Utkarsh Shukla: The Guy Behind Mic
“I was a very shy kid. Throughout school, I only had a handful of friends. I’d barely talk to anyone out of my circle. I couldn’t even muster up the courage to say Hi to my crush. Irrespective of how much I liked the person, all I could ever think of was ‘What if they don’t, talk back? What if I mess up my words?’
Writing was my only escape. I’d pen down my thoughts for hours. But, when it came to vocalizing those thoughts, I’d go blank. Be it the debate competition or poetry recitation, I’d stutter every time I was in front of the mic. Talking in front of a crowd was a nightmare.
However, I was tired of feeling that way. I wanted to be confident about myself. So, when I moved to college, I decided to break this image of being ‘the shy guy’. I started talking to people on campus. I joined every possible club that I could. And that’s when I came across Toastmasters. There, I learned about the various commands of public speaking, communication, and leadership.
My stint at Toastmasters gave me fresh conviction. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t stutter. Rather, I enjoyed speaking to the crowd! Soon, I even became the President of the club and mentored the new joiners as well.
My first trainee was a girl from my college. She was all prepared for her first speech. But right before her turn, she got all anxious and restless. It felt like I was looking at an earlier version of myself. So, I decided to talk her out of it. And it worked! She delivered one of the best debutant speeches the club had ever heard.
That day I realized, apparently, I wasn’t the only one who feared going on stage. There were many like me out there who needed that initial boost. So, I started my page Average but Sincere. Through this page, I aim to help in the overall personality development of the youth with the help of my own life experiences of stage fright and public speaking.
From being the most silent person in the room to becoming the most interactive one, life has come a full circle. That shy 10-year-old boy could’ve never imagined becoming a public speaker one day. Talking fiercely in front of the mic was nothing less than a dream to him. I’m glad he was brave enough to explore to be living that dream today.”