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11th October 2018

The Public Speaking Society takes the stage

Contributor Juliette Flach talks you through why you should join the Public Speaking Society
The Public Speaking Society takes the stage
Photo: Public Speaking Society

‘Public speaking’. Those two words can cause varying reactions — anxiety for some and excitement for others. Through workshops, opportunities, and feedback, the University of Manchester Public Speaking Society (in partnership with Teach First) aims to help students of any ability to master the skills of public speaking. Our goal is getting you ready to take on the world one presentation, pitch, or interview at a time. We try to tailor our friendly weekly sessions to suit both the terrified and the talented. Why not come next week to see for yourself?

At this point I bet you’ve got a whole load of questions, so I’ll try to give you some answers.

You might find yourself thinking “how can you teach public speaking?” Well, because you ask, I have a secret for you. There is no secret formula. There is no one set way to do public speaking, so the point of the society is to help you develop your own voice. We will offer techniques and exercises to help you find your inner communication style. The whole UoM Public Speaking community come together to support each person to develop in both their communication ability and their confidence.

We find that some new to the society might wonder how long it takes to become a public speaker, but in reality, there is no fixed time frame. For those who are complete beginners, you can sense real progress on a week to week basis; learning through observing others, taking part in practical workshops, and taking the floor. However, it is important to note that although we offer opportunities to practice your skills, we will never force people into doing anything they do not want to do. So, for some, that means they may spend the first few weeks sitting and watching others, and that is completely fine. As people grow in confidence they may choose to participate more, and the more you put in, the more you can get out of each session. However, the most exciting thing is that the journey never ends. No public speaker is perfect, so even those who have been delivering speeches to hundreds of people for years will admit they can still learn and develop.

We have such a variety of people from subjects across the board at the University of Manchester come along to join our society. The society went for a meal together after last Tuesday’s session and I (an International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response Student) was sitting next to a Maths student, whilst sharing a mango lassi with an English student, and comparing curries with a History and Arabic student. These are all people I would classify as friends, but they are also all people that I definitely would not have met had it not been for the Public Speaking Society.

After each session we unwind and relax together over a drink in the Student Union Bar. Whether people have a beer or an orange juice in hand, conversations flow and friendships are made. If this isn’t enough, we also go to events and for social evenings out together. As a result, it is now a running joke to say “see you next week” because in reality, it won’t be anywhere near that long.

If you’re interested in giving public speaking a go, we meet every Tuesday from 6 -7.30pm in Room 2.220, University Place. So, whether you want to develop your public speaking skills for a specific course presentation or just want to develop a skill that will be beneficial for life, come along! Check out our Facebook Page for more information.

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