Why Take a Public Speaking Class?

Hume Johnson, PhD

public-speakingOur culture values oral communication skills. Employers see employees with great speaking skills as an asset to their organisations. In addition, public speaking can develop critical thinking skills – engaging in reasoned discourse where you can display your analytical skills. You can also develop professional, civic and personal skills.

I would like you to reflect on your own public speaking goals. Below I have provided a series of questions, I would like you to provide answers to them.

  • Why are you taking public speaking?
  • What knowledge and skills do you bring to the subject?
  • What new skills and competencies do you wish to develop during this course?
  • What role does public speaking play in your life now?
  • What role can public speaking play in your future?

Use the comment section of this post to insert your responses.

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17 thoughts on “Why Take a Public Speaking Class?

  1. Why they are taking public speaking?

    I am taking public speaking to become a skilled orator, while improving my comfort and learning applied speech skills.

    What knowledge and skills do you bring to the subject?
    I bring confidence and an eagerness to learn. I believe one of my better skill sets In Public speaking is my articulation.

    What new skills and competencies do I wish to develop during this course?
    I would like to learn how to properly & confidently apply elements of ethos, logos and pathos to me speeches.

    What role does public speaking and listening play in your life now?
    As RWU’s ASC ( Africana student coalition) advertising chair I often deliver presentations and make announcements for the club meetings.

    What role can public speaking play in your future?

    As an aspiring entrepreneur I will be tasked with accurately communicating to others, and constantly presenting new ideas!

  2. Delaney Burns

    I am taking a public speaking class because it will help me to develop confidence. I am studying to become a teacher and public speaking directly correlates with this career. When teaching children you need to have your thoughts organized and clear before presenting information. Also, I hope to coach one day and as a coach one needs to inspire players and talk with confidence.

    I don’t bring much knowledge or skills to the subject already. Any previous knowledge I have now comes from delivering speeches in student council but that only occurred once a year in which I had weeks of preparation.

    I hope to develop speech writing and delivery skills in this course. I also need to develop a way to give off confidence when giving a speech. patience is a key skill I need to practice as well. Patience will help me slow down my words and thoughts so I don’t end up stumbling or stuttering.

    In my life now, I practice public speaking when meeting new people and on my team. I am a captain of my team which means I need to relay information and inspire my teammates as a leader. Also, I need to practice listening skills when talking to my teammates. As a student I practice listening everyday in class when the teacher or another peer is presenting information.

    Public speaking in my future will play a huge role in my career as a teacher and/or coach and will help me exude confidence when meeting new people or employers.

  3. Why they are taking public speaking?
    -> I’m taking public speaking because speaking in front of crowds is integral to just about any type of job you could choose. There’s always going to be at least one point in your career where you’re going to have to present your ideas to others, and the better you present them, the more influential they will be.

    What knowledge and skills do you bring to the subject?
    -> I know only a few tips that I’ve learned just from speaking to people one on one and having interviews for various jobs. I know to smile, to not cross my arms (that makes me look unapproachable and closed off, and I know to ask them questions about themselves so the conversation is not just one-sided.

    What new skills and competencies do I wish to develop during this course?
    -> Most of the new skills I would like to learn and develop is ways to be less nervous and in my head when standing in front of a crowd. Sometimes I manage to psych myself out and I stumble, and while sometimes I can pick myself up, it’s still pretty jarring. I would also like to get better at not only grabbing everyone’s attention when speaking to a crowd, but also keeping their attention the entire time.

    What role does public speaking and listening play in your life now?
    -> I work as a waitress and that involves a heavy amount of both speaking and listening to the various kinds of customers that come into my work. Not only that, but I also love meeting new people and learning about the different kinds of lives other people have lived from my own.

    What role can public speaking play in your future?
    -> To be honest, I don’t really have an answer for this question because I’m not entirely sure what I want to do in my future. I just know that public speaking will be very important, because the path I want to take (Communications and Media Studies) most likely involves a lot of sharing of ideas with other people.

  4. Kaelan Rayner
    Besides being a required course at Roger Williams University, I am taking this course in hopes of becoming more confident and relaxed when speaking in a public setting. After giving dozens of speeches and presentations throughout my academic career, I comfortable saying that I already bring some knowledge and skill to the subject, though much more can be learned. For example, I have developed a good system of note taking prior to giving a speech that helps me remember my talking points a great deal. In this class, I hope to develop better posture while up in front of the room, and would like to be able to naturally articulate my points better while presenting, without feeling pressured to hurry up an talk. Public speaking and listening certainly play a role in my life currently, although it has not been a major facet. Outside of school, there have only been a few instances where I needed to speak in front of a large crowd or important people. Looking forward however, public speaking will certainly play a bigger role in my future. Without doubt, I will need good public speaking skills in order to be successful no matter what type of career I have.

