“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave: The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” -Dale Carnegie. I began Communications 101 with this quote in mind, and I have to say that it did indeed prove true in some instances. Coming into this course I was a bit skeptical because I am not naturally a fan of public speaking. However, throughout the course, I learned different strategies that calm my nerves while giving a speech. I had three goals I wished to achieve throughout the semester: reduce speech anxiety, improve persuasive speaking skills, and to become better prepared for speeches.
In order to reduce speech anxiety, I rehearsed my speeches prior to delivering them. This way, I came into the speech having a concept of what to expect. This also made speech delivery feel more natural. Furthermore, I learned to bring index cards to glance at during my speeches in order to stay on topic and address every point I intended to. Another strategy I used in my quest to reduce speech anxiety was to look just over the heads of my audience members—doing so prevented me from misreading their facial expressions and helped me feel less intimidated.
In order to improve my persuasive speaking skills, I ensured I did a solid amount of research on the pros and cons of my topics. I wanted to ensure that I was equipped to address an issue from any angle. Knowing the ins and outs of a topic provided me with knowledge to persuade the audience in an effective and intelligent way.
In order to be more prepared for speeches, I began working on speeches ahead of time. Previously, I was such a procrastinator. Doing work ahead of time and pacing myself proved to vital in my success. Not did this save me from the agony and stress of cramming, it