What Makes a good Speaker/Speech?
What makes a public speaker effective to me is how clearly they understand the topic and how they leave the audience feeling after they speak. They are an effective speaker if they provide the audience with a new perspective or with new insights, leaving the audience to ponder the subject. What makes a speech or presentation effective is the same thing, it depends how the audience leaves after, if they have learned or gained a deeper understanding. For example, from either the most boring or the most controversial topic can have the audience leave with a different mindset. If the topic is relatively boring, like rocks, the audience can still be enthralled by a riveting speech if the speaker is passionate, engaging, and offers new insight.
As a a speaker, I believe I have drastically improved in regards to confidence. My confidence is rarely genuine, but I learned how to fake it over the past year. I hope to eventually gain real confidence someday and not be self-conscious of my delivery or message I present. One of my main weaknesses as a speaker is elaborating or adding input off the top of my head without a script. Other than that, I could improve by learning to maintain more open body language. In my past, I have gained most of my experience as a president of a club and a speaker for Model United Nations. The most difficult was MUN because I had to act as a delegate of a foreign nation. I had to pretend to represent an entire culture and population and speak on their behalf. Yet, this is how I learned to fake confidence through finding a connection with a subject, even if it is an obscure one, and connecting with it to have passion when speaking about it.
Last Sunday was the first time I have ridden my bike outside of our class’s bike expeditions. I chose to visit the Conservatory of Flowers, since it was an especially sunny and beautiful day! Toembark on my journey, I rode my bike with some friends and we took a different route than our class’s usual route to Golden Gate Park. We decided to ride down Fulton as opposed to going through the Panhandle. We rode down Fulton all the way until we hit 6th Avenue. From 6th avenue, we made a left into Golden Gate Park. To my surprise, the usual roller skate park area was extremely busy with people. The mini roller skate track seemed to be really popular on the weekends! There was a diverse crowd of individuals of all backgrounds and ages, and these people were skating and dancing at the same time to music. This event seemed to attract a large crowd as well. There are noticeable disparities between the activity we typically witness in Golden Gate during our class sessions on Tuesdays and the sunny Sunday afternoons. From the roller skate park, we turned left to head towards the Conservatory, which was our final destination and also noticed many people laying out and picnicking in the grass we have ridden by many times. Overall, there is a lot more activity to be noticed while riding through Golden Gate Park during a sunny weekend than what we see in our Tuesday classes.
Reflecting upon my first project, there were few aspects of my speech that I felt confident in and more aspects that I felt needed improvement. For my project I assessed Nathan Ball’s credibility from his video, “Can a Bike Power a Blender?” After much research on my speaker, I know that one thing I did well was have a solid understanding of the information that I was presenting, but despite having all of the information, I know I could definitely improve on my delivery style. When I present, I find myself being more comfortable when I hold something while I speak, such as a paper. Yet, sometimes I find myself being too dependent on reading off of my paper and this can cause me to lose my audience’s interest if I do not seem engaged with them. In order to improve in the aspect of captivating my audience, I know I must work on my ability to not rely on a paper, or script, while presenting my speech. Once I can independently deliver a speech, I believe I can exude the right amount of passion to keep listeners interested.
After listening to all of my peers’ speeches, one that really stood out to me was Malia’s speech on the energy issues of Hawaii. I had no prior knowledge of any of the problems that Hawaii faced with their reusable energy crisis, but after listening to Malia’s speech, I felt like i had grasped a new concept and learned something completely new. Malia had a phenomenal delivery for her speech, she did not require any help from a paper, or notecards, and still had a seemingly flawless execution to me. She did not have any awkward pauses or moments of hesitation, instead she had amazing flow and a great tone of voice. Additionally, it was quite evident that Malia was very passionate about her topic, since she comes from Hawaii, and this also added to her own credibility as a speaker.
After listening to Malia’s speech and presenting my own, I compared them. I realized that there are many things she did that I would like to improve for myself. I would really like to exhibit the same passion that she did in my future speeches. I also want to work hard enough to get to a point where I do not need to hold a script while presenting so I can confidently deliver a speech without any awkward moments of hesitation and needing to get back on track.
Before my first conference with Professor Hunt, I had no direction regarding my project and was concerned about finding any interest that could be associated with bikes. Once I met with Professor Hunt, I learned that were obscure, yet feasible, ways to connect my own interests with bicycles. Speaking with him, eased my mind a lot about giving a five minute speech to the class. In general I am an extremely nervous person when giving speeches in front of a group of people, so I had many anxieties regarding our first project. Yet when I spoke with Professor Hunt he really broke down the process of the project. Once I had a clear understanding of the project and brainstormed some potential speech topics, I felt more confident in gathering my research and delivering my speech. One thing from my conference that really stood out to me was that Professor Hunt told me he was surprised when I said I was nervous about giving my speech, because he thought I was a confident speaker. This was a very relieving piece of feedback, as it signified that the fake confidence I had when giving speeches was working. This aided me in giving a little more real confidence toward my upcoming speech since it felt good to hear that my audience believed I was a confident speaker.
In class, we watched a video about why people should always wear helmets when riding bicycles. What is your opinion/ what is the position of the Bicycle Coalition on this issue? Do you think that the price of a helmet or the physical appearance of a helmet hold cyclists back from wearing them?
As an executive director of a non-profit, what are the different departments or areas of bicycling in the city that you oversee?
As the executive director of the SF Bicycle Coalition, have you witnessed any notably changes in the trends of bicycling overtime?9