  5. I’m taking public speaking to become more comfortable speaking in front of people, to learn skills to better tell a speech or present a project, and to receive constructive criticism to improve myself.
    I know basic things about public speaking from presenting projects in high school and having job interviews in the past, but I need to improve my skills before moving forward.
    Personally, I wish to gain more confidence, find a loud enough pitch to speak publicly with, learn to not fidget while presenting, and generally improve my presentation skills by the end of the semester.
    Right now, public speaking and listening mainly happens when presenting projects in class and in job interviews. It’s also evident when I’m meeting new people or trying to make a good first impression.
    In my future, I hope that what I learn in this class will benefit me by helping get a job of my dreams with a successful interview, and by making lasting impressions on people when I first meet them as well as when I speak in front of them.

  6. My name is Michael Aiardo and I am taking public speaking to become more confident with talking in front of large groups of people. I am fairly comfortable in front of people from my experience performing in local events such as school talent shows, relay for life events and performances, and emceeing. Most of these experiences have helped me to become confortable in thinking on the fly and staying relatively relaxed in the process. I hope that this class will help me feel even more confortable in front of an audience that I may not know at all. I want to practice giving off positive and lasting first impressions to those people whom I cross paths with. This class will help me to step outside my usual level of comfort and be more confident in expressing my own opinions openly in front of large groups. I hope that this class will teach me to be able to express my thoughts and ideas in a clear and concise way that can be understood easily to others. Currently, I am studying architecture and will have to give presentations in my future that will convince people of my project, ideas, and work overall. Public speaking will assist in this conversation so that in the future, when I am conversing with a future client, I will be able to confidently present myself and show him/her that investing in my offer will be a worthwhile decision.

  7. Matt Seferian
    1) I am taking public speaking because I am an introverted person, and I believe that by taking this class will help me develop confidence while speaking to one person, or multiple people at a time. I I want to give the wrong impression to new people I meet in the work area or outside of it. I feel like I give off a vibe that makes me look angry and not wanting to speak to anyone, and this class can make my impression change when I speak.

    2) Honestly, I do not have many skills in the field. However, I always do my best to always know what I want to say, and I always make it a point to keep my eyes up and look at the crowd whatever my audience is.

    3) I want to build up my confidence. I psych myself out and my brain goes faster than my words because I just want to get my speaking ove with. If I can take my time, and focus on what I am talking about I do not see what could go wrong during my speech.

    4) At this point, public speaking is only used to get good grades on presentations.

    5) Public speaking is going to play a huge role in my future. I need to give my employer a good impression of me when I speak because I tend to come off, I guess you could say, unappealing. If I can speak effectively then I can make a stronger case to get hired. It will also help me preset my ideas and possible research that I have found, and overall make me look better.

  8. Although public speaking is a requirement, I also strongly believe it is an important class for everyone to take, even if they are afraid, because it will be helpful for students including myself to learn new ways to enhance their speaking abilities. After this course I hope that I will be a lot more confident when I am speaking, and that I will be less nervous when I have to stand in front of a large group of people. Public speaking does not play a large role in my life as of now, besides doing presentations in school, but studying marine biology may mean that I will have to be apart of research presentations and I know the skills I learn from this class will make me feel more comfortable when doing that.

  9. John N.
    I am taking public speaking not only because it is a CORE class but because speaking in public and speaking properly is a very important skill to have in formal conversations. I hope to improve my overall skill of speaking and speaking formally by taking this class.
    My knowledge of public speaking is somewhat strong in that I have given speeches and things of that nature in high school but not for a crowd more than 25. I think that I have a decent understanding of speaking in public but can learn a great deal from this class.
    During this class I hope to learn how to speak more fluidly and without awkward pauses or “umm”s. In this class I hope to also gain a good understanding of formal vs. informal conversations.
    Public speaking now is hugely important in the life of a freshman in college. During the first year of college I will still be meeting new people and getting to know people through verbal conversation which is very important in meeting people.
    Public speaking may be a key role in the future of my life because when meeting potential clients or just other people in general it is very important that the way I present myself is correct. I need to start a conversation with someone and have them remember me. How one presents themselves can tell someone a lot about another character.

