Faith in Action

The Importance of Public Speaking

David Ashman, Staff Writer

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CEO positions, reporters, PR departments, and members of congress, are some of the many jobs in today’s society that require good public speaking skills.

Public speaking is all about taking your knowledge about a topic, and presenting it in an interesting way to others. It also teaches you how to collect information and organize it in a way that others can understand it.

Unfortunately public speaking is one of the hardest skills to learn, the main reason being that many people have a fear of speaking in front of others. Around 75% of the population has some level of anxiety from public speaking, according to a statistic by on June 18, 2018. Because of this, many high school have been working public speaking into their curriculum.

Many classes in high schools will have students recite poems, give a speech, act out a scene from a play or book, or give a PowerPoint presentation about a topic. Also there is a wide variety of skills that are offered at high schools in the form of electives, clubs, or other extracurricular activities. These activities often include things like advanced electronics work, public speaking, medical and health, and much more. One of the most essential activities offered, is public speaking.

By learning public speaking in high school, students will have already had practice with communicating with others. This can open up new job opportunities, as putting four years of forensics public speaking on your resume can give you an edge over others when applying for a job.

Public speaking will not only effective your future, but it could have an impact in your high school career and help to get you into a good college. According to The American Debate League, “While only 50 percent of high school students in urban schools graduate, ninety percent of urban high school debaters graduate… They also score better on ACT and SAT tests, get into better colleges, and perform better once in college.”

Public speaking can also get you good jobs after you have finished college. An example is a teacher. Teachers need to be able to speak to groups of kids and their parents. This includes practiced talks that are given to the class, or “impromptu” conversations with parents. Often in lower grades, teachers will need to give demonstrations to students so they understand what they have to do. Another example of a job like this is a reporter. As a reporter, you need to be able to approach random people and ask them questions about stories or issues that you are covering. You also have to be able to get good interviews out of important individuals, such as company CEOs, political figures, and celebrities. Another example of when you would use public speaking in a career is if you are running for any political position. In an election, you are expected to give speeches that can be heard by the entire country, as well as taking questions from random citizens. Without public speaking skills, running for a political position will be challenging, as you might freeze up or simply be unable to answer a question if asked without notice.

One major extracurricular activity that helps with public speaking is high school forensics. Forensics offers the opportunity to perform in a number of different events, such as multiple, where 5–8 students perform a 15 minute re-enactment of a movie, musical, or play. Another event is sales, where students use an easel to present visuals and other information about a product, while giving an 8 minute prepared speech. Extemporaneous speaking is also a category. This event allows students to choose from three different current event topics selected at random, and pick one of them to write a speech on. Students are given thirty minutes to prepare a seven minute, three point speech.

Forensics in Michigan is ran by the Michigan Interscholastic Forensics Association, also know as MIFA. Schools can enter their teams into competition and compete throughout the months of January till May. Teams usually form and start practicing in November. This gives students a lot of practice with speaking.

By competing in these events, students learn about current events, or other things that interest them. It also helps teach students responsibility. By competing in forensics events at the high school level, students will be better prepared for future jobs where they have to talk to strangers or groups of people. This also helps with colleges, as students are able to get large or full-ride scholarships if they do well in forensics, depending on what college they are attending. By participating in Forensics public speaking, students will learn valuable skills for the future.

An example of a successful Forensics team is Divine Child High School’s team. The team is open to all grades, and no prior experience is required. When students join the team, they practice almost every night in their category. The coaches for the team are made up of alumni, so those who join the team will have good teachers to hone their speaking skills. Starting in January, the team will begin competing against other schools in the area, organized by MIFA. At these tournaments, students will compete three times in the morning to qualify for a semifinal, and the final, round. These tournaments are great practice, as students will have to speak in front of groups of people, giving them practice to future jobs or presentations.

By using public speaking in high school, students are less likely to have problems with speaking in college or in future jobs. This makes students more effective, as by learning to speak in front of strangers, they are preparing themselves for the future, and giving them an advantage over others when applying for colleges or for jobs.

Now there is a movement out there that proposes that public speaking be optional in high school. This is mainly due to the anxiety and stress many students feel when they are forced to speak in front of their classmates, as students are often required to present a project or discuss a topic in front of the class. A lot of students feel that they shouldn’t be forced to do things that are uncomfortable to them, and many are uncomfortable with public speaking. While many do feel that this is a good option, it isn’t. Most jobs require you to interact with strangers, such as being a cashier, working at a restaurant as a waiter, and many more. If you do not have any public speaking experience in high school, these jobs can be challenging, as you may freeze up or stumble more than others who do have experience with public speaking.

While many students do get anxiety over speaking in front of their peers and teachers, it is important that teachers make students practice these skills during high school. During high school, many students will get their driver’s license, allowing them to gain access to more job opportunities. Having public speaking experience in the early years of high school can bring benefits when applying for a job in junior and senior years. By giving class presentations, reciting poetry, discussing a novel, explaining history, and participating in class discussions, high school students learn how to feel comfortable speaking to people, and the ability to keep a conversational tone while doing so. When applying for a job, it is a good thing for managers to hear that you are not afraid of speaking to customers about any issues or questions that they have.

Public speaking in high school can only benefit students. Despite it causing stress among some students, it is necessary to learn good communication skills before going into college or applying for a job, as without this experience, others who do will have an edge over you when applying for college or interviewing for a job. By practicing public speaking in an activity like forensics will help you in the long run, as speaking in front of others, while uncomfortable at first, will ultimately benefit you. With forensics, you can practice your skills with your teammates, allowing you to become a better speaker.


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The Importance of Public Speaking