The End…Or Not?
By: Jonathan Ho
“Speaking for Success.” The name says it all. No matter what careers we each decide to pursue, we will, at some point, have to speak publicly, which in some cases, could make or break a promotion. Thankfully for all of us, we came here, and under the tutelage of the wonderful Carol Crouse, we really have learned how to speak for success.
In the past few weeks, we have learned the essential dos and don’ts of public speaking. We have learned how to use our voices properly to project emotion and to capture the audience’s attention. This is and will be extremely important to all of us in the future, because if we sound like robots, our audience will treat our speeches as robots as well; that is, to treat them like big loads of junk. We have learned to double-check our choice of words before speaking to an audience; sure, big words make you sound smarter, but they also make you sound about as interesting as documentary about William Hung. We have learned that gestures are often helpful in making any speech seem more involving, but also that when overused or exaggerated, gestures can have quite the opposite effect. We have learned that, like gestures, props also run the risk of being too distracting. For example: never use a handcrafted wooden box that doesn’t open as a prop, because the speakers after you will have the unfortunate pleasure of watching their audience desperately trying to pry it open.
In addition to all these speaking techniques, we have learned other things as well. We have learned how to introduce and pass control to a speaker, and the proper way to exit a stage (yes, surprisingly, there is such a thing). We have learned how to maintain good eye contact, and that no matter how captivating the ceiling, wall, or table may be, we must always keep our eyes on our audience. Finally, we have learned to keep our speeches short and sweet. Quantity and quality are both good things, but with speeches, avoid too much quantity, because a high-quantity speech will lead to a low quantity of people who actually listen to the whole thing.
There’s a saying that goes “time flies when you’re having fun.” I’m pretty sure that I can speak for all of us when I say that the past 6 weeks have been much more fun than I would’ve imagined them to be. We’ve heard about a huge variety of topics, including human equality, the issue of stereotyping, the inner mechanics of cars, a mock press conference for an adorable duck-shaped kettle that I’d love to find on the shelves at Home Outfitters, the principles behind a “nonflashy” martial art that I, regrettably, can’t remember the name of, and even personal stories about arts and crafts, getting lost in mazes, and annoying, nose-picking, toad-squeezing brothers. We have all learned so much from this program, and thanks to Carol, I personally feel that all of us here are truly ready to speak to succeed.