Public Speaking: The Best Class to Take during your College Years

So, I’m recently graduated from college, and I’ve had plenty of time to sit down and reflect on the classes I took during that last year. First, let me start out by saying I was an English major. Yeah, yeah I know; I’m pretty much relegated to working at Wal-Mart for the rest of my life or something like that. But, regardless of what others may think, I got a lot out of my major, though I fully admit it was a slightly easier than more traditional “useful” majors.

Now, unlike a lot of people, my last two semesters were probably the hardest of my career. I took more difficult classes than not—not by design, of course—and, with the specter of Senioritis looming, my GPA took a pretty big hit. I was extremely disappointed and, overall, I was not able to enjoy the last two semesters whatsoever. However, even with this general feeling of dissatisfaction, there was one class—a general studies requirement, or as my friends love calling them, a throwaway class—that, beyond all expectations, shown like a bright diamond in the Mordor like atmosphere that was my senior year. This class was public speaking, and this was probably the most important class I took throughout my college career.

Why Public Speaking?

Like I already mentioned, I took this class as a throwaway. My major required an extra general-education requirement, so I put on a blindfold, threw the proverbial dart, and there I was, waiting for the syllabus on the first day of a class that I fully expected to breeze through. Before I continue, I must submit a quick aside. At this point in my life, I already considered myself a decently proficient speaker. I had participated in speech and debate during my high school years, in addition to We the People—which is basically speech and debate for politics and constitutional law. In other words, I already knew what I believed were the basic tenants of public speaking, and came in day 1 believing I was all that and…well, I’m not going to use that particular colloquialism. Sufficient to say, I thought I was good, and that was the end of it.

And then, the class started, and I began to fully realize how wrong I was.

The first project—a personal speech—I spent little time working on. In fact, I pulled a lazy college student start by not even starting until the day before. After all, I debated constitutional law during high school; a basic speech about me and my upbringing was going to be pie. And yet, as you already know, that semester was not an easy one, and even the one class I believed would be a well-deserved break, ended up not being so. I got a C on that first project, and suddenly found myself embroiled in a fight to the end.


After that first project, I decided to put a lot of work into any and all subsequent projects, which ended with me upgrading my grade all the way to an A-. But, the letter grade was not the true reward I gained from this class. If you’ve been to college—or any school, for that matter—you begin to get an idea of what classes you’ll be using for the rest of your life, and which ones’ scopes began and ended in the classroom. This one, even as the year progressed, I knew was the former.

I realized how much of a beginner I was when it came to public speaking, especially about topics that I didn’t understand. But, through a combination of good teaching and hard work, I quickly gained skill, and realized how important this was for my professional upbringing. I would use these skills for the rest of my life, and that would be quickly proven through the multitude of job interviews I would have in the following months. Suddenly, I felt comfortable talking to employers—I knew how to hold my demeanor, and I knew what was and wasn’t appropriate. Safe to say, it was an incredible confidence booster that ended up landing me a great job, right out of the gate.


When all is said and done, I cannot overestimate the effect that a good public speaking course can have on your life. You hear it all the time that public speaking is important, but I don’t think you truly get it until you’re up in front of the class waxing eloquent about the importance of stem cell research, or some other equally obtuse subject. I fully attribute my early professional success to this class—since my major wasn’t wowing any employers—and, even if you don’t attend college currently, I highly suggest you find a Public Speaking class and enroll. You’ll see what I’m talking about as soon as you do.

Trust me; if you want to improve your professional prospects, take a public speaking course; you’ll thank me later.

Tyler Fleck is a professional blogger who has written about many subjects throughout the web. Today, he writes this article on the behalf of Soul Speaker. Check out their site if you are looking for a corporate speaker. Thanks for reading!


 Image credit:  karindalziel on Flickr

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