During my senior year I took an OHG public speaking class, which was taught by Bill Solomonson, a speech professor at Oakland University. In the class we used the Over Night Guide to Public Speaking by Ed Wohlmuth, and Toastmasters materials. The class basically followed the Toastmasters curriculum. It’s a building block system where each speech stresses a different skill and builds upon the prior skills learned. We would read about the new skill and we watch video examples of people presenting speeches themed on that skill before writing our speech. During our class meetings we would spend the whole time presenting our speeches and giving and receiving feedback about them. I prepared and presented five different speeches: a speech about myself, a speech on the environmental threats to the Great Lakes, a speech on the dangers of artificial rewards, a speech on pursuing educational goals by any means available, and an inspirational speech about public speaking.
I learned a lot of public speaking skills from this course. I was able to refine my pacing and tone while speaking and get more comfortable maintaining eye contact with the audience. I also learned, with a bit of practice, to stop any awkward hands habits I had. Before the class I was already comfortable speaking to an audience, but the class has made me much more skilled at it. It was awesome to take this class and get freed-back from a university professor teaching one of his specialty subjects!