• David Makoni

The Orators Online Bootcamp: Knockout Rounds!

Updated: 5 days ago


It has been an entertaining (as well as informative) buildup to the Orators Grand Finale in five days! Youth in Nigeria have always shown that they are not shorn of ideas and, if they can express themselves, they can drive positive change.


As each Orator told their story, you couldn’t help but feel that their narrations needed much greater reflection due to the depth and relevance of their subject.


What they said

Hasfat Abdullahi, for example, made a bold presentation of surviving mental health problems and suicidal thoughts. It is easy, according to her, for people suffering from mental illnesses to isolate themselves and never speak about their difficulties in fear of discrimination & stigmatisation. This isolation is the worst part, Hasfat argues, and society should do more to help these people open up more by speaking so they can receive the help and advice they need.


“Perspective” was another theme that was brought out through an emotional anecdote by Oluwatosin Adeyeye. He recalls an (fictional) encounter when he desperately needed to talk to a friend over the phone. He rang four times with no reply. Frustrated and angry at him not returning his calls, Oluwatosin dashed to his friend's house. As soon as he arrived, he was greeted by a crowd that was screaming and crying. It is only then that he learnt his friend’s parents had died, explaining why he hadn’t picked his call. “My anger turned to sadness due to the change in perspective”, said Oluwatosin.


Adeola Mofopefoluwa used the imagery of your first driving lesson to bring home his point: Staying your course. If you apply the same focus and concentration to your objectives as when you were first learning how to drive, holding firmly onto the steering wheel, eyes locked onto the road ahead, you will be sure to have greater success in achieving your targets.


You can watch all the speeches on our YouTube Channel. Remember to subscribe and get notifications on future video uploads.


The Judges:

  1. Titi Ojo- Titi is an infectious character and it’s fitting that she is one of the mentors for this group of Orators. She is a great communicator and it is easy to pick up her thoughts and ideas as she uses a variety of skills to help communicate her ideas succinctly. Titi walked the Orators through their paces as she delivered insights on verbal and non-verbal communication. Here are a few notes from her presentation.


  • Vocal variety: The way you speak can be broken down into several elements like loudness, pace, pause and intonation just to mention a few. All these elements play an important role in communicating. For instance, as Titi explained, a pause may indicate you want your audience to ponder or reflect on what you just said.

  • Touch: This is another element of communication that Titi emphasized the importance of. Sometimes, putting your hand on someone’s shoulder can reinforce expressions of solidarity or support, for example.

You can watch this video which Titi used as an illustration of the best use of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.


2. Chinedu Chidi- A prominent figure in the Media industry, especially as an Investigative Journalist and winner of The Debaters Reality TV Show, Chinedu Chidi is another strong mentor who was lined up to tutor orators during the online bootcamp knockout stages.

  • Clichés: When delivering speeches in a competition, Chinedu reckons one should guard against using phrases or ideas that have been overused, known as Clichés. For example, as an orator, you may be tempted to use the phrase “Actions speak louder than words”. But this phrase has been overused and may not have the same significance it had when it was first coined.

  • Appear natural: While it is good to prepare for a debating competition by rehearsing and mastering what you are going to say, flexibility in delivering your speech can be if you want to instil within your audience a sense of authority over your subject. Those watching you will get the feeling the topic you are discussing is natural to you.


Here is a multiple award winner in public speaking and a World Championship of Public Speaking finalist! As Blessing Mene (a distinguished public speaking award winner himself) pointed out when introducing this panel of judges and mentors, “if it were football, these would be the Jay Jay Okocha and Nwanko Kanu of Nigeria ''.


What's next?

Commiserations to the 5 finalists who got knocked-out in the last two rounds. We hope you have taken a lot from this experience (and that you will continue to learn from the Orators program until its conclusion). Next up in the Knockout stages, the remaining 12 will be formed into 4 teams to debate each other at the Grand Finale on July 17. Afterwards, each orator will deliver two speeches from which “The 2021 Orator of the Year” will be determined by the judges.


You can register for the Grand Finale here.


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