Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Convention Speeches

I watched some of the convention last night and while I did not hear any speeches from start to finish, I did hear large pieces of certain speeches. Teaching public speaking, I think the speeches demonstrated certain things that I can use for class.

Last night featured many women speaking. Barbara Mikulski. I actually was fascinated by her introduction. I thought you avoided using any attention getting devices and simply came across as angry. I would have rather heard her start off on a different note and then build to a climax. I did not feel that she did that.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, I thought was very effective. I liked her introduction and the symmetry she used, talking about happy to stand before the convention as a Senator, Happy to stand before the convention as a woman, happy to stand before the convention as a number of other nouns she used and finishing off with being happy to stand before the convention as a supporter of Barak Obama.

The introduction I thought got the audience’s attention, set up her speech nicely and clearly said she was behind Obama. She then discussed the issues that were important to her and made her run and said these were also important to Obama. The speech was well written and well delivered.

What I thought Hillary did not do, and none of the speakers did, despite having the opportunity to do it, was play off the audience. When they started using catch phrases, as I’ve seen done in conventions past, either you get the audience to say the phrase with you or you get them to respond by saying, “No,” or “Yes,” depending on what the phrase is. I think that would have helped.

Still, I certainly felt, from the point of view of teaching public speaking, the convention speeches delivered yesterday were worth watching.