Saumya collaborated with LITKIDS for our masterclass series featuring on our youtube channel. In her masterclass, she talks about her journey from being a shy girl to making a living out of talking!
Do you want to get over your stage fright? Are you looking for tips and tricks to be a powerful public speaker?
India’s popular television actor and host – Saumya Tandon shares her experience and various techniques one can use to overcome stage fear and excel in public speaking with LITKIDS.
Saumya Tandon is an Indian television and film actress, host. She is well known for playing the lead role of Anita Mishra in the comedy series Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai! on &TV. She is also known for hosting shows like Dance India Dance, Bournvita Quiz Contest, Entertainment Ki Raat on Colors TV etc and has featured in shows like Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma, Comedy Circus and more.
About LITKIDS –
LITKIDS – brings together a community of kids who are talented, and offers content to develop their skills and creativity by learning from the best. It is an ultimate destination for kids to explore the world of literature, culture, art & music alongside celebrating their own creative expression through fun and challenging competitions.
In this article, you will read about effective techniques based on her professional experience to get over stage fright and be an effective public speaker. You can also watch her masterclass to learn everything about how to get over anxiety, owning your content, voice modulation, projection, pronunciation, punctuation, diction, emotion, humor, body language and expression.
When Saumya was in her first class, she decided to participate in fancy dress competition and her parents were thrilled because this was her first time on stage ever.
It was a jam-packed audience parents, teachers, students and Saumya’s name was announced on the stage. Her name was announced a second time, then it was announced third time. She didn’t come on stage,and her mother in the audience was so embarrassed that she ran backstage & Saumya got the worst scolding of her life. Her mom pushed her up on the stage.
When Saumya finally went up on the stage and she started crying, “ I am not Mother Mary I’m Saumya Tandon” and the entire audience burst out laughing. Saumya was a laughing stock that day. It was extremely humiliating and embarrassing for her. For years everybody in her school who saw her, imitated that teary face and said ‘”oh she’s not not Mary she is Saumya Tandon!!”
Till one day when Saumya was in her 5th class, she went back home and told her parents, “I don’t want to be that crying girl on stage, I want to change that about myself” Her parents told her that she can do it if she has it in her heart, she should just begin!
And from that day onwards, there was not a single competition in which Saumya did not participate. Whether it was poetry recitation, elocution, debate, extempore. She participated and was always amongst first three winners. There was not a single annual function of Saumya’s school which she did not host. She was the first one to get up and give the speech on 15th of August and 26th of January. Today, Saumya has hosted around 14 shows, acted in films and television and is making a living out of talking and performing.
Well, the moral of the story is that if a shy and introvert girl like Saumya can make a living out of it, anyone can!
Since we are talking about performing on the stage, let’s begin by talking about stage fright which is an extremely common problem.
DEALING WITH STAGE FRIGHT
We all experience nervousness and anxiety. It can also happen that you must have actually blanked out when you had to deliver something. All performers experience anxiety and nervous energy. It’s important to convert that nervous energy and anxiousness into something positive.
When we experience stage fright, there is a complete loss of control on your mind. Our mind starts wandering and it focuses on everything negative. We start imagining all negative scenarios in our mind. ‘What will happen if this thing happens to me?’, ‘What will happen if I fail?’, ‘Oh my God look at that person, he’s prepared so well I’m not that well prepared!!’, ‘and What if I make a fool of myself?’ You also lose control on your body – like drying of lips dry, shoulders getting tensed, slouching, losing control on that firm, prim and proper self.
It’s important to control your mind in such situations. This is possible small meditation exercises so that you don’t lose focus of your mind from the positive to the negative.
You can do 2 minutes to 5 minutes of deep inhalations and exhalations and calm your mind down the other. Another technique is to clench your fists, take your shoulders up hold it for five counts and release it. By doing this you’re kind of getting some blood circulation around the areas which you have made stiff because you are so tensed and you are making your mind aware that you are losing control of your body and that you are getting control of your body back and again you are trying and manipulating your mind to shift the focus from negative to positive. Click here learn simple exercises to improve concentration.
Once you have a control over your mind, it’s important to work on your public speaking skills. This will not only take care of a lot of stage fright, but also boost your confidence while you perform on stage. Here are a few steps that can help you get ready to own the stage.
PREPARE YOUR MATERIAL – Understand It, Internalize It, Memorize It
Preparing your material means that whatever is your material for example if it’s a speech that you have to give or if it’s a poem that you have to recite you have to understand it – you have to understand the meaning of it.
