ITMO Talks: A Review of the Event

There is a saying of Carl W. Buechner that "They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

Public speaking is really an art when you dive into this, you feel it very closely. In this journey, you will meet a lot of your friends like anxiety, fear, posture, voice tone, eye contact, your ideas and so on. You need to say goodbye to some of them and improve yourself because with some of these things you can not be a good speaker. ITMO.Talks organized a very good event to show and make the best speaker (s) from the students of the university. In this article, we will show you our experience as participants and also the winners of this event.

There were four workshops with different professional experts of Public Speaking expertise. On the first day, the workshop was at the Kronversky campus building with Johanna Campbell. She was really talented and has vast experience in this field. This first workshop was about the content of the speech. All the participants were divided into pairs and practiced together. All the exercises were really hard on the first day, but going forward, these have been very useful for us. On the second day with Johanna also, we started to practice body posture, eye contact, body language, how to stand, open body or close body, voice tone, how to start the speech, breathing exercises and so on. All the exercises were really productive as we feel on the final day. The third workshop at Lomonosova was with Julia Romanenko about TED Talks and anxiety. She was so intelligent and an expert in the TED talk pattern. This workshop covered the theoretical part of public speaking, and also at the end of this workshop, we watched a TED talk video and analyzed it. After that, we were given three days to draft the speech. There was a fourth workshop with Joseph Taylor about how to make a speech captivating. He was also an expert on how to start a speech and how to engage your audience. There was a very interesting part of this workshop, the Professor asked how to sell your biography? Represent yourself with an object? He gave an example of a turtle. He said that I will represent myself with a turtle, that a turtle is walking slow but it’s walking and walking but not stopping. The participants' reply was a lion, spider, squirrel, etc. On the very next day that was a rehearsal with Daria Koval, she was the organizer of this whole event. Here, it’s necessary to say that she and her entire team was full of potential, cooperative and also passionate. On the rehearsal day, we all practiced our speech 2 to 3 times and all the participants were helpful and guided each other. There were six participants and all participants really tried to support each other, to highlight each other's mistakes and motivate to improve and overcome them.

On the February 28, the day of the event. The arrangement of that day was like; first, a participant does his/her speech and after that 10 minutes will be given to the audience to discuss his/her speech, and after that, another participant will come and then the same pattern will last till the last participant. The audience was also quite interesting, they listened to every speech very carefully, and also discussed it seriously. There were two types of winners, one by the Jury’s decision and the other one by the audience voting. The Jury was about 5 people, all were highly qualified professors and some of them were heads of some departments.

In conclusion, all the speeches were very interesting, beneficial, and informative. If we compare ourselves from the first day of the workshop and on the final day of the speech, we feel we learned a lot of new things, and we improve ourselves from scratch to advance level.

Shahzad: What is your overall crux about this event?

Zoya: For me ITMO.Talks was a chance to put myself out there. I’ve always wanted to give public speeches, to share my thoughts with the audience and to feel that they are actually listening to me. I talked about motivation and I was highly motivated to take part in this event. It was scary, I couldn’t feel my feet afterwards, even though everybody told me that I sounded confident and even made people laugh. When we look at some public speakers, we may wonder, he’s/she's probably always been that confident and powerful. But who knows, maybe he/she also can’t feel their feet afterwards. It’s always about practice. It’s really scary to do something you’ve never done before. But it’s worth it. And ITMO often helps with it.

We hope that you enjoyed our article, and it will be helpful for you to participate in ITMO.Talks next competition, and it will also help you be supportive to improve your public speaking skills too.

Written by Zoya Belova and Shahzad Ahmed

Master's student