This a little introduction I wrote to go into the next edition of my public speaking book. But, it may not fit and so I thought it might be of value to post here. These aren't the only things we might say to students in preface to a public speaking course, but they introduce, I think, a productive attitude and the importance of the right frame of mind in approaching a course like public speaking.
Beginning Your Study of Public Speaking
Preparing yourself for this course will help you get the maximum benefit. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Fear of public speaking is normal and isn't always a bad thing. Since it’s likely your major concern, we explain how you can manage your fear, making it work for you rather than against you, in the first chapter.
2. Make a commitment to exert a major effort in this course. It’s not going to be your easiest college course, but it will be worth your effort. You’ll see the rewards of competence in public speaking throughout your social and professional life and you’ll find that the skills of public speaking have application to all communication encounters.
3. Participate actively. Be willing to offer suggestions so others might improve and listen openly to the suggestions of others so you might improve.
4. This is a learning environment. You don’t have to be excellent; in fact, be prepared to make lots of mistakes. You’re here to learn how to correct mistakes and to emerge a competent and effective speaker.