Thursday, January 28, 2010

Public Speaking Essay 3

This is the third and final paper that I turned in to my professor of communication, Lou Bruno at Finger Lakes Community College in Newark NY. I believe he was once again very pleased at my awesomeness. Read on, and enjoy it immensely!

Lou Bruno

Public Speaking

Progress Report

by Josiah Teal

When in the course of personal events it became necessary to take a public speaking class, my first thoughts were that of a nervous excitement. I had never really spoken in front of many people before and that fact made me rather nervous. On the other hand, I thought that the opportunity to have all attention on me while I rhapsodize about this and that, all the while impressing my own opinions and getting my point heard would be quite an opportunity.

My first speech was to be an introduction of myself. Rather than taking the traditional route of revealing my hometown, favorite color, favorite food, etc., I chose rather, to explain my personality using an interesting story from my past. Whatever excitement I may have felt prior to getting up in front of the class disappeared as soon as I realized that I now had to remember everything I was going to talk about and get it all out in the right order and in a manner that people would understand all while being critiqued by not only my professor, but by the entire class. I shook with nervous fear. I had to set my paper with the notes down on the desk in front of me because I was shaking too much. I stumbled over words and probably looked really goofy. I became more relaxed as my story progressed. I finished and made my way back to my seat.

The second speech was informative in nature and for it I chose the topic of amateur filmmaking. Having done extensive research on this topic I thought it would turn out pretty well. My experience in this area is largely limited to getting phone calls from friends who wanted to shoot a movie and then, upon arriving at the location of the shoot, realizing that they had done no planning. Nothing would ever get done that way. While delivering the speech I focused on being more relaxed in front of the audience and, while there still was a slight nervous fear remaining, I didn’t let it overpower me. I kept to my topic, all the while trying to limit my urges to expound unnecessarily. I decided to spice the speech up with some lame humor (the kind I’m best at) just to keep everyone interested. My efforts seemed to pay off quite nicely.

For my third speech, the persuasive speech, I chose the topic of gun control. Having recently had a letter published in the newspaper and knowing the argument pretty well, I decided this topic would suit me best. I felt the need to use some visual aids for this presentation but, as you could probably guess, visual aids for a speech on the harmful effects of gun control would be… tricky. I decided that it was time to learn how to use Microsoft Power Point. I put together a simple presentation that I assumed would be easy for the audience to follow. I sat at the computer during the presentation and shouted across the room to the class about this and that. My confidence in the subject decreased as I knew that there was some controversy surrounding what I was saying. I should have stayed my ground seeing as I has the statistics right in front of me and knew the subject well. I used words like “evidently” and “apparently” when I should have used words like “proved” and “without a doubt.” I paused to gather my thoughts at times. Overall however, I think it came out decently. I had expected to do much better but in the end I believe it was acceptable.

In the future I expect to be doing much better. As my confidence increases and as I get to know the members of the audience better my speaking skills should improve. I expect to let the words flow off my tongue like… butter off a hot pancake… or something like that. I am actually looking forward to my final speech the most, as I get to tell everybody how I’m going to become famous and sign autographs for everyone.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Public speaking Essay 2

Again, no official score for this... paper... but my professor was pleased. He circled the last paragraph and wrote "Very good point."

Lou Bruno

Public Speaking

Comparing Speeches:

MLK and Barack Obama

by Josiah Teal

When analyzing the Inaugural (State of the Nation?) Address given by President Barack Obama to Congress, one notices the sense of hope for the future that is brought out in his speech. This is not the first time a speech was given proclaiming hope for America during hard times. Almost a half a century ago, another man gave a passionate speech of hope and optimism for future generations. In his epically famous speech to a cheering crowd in the city of Washington D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the end of oppression for the black community in America.

