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The Distressing Stages of Public Speaking

Maybe you are on your way to achieving your BA in Communications, or maybe you just registered for public speaking because you needed divisional credit. Whether English is your first language or your fifth, whether you’re in front of a small crowd or a large lecture hall, you will have to face the horrors of public speaking in COM 110.


But, hey, maybe you love public speaking…kudos to you. 


After taking public speaking in high school to check off a requirement, I felt confident walking into COM 110 on the first day of class. Historically, I was always comfortable presenting in various other classes, so I was not worried. If I could speak in French for five minutes, surely, I could speak in English for two. 


I was wrong. 


Below are the stages every COM 110 student must endure for each speech. Beneath these are my thought processes at each stage…


Assignment is Announced

Our speech is only two minutes, and we are speaking about ourselves? 

Our speech is only two minutes, and we are speaking about ourselves! 

I had to do this in high school—I’ve got this!

I have a paper due Wednesday and a test on Thursday, so I will prepare after my test on Thursday. I’m done with class at 10:45, so I have PLENTY of time.


Thinking of a Topic

How do I want to present myself to an employer? 

I am hardworking… Ehh everyone will say that.

D.o.g.l.o.v.e.r—good one! 

I am organized, ok there we go that works. 


Creating an Outline

Outlines are my least favorite thing in the world.

What is the point of an outline for two minutes of speaking?

There is none.


Practicing My Speech


Psyching Myself Up

You got this!

You know yourself better than anyone else.

If you stumble or forget something, keep going.

Please don’t forget anything, please don’t forget anything, please don’t forget anything.


Waiting to Deliver my Speech

Wow, she is so good at public speaking!

Holy. Confidence.

I would hire her in a second.

Why are my hands getting clammy? They are always dry.

Gosh, my heart is racing.

Deep breath, deep breath.

I need this to be over already!!

Maybe I should have practiced more… 


Delivering my Speech

Move your hands! You need to use meaningful hand gestures.

Look to the left side of the room, you keep looking to the right.

I think my TA forgot to record my speech, does that mean I am going to have to do it again?

What am I supposed to say next? 

I can’t remember anything—

Breathe, breathe.


Thinking about the Delivery of my Speech

I definitely should have practiced more.

Oh well…

Chandler Stearns

Wake Forest '22

My name is Chandler Stearns and I am a current sophomore from Chicago, IL (GO CUBS). I plan on majoring in Communications with a double minor in English and Entrepreneurship. My favorite things are laughing until I'm crying and dancing until I make a complete fool of myself.
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