Christian Grotewold On campus

Public Speaking

One of the many aspects of being in a liberal arts college is the fact that we are required to take certain classes. These classes are called "general education," and they vary from science to theatre. One of the courses that every student has to take at Wagner College is Public Speaking. It is a requirement because no matter what field you decide to go into, you will always have to speak in front of some group of people. If you are a scientist, you will have to present your findings to your partners and maybe leaders in the science world. If you are planning to become an entrepreneur, you will have to present your ideas to the executive board of a firm. Public speaking is one of the most fundamental things everyone must learn.

I have the pleasure of taking this class this semester, and I am taking it with one of my favorite professors at Wagner, Robert Williams. As usual, everyone was nervous at first, but the way he introduced the course made all those insecurities go away. He came to class with a smile on his face, his positive energy could be felt in the entire room, and his humor made everything even better. The first thing he told us was, "the first rule of public speaking, in this class, is... There are no rules." Quite a rule for public speaking, I may say! How could it be possible that there are no rules? But I understood what he meant once we gave our first speech, a speech about ourselves. He told us to get creative with it — come in through the window, stand on a table, sing a song, anything.

Professor Robert Williams
Professor Robert Williams

Our first speech went pretty well. You could tell who was a little shy, since they went last. But by the time it was their turn, they had seen all the crazy things the rest of the class had done, so they were not that nervous. Professor Williams told us the fears everyone has when giving our speeches, and the biggest one is fear of what people might think of us. In our class, there is no worry about critiques; we all have grown so fond of one another from the powerful and emotional speeches, that we only give suggestions as to what to do next.

I consider myself very confident, but there was always part of me afraid of giving speeches. Professor Williams was able to get rid of those insecurities. I truly believe that Wagner does the right thing by having this course as a requirement; not only do we learn how to be good public speakers, but we defeat our fears and learn how to control them. This class is one of my favorite classes I have taken so far at Wagner, and for those of you who are coming here, I highly recommend taking this class with professor Robert Williams.