I’ve never taken a speech class. Why would I? I hate speeches. Every time I get up in front of a group of classmates, I freeze, and I feel like I’m being judged. I would never intentionally subject myself to that scrutiny.
I’ve never taken a speech class. I’ve always had plenty of other classes to fulfill my required elective credits. Newspaper was a trying experience for the first year, but the second year was a breeze, even as editor. Band was music, and music was life and energy, not to mention where most of my friends were.
I’ve never taken a speech class – until last year.
My first reaction to this general education requirement was, “Are you kidding me? I’ve done enough speeches in my life; I think I’ll just skip over this one, please and thank you.” Twenty-four hours after I got the textbook, I had read three-quarters of its contents and was suddenly bubbling with excitement about the class that lay ahead.
After the first day of class, I was already exhausted from its first assignment: to tell the class about myself in 1 minute and 30 seconds. It took me two days to write.
The next speech was similarly trying, as was the third. By this time, I was tired of the class and seriously considering dropping it. There was still time.
After the third speech, though, something strange happened. I found myself regaining that sense of bubbly excitement I’d experienced while reading the textbook. The instructor and some girls in the back row had unknowingly boosted my confidence with a comment that had nothing to do with my speech. Suddenly, I was rejuvenated and ready to tackle our group speech.
By the time our last speech rolled around, I was, for lack of better words, high on life. I was quite fond of the topic, and that made the speech a cinch. I didn’t even breathe before I began; I just started talking.
Through the course of a semester, I underwent a transformation – from an insecure, mellow, mouse-like freshman who hated giving speeches to a confident, passionate, bold individual who didn’t mind being called upon to deliver an impromptu introduction for a classmate. September’s mindset was “Survive.” December’s mindset? “Conquer!”
The merits of a required speech class at Corban are numerous. I discovered a few. For one, you gain a sense of confidence that you don’t bring to the first day of class. Even if you come in with confidence, you can still feel a little shaky at the podium. Speech class helps fix that – or at least improves it immeasurably.
Speech class also introduces you to a variety of speech types. In any professional field, there is an element of speech. Teachers teach kids all day, five days a week. Businessmen and women end up giving pitches at some point in their lives. Health Science majors need to be motivational, especially if they’re going to be personal trainers or doctors.
If nothing else, speech class gives you tools to utilize if you ever find yourself needing to give a speech. It will teach you how to analyze an audience, how to make your speech interesting and how to use visual aids to your advantage and to their full potential.
So go ahead. Take the plunge. You might as well – you’re never going to escape speech, no matter how hard you try. Even if you end up being a stay-at-home parent, you’re still going to need to know how to talk to your kids. And we all know what a blast that is when they become teenagers.