Giving a 4 to 6 minute speech isn’t easy. Finding a topic and presenting it in a way that keeps the audience involved compounded with dealing with your nerves can prove an impossible task for many. Presenting my speech on the last of three days added to the pressure and eased it at the same time. Since the professor does not require attendance during presentation period if you have already gave your speech, the audience of students was down to 1/5 in attendance. Only two students showed up on the last day other than those who had not presented. They were international students. Sisters from Mongolia. They both gave excellent speeches despite being non-native English speakers. One, had their speech memorized from top to bottom.
It’s right before spring break. Giving yourself an extra week of time off could have been an incentive to go on day one. But, the professor was upset. He’s an intense guy. Usually in a super chill way. His reaction was kind of surprising. He threatened to not bring the critique/grades on the speeches of those who didn’t show up the last two days when we return from break and he threatened to take away more than the usual participation points that are missed when absent.
One student who presented on day one, returned on day two. After seeing the grade, they left class immediately. On day three, another student told me what happened. The professor gave the student 27 points out of 75, and dropped the class. Most likely, they were hoping for a better grade. She had a powerpoint presentation. But honestly, it was a mediocre speech. Still, this did not help with my own nerves.
I’m pretty sure I covered the major requirements:
- I stayed within the timeline.
- My outline cited more than the requirement and I verbally cited more than required.
- Topic: I talked about the graduation rates and the chances of transferring at my community college. The rates are dismal.
- Intro: I explained that I’m a sociology major. (Really, it’s “Liberal Arts with Emphasis in Behavioral & Social Sciences.” But sociology is easier to say. ) I compared the survival rate of passengers on the sinking of the Titanic to the graduation rate at my school. (The Titanic wins.) Then, I went into the summarizing the main points of the speech.
- Body: I used the board at the front of the class to write down the numbers. Detailed explanation of those points-
- I broke down the matriculation rates of students by race after two years in attendance. After two years, students completing 12-transferrable units or more, range from 7.5% to 15.5%
- I compared my CC with other schools in the area. The one I attend is the lowest.
- Then, I showed how of those who do graduate, most do not continue to a 4-year university. And I pointed out that the school has the lowest amount of transfers to that big name university located just a few blocks away.
- Conclusion: I summarized what I just said in the body. I brought back the Titanic ratio. I told the audience that statistics can be faulty, leaving out variables. My last line came down to this: “So, if you going down on a sinking ship, it’s better to be a crew member-who knew the boat inside and out and the fastest way to get to the nearest lifeboat.
I think I did ok despite editing as I gave the speech. It was way too long! Writing on the board takes a long time. The professor seemed to have a good response when I was done. He suggested that giving a handout on this would have been good. I don’t know if that means I should expect points taken off because I didn’t do that. What I noticed that needed improvement was the amount of time with back to the audience and being a little rushed to fit it all in. We’ll see how it goes.