By Reid Tileston ‘15
On Thursday November 6th the ten brave finalists for Captivate Booth got up in front of 75 members of the Booth community to answer the quintessential Booth question that we have all seen in Harper: ‘Why are you here and not somewhere else?’
Preparation for Public Speaking is key. Audience favorite Kevin Jiang chuckled when he reflected on his technique of, “Generous helpings of Johnnie Walker and last minute panic.” Third place finisher Jake Norton revealed that he, “was definitely that crazy guy talking to himself on the Metra and random corners of Harper in the days leading up to Captivate Booth.” While second place finisher Lauren Mifflin said she, “spent Thursday afternoon in MPP singing at the top of my lungs in my empty apartment (and justifying it as a "vocal warmup") and then telling my teddy bear my speech before heading to campus.” Whereas first place finisher Ryan Halls kept is simple, “I prefer to have my speech memorized so that I know exactly what I will say, and how much time I need. The day of the speech, I found an open classroom and practiced there to make sure I had everything down,” he said. In spite of their differing methods for preparation, one thing was for sure, they rocked the event.
The Public Speaking and Communications Group (PSCG) brought in coach Seth Patterson to help each participant prepare for their speech. On working with finalists, Patterson notes, “There are two major problems that I come across time and again with public speaking people. The first is that they spend all of their preparation time on the content of the speech and give little to no thought to how they are planning to communicate that content. The second is that most people stick to the narrow range of physical, vocal and spatial options that are most comfortable to them instead of expanding their range to fit the content that they are wanting to communicate. All of the finalists had dynamic content and I tried to help them find the ways in which their bodies and voices best fit the content and served it to the audience most effectively.”
Which brings up the question of how they created their content. Mifflin, “focused on finding a topic that I was passionate, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about and then tried to find a credible way to link that topic back to the original prompt.” While Halls, “just wanted to have fun with it.”
For those who did not get a chance to participate in Captivate Booth but who are looking for ways to work on their public speaking. PSCG co-chair, Captivate Booth 2014 organizer and 2013 Captivate Booth winner Aaron Gold notes that, “PSCG offers regular workshops with Seth and other coaches, as well opportunities to practice speaking in a low-pressure environment via lunchtime meetings in our new ‘Outspoken Club’ events.”
Congrats again to all the participants and the winners. If you see them in the hallway do not hesitate to tell them good job or give them a high five. I can tell you from experience that public speaking can be a nerve racking experience and positive feedback is appreciated.
Reid Tileston is a second year at Chicago Booth and was last years’ Captivate Booth second place finisher