‘Speaking in front of an audience with confidence’
Posted on February 6, 2024
By Noa Caesar (Year 1, LLB student, School of Law)
On the 20th and 27th November 2023, Year 1 LLB students had the privilege to participate in a transformative two-part workshop about public speaking titled ‘Speaking in front of an audience with confidence’, delivered by Mr. Giorgos Christodoulou.
The first part of the training that took place on the 20th November was centred around learning through interactive discussions and activities. In particular, we engaged in conversations about the importance of body language and what it conveys to others, ground rules that should lead us when speaking in front of an audience, and analysed renowned speeches and speakers, such as the iconic “I have a dream” of Martin Luther King. Together, we identified the tactics and charms that made them exceptional, such as the charisma of the speakers, their open body language, and their repetition of important and meaningful phrases which amplified their speeches.
The highlight of this session was the interactive exercise that took place at the very beginning of the workshop. It featured three students simulating a board of directors which interviews three candidates for a vacancy. Mr. Christodoulou played the parts of all three candidates, demonstrating different approaches to questions asked by the students. Besides being very amusing and keeping us all continually active in the process, the activity clearly illustrated how distinct body languages influences perceptions. The exercise enhanced our understanding of how communication works in a professional setting and offered practical insight on how to handle a variety of questions skilfully. It was a great start for the workshop, as it kept us all alert and interested in what Mr. Christodoulou had to present.
We left the first part of the training eager to go into the second, where we were promised more hands-on activities and a debate in which we would talk about a widely discussed subject.
The second part of the training that took place on the 27th November revolved around transitioning the theory we learnt into practice. It began with three students delivering prepared-in-advance speeches about their passions, applying the strategies we learnt in the first part. This hands-on activity enabled us to practice our newfound skills and fostered an atmosphere of mutual learning; as the three students experimented with applying the learnt techniques, the rest of the students -the audience- experimented with analysing them and providing positive and constructive feedback.
The peak event of the training that we have all been waiting for was the debate. Revolving around a highly controversial subject – the death penalty – we had the opportunity to apply the speech and body language techniques we learnt in a debate setting. We thus engaged in a very spirited debate, listening to the arguments each of us raised, and to the interesting (and quite creative) responses of our friends. Mr. Christodoulou facilitated the discussion, guiding us through how to effectively communicate our views.
Confidently speaking in public enhances the ability to communicate our ideas clearly and persuasively- it ensures our message has an impact and will be remembered by our audience. In the training, the relevance of public speaking to us, law students, was emphasised by Mr. Christodoulou as the challenges we face in academic presentations and mooting assessments were acknowledged. Along with offering useful and practical advice, the training also addressed the common and usual anxiety that come with public speaking, which according to Mr. Christodoulou, “can be overcome through proper preparation.”
A few words on our trainer, Mr. Giorgos Christodoulou: Mr. Christodoulou is the Customer Service manager of Cyta for the district of Larnaca, and he has sustained experience in people management, business excellence, quality organisation and strategic planning. Recently, he achieved an LLB degree from UCLan Cyprus. During the last twenty years he has attended many courses and has been deeply involved in the Personal Development field, exploring concepts like creativity, mind mapping, body language, and coaching. Drawing from his extensive experience, Mr. Christodoulou led us through a dynamic exploration of public speaking techniques. Undoubtedly, his extensive experience played a key role in making the training as impactful as it was.
The training debunked the myth that public speaking is an innate talent- and emphasised that it can be gained through practice. We found out that even the greatest speakers initially struggled with anxiety and speaking difficulties- notably Aristotle, who is widely regarded as the father of public speaking. This discovery reshaped our perspective, leading us to reconsider our capabilities when it comes to the skill of public speaking.
Overall, the workshop not only provided us with valuable skills but also gave us the confidence to overcome our fear of speaking in front of an audience. Through interactive learning and active exercises, Mr. Christodoulou’s training left a profound effect on us and our ability to communicate persuasively and confidently.