Oral communication is something many people struggle with. If you are reading this, you are probably one of these people. Public speaking is a scary thing. Going up in front of an audience and being vulnerable to judgement or criticism. However, it seems the anticipation the night before or even seconds before giving a speech or presentation really is the worst part of it all. The sweaty hands, the nervous twitch, it is something we all experience at certain points in our lives. And just because SDSU loves their students so much, Comm 103 or oral communication, is a required course for incoming freshman, yay? When first hearing this, there was a lot of dread. Public speaking was the one thing that was feared, why was SDSU forcing this? Now weeks from the end, this fear is no longer present. To set your mind at ease, this is what Comm 103 entails.
Speech #1: Introduction
The first speech is a 3 minute speech simply introducing yourself to the class through 2 objects that represent you. For this speech along with the next two, outlines are due. Outlines are a final draft of your speech that your instructor grades and critics before you present it. These are pretty time-consuming, there are certain criteria you need to meet and it can be stressful, but spending the extra time on it helps with your mental preparation prior to giving the speech. This is one of the more light-hearted speeches of the semester; it is more fun because you get to talk about who you are and what you’re passionate about. The introduction speech requires you to bring 2 physical objects that represent you. Overall, this speech is a way to get your foot into the water and learn your strengths and weaknesses for later speeches to come.
Speech #2 Informative
The informative speech is the only partner speech of the year. The purpose of the informative speech is to inform the class on a culture or coculture. For our speech, we presented on German culture. However, instead of simply speaking about food, dress, and traditions, we decided to do a fun twist and discuss German festivals. This speech was longer, 8-10 minutes, there were 2 people in the group, so it was more bearable. Also, some sort of presentation aid was required, allowing the audience to see a visual of what they were being informed about.
Speech #3 Persuasive
The persuasive speech is by far the most challenging but interesting speeches of them all. The persuasive speech is a 7-8 minute speech on a topic you are passionate about. For this speech, we are required to have a visual presentation aid as well and usually some sort of aid helps to distract the audience from you, making it a more comfortable environment. This speech is the only one that has a different format in its outline. Instead of having main points and subpoints, there are 3 main topics of discussion that deal with how you persuade the audience. Despite this being the most challenging speech, you should choose a topic that is of interest to you. If you do, this speech will be one million times more bearable.
Speech #4 Special Occasion
Speech number 4 is the special occasion speech. Another 3 minute, more light-hearted speech to end off the year. The special occasion speech does not require an outline, and is the only speech where students get barely any preparation for. The special occasion speech is fun because you can choose what occasion you are speaking at. Whether it is a wedding, award show, or funeral, this speech is a great way to end off the year.
In Between Speeches:
Comm 103 requires a small section and a large section. What this means is all comm students attend their usual small section where you present your speech as well as a large lecture class of about 500 people with a professor named Michael Rapp. This large section is meant to inform students on the importance of public speaking and introduce to the overall nature of it. This class is a once a week, 50 minute class that is actually pretty interesting. Rapp is a funny guy, making this lecture bearable. In large lecture you will have a midterm, a final, and connect questions. Connect is an internet website that is interlocked with the communication textbook. Here, we have assignments that we complete before each test, and it is a great way to study and earn points.
Lastly, if you are interested in extra credit, consider SONA. SONA is a website that take evaluations of students opinions. It is great way to obtain extra credit because all that is required of you is to answer surveys and submit them. If you participate in this extra credit option, you can get extra points for the final which is great! Highly recommend doing these.
Overall, oral communication is a walk in the park. Coming from someone who used to be frightened of public speaking, this course will 100% conquer this fear. Because all SDSU freshman are required to take this course, it is more humbling to know that everyone is in the same place. Oral communication is only a semester long, and it goes by so quickly. Wish all of you the best of luck, and remember that you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it!