I Do Not Like Giving Speeches

I wrote this after spending four hours writing a six-page paper evaluating my performance and improvement in public speaking based on two videotaped speeches. I did not think much of my performance. Before the second speech, I had a mental breakdown, and I have been consuming large amounts of chocolate ever since.

The assignment for this paper was to write a page of prose or poetry describing a feeling or a scene using the six literary devices described in our textbook and to read the paper in front of the class. I had fun and spent about an hour writing this. It was a smashing hit. Things are getting better.

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I Do Not Like Giving Speeches

Joanna D.

Fall ’10

I do not want to give a speech. Giving a speech is like standing before a court-martial. You stand on the stage, and an audience of judges waits for you to give a reason for being there. They don’t say anything—it would almost be better if they did. They just look at you. Their eyes bore into your soul. The eyes! The eyes! They are daggers in the hands of your enemies. Unless you have mental defenses, you will stutter. Unless you have practiced, you will pause. Unless you have a sense of humor, you will fail. In fact, I feel ready to fall!

My legs have turned into quivering piles of jello, my bladder is bursting, and I feel ready to throw-up! My posture has collapsed. And my hands? I am no longer in control of my hands. Right now they are probably saying something very rude in sign language. However, since my brain stopped functioning the moment I heard the words, “You can give your speech now.” that is probably the least of my worries. Since standing up here, I seem to have acquired a singular stutter.

Still, as I stand on stage looking down at my audience, I do not want to fail. I want to conquer! They are looking at me! I do not want them to look at me! So I glare back at them, but when I glare at them, I encounter the eyes, which I had been trying to avoid. The eyes are something very different from what I thought they were. I thought the eyes were daggers. I thought they were spears, but they are not. The eyes are understanding. The eyes are hope. These are my eyes too. So I look into the eyes and I stand straighter. I look into the eyes and I stop shaking. I look into the eyes and I cease stuttering. The eyes and I are in this together now. We will finish this course and this semester and this year. I will no longer be afraid to stand on stage and speak because now even my greatest enemy has turned out to be my friend.

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