|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/07/13 10:42 英语沙龙|
Express Yousrself Effectively
E Huiyuan: Speech is actually a form of conveying information. Considering that people today have various ways to get necessary information, why is public speaking still widely welcomed? In other words, what is the function and charm of public speaking?
Steven Lucas： The world has changed a great deal. Because of the internet and other forms of technological communication, we can contact anybody at any part of the world instantaneously1. And sometimes people think that because of this instantaneous global communication, maybe public speaking is not as important as it used to be. But in fact, it is just as important, if not more so, because there is no way to replace the impact of one person talking directly to another person. Text messaging is wonderful, Email is wonderful, and I know that many Chinese students can thumb text messages, and they may send a short text message to their boyfriend or girlfriend, but there is still no replacement of seeing their boyfriend or girlfriend personally, and talking to them directly. And the same thing is true for public speaking. It is just the size of audience increases.We still wanna see people, we wanna look into their eyes, we wanna watch their facial expressions, we want to gauge2 their sincerity and talk to them facetoface.
E： The ability to express oneself and to communicate is extremely important for public speakers. It is also important for those who want to establish themselves well in a society that is full of fierce competition. How can we gain such ability, especially for those who are born timid and shy?
Steven Lucas： Well, first of all, your point about the importance of public speaking is absolutely correct. People need to be able to express themselves effectively, whether they are going to be a journalist such as you are, whether they are going to be a businessman or businesswoman, whether they are going in for1 education and to be a teacher. And if people are going to law, they have to communicate effectively all the time, and much of the communication take the form of public speaking. Some take written form, for example, journalism. We have print journalism and broadcast journalism, but the principles of effective communication are substantially the same. Of course, all of those are forms of communication. So if you can develop the skills of an effective public speaker, you can use those skills not just in the public speaking but in other forms of communication. You can use them in writing, you can use them in conversation. I talked a few days ago with a reporter from XinHua News Agency, and he said, “You know, what you are talking about is exactly the same thing that we do in articles or journalism. You have a lead, you get readers’ attention； you have a main point, you develop the main point； you have the second point, you develop the point； you have conclusion that sums everything up.” So the skills of public speaking can be transferred or related to other areas of communication.
It is the case that many people are outgoing naturally, they are very extroverted2, as we say they talk very freely, communicate to other people without any problem. We think they are natural speakers, maybe very natural speakers. It is more difficult for people who are naturally shy to become effective public speakers, but not at all impossible. I have many students who always say, “I am very shy and I don’t give a speech.” But that’s because they have never given speech before. Then they take a public speaking class and they have to give a speech, and they discover that they really like it. Maybe they are not shy with audience as they thought they might be. So there are many people who are not particularly outgoing, or don’t think themselves outgoing, who become really effective public speakers. Confidence is very important, and you gain confidence by experience, and you gain confidence by learning the principles of public speaking, so you know what you are doing and speeches are correct. And you also gain a lot of confidence as a public speaker in any given speech by being fully prepared. And then the nervousness that you feel in the beginning qiechang will go down as the speech proceeds. If you concentrate on your message, you concentrate on your communicating, rather than concentrate on your nervousness, you will do better and be more effective. There are many people who are very effective, very talented, very wellknown public speakers who are very nervous before they give speech. Nervousness is very normal.
E： You are a professor of Communication Arts Department at the University of Wisconsin. Any other US universities have such department? What kind of students can enter the department?
Steven Lucas：There are a growing number of communication departments, but they are not as common as sociology1, history or some other departments. Any kind of students can enter, hopefully they will be very bright, talented, capable students and become more bright, more talented and more capable through hard working. One can do many things with degrees in communication. It’s not like the degree in history with which you easily go on to get a doctor's degree or to be a professor in history, or maybe go to work for a museum or something in that nature. Communication degree provides specific training in communication, but the application of that training is very broad. So the people in communication in the United States, some of them go in business, because communication is number one item of business work when they hire people out of colleges, so many people go to business. Some communication majors go into education; some of them might go back to graduate schools and study communication and other areas in more detail; some of them go to a law school. So you can use a communication degree in a wide range of activities. It is not a technical and specialized degree, but a degree as applicable of wide range of activities.
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