On relate the audience to the stories he

On November 7, I attended Josh Birnbaum’s lecture at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communications in Schoonover Center. Birnbaum is a rocket scientist and also known at Ohio University for being a photographer. He had attended the University of Illinois where he received a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and then came to Ohio University to receive his master’s degree in photography. He is currently a professor who teaches courses on photography, photo editing, digital imaging and audio/video storytelling in Scripps College of Communications School of Visual Communications.The lecture was on Birnbaum’s new book “Dream Shot: The Journey to a Wheelchair Basketball National Championship”. Birnbaum’s new book consists of the 2008 University of Illinois men’s wheelchair basketball team and their journey towards winning the college national championship. Their motivation to pursue this goal all started in 1948 when the University of Illinois had created the first collegiate basketball team in the United States. During this journey to the college national championship, Josh Birnbaum had documented the coaches and the players of the team journey. And while he spent this time with the team documenting their games, going to every practice, every game, and the player’s personal lives as well.  During Birnbaum’s speech, he spoke about his own personal stories and experiences with passion. He made his own personal experiences with the team relatable to the audience as if we had gone through the journey with the team ourselves. He used very thorough language and imagery to help paint a picture of the stories he was telling the audience. With all that I saw in his speech, I was able to improve my public speaking skills by relating back to how he presented his speech. While giving his speech, Birnbaum told us a handful of stories that had related to the pictures or his experiences of his time with the team. This is important in public speaking because it helps to keep the audiences’ attention and interests and also helps to relate the audience to the stories he is telling them. He spoke about these stories with passion and remembrance as if they had just happened a day ago and put so much description and emotion into it when telling us about the story. Even if there wasn’t a picture of the story he was telling us the description and enthusiasm helped the audience build a picture as to what was happening at the moment of this memory.    Throughout Birnbaum’s speech, he was able to connect his experience to the audience as if we had been the ones who had documented the team’s journey to this championship. Being able to connect the speech or stories you’re telling are beneficial in public speaking because it is the best way to relate what you’re saying to the audience. He had talked in a way that made the audience feel like we were in his shoes. He had talked about how he had to go to every practice, every team dinner and every game and how the team made him feel as if he was one of them. Birnbaum interacted with the audience as if he was having a conversation with us. He wasn’t talking at us but he was talking to us as if he was having a regular conversation with someone so his speech had flowed more fluently and made it less robotic than a lot of speeches can be if someone was to be reading off of notecards.  By going to Josh Birnbaum’s speech, I believe that it has helped my public speaking skills from watching him present. He moved so naturally and without hesitation, so his movements weren’t so stiff and he didn’t seem to feel so uncomfortable up in front of everyone. His material for his presentation was organized very well, so when he was talking it had seemed easy for him to go from one topic to another. He was being himself, he made jokes and made the audience laugh at the stories he had told us. He constantly was making eye contact with the audience and rarely had to look at his side notes to remember what to say or how to go from subject to subject. He also brought a lot of energy to the audience, he was being enthusiastic and never spoke in a monotone voice so it never got boring or dragged on. In my last speech, I had to present I used some of the things I observed from his speech and put them into my own. I attempted at making eye contact more so I could continually connect with my audience, I made more natural movements and gestures, and also my speech had been more organized than my past speeches. Overall, I thought this experience has helped me see the way others present their speeches more naturally. Whether it’s by putting stories into your speech or even showing visual aids as a way to tell the audience what you’re talking about. As said in the Coms 1030 student guidebook, stories can be effectively used in presentations as a means of building credibility, forming lines of argumentation, building evidence, making emotional appeals, educating audiences on specific topics, or enhancing a topic through entertainment (Hosek & Waldbuesser, 2017). Throughout Birnbaum’s speech, he showed credibility, made emotional appeals, educated the audience on the specific topic of University of Illinois men’s collegiate basketball team, and brought a source of entertainment to us. Even though he supported some of the stories with pictures I was still able to draw an Idea of what was going on in my head because Birnbaum described the details so clearly. So, I believe in my future presentations being able to paint a picture in my audience’s minds will help me connect my audience more with what I am talking about, and I would talk about personal experiences so it would help others relate to my presentation. 

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