Self-Reflection on Public Speaking Competencies
Proficient speakers often make speaking in public seem easy and effortless; however, this is not always the case. Advanced public speaking requires time and dedication towards improving one’s skills and competencies and continuous practice to enhance confidence when addressing audiences. Pursuing this course has helped me improve in these areas and prepared me significantly for my future. While the course has been impactful in inculcating multiple competencies, I perceive growth in core public speaking competencies such as organization and structure and using supporting materials as the core elements for this reflection.
The first competency for this discussion is organization and structure. This competency refers to the manner in which information is structured and arranged in public speaking to create a coherent flow of ideas. Speeches can take different organizational patterns, including chronological, topical, spatial, and Monroe’s motivated sequences. When choosing a pattern for their speech, speakers must consider the nature of their claims, the audience’s attitude, and the kind of response they wish to provoke among the audience. Organization and structure are crucial in public speaking because they enhance the speaker’s credibility and the audience’s understanding of the information being conveyed.
As I reflect on my informative speech, it is evident that I utilized the available organizational patterns to structure it and meet its purpose of persuading the audience on the importance of getting the Covid-19 booster vaccine. Most importantly, I chose the topical organization pattern, which entails the logical division of a broad idea into smaller subcategories. In my observation, this organization pattern best fit my speech topic, which was wide and required logical division into smaller concepts that the audience could understand. Besides, the nature of the topic, informative speech, deemed it fit for this organization structure. I found this pattern valuable in helping the audience follow through the speech, characterized by several ideas tied together through transition sentences. Overall, I feel that the chosen organization and structure helped accomplish the intended purpose despite the challenges involved in creating effective transition sentences that would help build a logical flow of the primary ideas.
Besides my informative speech, I also selected an appropriate organization pattern for my persuasive speech. The speech’s purpose was to persuade my audience about the value of coral reefs, bring to their attention how they are dying and offer solutions to fix the problem. For this speech, I chose Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and followed the pattern’s five steps; attention, need, satisfaction, visualization, and action. I observed that this organization pattern fit my speech and allowed me to persuade my audience by bringing to their attention the issue at hand using credible sources and emphasizing what they could do to solve the problem.
I believe both the informative and persuasive speeches effectively demonstrated organization and structure competency. In both scenarios, I chose speech patterns that fit the focus topic, which helped accomplish the speech’s purpose. However, I feel that my knowledge of what speech pattern to choose for the different topics grew more significantly when creating the informative speech. Besides growth in this competency, I have learned several lessons I could apply in future presentations. Most notably, I have learned that different topics assume different structures; therefore, choosing an effective pattern that fits the subject and conveys the message coherently is crucial. I also learned that selecting an effective organization pattern is key to accomplishing the purpose of the speech.
The second competency I wish to discuss is the use of supporting materials. As the name suggests, supporting materials are resources that provide evidence, support the speech’s thesis, and strengthen the main points. Speakers have various supporting materials to choose from, including examples, data, and testimonies. These supporting materials are valuable in public speaking because they help the speaker to make a convincing case before the audience, clarify and emphasize the points and attain the purpose of their speech.
One of the primary observations about using supporting materials during my informative speech was their extensive use. Most importantly, facts or data, examples, and expert testimony were broadly used to support the central and subpoints. These supporting materials were also well-cited and derived from credible sources such as government websites, newspaper reports, and journal articles.
Unlike the informative speech, fewer supporting resources were used during the persuasive speech. Nevertheless, these materials were used at decent levels to emphasize the primary points in the persuasive speech. In my observation, the supporting materials were reasonably used during the persuasive speech to support the proposed solutions for the identified problem.
Undoubtedly, my informative speech more effectively demonstrated the discussed competency. I used multiple supporting resources, which enhanced the credibility of the presentation. I also vastly used the available resources to emphasize the primary points and drive the audience to believe in the information I was relaying.
Completing the different speeches taught me several lessons about using supporting materials I can use in the future. Firstly, a good rule of thumb is to support each main point with substantial supporting materials to create a well-research and exciting speech. These materials may include data, testimonies, and examples. Secondly, it is crucial to balance the variety of supporting materials used during a speech; avoid too much numerical data and the heavy reliance on mere examples.
Overall, I perceive that I have grown considerably as a speaker since the start of the term. Most importantly, I have gained more confidence in giving public presentations, enhanced the use of balanced evidence to support my presentations, and organized and structured my speech to build flow and coherence. However, I feel that there are several aspects of public speaking I will continue to develop in the future, such as improving my non-verbal cues and vocal delivery to enhance the delivery of my presentations. Lastly, I wish to advise others in this field to grow diverse speaking competencies because they all play a significant role in communicating with others and relaying change information that may foster community progress.