From the moment the first single-cell microorganism split off from its bacterial host more than three billion years ago to the political and cultural upheavals taking place around the world today, life on earth derives from ceaseless adaptation to constantly changing conditions.
Communication processes—the sending of signals and exchange of messages within and between organisms—shape the evolutionary adaptations that take place. Entire civilizations arose because of the advantages brought about by new forms of social communication.
From the first printing press, pamphlets, telegraphy, telephony, and photography through the electronic media and on to the internet, social media, and mobile devices of the current era, communications technology opens up discursive spaces that can be used to challenge tradition and authority. Contemporary examples include how the “bottom-up” Arab Spring uprising and the global Occupy protests reflect a long history of communication’s impact on public discourse, political action, and cultural change.
Many people dread their public speaking class, because they think it’s “just” a presentation class. Speaking as a dynamic, meaningful and authentic communication experience, not a dreaded requirement. Take ownership of you communication practice. While public speaking is literally a one-way transaction, it is also a transaction with the audience, The best communication choices, and the most responsible ones, emerge from approaching it as fundamentally dialogic. That means that you need to understand how every component of their presentation involves making choices and taking responsibility for those choices to their audience.
We have to think about how to put the “public” back in public speaking, and help you understand the classroom experience as a civic one; our talk in class isn’t just going through the motions for a grade, but is a step toward engaging the larger world of public discourse, which exists right in their classrooms. Yes, these skills will help you in your personal and professional lives.