Public Speaking is one of the most dreaded things:  74% of Americans have some sort of speaking anxiety. This course allows you to either find your comfort zone or further your confidence through actual speeches. Public Speaking is a skill required for many jobs. At some point in your career, you will be told to present something – whether it is in front of your boss or in front of an interviewer. This is a 2 credit course, which is a half semester, and requires meeting M/W/F.

1. Be Confident

The key to public speaking is confidence, this is true- both in real life and in this class. If you are shy, make friends with one or two classmates who you can feel comfortable with. This is a great chance to open up, which will strengthen your future presenting skills.  Even if you’re not sure what you’re talking about, act as if you do. Confidence is the key to this course.

2. Go To Class

This is a half semester class, so it is set up in a way that missing more than 2 classes decreases your mark by a letter grade every class thereafter. Much of the class is participation based, and without being there you cannot get credit for many in class activities. As previously mentioned, there are in-class activities, and these occur almost every class and account for over a letter grade simply from being present for the activities.

3. Improvise – Do Not Bring Notes

There are 3 speeches throughout the course, each of which account for 15%, 20%, & 25% respectively. It is impossible to get over an 80 if you look down at your notes too much. You are allowed to bring an index card, but be aware that looking down too much almost guarantees a C. Be willing to improvise on a topic rather than looking down at your notes!

4. Meet-Up With The Professor

The grading for this class is extremely subjective. Professors tend to grade based on the performance at first, but with few mistakes, the overall grade largely depends on how much the professor likes you. Meet with your professor either during office hours, or go grab lunch. The professors teaching this course love to talk. Make sure to participate in class and laugh at their corny jokes.

5. Be Emotional

The professors tend to be emotional, just like many successful public speakers are. Being able to pull emotions out of your classmates, but specifically your professor will guarantee an A. Evoking emotion grasps everyone’s attention, and it is a skill that can and should be used in all of your presentations. Emotional presentations also give you leeway; if you stumble during your presentation, this can be overlooked due to the arisen emotion. Also, if you are struggling to reach the time limit asked for, or if you forget some of your information, extreme emotion can be a solid time consumption tool.

At the end of the day, Public Speaking is an enjoyable and engaging class. It comes highly recommended by non-public speaking professors as they see students who have taken this course have much more confidence and success in presentations and participation than those who haven’t taken this course. Make sure to be confident and emotional throughout this course, good luck and enjoy it!

Skyler De Groot

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