Reflection on Public Speech

2 weeks ago our lab had a career development sharing session and we came into the topic of writing and presentation. It suddenly struck me that in order to clearly explain the researches we do and the results we find, it is actually of crucial importance that we possess good presentation and writing skill. I asked ChatGPT to give me some instructions on what we should do to improve public speech skill, and here’s what it tells me:


1. Know Your Audience: Understand the demographics of your audience. This will help you tailor your speech to their interests and level of understanding.

2. Plan Your Speech: Outline your speech with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Make sure your speech has a logical flow and is easy to follow.

3. Practice: Rehearse your speech multiple times. This will help you become more comfortable with the material and improve your delivery.

4. Use Visual Aids: Use slides, charts, or other visual aids to help illustrate your points. This can make your speech more engaging and easier to understand.

5. Engage Your Audience: Ask questions, use humor, or tell stories to keep your audience engaged. 

6. Speak Clearly: Speak slowly and clearly. Make sure to project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you.

7. Manage Your Time: Keep track of your time to ensure you cover all your points without running over.

8. Handle Questions: Be prepared to handle questions from the audience. If you don't know the answer, it's okay to say so.

Book Recommendations:

1. "Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds" by Carmine Gallo
2. "The Art of Public Speaking" by Stephen Lucas
3. "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
4. "Speak with No Fear: Go from a nervous, nauseated, and sweaty speaker to an excited, energized, and passionate presenter" by Mike Acker
5. "The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking" by Dale Carnegie

YouTube Video Recommendations:

1. "How to Speak" by Patrick Winston - MIT OpenCourseWare
2. "The Skill of Humor" by Andrew Tarvin - TEDx Talk
3. "How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk" by Will Stephen - TEDxNewYork
4. "How to avoid death By PowerPoint" by David JP Phillips - TEDxStockholmSalon
5. "Public Speaking For Beginners" by Improvement Pill
6. "5 tips to improve your public speaking" by TED-Ed
7. "The surprising secret to speaking with confidence" by Caroline Goyder - TEDxBrixton.

And here’s what it says about academic writing:

1. Understand the Assignment: Make sure you understand what is being asked of you. If you're unsure, don't hesitate to ask your professor for clarification.

2. Research Thoroughly: Use reliable sources to gather information about your topic. This could include books, academic journals, reputable websites, etc.

3. Develop a Thesis Statement: Your thesis statement should clearly state your argument or the main idea of your paper.

4. Create an Outline: An outline will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your paper has a logical flow.

5. Write a Draft: Start writing your paper based on your outline. Don't worry about making it perfect on the first try, just focus on getting your ideas down.

6. Use Proper Citations: Always cite your sources to avoid plagiarism. The citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) will depend on your field of study.

7. Revise and Edit: Review your draft for any errors or areas that could be improved. Check for clarity, coherence, grammar, and punctuation.

8. Proofread: Read your paper out loud or have someone else read it to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

Book Recommendations:

1. "They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing" by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
2. "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations" by Kate L. Turabian
3. "Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students" by Stephen Bailey
4. "Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day" by Joan Bolker
5. "The Craft of Research" by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams

YouTube Video Recommendations:

1. "How to Write a Paper in a Weekend" by Professor Simon Peyton Jones
2. "5 Tips to Improve Your Writing" by Learn English with Emma [engVid]
3. "How to Write an Effective Research Paper" by Wordvice Editing Service
4. "Academic Writing Tips: How to Write a Research Paper" by David Taylor
5. "How to Write a Literature Review in 30 Minutes or Less" by David Taylor.

I have to admit that with ChatGPT I have become more and more reluctant to write on my own. In most of the cases I just tell ChatGPT about the questions and instructions, the points that I want it to mention, and let it generate contents for me.

I should ring a bell whenever I’m using ChatGPT in this way, as it is supposed to be a tool that facilitates me in reading and writing but not doing all the job for me and leave me with no chance to practice and improve.

Compared with research skills, which can be learned and applied pretty quickly and obviously, writing and presentation skills are fundemantal and it’s hard to observe improvements in these skills within a short time. It can be frustrating when coming to practicing public speech skill and writing skill.

For example, as a former English major student in China, I put a huge effort on improving these skills. We had courses on English writing, English reading, English public speech and English debate. We did countless number of presentations almost every week. This intense training did help me leaped in English and gained practical experience in English language use. However, the amount of effort I put into this does not match what I got. This is not a fair trade. You have to work a lot and work very hard to get what you expect. The obstables come from several factors: 1. No environment. It is extremely hard to pick up a language in a country that does not use the language at all. 2. Artificial language input. As there’s no environment, you have to create an environment for yourself, so most of the times I murmur to myself in English and try to call every object I use in daily life with English. This could be difficult because it’s already hard to try to achieve a native-like level of proficiency in a foreign language, and behaving like this sometimes makes you look like a psycho.

Still, it is very important to learn English. Especially in the academia. Here’s a paper demonstrating the costs of being a non-native English speaker in science.

I need to practice more to improve in English, no matter I’m living in an English-speaking country or not. This is the fact that I’m facing and the goal I’ll always strive to reach.

Finger cross for my life-long journey :crossed_fingers: