Ummm, You have to umm be confident, like yeah

Are you serious??? Is pretty much what went through my head all yesterday listening to a round of speeches by students on their future career. Some quick background information, currently I am taking a public speaking class, and the class admittedly is pretty boring for me as I did debate in high school. The class is a basic introduction to public speaking, how to speak and gaining some quick and dirty practice speaking in front of an audience. So no one here is expected to be an expert public speaker or even in all honesty a decent public speaker. However this last round of speeches made me question some students’ choice in their career field and their logical capabilities.

The first set of speeches were okay, mainly because the students were allowed to use multiple note cards for the speech. Although granted the majority just read from the note cards for most of the time, the speeches were acutally pretty decent for a first time speech. The next round of speeches have just gone downhill. The students are only allowed one note card for a 4-5 minute speech and the problems just increased like crazy.

We have speeches that run on and on, for over 6 minutes in one case. Which you lose points for going over the time limit. Also we have speeches that have logic that is simply indescribable. For instance one student mentioned that to do well in this field you had to be outgoing and a desire to meet people and “that unless you’ve lived in a cave for the last 10 years you can do that.” Ummm in case you haven’t heard there are a whole group of people called introverts that are the exact opposite of outgoing and they really are not a small portion of the population or live in caves. In fact we even talked about these sort of people in our class and discussed some of the research into introverted and extroverted personalities so you have no excuse for not knowing these people exist.  Or the person who discussed a field that has exactly 3 schools that specialize in it and isn’t growing at all because the field by it’s very nature is basically stagnant. If this person had done any sort of research they would have realized this and not said that it was growing because well there was no reason given, but it was growing. The one that personally took the cake was the student who used their mother as a credible expert. Really your mom is a credible expert, what are her credentials, oh she doesn’t have any, thanks but no thanks.

My overall favorite though was the several marketing majors who described confidence as an important aspect to their job and yet were obviously unconfident in giving their respective presentations. They destroyed their entire creditability in one sentence without a single person having to think at all. It was horrifying on some levels. The sad thing is that it wasn’t just one person who did it, multiple marketing people got up in front of the class looked scared and nervous like you wouldn’t believe and then said that to do marketing you had to be confident.

I’m writing this hoping that at some point I will understand what drives people to miss these glaring problems in their speeches as well as try and come to term with how some people truly decide on their field of study in college.

Justin Yost is a full-time Software Engineer and a part time educator. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in computer science, Justin relishes programming and learning more about anything and everything. When not working, Justin occasionally gives talks at the local PHP Meetup. In his free time, Justin enjoys backpacking and reading science fiction books.

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