Speaking in Lecture Halls

Let’s face it, prospective students. I love Cornell, but it is NOT  like one of those quaint New England liberal arts colleges with a few hundred students. If you’re taking introductory courses here (as you will your freshman year), with the exception of your writing seminar you better believe that you’ll be in large lecture halls.

Admittedly, I love lectures. What could be better than sitting back, listening to a brilliant scholar preach about something that they love for an hour? I treat it like a show, and always look forward to getting comfortable in a seat and taking notes.

But speaking in lecture halls, say, in a class of 600 kids? That’s just not something people love doing. Yet, just recently, your humble blogger rose to the challenge.

To set the scene: in AEM 1200, Introduction to Business Management, we have to analyze articles of the Wall Street Journal on a weekly basis (pertaining to whatever we’re discussing in class), and write papers on what we’ve learned. The professor is jubilant and loves interactivity with the class, so it’s a pretty unique classroom experience. Last week’s subject was human resource management, so I wrote about employee happiness.

At the beginning of class on Wednesday, the professor asked someone in the class to rise up to the challenge and speak about their article.

“Who wants to tell us what they wrote about?” he asked.

There was silence, among the hundreds of kids enrolled in the class.


Still silence.

After he asked one more time, and the entire auditorium remained quiet, we waited for a period of 10 seconds in silence (no, I’m not exaggerating) until it was made clear that he wasn’t moving on until someone spoke.

Silence again.

“I…I have an article I can discuss,” I randomly blurted out.

As I threw my hand into the air, all eyes turned on me as I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say. I managed to concoct a statement about Bank of America and employee satisfaction, which I hope made sense at the time.

The professor said something like “thank you, good contribution,” then the class moved on. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I could slide back into the sea of other students. I’m glad I did it, though.

Moral of the story? Push yourself to do things you may not be comfortable with. Public speaking is always important to practice…

3 thoughts on “Speaking in Lecture Halls

  1. Pat

    Congratulations! Spur of the moment speaking in front of a crowd could be the worst. You have to be quick on your feet. I see you going places!

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