Philosophy Stories

The Intricacies of Public Speaking

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful; but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

My watch read 8:00 P.M. The night sky was barren and dark. I was sitting on the top of my bed and staring at the wooden floor, motionless. As I sat there, waves of anxiety and stress began to overwhelm me. I began pacing around my room and started panting. I needed air, so I went to the balcony of my house and gazed into the crescent of the moon. The crickets were singing to the moon and the night owls were matching their notes. Suddenly, a subtle rain began to drizzle on the porch. The water was not cold, but soft and rather pure. The peaceful atmosphere began to calm me. I lied back down in bed and stared at the ceiling. That night I could not sleep because I knew that, in about fourteen hours, I had to deliver a speech on abortion and homosexuality in front of 500 people.

At 10:00 A.M. the next morning, I stood at the podium overlooking a sea of people. The audience was full of people from young undergraduates to old grandmas taking their fifth nap of the day. As people started to take their seats, I looked down at the speech that laid before me. It was a five page speech that took about one hour to say out loud. Considering the political divide in the country, it was dangerous to speak on such controversial topics. I knew I would be ridiculed and judged harshly for my beliefs. This added to my already growing stress and anxiety. Finally, the last seats filled up and it was time for me to speak.

With a month’s preparation, I knew every word and nuance behind my speech. I spoke with confidence and determination. The crowd exclaimed mixed emotions from surprised gasps to passionate cheers. My adrenaline and heart beat rose as I reached the end of my speech. My limbs went numb as I exclaimed the climax of my speech. When I finished, there was silence. For half a minute, nobody said anything or made a sound. I moved to leave the stage when clapping erupted from the audience. A huge smile plastered my face as I did an awkward bow.

When the clapping stopped, I walked into the crowd. I was approached by an old yet vibrant woman. She said the contentions that I brought up in my speech allowed her to look at the issue from a different perspective. She complimented my tenacity and hopes she can hear me speak again. I thanked her for listening and moved on. About four months later, I publicly spoke about the ultimate purpose of man in front of a crowd of a hundred people. I then received a message from a young man a few days after the speech stating how I inspired him to see life in a different light. These two occasions made me feel unfathomable feelings of pride and joy.


When I was five years old, president-elect Obama gave a speech on his election night. Although I did not understand the premise of his speech, I still found his speech incredibly captivating. As I grew older, I began to decipher every single word behind his speech. I found out the speech’s purpose was to incite a sense of hope and unification within the American people. It made me realize the extreme power behind bold words and the importance of delivering those words.

Later, in fifth grade, I listened to Winston Churchill’s speech titled, “We shall fight on the Beaches.” Former British prime minister Churchill’s words on standing strong and never giving up gave me an incentive to run for class president. Although my audience was only composed of my thirty classmates and my fifth grade teacher, I was still nervous when I gave my speech. I barely won the election. Winning the election inspired the dream of becoming a lawyer. I later joined the speech and debate team in ninth grade to have intellectual discussions and public speaking. I have spoken over half a dozen speeches publicly and I still get nervous right before I speak.  

Public speaking is something I pursue every day because I want to spread my ideas and make people feel an emotion that cannot explain. Public speaking does that for me. I want to incite change. Public speaking does that for me. I want to be the beacon of light and truth that is seen rarely in today’s mainstream media. Public speaking does that for me. Words are momentously powerful and I want to use them to benefit society. Public speaking does that for me. But most importantly, public speaking gives a generic Asian boy from a suburban city a voice. A voice that could be projected and heard by hundreds of people of all backgrounds. I believe that in itself is the true beauty of public speaking.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful; but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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