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VATIC Expressions: Truth, Transparency, Transformation

Volume 3, Summer 2017 Issue. A division of Vatic Publishing®, LLC. 

The Importance of Public Speaking

by Tina Augustus

Have you ever had the privilege of giving a speech when you were a young child? It could have been at a church recital around a special holiday, or in a school performance. If your answer is “yes,” can you go back in your mind and think about how exhilarating that must have felt? You heart was racing because you were standing in front of a large crowd of people, many of which you may not have even known. That was frightening, wasn’t it? 

While growing up, I’ve had that experience each year around Easter, Mother’s Day, Children’s Day, Thanksgiving Holiday, Christmas Day, and of course at school performances. My mother was the overseer of the Sunshine Band at our local church and you know what that meant. My siblings and I were her guinea pigs! We had to each say one or two speeches to fill in the gaps during the programs. However, we truly enjoyed reciting our speeches. We also enjoyed the time that we spent with our mom practicing for those special occasions.

All of those years should have gotten all of the stage fright out of us, but that never happened. We would make fun of ourselves to help release the happy endorphins, taking our minds off the fact that there is a crowd in front of us. Another way to quickly increase your happy endorphins is by eating a piece of dark-chocolate before speaking, and even before taking an exam. It does a great job of relaxing your mind so that you can think clearly.

How many of you know the definition of public speaking? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, pubic speaking is “the act or process of making speeches in public; the art of effective oral communication with an audience.”

As many of you know, children begin practicing public speaking when they are of preschool age at their class assemblies and during class presentations to their parents. Practicing public speaking continues through extra-curricular activities in school, during after school performances, while participating in community programs, in high school, drama clubs, and in college. In college, this course is not referred to as “public speaking,” however. It is called “Speech: The Fundamentals of Speech Communications,” or some similar title. This course is a prerequisite before taking major courses in college.  In addition, taking a Speech course is a requirement for graduating with a college degree.      

There are several benefits in developing your public speaking skills. Your self-confidence will increase (along with self-assurance to lead), you will feel more comfortable engaging in social interaction, and instead of remaining an introvert you might lean more toward becoming an extravert. You may possibly develop an outgoing personality, and possess the ability to command leadership presence. 

Developing your public speaking skills could lead to writing awesome speeches. It will assist researchers with presenting winning research papers, and it can help students with organizing their research projects. Developing public speaking skills can also help students with paying attention to details. Students must first learn to become great listeners to be effective communicators.

One of my favorite things that I love about public speaking is that the speaker will have the opportunity to engage an audience, while at the same time commanding[VP1]  their audience’s undivided attention!

Katie Mandell wrote in an online article:

Communication is the backbone of our society. It allows us to form connections, influence decisions, and motivate change. Without communication skills, the ability to progress in the working world and in life, itself, would be nearly impossible. Public speaking is one of the most important and most dreaded forms of communication. Glossophobia, or speech anxiety, is the most common fear people have across the globe. [VP2] Throughout primary school, it is easy to be the student who sits in the back of the classroom and avoids raising his or her hand to dodge such situations.  But in the working world, public speaking is a vital skill to have and to hone. It effects simple, everyday interactions between coworkers, bosses and employees, marketing professionals and clients, etc., and it can have an enormous impact on your career path and your level of success in your industry.

Katie Mandell goes on to list three reasons why public speaking is important: 

1. To win over a crowd

2. To motivate people

3. To inform

In my profession as a public speaking instructor, one easy way that I have worked to help those who experience the fear of speaking in public is to make the public speaking course fun. When people are happy and laughing while participating in an activity, it tends to remove the sense of fear. I teach my students to use F.E.A.R. as an acronym for “false evidence appearing real.” Therefore, as we build our speaking skills, let’s create an atmosphere of true evidence that trumps fear!

© 2017 Tina Augustus

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