I was once an arguably terrible public speaker. I was also a fairly mediocre writer. I knew what I wanted to say in my head, but once I got up in front of people I froze up. My anxiety was getting in the way of my public speaking.
This changed last year when I joined my university’s forensic speech and debate team. I reasoned that if I got the practice I would become a better speaker. I was right.
When I first joined, I wasn’t expecting much of anything. I didn’t intend to participate in the debate portion of the competitions. I mainly was there to work on informative and persuasive speaking. Then, at a practice competition, someone needed a teammate so I filled in. This is what started my success in both public speaking and in writing.
For some background, in a parliamentary debate, it is a team of two against another team. One team is the government and the other is the opposition. The government chooses a resolution from two choices and they must argue for the affirmative. The opposition’s job is to prove the government wrong. It is a competitive format that involves a lot of structure that I won’t go into right now.
The fact that it is competitive is what helped me develop my skills. I taught myself to articulate my arguments in a way that was persuasive. I learned to disprove other’s arguments by finding gaps in logic. These gaps in logic are sometimes called “logical fallacies.” An example of a logical fallacy is an “ad hominem” fallacy, meaning an attack on the person. This is a failure in logic because it is an attack on the credibility of an individual rather than their argument.
Public Speaking and Writing- The Relationship
Writing, speaking, and debate all have something in common. That commonality is language. They make us more comfortable in articulating our thoughts into speech or print. For me, public speaking is another form of practice. Since I have started, I don’t really get nervous about public speaking any longer. The way that I convey my thoughts, as well as my vocabulary, have significantly improved.
Writers have a tendency to keep to themselves as it is a very solitary activity. You don’t really need anyone else to write which is part of what makes it great. It is just you and your thoughts. This is all well and good, but I believe practicing speech can help writers hone their craft. It is something that stretches the mind in a different way. You get to see if something is resonating with your audience up front and personal. It’s possible to see what kind of speech or language is drawing a reaction and what isn’t. Speaking is a chance to practice your craft in order to make your writing better.
Be It Resolved Today…
Joining my university’s forensic speech and debate team was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did I become a competent speaker and a better writer, but I made a lot of good friends along the way. We all grew in our abilities together. We supported each other in our endeavors and we strived to be the best in our competitions. Trying your hand at public speaking is a smart move for a writer if you want to expand your knowledge and hone your skills. The more practice you have in both writing and speaking, the better your skills become.
If you like what you read, please send me a tip so I can continue creating content for you to read!