My name is Karlo Krznaric. But don’t bother trying to pronounce my last name.
Sometimes I can’t pronounce it myself either.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was little, I was often sick, so my mama and I spent quite a lot of time in hospitals doing checks-ups, seeing doctors, getting blood tests, getting injections… Pretty much whatever they could offer. If you’ve ever been to a public hospital in basically any country, you know what a world of stressed out doctors and nurses, numerous paper forms and long waiting times it can be. But my mama, she always had a way with people. With her relentless smile, simple but skillful words and her understanding of what other people were going through, she would not only get me what I needed in short time, but you could also see a tremendous positive change on the faces of nurses and doctors after talking to her.
Half of my lifetime later, I am doing my Master’s degree in conference interpreting at the University of Vienna. However, like many people, I’ve never really known what i want to do in life – and this is one of the best things that happened to me. In the meantime I had been president of the student council at my high school, travelled on student exchanges, was a member of several amateur theatres, student organisations, sport associations, taught German, worked as an entertainer and finished my Bachelor’s degree in English and German studies.
Sometimes along the way, I was fortunate enough to discover what my passion really was: communication and speaking in front of people. And although this became my expertise, I hadn’t always been good at it. I learned it through attending seminars, reading books and experimenting. This proved to me that public speaking and social skills are exactly that – skills. They can be taught and learned. This is why I like to say:
You can be a great speaker.