In 1994, I discovered that I had a gift in public speaking after participating in a debate competition at school.
I was in senior five then as a 17-year-old
See whether I could make it as a district child representative to the Children’s Constituent Assembly (CA) debate that would ultimately lead to the 1995 constitution of Uganda.
There were two slots for each district – a boy and a girl
Luckily, I made it for the boy’s slot to represent Mbarara District. The girl happened to be Faith Kabagenyi.
Off we came to Kampala to deliberate on what we believed should be enshrined in the 1995 constitution as per children’s rights
This experience elevated my social standing and exploded my self-confidence
This was a transformational experience for me especially given that I was from a very humble background with low confidence.
From then on, I decided to learn as much as possible about the art of public speaking.
My goal was to turn my gift into a strength by working on it and I have never stopped since then.
So, what has public speaking done for me?
(Caveat: before I go any further, I Am very thankful to God for the gift and also the doors that have been opened along the way because the creator is always the Master architect…I Am an actor within the greater master plan)
Back to what the art of public speaking has enabled me to achieve…
It was my first trip to Kampala (the capital city of Uganda). It was a big deal for me then
It ushered me to a higher plane – to discuss national issues at a tender age of 17 in 1994.
Leadership in high school and at a district level followed
After joining Makerere University in 1996 and keeping myself very visible due to new found confidence in public speaking, I was recommended to represented Uganda at the commonwealth youth forum in 1997.
I graduated from representing a district to representing a nation within a space of 3 years.
I even met Prince Charles then (now King) who came and sat on our table Number 17 in Edinburgh, Scotland during the event.
In 1999, I won the first ever public speaking contest at Makerere University.
The prize money was 100,000 UGX. Most crucially was the increased self-belief.
During the same contest, I met Anne Lydia Ssekandi who was working with Radio One then. She recommended me for my first
Job after university which I got.
During the same period at University, I caught the attention of Julius Mucunguzi. Again partly because of my public speaking prowess. He recommended me for a fellowship at Family Research Council in Washington DC, USA in 2000 (shortly after my graduation)
While in the US, I applied for an internship at the Leadership Institute in Arlington Virginia which I won.
I impressed and at the closure of that internship, I was recommended by the founder of the same institute to be considered for an internship slot at World Youth Alliance in New York.
I got it and most of my time was spent at the UN in 2001 deliberating on issues related to youth.
When I returned to Uganda in 2002, I got a Job at the leadership institute in Kampala after impressing Tony Lenart (the founder) with my presentation skills. This created a platform for me to finally feel confident enough to be self-employed as a coach/speaker/trainer in 2003.
My big breakthrough came in 2004…
There was an opportunity to be considered for a role as a British Council Training consultant (part of the interview was to deliver a 10 minutes presentation)…this gave me an edge since I was competing with people who were much older and more experienced than me.
Mind you, I was 27 years old with an opportunity to facilitate sessions across the African continent.
I got the role and retained it for over 10 years. This catapulted my profile to international levels. I have travelled to 25 countries under the ticket of speaking/training/facilitating. I have impacted millions of lives through speaking and mainly through media slots on TV, radio and other multimedia platforms.
Brand visibility has followed suit I have generated and retained business through speaking.
Legacy wise, my daughters see me speaking and therefore psychologically, they know it’s possible for them to do the same. Why am I saying this?
My father used to be an LC1 chairperson and used to take me along in meetings and used to see him speaking. I believe this unconsciously influenced me to consider speaking in public as normal and not a challenge. This is priceless if you have children. If you are hiding from the stage, there is a big chance your children will hide. The reverse is true.
I Am sharing this story to motivate and inspire you to work on this skill That’s why I even wrote a book on the same subject (Public Speaking Secrets Exposed). Your effectiveness as a speaker is 20-30% gift and 70-80% is training and practice.
I Am highlighting this to make sure that you do not use the excuse of not being gifted in public speaking. It’s more about nurturing than nature. It’s a skill anyone can learn if you get the right training and effort.
One of the quickest ways to do this is to find a coach or trainer to help you develop this skill. Find someone you resonate with and TRUST in their skill sets to help you.
If you want me to be your public speaking coach (which I have done for 20 years now), you can send in your application below…
I have boiled it down to a step-by-step system that anyone can improve their effectiveness by 50% or more in 5 weeks or less. Either way, I hope this inspires you to prioritize this skill because I have never found anyone who didn’t benefit from great public speaking skills at a personal, professional or business level.
Kindly Share this story if you believe it might inspire someone to master this valuable skill.