Public Speaking Activity – First Week of Class

Getting students invested in a public speaking class on the very first day can present a challenge. They see fear, a job skill, and something that they can wing through if only they can get over their nervous stomach and stand up in front of their peers without puking.

How do you teach a student the value of a speech class?

Here’s a fun activity for early in the semester that I’ve used successfully:

1. Assign students to search the web for the cheapest public speaking lesson, class, seminar or workshop. The class cannot be from a college or university such as a continuing ed program, the University of Phoenix, etc.

2. Identify the cost, hours to complete, assignments, topics covered, credentials of the instructor, and opportunities for practice and evaluation/critique.

3. In class, review and discuss the courses, finding the cheapest, best quality course available. Typically, the instructor credentials are sketchy, the courses are video or audio, the face-to-face courses are costly, and the content is slim, and any practice or evaluation is focused on delivery.

4. Compare the synthesis of online findings to the syllabus, including the cost of your school’s tuition for the class. Unless you teach at a private school, your class will most likely be cheaper, and even if your school is more expensive, your class likely offers more substance, the instructor will be more credentialed, and your class will offer more practice and feedback.

5. Let your students know that you could charge a lot of money as a speech coach, but that you are following your bliss.

Note:  I discovered the general activity by surfing around, and then I extended it. I wish I could remember the site so I could acknowledge the creator whose idea I re-mixed.

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