by Sarah Epstein
During my time at Brandeis University, I was required to take a course in the category of “Oral Communication”. This was the only University requirement that focused on a skill rather than a field of study (other requirements included taking science, humanities, and social science courses).
While seemingly out of place, the wisdom behind this requirement became clear to me during my freshman seminar. I was forced to sit quietly as intelligent, well-rounded students stood in front of the class and mumbled, rambled, or overwhelmed the class with their research. Friends in all disciplines echoed my feelings of dismay at sitting through countless presentations by students who did not know how to speak in front of a group.
Every discipline – whether history, business, or sales, requires the dissemination of material. Scientists explain breakthroughs, business people present products and services to clients, and professors teach.
Information is only as powerful as a person’s ability to communicate it.
It is no wonder that students choose college courses based on a professor’s reputation for teaching rather than the subject matter. Brandeis understood this principle and sought to arm its students with a competitive edge by teaching them how to present information.
I applaud Brandeis’ tactic and look forward to applying these skills at Speak For Yourself®.