Saturday, May 19, 2007

Long Time Coming...

I've been meaning to write in this thing for about a week now so I guess now is the time! I'll start out by saying that people are amazing! (for the most part)

Last week I was doing some laundry. I had put my clothes in the washer before class but the machines only run for a half hour. When I got back to put my wet clothes in the dryer I was surprised, but delighted, to find my clothes had already been put in the dryer!! It completely made my day.

So COM 220: Public Speaking...
I love that class and public speaking seems to be my forte. I'm bragging a little bit but only because I'm proud of myself, and this is why:

I was recently asked to be apart of the Communication Departments Annual Public Speaking Competition 2007. I was one of 14 people that were nominated though I have no idea how many will actually be there. The competition is next week so I'll be preparing for it over the 3 day weekend (and hopefully spending plenty of time with my new interest). The speech I'll be delivering will be a persuasive speech; my target audience are those who disagree with me but not staunchly disagree. I'm just supposed to sow the seeds of consideration into their minds. That will be Wednesday and if I make it to the finals, Thursday as well.

Not only that, last Friday another awesome thing happened. In quiz section our class got together to practice their advocacy speeches (basically a speech trying to rally those who already support you into action). I listened to four separate speeches. After the first speech I gave feedback, it was critical but constructive. I like to point out the good, then really break down the bad, but give suggestions or even examples of how I would do it personally. After my first critic the TA, Vanessa, told me that I gave that student great feedback. That made me smile.

On to student number two. I listened to his intro and that's pretty much where he lost my attention first. He was talking about Universal health care and how it would be horrible if the US adopted it. He started out his speech with "Canadians are DYING!" and went off about how other countries are in a state of disrepair because of their universal health care. While I recognized the effectiveness of this parallel argument, it wasn't appropriate to start with. So my feedback went like this, "You started out with your examples of Canadians, and though this may sound harsh, my first thought was 'Why should I care about Canadians? I'm an American and I'm your audience, so the topic should effect me." But, I went on to tell him that he can tweak it. I then gave him the full example of how I would say it. Big boy voice and all I said, "People are dying! And why? Because of Universal Health care! And guess what? The United States is considering adopting universal health care! You need look no further than Canada to see that this program does not work! This could be devastating for our country... etc etc" During my blurb the class had grown silent listening to my rant and let loose a roar of approval after I was finished. I felt accomplished and I smiled again.

Then we had a speaker rotation and one gal that was originally criticing with me was now delivering her speech. She asked me specifically to stay and critic her. She struggled through it, even stopped to try and explain herself. I told her to go on to the end and we'll work on it then. She finished and the overhaul began. I stood up and started to draft a completely new speech for her on the blackboard. I went through problem, cause, solution, and call to action; the basic format for an advocacy speech.

As I was writing one student playfully mocked me saying "Look at Zach, thinking he can teach the class" to which my TA promptly replied "He does a good job so let him do it." Sweet. I smiled again.

After the class was dismissed I stayed after with Vanessa and the 3rd gal. Together we worked on her speech until she had a pretty good idea of what to do. As I was leaving Vanessa asked me if I ever considered Tutoring for the Public Speaking class. I was taken aback! She said I give such good feedback, that have a lot of passion for it, and that I'd be a great tutor. I told her I would love to but I'm studying abroad. That was thrilling and a little disappointing. However, she put me on the list and I may be able to do that when I get back from Bristol!

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