IMPROMPTU speaking needs to be honed at the school level so that one is not caught off guard at any moment in time.
What I am coming to is that many a time our Malaysian sports personalities seem to be at a loss for words when they are being interviewed by the media.
Usually, when they are posed questions, they would give their response in one or two sentences only.
On the other hand, their counterparts from India, such as cricketers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, would give very spontaneous and fluent answers.
Other examples include the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who speak so eloquently and are a joy to listen to.
That is why it is important to start impromptu speech training in primary schools, and emphasise it further as children move into secondary schools.
Only then students, when interviewed or asked to speak on the spur of the moment, will be able to respond in a spontaneous and, most importantly, natural manner.
Not just that, schoolchildren should be coached to be bold and confident, and to relish opportunities to express themselves.
During my visit to the Ramoji Film Studio in Hyderabad in India, my group came to an auditorium where the filming of people riding on motorcycles in a busy street was demonstrated.
The person conducting the session asked for three volunteers to go up to the stage to sit on a motorcycle each.
Three of the visitors in the crowd happily volunteered. That is the norm in India, I suppose – to be bold, to grab whatever opportunities that come one’s way, and to gain as much exposure and experience as possible.
Here, in our country, most people will be hesitant to go up to the stage when called upon, preferring to avert their eyes and not draw attention to themselves.
This is another aspect that schools should work towards improving.
In this increasingly uncertain world, being able to articulate oneself and having the gumption to seize opportunities that come one’s way are among the qualities that need to be picked up along the way for one to survive and thrive.