Unit 1 – Discussion 1: Speaking Experiences and Anxieties

Unit 1 – Discussion 1: Speaking Experiences and Anxieties


The purpose of this discussion topic is to begin creating a sense of community with your class members and to examine your present views of public speaking. Regardless of whether you are an experienced public speaker or about to give your very first speech, you should leave this discussion with:

  • a sense of comfort with your classmates and instructor;
  • a better awareness of the common skills, experiences, and attitudes that exist between you and your classmates
  • an idea of your present skills and concerns and what you can do to move toward becoming a better speaker.

Grading Rubric
10 Points Possible



6 points

4 points

2 points

Initial response

Addresses all parts of the question clearly, thoughtfully, and thoroughly.  All parts of the question are answered, but detail is lacking, or detail is present, but not all parts of the question are answered. Minimal response.


4 points

2 point

0 points

Peer Responses

At least 2 responses meet specifications and encourage interaction and/or discussion. Less than 2 responses meet specifications. No responses meet specifications.


In your initial response (Due Thursday):

  1. Describe your experiences with public speaking (as a speaker and/or audience member). For example,
    • When was the last time you gave a speech?
    • Do you give speeches often?
    • Have you already had training as a public speaker? If so, how has that helped you?
    • Have you ever been present when a distinguished speaker gave a speech?
    • Do you listen to speeches regularly as part of your job or personal interests?
  1. Do a self-evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker. For example:
    • How are you planning skills?
    • How are your writing skills?
    • How are your research skills?
    • How are your vocal qualities?
    • Do you like a challenge?
    • What have you learned from past experiences with speaking?
    • Many people are able to easily identify weaknesses, but it is just as important that you identify your strengths. Can you do that?
  1. Discuss your fears and anxieties about public speaking, especially as they relate to this course. For example:
    • Did you put this course off for some time because of your fear?
    • Have you had negative experiences in the past that now make you anxious?
    • What is the worst thing you can imagine happening to you in this course, and why?

In your responses to your peers’ initial postings, offer (Due Sunday night):

  • Statements of support and encouragement
  • Ideas for overcoming fears and challenges