Not-so-candid camera

During the past decade, instructors of speech communication have been adapting the introductory speech course to keep up with the television age.  Learning units in speech textbooks now teach how to speak well on television as well as how to interpret speeches in the media.   Today, appearing on TV is not just common; many people are required to appear on TV as a result of their job or their role in their community.  And if you’ve ever been surprised to find yourself on YouTube when you didn’t even know someone was recording you, you’ll want to be sure your speaking skills are ready for the “everyone is on TV” environment we are in.

 The computer age invites adaptation of speech skills because of the proliferation of online communication in the form of Facebook, YouTube, Skype and other communication platforms.  That’s why I’ve added a digital video speech of introduction to Penn State’s introductory speech communication course and it is why you should practice speaking on video as well.   So get someone to record you or set the camera up on auto pilot.  Record yourself giving a basic introductory speech and play it back.  Just say your name and a few things about yourself:  where you work and what you do; something you enjoy; a goal you have; really anything!   Keep practicing until you like what you see. 

Two colleagues and I experienced first hand how adding a digital video speech of self introduction  to the introductory communication course can help students bring their communication skills into the new media age.  

Now it is your turn.  I’ll be looking for you on television. 

Nichola D. Gutgold is associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley and author of several books including:  Almost Madam President:  Why Hillary Clinton ‘won’ in 2008 (Lexington Books, 2009).

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