My informative speech was about the life of an international student. Overall, I think that considering it was my first speech, it went well. After I was done with it, I felt as if a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders because all the fear went away, but I also became more self-conscious of the parts that I would want to improve in the speeches I give in the future.
First of all, coming up with this whole speech was a difficult process for me. The easiest part was coming up with the idea. I wanted to choose something that I was passionate about and had lots to talk about. After that was done, I needed to find a way to calm my nerves about it, because I do not like public speaking at all. The only way I could think of doing that was by practicing. I practiced a lot but I tried not to memorize every word so that when I would give the speech in front of the class it would not sound robotic or unnatural.
Secondly, I believe it was a fun and interesting topic for the whole class. Based on the questionnaire I did earlier this semester, I found out that a lot of students from our class were interested in studying abroad. However, they had little to no knowledge of this topic, so I used this as an opportunity to enlighten them.
Thirdly, my speech was organized. It was clear and logical starting from the introduction to the body and lastly the conclusion. I used noticeable transitions and a chronological pattern that was easily recognizable. I used transition phrases such as: 'Moving on from this' or 'Next' or 'In conclusion'. I gave the credibility statement, the thesis, and a preview of the points. The body, in my personal opinion, was the funniest part. It had good information that is interesting but also really valuable. I tried to make it more heartfelt by incorporating experiences from one of my family members, who went through a dark period of her life. To conclude the whole speech, originally, on paper I wrote something completely different, but while talking I thought it would be better if I did something more conversational to include the audience. I like the way I finished the speech.
Additionally, the content of the speech, I believe, was original and clear. Most of the information I provided, came directly from international students from schools all over America, family members, and myself. So, it was very credible. I tried to incorporate fun elements in my PowerPoints such as memes, and I did get a reaction from the audience which let me know that they liked it. A good thing I can think of is that I managed to say everything I planned on and did not miss any of the details. I provided good sources, about 7 (including myself). All the rehearsing helped me remember to mention them.
Moreover, when it came to the language I tried as hard as possible to use as much vocabulary as I could. I believe most of it was clear. However, next time I give a speech, I will try to cut down on any repetition I give.
Furthermore, I think I nicely delivered the speech. I made good eye contact. Even though I did have anxiety about eye contact before starting the speech, I tried hard to look at everyone in my class, and think I managed to do this successfully. I think this helped me look more confident and surer of myself. It would help to become more conversational in tone so that I do not have to try so hard and my sentences would flow naturally. I tried to maintain a good posture and not use the podium for support. My gestures were appropriate, but I could make an effort to use my hands less.
Having to go first, I was affected by my anxiety. What I think made it noticeable was my shaky voice. I tried to control myself, relax and not stumble on my words as much. And this is all thanks to the supportive faces I saw in the audience who were encouraging me and making me feel less stressed.
Moreover, I had notes in front of me, but I did not use them at all besides when mentioning the sources. I am proud of that. However, I did turn back at the slides frequently, not to look at the information, but simply because of my nerves. Even though I think I had a nice PowerPoint presentation, next time, I will try not to incorporate words at all and put up only photos. I also think that my visuals that represented statistics were very good. The pie chart that presented the percentages of employment among international students was easy to understand.
In addition to this, I think I emphasized things that needed more attention and were loud enough to be heard by everyone. My pronunciation of the words could be better, however, that is mostly related to my language barrier.
Truthfully, there were moments where I felt as if I was going to lose my whole line of thought and was tempted to use distracting words such as 'um' or 'so', but I managed that well by taking vocal pauses instead. I think this was more effective and overall just a better choice.
Lastly, I thought the overall speech was effective, as It demonstrated real-life experiences and it was an object of interest to most people in the room. My demonstration was effective, even though I still have a lot of room for improvement. The fact that the speech was built chronologically made it easier to understand and follow.
I am still going to work on my public speaking skills because it is not one of my biggest strengths. I need to learn to be less nervous and anxious while talking in front of a crowd. I believe that frequently practicing my speeches beforehand and staying focused on my goal, being conversational with the audience and just having fun, will make me a better speaker.
In conclusion, I am really happy with my performance in this first speech. This speech was a great experience for me. I was not able to talk in public because it scared me a lot until I had to do it in class. I learned a lot about my abilities and became self-aware in the best way possible. As a result, next time I will try to do even better and eliminate all the errors I was able to distinguish in this speech. I feel more confident and more prepared than ever!