Better Together

For my third blog story I attended Church at Woodlands Church in Plover.  Pastor Brian Berg talked on the second sermon in his series on 1st Corinthians.  This speech focused on 1st Corinthians 1:10-2:5.  The general purpose was to inform his congregation on this specific part of the Bible.  His central idea was how God has made it possible to be better together; to work out problems in the Church to live together in unity.    His main points were on the great realities that relate and unite Christians.  They are as follows:

  1. The supremacy of our Leader
  2. The superiority of our message
  3. The simplicity of our calling

Pastor Brian Berg is a very good public speaker.  He does it every week and seems very at ease while talking in front of the congregation.  Pastor Berg has very good vocal variety.  Throughout his sermon he changed his pitch when appropriate.  He also used volume to emphasize important points.  Another thing that Pastor Berg did well was his use of gestures.  He used his hands and arms to enhance his sermon.  He also used kinetics well.  He moved during his sermon but not in a distracting way.  He walked back and forth instead of just staying in one place.  I was also very impressed with his eye contact.  He only looked at his notes when reading a direct quote.

There were very few things that could use some work.  The only thing that I noticed was his use of filler words.  At the beginning of his sermon he said “umm” and “uh” a few times.  He also said “ah” a few times throughout his sermon.

Pastor Berg was very interesting to listen to and he presented his sermon in a very effective way.

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Knowledge is Power

Church Pictures. 2012. Photograph. 19 Jan 2012.

In order to see how much good communication skills affect everyday life, I took a trip to our local church. I listened to our priest speak, and as he spoke, I realized that all of the skills we learned in Communications 101 were in use. Examples would be something along the lines of vocal variety, pauses, pitch. Father Bob started his sermon with an activity (writing a definition on a notecard) and then worked it into asking questions and getting the mass involved.

As Father Bob’s sermon progressed, I actually felt oddly bored. Probably because he started rambling on and on about stewardship, but that’s when it hit me. If you try too hard to relate a topic to the audience, if can actually bore them or turn them off to whatever you are trying to talk about. Another thing is talking too much about the same topic. I’ve learned that people are turned off when someone talks endlessly about one specific topic, rather than moving from topic to topic with enough information to keep your audience’s attention. These are parts of the big things that I learned this semester.

I learned that using vocal variety is important, but you also have to be knowledgeable about your topic before you try to share your viewpoints. Knowledge is power and it is definitely shown during a presentation, especially when it includes all of the basic communication skills we used in this winterim semester.

Good Shepherd Parish Bulletin

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A Different View

The only religion I’ve ever known has been that of the Catholic faith.  I attended a Catholic grade school from first through eighth grade and continued in my religious faith by going to CCD classes throughout high school and getting confirmed my senior year.  Although I don’t agree with everything the Catholic religion believes, I continue to practice the religion because it’s tradition in my family and it’s what I’ve known my whole life.  Even though I’ve had the opportunity to experience other religions, I haven’t strayed from the Catholic faith thus far.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a service by Stevens Point Tapestry Church.  The funny part about it though, was that the service wasn’t performed in any sort of church at all.  It was held at a local elementary school in the gym, and when I got there, I was greeted by fold out chairs, a table full of food and drinks, and people singing along with some young adults playing instruments and leading the songs.  I found this to be very welcoming and comfortable as I’m used to pews and priests lecturing with a choir singing in the front of church.  The part I found to be most surprising, in a good way though, was the fact that the leader of the service made it out to be more of a discussion than a lecture.

He first read to us the scripture from Mark and then continued to explain it.  He did a very good job incorporating slides and describing in more broad, literal terms what was going on in this story.  It was very cool to see the audience start interacting in this discussion, as people would ask questions when ideas were unclear and others from the crowd would offer up their interpretation of the scripture.  I found this to be very intriguing and made me think of the scripture in new ways as I had a lot of ideas to pull from and brainstorm off of.

The man leading the service was a very good public speaker as he got me very interested in what was going on.  He did an excellent job with eye contact and adding to the speech by having slides to go along with it.  Some things I found he could work on though, were slowing down when reading from the Bible because this caused him to stumble over his words a few times, and also not using so broad of hand gestures as this became a little distracting at times.

Overall I really enjoyed this service, as something I am unaccustomed to.  I would highly consider going back because the fact that people can express their views and ask questions was very appealing to me.

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Civil Rights Explored

This is a picture of the Martin Luther King Jr. event held at SPASH.

Monday January 16, 2012 a very important person in United States civil rights history was celebrated.  That person was Martin Luther King Jr. and he was celebrated at SPASH with a very interesting presentation.  The main speaker of this presentation was Patrick Sims, who is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison.  Dr. Patrick Sims was telling the story of James Cameron, a civil rights activist.  The story in which he was portrayed is called 10 Perfect: A Lynching Survivor’s Story.  The story itself is very interesting and was made even more interesting by Dr. Patrick Sims.

Since Dr. Patrick Sims is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, he uses his public speaking skills daily.  So its no wonder that he was a very good public speaker.  The more you use your public speaking skills the better you will get at public speaking.  It was easy to tell that Dr. Patrick Sims is a very good public speaker.  Just by stating that he is a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison established his credibility as a public speaker.  It was very difficult to find something that Dr. Sims needed to work on as a public speaker.  I guess the one thing he could improve on would be the volume of the presentation.  The things that Dr. Sims did well definitely outweighed the things that need improvement.  Patrick Sims is a great public speaker and a lot can be learned from watching him give a presentation.  The presentation he presented was very fitting for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Across America… (on a road bike)

On January 18th 2012, I went to see “Bicycle Dreams” at the Cedar Creek Cinema in Mosinee.  It was a movie about “crazy” people who feel the need to destroy their bodies on a 12 day race called Race Across America or RAAM… on road bikes!  Contestants not only face the obvious physical demands but the toll that the race takes on the mental and emotional aspects of the riders is incomprehensible to us “normal” people who don’t feel the need to push ourselves past our limits.

