Speeches represent a detrimental aspect of learning and sharing information, with the most prominent examples of them being listened to or watched long after they have been delivered. For instance, Steve Job’s commencement address given at Stanford University got thirty-one million views on YouTube, with its message inspiring generations (Smith). Learning from the best public speakers is important for discovering one’s own style and capitalizing on the strengths that a person has in regards to public speaking. This paper will focus on providing a critique of the delivery of a Personal Narrative Speech to identify positive and negative aspects and learn from them.
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Looking back at the speech, it becomes evident that one of the main challenges associated with the speech is fear to speak in front of a substantial group of people. It was very challenging to calm myself down and start delivering the speech, as the level of nervousness was extreme. This fear is very common among people and can be eliminated through practice and determination. Interestingly, the fear of public speaking works based on the same principle as other phobias, such as aerophobia or arachnophobia, which is why it is important not to overlook it (Tsaousides).
Another weakness was reflected in me forgetting what I was supposed to say during the speech. Despite learning the speech by heart and making sure that I remember it correctly, the stress made it impossible to concentrate and deliver the speech. I was also very persistent about not using my notes during the presentation because it is considered a weakness when a public speaker is always looking in his or her notes. However, since most of the information went away, the two attempts to deliver the speech without the notes failed; thus, the third time, I read my notes.
The challenges mentioned above represent an opportunity for future growth and learning on my mistakes. Considering the positive aspects of the speech is also important for understanding what was done correctly and how it can be used further. First, the desire to be good at public speaking gave me strength: if I did not deliver the speech that day, it was unlikely that I would do it at any other time. This means that I viewed the challenge as a learning experience and wanted it to result in a positive outcome.
Another positive point was the support of my classmates who understood my fear. During the speech, I had a feeling that I could no longer continue and wanted to stop because of the fear. However, when I looked at the audience, my friend smiled at me as if saying “keep going, you are doing great.” This gave me the power to continue and complete my presentation. Lastly, my ultimate professional goal is becoming a registered nurse. The skill of public speaking is important for this specialization, which is why standing in front of a class and delivering a speech was an important learning experience.
To summarize, public speaking is a challenge that scares a lot of people. However, I viewed it as a positive aspect of learning because without any practice no one succeeds. Despite my fear of delivering a speech in front of a class, I managed to do it and learn from both mistakes and advantages. In the future, I will look at challenges with an open mind and get ready to face them to ultimately learn and grow.
Smith, Jacquelyn. “How to Give a Great Speech.” Forbes. 2013. Web.
Tsaousides, Theo. “Why Are We Scared of Public Speaking?” Psychology Today. Web.