Facing the fears of public speaking

Communications teacher Dr. Cameron Carlson helps students branch out on ways to improve their public speaking skills

Kate Haney, JAG reporter/photographer

Public speaking is a fundamental skill that is needed to succeed in life. For some people however, speaking in front of a crowd is the scariest thing they can imagine. A way to face your fears of public speaking is by taking the communications class.

Going into detail about the class, communications teacher Dr. Cameron Carlson explained what students will do.

“​​The process of communications starts internally with yourself. So a lot of what I do at the very beginning helps students figure out how to hear and listen to somebody else,” Carlson said. “During first quarter, I have to make sure that they know how to work on themselves as a communicator and then how they work in interaction with others. Second quarter is more of speaking in front of the class and working well with others.”

Summarizing, junior Vincent Guess explained why he took the class.

“For me personally, I took communications because it goes extremely well with what I plan on majoring in college,” Guess said. “I also took it to improve my public speaking.”

Agreeing, sophomore Colson Knight described why he also took the class. 

“I’m taking this class because I want to pursue a career in journalism,” Knight said. “So a communications course would be helpful in the future.”

Carlson explained how communications class helps with public speaking.

“Communications class helps with public speaking because the students can slowly work up the courage to talk in front of the class. I have them start with speeches that are one to three minutes and as the class progresses, I have them do five to ten-minute speeches,” Carlson said. “It also helps students get to know each other and the more students are comfortable with each other, the easier it is for them to do their speeches. Another thing that helps is that I grade them on their ability to speak in front of others and not if they have their speech memorized. I would rather have them get better at speaking than have them read off a paper.”

Additionally, Knight talked about why he thought public speaking is important to learn.

“I do think that public speaking is something that should be taught in schools because you can’t avoid it. You’re going to have to give a big speech at some point in your life so learning how to manage it is very helpful,” Knight said. “Public speaking is important because it grows your confidence, which can improve other areas of yourself like your mental health.” 

Similarly to Knight, Guess expanded on why he believes that public speaking should be taught in school.   

“I do think that public speaking is very important, especially in today’s day and age. Learning how to speak in public and communicate better is important in trying to achieve the goals that you want to,” Guess said. “Public speaking is something that I see a lot of people struggle with, but learning how to do it effectively can help with any career path you choose.”

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