Know your subject
Taking a side on a controversial issue is not essential to putting forward a good argument, according to public speaking champion Hubert Cruz.
The Form Five student from La Salle College adopted this approach when he won the senior division of this year's Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) Standard Chartered Hong Kong English Public Speaking Contest.
Hubert spoke on the topic 'The debate between confidentiality and public interests' last Saturday in the contest final.
'I went through many news items the week before and looked at arguments for both sides of the issue,' he said. 'I did not take a stand; instead I talked about the pros and cons.'
Hubert also credited his success to making himself comfortable with the competition venue. 'The day before the contest, I went to the venue to get used to the environment,' he said. 'I looked for where the judges would be sitting and stood on the stage in front of the microphone where I would be speaking.'
He said he was grateful to his teachers and friends for giving him advice on his presentation. 'I could not have done so well, just practising by myself in front of the mirror.'
Anselm Au Chak Sum from La Salle College won the junior division, speaking on 'Society's quest for universal suffrage'.
This year the contest attracted 2,000 students from 168 schools.
The panel of adjudicators included judges, business leaders and public speaking experts. Under-Secretary for Education Kenneth Chen presented prizes to winners.
HKFYG Executive Director Dr Rosanna Wong said public speaking was a great way for students to build confidence. 'Only if you give yourselves opportunities to speak in English, whether in competition or otherwise, will your skills and abilities improve. Your confidence will grow as well,' she said.