Saying my name ebulliently whenever there was an introduction upon meeting people, when asked, sounded as if there was some kind of prestige attached to it. There is perceived pride, long life, and embedded honour in my name and I had supposedly looked like I belonged to some fraternity of men, by greatness, who already had answered the famous riddle, what am I?
Well, that question still seems to be a little bit of mystery, but I am Hamid Afolabi Sowemimo, an inconclusive graduate of the prestigious University of Ibadan. Hamid’s convocation lifespan has been prolonged by the death agent, coronavirus, and the unwanted annual guest in our ailing educational system, ASUU.
The habit of saying my name with such ebullience, which always came in newer introductions, didn’t inherently start with me at all. It originated from the Lord Tedder Hall Literary and Debating Society’s recruitment that I experienced in my first year. My presence in the recruitment wasn’t of true intention of seeking the public speaking tool or passion to become the likes of the revered Martin Luther King.
One of the panelists happened to be one of the most decorated public speakers in the University Of Ibadan, whose name I hold so discreetly in this ongoing treatise. The first question after my fidgety impromptu presentation, by the order of the house, was a simple introductory section before an overview or criticism of my presentation. Saying my name half through, I was interrupted with a question, the one I will forever remember. I was asked if I knew my name, and even if I knew it, I was told I didn’t sound like it.
Dear reader or aspiring public speaker, my little narration above may look like a super story or a boring soap opera. I may sound to you like an aimless writer who veers of out of sheer lack of understanding of the topic. However, they all are linked to how I kick-started my public speaking venture in U I and how I built passion for it. My passion grew as a result of the deep seated aversion I had brewed towards my fidgeting and lack of confidence for public speaking. This consequently made me less oblivious of the need of stepping my public speaking game and to exit the shackles of my confines.
Public speaking is that tool everyone needs to be assertive with his opinions to friends and acquaintances about dystopian trends or pitching worthy ideas to investors or persuading strangers intelligently. All these are subjected to the spontaneity and coherency of one person, or else attention won’t be commanded, leaving the person to become too ordinary. Afterall no one appreciates a cliche character, do they? My further experiences with classmates when interpreting what we have learnt, with lecturers when questions were brought up or with friends and colleagues whenever impromptu presentations and dystopian issues arise made me realize that I had no option but to work on my communication effectively. This gave me more warning bells that I needed participation and training, with the examination of competition, to gauge every improvement I had made.
Sincerely, I have improved a lot than my former nervous and fidgety self except that I still haven’t left the “God-when association” since U I public speakers attract many admirer and I am still an exception to that. I believe by journeying in this treatise with me, you already know the importance of public speaking. To tell you how I have learnt from public speaking in University of Ibadan is to describe the spawn of my interest in the journey. Clearly, we have taken cognizance of the importance of the law of attraction that “a man also attracts friends by what he does.”
I have greatly enjoyed the benefit of meeting circle of friends whom are not only public speakers but are also proteans in other things they do. I understand you might not comprehend what I have just written; what I am trying to say is that the friends I have met in the Literary and Debating Society are ingeniously special in other talents they posses. By this, you might think I am trying to usher in some elitism in your understanding, rather, I am just innocently trying to share my opinions of the public speaking community I have known.
There are creatives in the debating society; I have seen creatives thinkers who have channeled their debating skills into creating solutions to problems of their society. They have excelled in other areas stemming from societies (like the British Parliamentary Debates Club), leadership, organization of events (the Jaw War and other public speaking event in the society) and, by absolute truth, great writers with an exceptional ability to analyze issues logically.
Friendship with these set of esteemed people from the literary society can not be compromised as they not only benefit one well, they also could be partners in future in achieving goals together. Perhaps you might want me to list the names of the friends I have attracted and made. It will be a long unending list. I know surely that most members of the Society are one way or the other celebrated and famously known, since the University of Ibadan community appreciates and values public speaking cultures.
You might still want to know what I have learnt from public speaking or my exploits which should have had some sense of authority through legendary travails. I will rather not tell you in the cliche-viewed manner which will always come in the “motifashonal” aspect. I would not want to bore you with the common consciousness, consistency, focus and resilience all of which I believe you already know and appreciate their importance. Just like how we are being taught in public speaking, our angle and style in speeches should be different and stand out.
My story is simply the benefit of my interest in public speaking of which I had explored above. The things I do had successfully attracted like minds in the debating societies I was involved in; writing, leadership and organizing are all what I have acquired.