Would You Rather…the Dentist or a DBA?
Chances are that if you ask someone if they’d rather have dental work done or speak in front of an audience, that person will probably have to take a moment to think about it.
According to many studies, the idea of speaking in public or making a presentation ranks extremely high on the anxiety scale.
Along those lines, we’ve heard from many of our students that they are apprehensive when it comes to their discussion-based assessment, commonly known as a DBA. For those not familiar with the DBA, it is a verbal conversation between a student and teacher to discuss what he/she has learned in the modules.
If this is you, you can take some comfort in the simple fact you are not alone.
Have you ever watched someone talk in public and think, “Man, they are great—so relaxed and natural. I wish I could speak like that.” While it’s true that some have a natural gift for gab and their conversations seem effortless, it is quite possible that they had to learn to overcome their nervousness. Speaking professionally in a public setting, is a skill that must be developed and fine-tuned. And this takes time.
Here’s a secret…
I have been a communications professional for more than 20 years, yet I was once terrified to raise my hand or to even make a phone call when I was younger. No joke. Given this, it’s a bit strange to say that my first job was on the phone conducting radio research (“Hi, my name is Suzan and I’m not selling anything…”). Before I dialed each number (and I had a hefty quota of how many calls I needed to make in an hour), I would have to take a deep breath, or two, or three to try to stop my heart from pounding so bad. It was that bad; I was beyond nervous.
What comes naturally for some people can cause panic attacks in others, and anxiety has some very real physical responses. I took speech class as an elective in my freshmen year of high school. I survived. I then took it a step further and joined the Speech Club and began to compete on weekends (because I wasn’t athletically inclined?). I found I did better in the prepared orations category while a few of my friends thrived at extemporaneous speaking. I was taught some techniques to help with nervousness, which actually helped a lot.
I pushed myself to do it, and I’m glad I did. It’s served me well, and to this day, I still can’t help but notice if a person says too many “ums” or “ahs” while talking, as this was something I was judged and marked off for when competing.
FLVS students can rest in the knowledge that during a scheduled DBA, your teacher is simply seeking to make sure that you understand the material. He or she simply wants to have a conversation with you to hear your voice and test your knowledge. DBAs also help strengthen the relationship between you and your teacher. Communicating with your instructor is a natural way to practice those public speaking skills.
Speaking in front of an audience may not be a profession you choose, and it is certainly not for everyone, but everyone converses with others. Even in our heavily digital-based society, we are all communicators. Honing verbal communication skills takes time, patience, and practice. Do I still get nervous when it’s time to present? Heck yeah! But being prepared and realizing that I’m speaking to others who are human and have fears too, makes it all a bit more manageable.
Join us next week for a live Q&A about DBAs
To help give you a better understanding of the DBA and why it’s important, we’re going Live on Facebook, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 4 p.m. Join Ms. Ahlschwede, lead high school English instructor, and Ms. Nelson, lead Peer Counseling instructor, for this informative talk. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, too. We’re excited to hear from you and hope you’ll join the conversation.
Then, the next time you play “Would you rather” and it’s between the dentist or a DBA, you’ll know to pick the DBA.
Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist