When I was a sophomore at UWSP in 2010, I was registered for Comm 101 and I actually gave a few speeches. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from school that semester because
I got very sick and needed to take some time off. Honestly, I was not thrilled to be taking Oral Communications, because I am a worrier, and I get anxious rather easily. Nervous didn’t even begin to describe how I felt while speaking in front of the class! This seemed weird to me because I was in theater in High School, so speaking and performing should be no big deal to me, until I realized that while acting, you can hide behind your character and costume and rely on the brilliant words that the playwright has given you.
This time taking Comm, we talked about how to cope with nervousness. I took a lot out of the lecture and reading on this topic. I learned that I can squeeze my hands and leg muscles so the extra adrenaline in my body has somewhere to be released. You can also use the nervous energy you have and turn it into a positive thing. If you visualize your speech going smoothly, then the energy you have can be turned into excited energy. If you seem excited in what you’re talking about, the audience gets excited too and wants to know what you have to say. But I would say that the most important thing that I learned was that you cannot expect perfection from yourself. I mean, Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t perfect when he was giving his “I Have a Dream” speech! But the thing that people remember about that speech was the message. And ultimately, you don’t have to beat yourself up over stumbling through a few words here and there; what will leave a lasting impression and what people will take away from your speech is the message.
Professor Chang Woo also talked about Aristotle’s appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos. I’ve grown up knowing that the best way to get people to listen to you, believe what you are saying, and cause them to act on something is to appeal to their emotions. People are motivated by how they feel, so if you stir up feelings of empathy at someones pain, anger at injustice, and joy at hope for the future, you can rouse any crowd to create change.
As a pre-Chiropractic major, I know that communicating with my patients will be key to my success as well as theirs. I will definitely be using the skills I learn in this class frequently in the future. I just gave my first major speech today, and I feel really good about how it went! I am looking forward to the rest of this class and excited for what I have yet to learn.