If it’s self-written then it’s great of course because you already know the meaning of it but if you are reading somebody else’s poetry or poem or a speech then you have to understand what it exactly means.
You have to really internalize it before memorizing it, which means you have to really truly understand what the meaning of that piece. It’s only then you can deliver it in such a way that it is believable to the person who’s listening to you. The person who’s hearing you should feel as if you are saying it with so much belief that he starts or she starts believing IN YOU.
Once you have memorized and understood your script it’s very important to ensure that the pronunciations are correct.
Saumya shared a story with LITKIDS, where she lost one of her auditions for reading news because she did not get the pronunciation of a word correctly. The word was ‘rapprochement’ and it was written differently and pronounced very differently.
If you have a word which you are not sure of you can go on Google. It’s very simple nowadays, you can actually listen to the pronunciation or if you are you know like an old-world person and if you have dictionaries in your library open up the dictionary and check for the pronunciation.
It’s important to remember that a full-stop means a long pause, a comma means a short pause, a sentence with a question mark has to be said in a way that it looks like you are asking a question and if there is an exclamation mark, it’s an expression which should come across when you are speaking or talking.
It’s important to be audible, which means your voice should have a projection. The voice should actually come from the stomach it and there should be a throw in the voice to be audible and clearly understood by everybody in the audience.
You can learn more about various voice modulation techniques from voice-over artist and actor Manini De. Click here to watch.
ADD SOME STYLE
How do you add style to your speech?
One might be a humorous person or a naturally witty. One might like jokes or one might like being a little bit emotional and would prefer using touching stories. These are the two routes usually. To understand and learn better, you can watch and follow best orators around the world.
Everyone should definitely watch and listen to lovely speeches by Oprah Winfrey, one of the best speakers that we have. She uses emotions and her personal stories to make the other people feel comfortable and share their story.
This speech by Oprah Winfrey where she’s addressing Harvard University students is one of the best speeches on internet. In her speech, she strongly makes you believe in every single word that she says. Click here to watch.
Another very you know good orator, speaker or a comedian is Trevor Noah. He uses humor very beautifully. In fact even when he tells something very serious, like if he is talking about his mother’s demise but he talks about it in a very humorous field. Click here to watch.
So people have different ways of communicating things – you can make it humorous, you can also make it emotional, that’s your style!
Humor really works when you know you are tensed about something and you just blow up on stage or when you start with something very casual like a small little joke or some anecdote, it just kind of lightens up the atmosphere in the audience. Even if you want to use something emotional like start with a personal story, it connects you with the audience.
Hence, remember that so whenever you are on stage and already have a piece which you have prepared, try to also add a style element by maybe adding a joke or maybe adding something from your own life it is touching or emotional, that’s the best way to decorate your material.
There’s more to being well dressed than just looking good – it can have a positive impact on your state of mind, as well. Wear something crisp and smart & feel good about yourself on your performance day.
Please note and there is no alternative to rehearsing and practicing the content or the materials that you want to deliver upon the stage. Always remember, “Practice makes a man perfect!”
Everybody tells you ‘to be successful, do this’ ‘If you want to get good grades, do this’ ‘ If you want to top your class, do this’ but to make mistakes is an extremely important part of life because you learn from failures more than you learn from successes.
Had Saumya not been that girl who was a laughing stock up on the stage, she wouldn’t have been here where she is right now! Had she not blanked out on that stage, she wouldn’t have worked harder to be where she is today.
‘True magnanimity lies not in never falling but rising every time you fall’
Don’t know what magnanimity is? Let’s find out the meaning and see if the pronunciation is correct! This would be a good way to get started!
Here’s a very small exercise for all the young readers.
Pick up any material that you would like to rehearse and you know deliver up on stage hypothetically You can actually pick up any speech world famous speech that speech can be by Martin Luther King, can be by Nelson Mandela, can be by Abraham Lincoln they have been great orators in fact you can pick up Jawaharlal Nehru’s speech. You can also pick up any poem if you like. Some of the best poets are Wordsworth, Longfellow or Keats or any other poet if you like pick up that piece.
Keep a note of the following steps which will help you be a great public speaker:
You have to –
Prepare your material – Understand it, Internalize it, Memorize it
Check the pronunciation and punctuation
Follow these techniques get over stage fright and mastering public speaking. Record your videos and share with us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Tune in to LITKIDS YouTube channel for fun contests that can provide you with a platform to hone your public speaking skills.
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