By Mike Kilen
CUU Information Office
Loudjine Pierre Louis faced with a common dilemma, even for a communication major.
When asked to speak to a crowd, she was so nervous that she shivered just thinking about it.
But after taking the stage as a karaoke host at Thunderground at Grand Canyon University, Pierre-Louis recalled what she had learned at GCU’s Public Speaking Lab.
She confidently grabbed the mic after a singer finished and turned to the crowd.
“Oh my God!” Pierre-Louis cried. “It’s a cure for depression.”
The crowd cheered, the show continued.
He was told how to navigate the potentially frightening experience of one of the many Lopes Live Labs on campus that help students with various aspects of their studies and development.
“I was extremely neurotic and Josh danaher told me to turn that into excitement, ”said Pierre-Louise.
Danaher, assistant professor of communications, and other faculty members occupy the public speaking lab in room 203 of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building for two hours, three days a week, to help students talk in public.
Fear of public speaking is the most common phobia, and the National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia, affects about 73% of the population.
“Because public speaking isn’t just about speaking,” Danaher said. “It’s a question of relationship. We are critical of ourselves and concerned about social judgment. It’s social status. “If I’m not doing well in this area, I’m not a good person, I’m not smart, and I won’t get the job.”
“It comes from the idea of wanting to be seen as competent. “
Danaher tries to ease the anxiety – it’s only a few minutes of your life – before tackling the mechanics of a good presentation or a good speech.
“What we offer is everything from selecting a subject to practicing and polishing an oral performance, and everything in between,” he said.
He helped Pierre-Louis analyze his task: how was the event organized and what was expected?
As the transition from one singer to another, she had to focus on criticizing the previous singer and previewing the next one in a series of mini-speeches. “My advice to her was to be systematic about these transitions and how you move at night,” he said.
Pierre-Louis said that refining her introduction and responses and using the public speaking resources provided by Danaher helped her do well.
“Halfway through, I was more excited than nervous,” she said.
The Lab is the result of the focus on public speaking over the past decade on campus, from building a successful speech and debate team to a speaking class at Honors College. and a new club of distinguished speakers.
Danaher said she looked at extracurricular speaker development models and did a “soft launch” for the lab in the fall. He hopes the news spreads during the spring semester and that the lab becomes a vital resource for developing public speaking skills.
Skills are important for in-person and virtual interactions that require attention to both vocal and non-verbal aspects, he said. “For me the most important part of speaking in public is the attention to detail and formal structure that comes with being in front of a diverse audience.”
In public speaking, the topic is broken down for clarity and adjusted to the occasion and the audience. It’s a performance, but it requires research and writing upstream.
“I’ve often had public speaking students tell me they make better newspaper editors,” Danaher said.
Danaher provided further information on public speaking:
- “Some parts of speech seem awkward and repetitive. You preview your main point with similar wording in the topic sentences, a stereotypical way of unpacking each point, and then summarize them at the end. As a speaker it seems repetitive. But for the audience, the key is to create something to be heard and not read. You want them to understand, but you want them to remember.
- “It’s a balance between being systematic and being creative. This is the biggest part of public speaking. You might have students who are naturally good at public speaking and let that talent carry them into a performance, but who aren’t very detailed to make a clear pitch. So we’re really working on the organization and the research, the foundation and the discipline of public speaking.
- “What’s the occasion, what’s the ethics here, and what are you trying to accomplish?” For example, I hope the students will bring toast for weddings. I can work on their wedding toast.
- “The other thing is the idea of the speaking servant. Speeches are a way of serving. We talk about speeches as some kind of gift, so every choice you make should be audience-centered.
Public speaking skills are needed in all facets of our personal lives and education. Engineers or scientists must also make presentations.
Or karaoke hosts.
“I even got compliments,” said Pierre-Louis. “If it hadn’t been for the lab, I wouldn’t have been as good. It was amazing. “
Grand Canyon University Senior Writer Mike Kilen can be contacted at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
What: Public speaking lab
Or: Room 203, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (Building 16)
When: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Fridays, resumed in January
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