  10. As an environmental science major, i believe that it is important to take public speaking. This course will help me when I have a job interview. It will also provide me with necessary skills for speaking in front of a large crowd. In the event that i must present findings to co-workers or other scientists, i must know how to speak in front of an audience. Public Speaking will teach me to make connections during my speech and the class will teach me to speak smoothly.

  11. My name is Nick Romyns. I am taking public speaking to enhance my speaking skills and further my education. One thing I bring to public speaking is a loud voice that can project and be heard. During this course, I wish to develop a better public speaking attitude and learn new techniques that will make me a better public speaker. The role of public speaking plays an important part of my life because I am a student in college who must present projects and other works to other peers of mine. The role of public speaking will play in my future is an important one. Being a good public speaker is an imperative part of being a successful candidate in the work force for future job opportunities.

  12. I am not only taking this class because it is required but I also want to improve my communication skills to benefit both my professional and personal life. I am a very soft-spoken and shy person and I get really nervous when I’m speaking in front of a group, no matter what the size, of people. I feel that taking this class will allow me to come out of my comfort zone and really own who I am as a speaker. The skills I want to develop from this class are the ability to speak confidently and inspire others with my words. Public speaking is very important to my life today and my life in the future because everyday I am amongst people, whether I know them or not, and I should be able to strike up a conversation with them out of the blue. Also if I’m put into a position where I have to give a speech or present an idea to my boss/fellow employees in the future, I want to be able to speak eloquently and get the point across clearly.

  13. 1. I am taking public speaking to better my skills in front of a crowd, because I am naturally shy and nervous.
    2. As far as knowledge and skills go, I bring an interest in the course to this class. I know some of the techniques and dos and do nots of this subject just from learning them from my parents.
    3. New skills that I wish to learn during this session are how to not stutter, lose my place, and act nervous in front of the audience.
    4. Public speaking and listening will play the role of helping me get a job one day, and for giving presentations in my classes as well.
    5. In my future public speaking will help me get a job, help me talk to people when I one day work in the psychology field.

  14. I am taking public speaking this semester in order to better my public speaking skills so that I can feel more comfortable speaking in front of an audience. In previous years, I have done a lot of public speaking in high school and in middle school. I did the most public speaking in my high school French class which was a challenge for me but improved my public speaking skills immensely. This semester, I hope to learn how to be better with fidgeting while speaking and not saying ‘um’ or ‘like’. Since I intend to be a high school teacher in the future, it is incredibly important to me to be good at public speaking.

  15. Kelly-Ann Quirion
    1. I am taking public speaking to build my confidence when talking in front of groups of people. Since I am an elementary education major, my job will require me to speak to a class every day. Therefore, I must become more comfortable doing it.
    2. I am a very outgoing person and do not mind having attention on me. I also am very quick on my feet when it comes to speaking.
    3. I hope to gain more confidence and more of the fundamentals of public speaking. I would like my speeches to flow more and have techniques to not lose my train of thought.
    4. I will be giving more and more presentations as I continue my education and will be required to do lesson plans in the coming semester. A strong background in public speaking will only help me in my future endeavors.
    5. When I begin student teaching, actually teaching, and interview processes, public speaking will help increase my likelihood of succeeding because I will have more confidence and skills to be effective.

  16. Public Speaking is important in every college major. There is not one that any of us could take that we would not need this class.
    I have always needed to speak in my high school classes so I have at lease the basic skills in the subject.
    I hope to become more confident with myself with the skills I learn in class.
    Right now, public speaking plays a role in my classes with speaking during projects and presentations but in my future as a marine biologist, I will need it during scientific meetings and talking to colleagues and employers.

  17. 1. I feel it is necessary for everyone to take a public speaking class because no matter what profession you go into you will need to be interacting with others. It is good to have some forms of public speaking under your belt.
    2. Some skills I have that relate back to public speaking is that I took this class my senior year in high school so I know most of the “do’s” and the “don’ts”.
    3. I hope to be able to develop more comfort when it comes to standing in front of a crowd of people that I do not know.
    4. Public speaking comes into play in my life every single day, talking to professors, friends and parents. Listening is also the same, I listen to my friends, family and professors every day.
    5. Public speaking actually plays a tremendous role in my future life, as I want to go into the public relations field. I need to be able to speak and listen well.

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