Public Speaking

One of the classes that I am taking at Fletcher is public speaking.  It is nice to be away from international relations for awhile.  One of the things that I miss from my undergraduate days is the ability to take a range of classes.  I love my subject, and am mostly glad to focus on it, but some variety is always nice.  For the class, we are required to write a blog.  This is the first paragraph from my blog assessing my public speaking skills.

The main reason that I took this class is due to my perceptions of my weaknesses as a public speaker.  I find it difficult to speak about myself and my accomplishments in a formal situation.  I can still remember the time when I was in high school that I had my first job interview at the Mall to work at a shoe store.  The interview was going well until the interviewer asked me what my greatest weakness was.  I had never been to an interview before,  had no idea that they would ask these sorts of questions, and most importantly had never considered my own weaknesses before, so I sat there trying to think of something to say for at least 5 minutes before saying “I guess I’m not the best at math.”  I didn’t get the job.  I still find job interviews and things like elevator pitches to be difficult.  I feel comfortable talking about most everything, but when it comes to talking about me, it is a major stumbling block.

From the class, it seems like this is a common problem.  Next week I will have to deliver a four minute framing speech, and I’m not nervous, but I am a little apprehensive.  When I am doing presentations in my other classes, I am being judged on my knowledge, but for this speech I am going to be judged on presentation.  Being out of my comfort zone is something I haven’t experienced in a while, but I’m hoping with practice this will all become natural.  The professor is pushing us to get to the point where we enjoy and look forward to public speaking, so I’m truly hoping to get to that place.

One interesting thing that we have been doing is spending 10 seconds looking at each person in the class before we begin speaking.  At first it felt creepy, but I understand why we do it.  Also, after we are finished speaking, each person we didn’t look at during the speech raises their hands.  I thought I was usually doing a pretty good job of looking at everyone until I saw the people I missed.  This is becoming one of my favorite, and least favorite classes of my time here.  Learning the tips and hearing other students speak, and the feeling after I’m done is great, but the waiting to speak and the actual speaking is still some of the hardest things I’ve done since coming to Fletcher.

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About Leon Whyte

I'm a recent graduate of the Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy. My interests include Pacific Asia and Security. I am looking for related opportunities.
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