The Horrors of Public Speaking

As room 333 entered my sight, I became worried by the silence. Though initially expecting a smaller classroom, my stomach lurched when I saw an endless sea of students. Getting through the door was easy, but now I had to find a seat. I worriedly scanned the rows, whistling, because that somehow made me “less conspicuous”. A sigh of relief escaped as I saw a seat saved for me. Day one had begun.

You can only imagine how terrified I felt when Professor Woo announced that we would be giving an impromptu speech later that day. We were given ten minutes to prepare ourselves, with each minute more precious than the last. As I gave my speech, all I could think about were the two most important/terrible events in my life. Nothing else would enter my train of thought. I tried to think of something positive, but panicked. It was probably more painful for the audience, actually. When I sat down, everything was alright–it was OVER. On Friday, we had another impromptu-like exercise where we were given random topics in which to create an introduction from. My topic was a garbage can, and the strangest part of it all was that I felt more comfortable talking about a garbage can than I did about myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each day of class has felt increasingly more comfortable. I have definitely paid attention to the tips to subdue nerves. Tightening and releasing one’s muscles and taking slow breaths have helped me already. Another tip is to find a way to make the situation positive. Positive energy is infectious. Harold Lasswell was also mentioned in one of our lectures. He is known for the phrase, “Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect?” This leads to the SMCRE model: sender, message, channel, receiver, effect. This acronym reminds me that I need to think about the audience, and what effect the speech will have on them. Organization my thoughts has always been a struggle for me, so I feel that chapter 9 in our textbook has been quite helpful so far.

Since we have been given the freedom to choose our topics, I am taking the opportunity to talk about what is important to me, and what drives me. Currently, this would include: collecting Pyrex and other antiques, glass blowing, welding, filmmaking, and enjoying the little things in life. This is my fourth year as an art major at UWSP, and I am very happy to say that it has been the best so far.

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