After your departure I concentrated on my Public Speaking career. I was doing it already but I decided to activate all my resources to get to a point where people recommend me when it is someone they need to help out with the speeches. I managed to reach some heights. It has already been 20 years that I have been engaged in public speaking related events, tournaments and projects. I did all the alphabetical stages to reach a point where it feels comfortable when dealing with new challenges. But in this letter, I want to go back to my first time. I will write about a moment which defined me as a speaker.
This moment happened in the 7th grade. Our Turkish language teacher gave us a task to memorize a huge poem by Mehmet Akif Ersoy. (Entire text of the National anthem.) Our class was dedicated to learning this poem. Finally, the teacher picked me and Fidan for the major task. We went hard at it. Every day was rehearsals. My days and nights were allocated for this big moment where hundreds of parents and officials would listen to us reciting the poem.
That big day came. I was coming up the stairs and I felt the poet himself escorting me to the doors of the hall room. There are moments in life when you see only light and hear nothing. I was numb as I stood on the stage. Hundreds of eyes were scanning me. Energy of expectations was so strong that I felt it all over my body.
There was a voice inside of me that gave bad news. “You forgot the poem,” it said. Damn! I forgot the poem! How on earth could this happen. I had only one or two minutes left before people would activate their ears for our recital. I turned blue. In the moment of despair, I looked at Fidan. She was blue as well. I noticed that she was staring at the ceiling. Maybe she also forgot the lines and she hoped to find them out there. I joined her. We both stared at the ceiling. It was way better than seeing all those eyes. The signal was given by our teacher and she opened her mouth. I could hear her lines and it woke me up. My mouth opened as well. As it was doing its job, I was amazed. Have you ever felt someone else sitting inside your body and doing your job for you? This was the feeling for me. It was someone else reciting the poem and my body was rented temporarily.
I closed my mouth after the last line. Silence in the room was tense. Some officials and parents started clapping. It was like a transition from drops of rain to monsoons.
We did it. Poem was recited. Author was happily staring at us from a memorial frame. I could see pride in his eyes.
That day was the day for me. My first ever public appearance and speaking experience. I learned a simple but yet effective lesson that day. Rehearsal is the core of confidence. Even when you think that you are not confident your rehearsal volume will prove you wrong.
And today, as I stand on the multiple stages and talk to thousands, I still remember my 7th grader version. I cherish that day and love how it built me up.
I wish to learn about your first-time story. I am sure you also have a story up your sleeve.
May the two of us share a stage together again.