My sister and I go to a homeschooling group known as JPS (Junior Public Speaking). We gather every first Friday of the month. What we do is a few of us volunteer to give a speech on the theme of that month (meaning that if the theme was Lord of the Rings, than one kid could give a speech about J.R.R. Tolkien), and after they're done, a few of the parents can critique them, complimenting good presentation, body posture, hand motions, and critiquing the things that ought to be improved. It's a good way to learn how to present a speech.
This month's theme was Stereotypes. We started off with the welcome, national anthem, and then we shared jokes, played an icebreaker, and that's when the real fun stuff begins. I was sort of nervous, because I was the Table Topics Master; the one who asks at least four responsive questions about the theme.
Eg. Do you think any stereotypes apply to you? Why?
A survey showed that people thought blonds looked less able to do things than different hair colored people. Why do you think this is, and do you agree?
This was only my second time going to JPS, and already I had a part to play. But I got some really awesome responses to my questions, and people complimented me on my thought provoking questions (a blond-ish friend of mine probably gave the most hilarious response to my blond question). I wasn't going to be critiqued, since I didn't give an official speech, but I felt really good.
Three guys had volunteered for speeches, which were hysterical, caught everyone's full attention, and did I mention hysterical. One of them started his speech in a hilarious one man act out on how some people stereotype homeschoolers. The second guy dressed like a stereotypical Australian, acted like a stereotypical Australian, and talked like a stereotypical Australian (it helps that he's Australian). They got good feedback from the parents too.
After a few prizes were handed out to the best speech maker, and the best responder to the table topics, we took a vote for the next month's theme. I suggested Bad Guys. My sister suggested Zodiac. Others suggested Music, Movies, and something really long I can't remember (something about spaniards and the 16th century; my friend who suggested, well, he's pretty thorough). Almost everyone voted for Bad Guys, making this not only my second time at JPS, but second idea that met the approval of almost everyone (I suggested Stereotypes, which is why I was the Table Topics Master this time; rule in JPS, if you suggest something, be prepared to have a role to play in it). I'm pretty proud of myself. I have to prepare a speech on the theme, so I'm nervous all over again, but I hope I'll be fine.
Don't get me wrong, I've seen enough TV shows, and read enough books, to know at least a few of the different types of bad guys. But, (it's funny how one's mind works, right?) as soon as I'm asked to make a speech about it, POOF blank mind…