Verbal & Nonverbal Communication
There are three words that come to mind when I think of public speaking: Airman Leadership School or ALS. It was in ALS, that I really learned the most about what my strengths and flaws were when it came to public speaking. Prior to attending ALS, I had limited experience speaking in public. When I did, it was always around a familiar crowd like at commander’s calls, so there was a comfort there. I knew I was not the best speaker, but it was in ALS where I learned that I had three flaws in particular, 1. I talk very fast, 2. I make silly facial expressions, and 3. I fidget around. So, boy was I in for quite an experience at ALS, having to learn to present before a crowd of strangers and be criticized on my mistakes.
I still remember my first speech; we had to do and impromptu speech about ourselves, our hobbies, and our job. I froze and went completely blank. I almost couldn’t remember my name. My nerves had gotten the best of me. I took a deep breath and then started. I quickly realized that once I relaxed I could at least get out what I wanted to say, though the delivery was not so flawless. My biggest flaw in public speaking is that I am your typical fast talking Puerto Rican from New York. For me a 5 minute speech turns in to a 2.15 minute briefing. In ALS time was crucial, the topic and substance was important as well, but you had to make sure you didn’t go too far under or over your time limit. Needless to say, I never ran over. In talking to people who had heard me speak, I’ve learned that to the audience I come off as very nervous. When I am speaking I talk so fast that the words and thoughts I am trying to convey seem to ramble into each other and confuse my audience. I’m not too sure how I can use this to my advantage, maybe if I try to work as an Auctioneer. But all joking aside, I’ve learned the best way to prevent my fast talking is to practice and consciously try to...