The Butterflies In Your Stomach

Topics: Public speaking, Rhetoric, Public speaker Pages: 6 (1935 words) Published: May 27, 2015


The butterflies in your stomach, the clamminess in your palms, the anxious feeling looming overhead—today is speech day. For some reason simply speaking directly to a handful of our peers, the students who grew up in the dorms with us, the classmates who share our stresses and worries, will still manage to put the fear of God in us all. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say that public speaking is never first on our weekend to-do list. The funniest thing about it is that we give “speeches” everyday. When we convince our friends to eat at Firestone instead of Woodstock’s, when we persuade our Professors to curve the final exam; when we speak at all, we are conducting ourselves in a manner that influences others with a defining representation of ourselves, our thoughts and interests. These thoughts and interests collected by our listeners are used to further generate a public opinion that either labels us as credible or incredible. It is said that when you meet a person, he makes a judgment about you in the first four seconds and his judgment is finalized within 30 seconds, this is why public speaking is an important tool that we, as college students, must continuously polish and practice. I used both my previous knowledge from a high school speech class and the new knowledge shared by Professor Brock in classroom setting to create a telling and effective speech worth both the time of my Professor as well as my peers. Just a few short years ago I went to Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego where we were required to take the infamous and dreaded “Speech” class. Although I didn’t yet appreciate it at the time, after taking Coms 101 here at Cal Poly, I realize how much I benefited from that class back in high school. In that speech class freshman year I delivered impromptu, informative and persuasive speeches, as well as a research speech and eulogy. These speeches were the perfect opportunities to overcome my initial fears of public speaking and they also made me a more confident persuasive individual- both of which are important characteristics to master in the professional business work place. Also I believe my Speech class helped me establish a stronger and clearer speaking voice. My high school Speech class was larger than the closet-sized classroom we were in this past quarter, so in that previous setting, I was given a chance to experiment with my vocal sounds to find my own volume. My strong speaking voice was what I found to be written most often as a compliment on my peer evaluation forms. On the first day of Coms 101, I entered the classroom with two black eyes and a slightly cut face. Over winter break at an SDSU party, my group of friends were involved in a brawl with another group, and I had been backing up a buddy of mine. The obvious dilemma I faced was the classic judgment students develop within the first four seconds of interaction. I knew because of the predisposed notions students might have already had for who I am and the quality of me as an individual, I would have to win them over with my credibility, assertiveness and the quality of my speeches. I was fighting an uphill battle. The black eyes weren’t my only issues I had before walking into class that first day. Previously in public speaking I had a problem with speaking in an overly rehearsed and memorized manner. I would get so worried about blanking in the middle of my actual class speech that I liked to study my written speech so much to the point where I could almost recite it. Professor Brock’s Coms class was a rude awakening for me at first, because it forced me to speak in a more extemporaneous manner, this also helped me add credibility to my speech. My demonstration speech, according to peer and Professor evaluations, appeared too scripted and I seemed uncomfortable while presenting in front of the class. These critiques were especially helpful because now I realize why scripted and...
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