Name: Julia Devine
Major(s), Minor(s): Communication Major with Spanish and Creative Writing minors
Astrological sign: Gemini
1. What was your most memorable speaking experience?
One day in my 7th grade public speaking class, the teacher presented a “fun” exercise that required each student to pick a random topic from the top hat and talk about it for 1 minute. I know, you’re probably thinking It’s only one minute – what’s the big deal? But I was thinking This is it. I’m living my nightmare. I reached into the hat and pulled a card that read “Describe The Game of Life,” (which is a board game, if you didn’t know). I didn’t know, because I had never played this board game before, and, unfortunately, the teacher wouldn’t let us trade topics. Rats. So I got up, stood behind the podium, and laughed silently for 1 whole minute as my teacher alternated staring at the stopwatch and my red, wheezing face. I do not regret this decision; what else was I supposed to do? However, I do wish that a girl in the front row hadn’t shouted, “That girl has a silent laugh!”, because that just made me laugh harder. Overall, this is an experience that I find even more hilarious now, but one that I do not wish to repeat anytime soon.
2. How do you usually go about planning an oral presentation?
I usually work from an outline, or, if I’m adapting a paper to present, I let my topic sentences guide me through my presentation and make sure to include only the most relevant details and examples so that I don’t lose my audience. Then, I practice!
3. Do you have any interesting quirks and/or routines you follow when you’re speaking (or about to speak)? What are they?
I try to limit my “up talk.” (This occurs when speakers raise the pitch of their voice at the end of their sentences, causing them to sound unsure or unconfident).
4. What was the best speech you ever heard? Why?
The best live speech I’ve ever heard was the speech one of my teachers gave at my high school graduation ceremony. It really motivated me to think about my values; she urged us to consider what we stand for and how we might show this through our actions.
5. What types of speaking assignments have you had here at Wittenberg?
I’ve had a number of speaking assignments in Communication classes, including ones for Interpersonal Communication, Intro to Communication, and Reasoning and Communication. My most challenging assignment was one for Family Communication: this required students in groups of three to analyze the family in a TV series and lead a 90 minute class period about our findings.
6. What would you most like to improve about your speaking?
I would like to commit more to memory so that I’m not looking down at notecards or up at a PowerPoint/Prezi.
7. What advice do you have for students about participating in class discussions?
Participating in class discussions makes a small liberal arts school like Witt worth your money! If you’re not contributing to the class, you’re probably not getting much out of it, either.
8. What advice do you have for other Wittenberg students who are facing an oral assignment?
Look at the syllabus ahead of time and plan out your preparation and practice times accordingly (I’ll try to heed my own advice on this, too.)
9. What should students know about you when they come in to visit you in the OCC?
I love when a student walks in with good energy, ready to do a great job with their presentation and then put it behind them. Even if a professor requires you to make a trip to the OCC, making the most of that requirement will be less painful for both of us.
10. What’s the best part about working in the OCC?
I like learning new things, and this job is great for that! It’s very cool to absorb information that other students have been putting a lot of time into researching and understanding.