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Public Speaking

For the past couple of days I’ve been attending a leadership school called Building A Youth Movement (BAYM). BAYM is a summer program where students teach students about media and social issues. Yesterday there was a workshop about public speaking. With this workshop I learned to put my fears about speaking to random people aside and talk to people about the Philadelphia School System. In the beginning it was kind of hard but in the end I just sucked it up and told people what they needed to know. When the workshop started we talked about what are the good and bad qualities of a public speaker. We looked at two videos, one of a poet and one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech. Then we pointed out the qualities that they had as speakers. I noticed that they both had overall confidence in what they were saying. Without confidence people are unsure, fidgety and not all that great to listen to or to look at. I learned and noticed that knowledge of the topic is essential. If anyone was uneducated about their topic then what would be the point of them talking to other people about the subject? The speaker needs to connect with the people they’re speaking to, this creates passion in everybody. Passion makes things more believable and pulls at the heartstrings of the audience. Passion brings the audience in and makes them interested. After the workshop we went out to talk to people on the street. We broke off into two groups. One group went to 40th and Market and spoke on a podium about their best or worst teacher to the people passing by. The rest of us did one-on-ones with strangers about the teachers contracts. People denied me in the beginning, of course, but the more I talked to people the more I started to get comfortable with what i was saying and the easier it became. In the end I was comfortable and confident enough with the subject that me and a few other students actually got into a debate with people in a barbershop and won. This experience has helped me know that nervousness is cool but it needs to be put aside when it comes down to it. The workshop helped me to put the fears aside and just tell people what they need to know.

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