Friday, July 26, 2013

Red Leather, Yellow Leather

Today when we walked to class, it was sprinkling lightly, but strong enough for us to use our umbrellas. When we went to get breakfast, we figured out the dining hall had bagels! It was such a nice break from eggs.

After breakfast, we went to class and had a brief review of material before our guest speaker arrived. We discussed how most of the characteristics attributed to leaders are typically male characteristics, such as assertive and strong.
Our class today
Something that Dean Almandrez said that really had an effect on me was, "if you want to inspire others, you need to be inspirational." I think this is a good phrase off of which to go, because it shows how you can motivate not only yourself, but others as well.

Dean Almandrez then informed us that we can participate in "Dining with Dean Almandrez," which is a time at lunch or dinner when she will take us out to eat, and get to know more about each of us. I really want to participate in this.

Then our guest speaker, Jennifer, came to talk to us about public speaking. First we went over the basics of public speaking, which consist of projection, eye contact, body language, speech construction, the question and answer section, goal and audience, coherency, ethics, confidence, articulation, and filler words, and logos, ethos and pathos.

Jennifer explained that eye contact is the most important aspect of public speaking, because it engages your audience, and it is the number one way to appear confident. Also important is body language and movement, because you want to appear to be confident and comfortable, rather than nervous and uncomfortable. "It is important to move with purpose," Jennifer stated.

The first part of class was mostly discussion based, and Jennifer wrote the important aspects of public speaking on the board, and we defined each of them. In the middle of the lecture, we took a break to do some tongue twisters, which was fun. My favorites were "red leather, yellow leather, black leather, blue leather," and "the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the tip of the tongue, the lips, the teeth; enunciate, elaborate, exaggerate, mmh."

She also stated that public speaking is based 60% on the visuals, 30% on how you speak, and only a mere 10% on what you actually say. I found this a bit disheartening and disappointing, because I would much rather have people focus on the content of my speeches rather than the visual aspect that comes along with it.

We then talked about the Question and Answer section that will take place when we present our Action Plans next Friday. I was surprised to learn that there even was a Question and Answer section, and it intimidates me a little because of the fear of the unknown. It is scary to not know anything about the questions people might ask. In order to prepare for these questions, Jennifer told us to look at our Action Plans with negative eyes to formulate questions. It is important to understand if and why people may be resistant to our plans.

The next aspect we covered was organization. Speeches need to grab attention at the beginning, because the audience's first impression of the presenter is established in seven seconds. It's also helpful to open your speech with a narrative or statistic. Jennifer told us that it is important to establish a common ground with your audience, and end with conviction.
Study session!
When we came back from lunch, Jennifer split the class into two small groups, one lead by Dean Almandrez, and the other by Jennifer. In our small groups, we had to give impromptu speeches on either a random topic or our Action Plan. I chose to talk about my Action Plan. However, by the time it was my turn, the entire class had already come back, so it was a bit more intimidating with 24 sets of eyes on me as opposed to only 12. I got one minute to prepare my speech, which was really nerve-wracking. I felt like I didn't really utilize the full 60 seconds, and instead used it to worry. In the end, I think my speech turned out alright, as I heard a lot of positive feedback. While I was doing it, though, it was a bit scary, and I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job. Doing this speech reminded me of the Parliamentary Debate tournaments in which I participate during the school year. There are always four rounds, and during the first round, I always feel horrible about my performance, but by the fourth round, I've already warmed up, and I feel better about how I did. I think if I had to do another speech after the one on my Action Plan, I would have done better, because I would have had more time to get in my comfort zone and acclimate to the environment.
For dinner tonight, we went back to Siena with Ms. Neal. We talked about the program, and what we have enjoyed. It was fun to be back with the old gang.
(Left to Right) Michelle, Crystal and Shraddha.
Tomorrow is our first day in what seems like a while of not having class. I'm excited to get a chance to do some of the activities Brown offers during the day, because during the week, I can never attend because of the W&L class. I am a bit sad that we don't have class, though, because it is always my favorite part of the day.
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