When faced with the daunting duty of giving a speech, scared students begin to beg for snakes, heights, and germs instead of standing in front of their peers and presenting. A required course for undergraduates at many universities – including Clemson – public speaking is seen as a terrifying task to many. However, the majority of college students are unaware of the benefits that a communication course provides – regardless of any prior experience and major.
1. Power of Persuasion
Whether you are an engineer or an economics major – you will be required at some point to convince, control, and motivate others to change their beliefs, intentions, and attitudes. These skills can be sharpened when taking a communications course, because they typically include a unit about persuasive speeches. It is in these classes where you will learn important factors for effective persuasion – such as body language, establishing your ethos, and appealing to the audience. Being able to sway people’s mindsets will lead to great successes in both professional and personal aspects of your life – from a big business deal going your way to something as simple as persuading someone to grab you a coffee before class.
2. Ability to Inform
Another essential speaking skill taught in college-level communication courses is the ability to present informative speeches. Learning how to effectively communicate knowledge without information gaps to an audience will benefit you in all aspects of life – your relationships, extracurriculars, and especially your career. Without these skills, your hefty tuition bill and countless all-nighters are useless if you are unable to communicate the information you spent so much time learning. The decade spent studying to become a doctor serves no purpose if you cannot speak to a patient or a fellow nurse. Frustration may occur if you are unable to efficiently explain the new operating system to your coworkers. Being an organized, credible and capable speaker is incredibly important in all disciplines, and a public speaking class can assist in building a strong speaking foundation.
While speaking is an integral part of communication courses, the time spent seated and not standing in front of students is just as significant. Public speaking courses offer valuable lessons on listening that can carry you far in any career. Listening, and not just hearing, will lead you to better understand others and their expectations for you. Many professionals would consider listening a paramount strength to have before entering the workforce. It will also make you a better presenter because of your experience seated, in front of the podium. Having the ability to analyze your audience to appropriately adjust your message, tone, and delivery will transform you from a good speaker to an excellent one.
4. Confidence Booster
Regardless of your prior public speaking experience or major, there is no better feeling than knowing you just crushed a speech – in or out of the classroom. It is no secret speeches are tough and getting a great grade on one can be a needed boost to your self-confidence. With a few speeches under your belt, you will soon be feeling better about your creativity, writing, and speaking skills.
Before you panic, groan, or drop the class – consider the benefits of taking a public speaking course. In a mere semester, you will learn a new skill to carry with you in your relationships, internships, and future careers. College students can unknowingly close themselves off in major-specific courses and choosing to enroll in a communication class can lead to new friends, opinions, and attitudes that may alter your academic experience forever. So, choose to diversify and dare to register for a public speaking course – you never know how far it will take you!