Paul Danhaus During RAAM

Paul Danhaus, a Wausau native is one of the “crazy” people who has actually done this race.  He stood up and talked about his experience with the race.  I was so amazed to hear about his passion for biking and how much training he does in order to prepare himself for this punishing ride.  On average, Paul rides his bike over 16,000 miles each year.  For the years that he trains for RAAM, he rides over 18,000 miles.  Even though those statistics are pretty amazing, the most amazing thing is that Paul did this race when he was in his mid 60’s!

I have to say that it was kind of tough for me to evaluate Paul because what he was saying was so interesting.  So obviously the content of his speech kept the audience on their toes, which to me is very important.  His speech skills were very good though since he obviously has spoken a lot about his experiences riding.  His use of vocal pauses was excellent and his voice variation was good as well.  His transitions were effective and helped his speech to flow.  There were two things however that really stuck out to me about his speech that I feel Paul could improve on.  First is that he used the word “um”.  Also, whenever Paul would field questions, he would stick his tongue out which I thought was kind of weird.  All in all though, his speech was very good.

Paul Danhaus Sharing His Experiences

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A Speech to Remember

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of attending a Martin Luther King day celebration at SPASH, and was pleasantly surprised by the moving presentation given by Patrick Sims. I’m not going to lie, I was feeling sort of sluggish that day and debated whether or not I wanted to go; but I’m glad I did.

I didn’t really know what to expect because first of all, I had never been in this auditorium, secondly, I wasn’t sure what the style of the presentation would be like. The annual celebration began with a series of short introductions, an award presentation for the John Klismet Justiceworks Award, and a few beautiful, musical performances by the SPASH choir and Monteverde Master Chorale. Once again, I’ll be honest, I was getting anxious because I wanted to hear the main speaker! With an auditorium that full, I knew it had to be good.

Patrick Sims had a great introduction and used humor to make the audience comfortable with him, which it did. This was a great way to start, because he knew that the subject matter was about to get very serious–so he wanted to make sure that the audience was comfortable and aware. The presentation began with a moving interpretation of a song, “I believe in God”, which gave me chills. Patrick began singing along, so beautifully that I thought it was part of the recording until he first spoke. His speech, “10 Perfect” was about a civil right’s leader named James Cameron, “who survived a lynching as a young man and later founded America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” according to the program from the event. Upon looking up information on the museum, I was saddened to learn that it has been temporarily closed since 2008 due to financial reasons.

I was impressed by Patrick’s acting skills. He had the power to show a clear vocal and gestural difference between each and every character of Cameron’s story. The pace was perfect, and changed for each character as well, which made the conversations more realistic. The use of visuals and media was great. I really liked how songs would start up throughout the speech–I feel that it made it even more moving. It was obvious that he had practiced this countless times, but I was really impressed by his timing in relation to the media he had in the presentation. There were a series of gun shots at one point, and they matched up perfectly to his speech. This was just another aspect of his presentation that made it come to life. He made a great connection with the audience at the end, saying, “This is just as much your story as it is mine.” His performance was wonderful, and the only thing that I would say I noticed he could work on, is to not use as many gestures. I found them a bit distracting after a while. But other than that, this was a magnificent performance, and I am very glad that I chose to attend.

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What a Math Teacher can do!

As I asked Mr. Dobbe from Rosholt School District at if I could watch his math class, I knew that this was going to be fun!  I know Mr. Dobbe from way back and I know that a lot of people say that he is a great teacher so I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about.  He started writing out long division math problems and the kids were not “yepiee” like most 5th graders are.

Mr. Dobbe showing the kids how to do long division.

In Mr. Dobbe’s presentation, he had MANY good points in his communication skills.  First off, he was great with the tone in his voice.  He was very clear in what he was communicating.  Mr. Dobbe gave many great gestures as well.  In all the presentations that I have watched, he used the right amount of gestures and used them at the right time as well.  Walking around a room seems to be really difficult for people while talking to others but not Mr. Dobbe.  He walked around the room and walked in between the isle of desks.  I think that Mr. Dobbe had great props as well.  He has a smart board in his class room and I think that it really helped with understanding long division like how he was explaining it.  Also, he gave the children little white boards so they can do the math as well.  These both, I think, help the child with math and make the subject more interesting.  And the best thing that I think that a presenter can EVER do is to invite participation in the room.  After everything that he explained, he asked if anyone had any questions.  That is something great and everyone should be like that.  Mr. Dobbe had the children come up to the smart board one by one so that they could do a problem themselves.  All the kids were super happy about this!  He also gave out candy for the kids if they got the question right which is an awesome way to invite participation.  For the kids that didn’t get the question right, they got candy but just not as much.  This was a different type of “speech” that we were all use to watching in  Communications 101 because it requires participation.  I think that this is more effective than just standing in front of the classroom talking.  I know that I should write something’s that I think that he could improve on but I honestly can’t.  This was a perfect presentation in my eyes.  I cannot say things that he can work on because I could not see one thing that he could work on!  I understand now why people say that he is such a great teacher!  Rosholt High School is lucky to have a teacher like him!

The kids were so interactive!

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