mind your eye contact and gestures while speaking; and Method – concise, structured and easy to understand speech. Try delivering a speech in public areas such as parks or campus yards to remove mental blocks. Ask some friends to listen to your speech and be excited to share fresh ideas with others.

Afterwards, level up by participating in public speaking events. There are several available events which could put your public speaking skills to the test, such as debate, speech, and news reading competitions. When you become more experienced in public speaking, participate in events which would require you to write your speech in a written form, hence your academic writing skills would also improve. For example, by participating in focus group discussions, and international forum simulations. Such events would earn you more certificates, and enhance your networking by getting to know other participants from various institutions.

Finally, use your public speaking skills to boost your professional career. Public speaking could be implemented in various work fields, whether you choose to become a professional speaker, academic, or businessman. Whichever career path you choose to take, make sure to use your public speaking skills to assist the society.

If you choose to become a professional speaker, you need to be able to convey a well-structured set of ideas to the audience. A public speaker is expected to inform, persuade, or congratulate the audience in a manner suitable to the particular occasion being held. By mastering the skills of public speaking, professional and popular speakers could also create digital contents which bring benefit to the viewers, with efficient time management in discussing important issues on each content.

On the other hand, if you choose to become an academic, you could explain to your students about different kinds of public speeches. For instance, Informative Speech intends to deliver information and sometimes complex ideas to be understood by the listeners easily. Secondly, Persuasive Speech aims at motivating the audience to agree or act upon the set of arguments elaborated by the speaker. Thirdly, Ceremonial Speech congratulate or share advice to distinguished individuals in special occasions.

Otherwise, if you choose to become a businessman, you could promote your start-up products and services through mobile applications downloaded by customers, which require an effective short speech. Mastering public speaking would also help prepare for business presentations and job interviews, office meetings, and business collaboration deals. Whereas, the ability to communicate in groups practice our skills in focus group discussions or speaking on behalf of our team in the working place.

Last but not least, use your public speaking skills wisely, and do not speak unless it’s better than your silence. Before delivering a public speech, a speaker needs to behave in an excellent manner, understand the audience’s background and prepare a script written based on credible data resources. Nevertheless, besides form being an excellent public speaker, don’t forget to become an excellent listener to other people as well.