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Essay on “When I First Took Part in a Debate” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

When I First Took Part in a Debate

Outline: My ambition to become a great orator – preparations for the first speech – my first speech was a flop – yet I was determined to be an orator.

One’s first experiences are usually memorable, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. One of my ambitions as a boy was to become a great orator. In my day—dreams I often used to imagine myself as an effective speaker, swaying huge audiences, the incessant flow of words from my lips reinforced by appropriate gestures. But for several years at school I had no opportunity to make a speech. When I was in the tenth class I decided to take part in a debating competition. It was high time, I thought, to start giving a practical shape to my ambition. The subject of the debate was “Girls are more intelligent than Boys”. I was to speak against the proposition.

After considerable reading and thinking I wrote down my speech. I took care to drive home my points with interesting anecdotes and witty saying and to punctuate my speech with several rhetorical questions. I memorized the speech and rehearsed it before a mirror many times, paying particular attention to accent, pauses and effective gestures. For nearly a week didn’t talk much with anybody at home, and was totally preoccupied with the great speech I was going to make.

At last the fateful day came. As I sat among the audience, listening to the speeches of others, I was suddenly seized with a vague dread, an indefinable terror. Hardly had I started puzzling out what had happened to me when my name was announced. I staggered towards the platform and, as I stood facing the audience, my hands and legs were trembling and my throat was parched. Though I tried my hardest, I couldn’t recall the first sentence of my speech, which I had so carefully learned by-heart. The awkwardness of the initial silence proving intolerable, I began with a subtle point, which logically belonged to the latter part of my speech. “Mr. Chairman, my teachers and friends, granted that girls are more intelligent than boys, we should remember that intelligence is possessed by many animals (Laughter). I may not be intelligent (loud laughter), but I am intellectual (prolonged laughter).” I lost the thread of my argument and nervously shouted ” why are you laughing at me? ” The query provoked a burst of laughter. I blurted out, “I have carefully prepared my speech and deserve attention ” (Ironical applause) Giving up the attempt to speak, I stepped down from the platform.

The ‘great’ speech of which, I had dreamed so often proved to be a fiasco. But being an optimist I was not depressed for long. I thought of the great orators whose maiden speeches were flops. Disraeli’s first speech in the House of Commons, for example, was interrupted by ridicule. Yet, had he not turned out to be an impressive orator? I returned home, determined to be a successful speaker. It was good that my first speech was a failure, otherwise I might have become complacent.

Difficult Words:Maiden speech- – first speech. flop – failure. swaying-controlling. reinforced-strengthened. drive home – effectively communicate. rhetorical question – question whose answer is implicit in its tone gestures – movements of hands, etc., puzzling out – solving a problem with much effort. parched – made dry. query – question. fiasco -failure. incorrigible -incurable. complacent – easily self-satisfied.


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