One of my greatest fears is speaking in front of an audience. The majority of the human species would definitely agree that public speaking is not all that enjoyable. My heart begins to accelerate and my level of nervousness increases just thinking about it. Having said this, it may shock you to hear that I took part in this year’s Annual Public Speaking Contest at Rider.
Six students competed for the first-place award. The competition consisted of an informative speech delivery on April 15 and a persuasive speech on April 22. Two students were eliminated after the first round, leaving four to compete for first place. The judges who made this competition possible were professors of communication Dr. Myra Gutin, Dr. Sheena Howard and Dr. Minmin Wang, along with the Pearson Company, which has funded the contest the past few years.
I was so happy to hear that my efforts paid off. And that I was honored with the first place award. At the beginning of the contest, it was not clear who would win because every speaker was great. Everyone’s styles and topics greatly differed making it very difficult to compare the quality of content. With so much amazing talent, at first, I was not sure I had a shot of winning. This only made me try harder, practice more, research thoroughly and give it every effort I had.
Most people with a fear like mine would not even think of joining such a competition. However, I decided to force myself to take part because of my grandfather who passed away on April 2. Before he did, he told me never to let my fear or the possibility of failure keep me from trying something I had a talent or passion for. I promised him that day that I would try my best and be a part of the Annual Public Speaking Contest. During both speeches I wore his necklace as my good luck charm.
My entire experience in the contest was a great one. I now have more confidence in myself as well as less fear of speaking in front of an audience. Many do not enjoy giving speeches because they fear not doing well and the possibility of being ridiculed. We tend to not recognize the value within ourselves and magnify it in others. This competition has allowed me to see my capabilities and show them to those around me.
I would definitely recommend others be a part of contests showcasing talents of different majors like this one. The feeling of accomplishment will surely change a student’s outlook on his or herself. Start showing off what you’ve got.
Freshman journalism major
Printed in the 4/26/13 edition.