Teaching Public Speaking has ruined my life.
I admit that is a bit of an overstatement, so let me explain. I have been teaching the class for three years now. It’s a semester class and I have at least two a year, so I think at this point I’ve taught the individual class thirteen times. It’s actually been really fun.
But it’s ruined listening for me. It’s made it even more painful to listen to bad speakers.
For example, today a colleague friend and I went to an early / mid-career retirement seminar. Talk about painful! YIKES!
In addition to just being a rather boring topic, the speakers were, to be blunt, dull.
The first guy was rather condescending. He also wasted a lot of our time telling stories that didn’t matter. Someone commented on their reflection survey about his glasses. Who cares? Some lady’s phone went off once and it was her ex-husband. She started arguing with him during the seminar on the phone. Again, who cares? These things do not affect me and they’re not helping me get everything I can out of my retirement.
Sorry, I sound rude, but one of my biggest pet peeves is inefficiency, feeling like my time is being wasted. I drove 45 minutes to go to this seminar to make sure I’m on the right track, and instead I have to listen to irrelevant anecdotes? Ugh.
On top of all that, he said “so” WAY too often. Kill me!
The other speaker had the longest. pauses. ever. I talk to my kids about using pauses for emphasis, but these were so long that basically every time she paused, I had to look up to see if something was happening. It was awkward.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am no star speaker. I’m not giving stellar presentations all the time, but I think teaching speech has made me a little more self aware. As a matter of fact, maybe everyone should teach it!!
So, I guess teaching it hasn’t exactly ruined my life, but it has made listening without tallying filler words and reconstructing poorly organized speeches much more difficult for me.