The similarities the two speeches share are definitely apparent. Both speakers are hopeful that the future of this country will begin to brighten once again, and both speakers are trying to take this country out of hard times. In much the same way the black community looked to King to lead them out of the dark and trying times, many people now are eagerly looking to Obama to single-handedly slay the evil dragon of depression that looms ominously in the shadows and soon thereafter, rain down daisies and butterfly’s all across the land. Everyone will hold hands and sing about cheerfulness all day long and never again will we have to worry about hard times, because there is no need to fear, The Great Obama is here!

While the similarities between the two speeches are evident, there are also many differences. King’s speech still holds the power to move me and I’m a white guy! Obama’s address, while hopeful and optimistic, lacks the level of inspiration the King speech was graced with. Obama’s speech came across more as an instruction manual and progress report than as an inspirational speech. While Obama can speak well and fluently in front of his audience, he failed to affix my attention in the same manner as MLK had done.

An explanation for these differences might come in the form of setting. King was speaking in front of a very large immediate audience out in the open air. While properly equipped with microphones and speakers for projecting his message, the setting was fit for speaking loudly and yelling at key points in the message. While King could feel completely comfortable yelling out “free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we’re free at last!” an outburst like this would have been entirely misplaced during an address to Congress.

When comparing two speeches, one must remember to not only take note of the differences, but also understand the reasons behind these differences. MLK delivered quite a powerful message to his audience that day. It was a message that still inspires to this day. But when comparing it to an congressional address, I don’t think it entirely fair. The Address delivered by President Obama was not meant to be inspirational, and Obama hadn’t planned on college students analyzing his speech based on the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Public Speaking Essay 1

I have decided that this blog needs some therapy. So, as an experiment, I will begin to slap some of my college projects and essays up here. Hopefully they are satisfactory.

The following is an essay...ish thing... that I wrote for my public speaking class. I never got an official "score" for this, but my professor was pleased with my writing.

Lou Bruno

Public Speaking

Suspected US Missile Strike Sparks Controversy

by Josiah Teal

Last Saturday, a suspected Taliban stronghold in Pakistan was leveled to the ground, killing 27 and sparking an outcry throughout the Islamic world. The US are believed to be responsible for the attack, which came mere days after 8 Taliban rebels from inside Pakistan stormed an official building in Kabul Afghanistan killing 20 people.

Although Pakistan is claiming to be fighting a war against these extremists inside its borders, warnings are being given to the US to stay out of Pakistan’s business. They also claim that the suspected militants killed in Saturdays attack were mostly civilians. I am of the opinion that many times militants will dress like civilians so that when they are killed, people will say that the US is killing innocent people, causing a further rally for support in the fight against the West. In the war that Israel fought with the Hamas, militants used human shield tactics as well as hiding AK-47’s beneath their clothing to appear as civilians.

I am not claiming that this is the case with the Pakistani missile strike, but I will not rule out the possibility. Islamic guerrilla warfare has been known to involve clever deception to achieve goals.

Despite the claim that many victims of Saturdays attacks were civilians, some officials also believe that many were also militants. These officials however, were not speaking with permission from the Pakistani government.

The missile strikes are supposed to fuel extremism throughout the Muslim and Middle Eastern world. The US however, brushes off this claim without much thought. In my opinion, many of these militants will use any excuse they can in becoming more violent towards the US and the western world.

I am also of the opinion that the US is sloppy with attacks such as this; when Israel carries out these types of attacks throughout the world, they are so utterly embarrassing for the other party that they will not even make the news. Israel once took out an Iranian Uranium enrichment facility inside Syria guarded by the newest Russian-made missile defense network with such precision that it shocked everyone involved. The event was swept under the rug because it was too embarrassing for Iran, and too scary for Russia. Israel carries out attacks like this with regularity, yet they never make the headlines. Maybe we should take notes?

To sum it up, US attacks spark controversy. Anytime America defends herself it will spark controversy. Terrorists use anything they can to gain support. This includes surrounding their facilities with civilians. America should learn how to perform controversial militaristic actions from Israel, because they never get caught.