Why Good Public Speaking Skills Are Critical for Success

The words public speaking used to terrify me. I always hated standing up in front of a group of people and talking about anything. It didn’t matter what the subject was. I would get nervous. Thousands of thoughts would swirl through my brain, and I’d utter the words, “like” and “um” in nearly every sentence. In short, it was probably my least favorite thing to do.

But all that started to change when I enrolled in a public speaking class this semester. While I’m still not the greatest public speaker by any means, I have begun to understand the process of public speaking. I know how to slow myself down and avoid some of the filler words I used to rely on oh so heavily.

My professor does this impromptu exercise where students have to stand in front of the class and answer a question based on an object that is present on the table. Although we have about thirty seconds to think of an answer, it’s pretty much entirely on the spot. It’s definitely a bit scary, but in all honestly, it’s incredibly important.

I completely underestimated the necessity of having good public speaking skills, but I realize now that having the ability to communicate with others is essential in any situation. I also recognize now that most of the fear associated with public speaking is all in my head, and that in order to get over that fear, I have to push through it. Like anything else, public speaking takes practice. I never understood why I didn’t get better at public speaking in my classes, especially after giving presentation after presentation, but even after only having three public speaking classes, I realize now that it’s because I didn’t have the tools I needed to learn how to improve.

While I still get nervous every time I have to speak in front of a group of people, I’m definitely on the road to becoming a confident speaker. I’m really excited to see how the rest of this class plays out, but one thing I know for sure is that I will definitely be in a better place in December than I was during that first class in August. My current goal is to deliver an entire speech or presentation without saying “like,” “um,” or “so” out of context at some point, and I’m positive that if I keep trying, I’ll get there eventually.

If you or anyone you know is thinking about taking a public speaking class, I highly recommend it. Although it requires pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, keep in mind that everyone in a public speaking class is in the same position as you are, so no one will judge you. In fact, it’s actually quite the opposite. Both my professor and my classmates are so supportive of one another, and even though it’s only three weeks into the semester, I’m confident that this will be one of the most beneficial and rewarding classes I will ever take in college.

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