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A Champion’s Journey into Public Speaking


Sadiksha Thapa, 25, is a final year student of MBA at Kathmandu University School of Management(KUSOM). She was declared the winner of the National Speaking Championship 2016, organized by Empowerment Academy.

Glocal Khabar caught up with the lady to know about her journey into the competition and more. Excerpts:

Glocal Khabar: How did you come to be part of this championship?

Sadiksha Thapa: The promotions done on Facebook and various other platforms helped me be aware that there is a contest like this happening. And after months of deliberations whether this is a platform for me or not, I decided to give it a shot and more than anything, hone my skills in public speaking which for me is more like public connecting.

I definitely want to thank the organizers, and the effort from the organizing team. Their real time reply to all my queries was definitely a great motivator while applying for the competition.

How was your debut into the journey of public speaking? Did you also participate in similar speaking competitions prior to this? How were you able to develop your public speaking skills, considered as the most difficult ones?

As a shy small kid growing up in a big school (St. Mary’s) with hugely talented people around, I was always intimated to be a speaker. But, one of the public speaking gigs I still remember during my school was 50th anniversary special prayer service where we chose a theme and spoke in front of the whole school. I still vividly remember that moment. I gave a speech about “courage” for 2 mins, but that was special because I had “courageously” insisted on letting me be a speaker.

My professional journey in public speaking is exactly 5 years old since I joined my college, KUSOM where public speaking was part of our holistic curriculum. I then joined Himalaya Toastmasters Club shortly, and this has helped me understand myself as a speaker. The competitions I took part in during my Toastmasters journey has been a great help as well. But, I must acknowledge, the mind is always a new slate when a new competition or public speaking opportunity comes in.

This championship was of totally new kind compared to other competitions being held in our schools and colleges regularly. It was more like performing than speaking, and telling your personal stories, and presenting on a topic on the basis of your personal experiences. How difficult was it for you to open your own secrets, and share it with the crowd?

Yes, it was a unique platform mostly because of the well-thought out pattern of diverse themes and also because of the intensity in each round. The workshops, two speech performances every day to make it to the finals, and the healthy yet intense competition from awesome speakers who were unique in their own ways was definitely grueling.

Regarding sharing personal stories, since I am a reserved person, I am hardly open with people I know. With the strangers (in the crowd) it was much more difficult. So, there were times I would ask myself, “OMG! Do I want to be so naked in front of people I hardly know?” But, I realized that up on the stage “faking” never works so I had no other alternative.

What do you think are the reasons for speaking culture not being developed in Nepal yet? What should we do to develop it among the Nepalis?

We are taught since our early childhood that, “Bolne ko pitho ni bikcha, nabolne ko ta chamal ni bikdaina.” So, I would definitely not agree with your statement that Nepal doesn’t have a speaking culture. We are a country full of “Chautaris” where “Bolne” is the only culture.

But, reshaping your question, I think people confuse speaking with shouting at-times, which I think is the real problem here. I still remember one of the judges telling me “Be more aggressive” which was a comment on my personality than my speaking. So, more than “connecting” via language, pushing your point unless you brainwash the other person is given precedence. That, I hope to work with my “Public-Connecting” approach than “Public-Speaking”.

Now you have won the competition. So, how do you think will it help you in your career ahead?

It will be a beautiful feather on my cap amongst other career achievements along the way. I am hopeful to get more platforms to connect with the world around, and intertwine my academic career and the public speaking platform as I progress in my life.

Why are the contests like National Speaking Championship (NSC) important? And, why should the youths and students be part of such competitions?

I think we should have a 70:30 when it comes to the ratio of contests like the NSC and other Beauty Contests. We have hundreds of beauty pageants with sponsors going gaga about it, but contests like this aren’t given as much needed support by the corporates. I would like to request the backers to back competition like NSC so that the huge population of students in this country can stay in the country and yet compete in competitions like these which have a global touch.

There are so many opportunities for youths and students in the Kathmandu Valley but more often than not youths are either treated as cheap labor or expected to be served free lunch as interns. It’s the platforms like this that help us work on our skills and get a tangible return out of it.

Of course, you can participate in many global competitions via digital help and win in Dollars. But, how about we launch a global competition where we pay the winners in NRS, won’t it be cool?

By the way, what will you do with the prize, 75 thousand rupees? 🙂

Invest in stocks. Haha! 😀

Thank you for your time and kind response. We wish you all the best!

It was a pleasure talking with you!