Preparing Your First Speech
Since this is a public speaking class, it means that you will indeed have to present speeches! Since many people become nervous at this prospect, I like to get the first one done early in the semester. It’s like ripping off a band-aid: rip it off fast to feel less pain. Your Introductory Speech is your first baby step into this field. This assignment is meant to be easy. It’s meant to be a way to get you up in front of the group and doing something for 2-4 minutes, not to be a heavy, taxing assignment. Therefore, if you find that it’s really hard, you’re doing it wrong! Take a deep breath, remember it’s supposed to be simple, and start over again. Because I want this assignment to be easy and I want everyone to be on about the same level, this is the one speech in the semester where I’m going to give you topics to choose from rather than just letting you pick something on your own. Don’t worry, after this one you can talk about any appropriate subjects you want, but for now, your choices are limited to five. Topics
Your first topic option is called a “coat of arms” speech. A coat of arms is also often called a family crest. In Medieval heraldry, pictures were emblazoned on a knight’s shield or armor which represented that person’s character or ancestry. A family crest has pictures that tell about a family’s history. Don’t worry; I’m not going to ask you to research your genealogy! Instead, for this topic, I want you to create your own personal coat of arms. To do this, you should choose between 2 and 4 objects that represent something about you. For instance, if I were to create a coat of arms for myself, I would choose a golf club, a suitcase, and a roller coaster because those represent three of my favorite hobbies. I love to play golf (though I’m not very good at it), I seek any opportunity to travel, and I’m a huge roller coaster nut who will go anywhere to ride the latest and greatest ride. You could choose hobbies, as I have done, or you may choose a person or people, a pet, something related to your future career, etc. You can choose anything that tells us a little bit about you, who you are, and what you like. You don’t have to get deep and personal, just tell us some basic, surface-level things about yourself. Since some people don’t like to talk about themselves, you have other options as well. Your second topic to choice is: if you could invite any three people to dinner, living or dead, fictional or non-fictional, who would they be and why? Who would you most like to meet and talk to, either from the past or the present? What would you like to learn from them? Since they don’t have to be living, I could choose Adolph Hitler if I wanted to. Since they can be fictional, I can choose Bugs Bunny if I want to. They don’t have to be famous people or characters, either. I know someone who would be at the top of my invitation list would be my grandmother, who died 25 years ago, and I’d just like to sit down and talk with her again. You might also address what that combination of people would be like at dinner. Are Hitler and Bugs Bunny going to get along, or will there be trouble? Will my grandmother be able to put Hitler in his place? Your third topic option is: if you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you want to have with you? Do you want to entertain yourself with fiction? Would you prefer a survival or spiritual guide? Would you pick “A thousand and one ways to prepare coconuts” or “How to build a raft and get off a deserted island”? When I bring up this topic option in a live class, students often groan that they don’t read or like a lot of books, so I’m not completely hung up on your choosing them, but I would like you pick some form of media such as magazines, music, movies, newspapers, journals, etc. We’ll just pretend you have a lifetime supply of batteries so you...
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