When you think of public speaking, what comes to mind? Does the thought of the task make you want to crawl under the table? Or perhaps the activity is simply mind-numbingly boring. No matter which side you agree with, community theatre offers an enjoyable, entertaining way to enhance your public speaking skills! There are many different areas where our actors and actresses at Okeechobee Community Theatre (OCT) have seen growth in their public speaking skills, including video presentations, teaching, and social settings.
First, community theatre can improve one's presentation skills. As our world has become increasingly digital, you might find yourself consistently meeting with colleagues on Zoom or filming your quarterly report. Though community theatre is an in-person activity, the knowledge you gain can be translated beyond the stage and onto the screen. One of our actors, Joey Marcinek, has been more comfortable filming professional videos for work. He states that, as a result of community theatre, "I have been able to prepare myself on how to speak and what I choose to say in front of a camera."
Second, community theatre can increase one's confidence in the classroom. As many teachers and students know, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. If a teacher presents instructions in a monotone manner, his or her students may not listen closely. On the flip side, students who do not utilize nonverbal cues for class reports can lose others' interest. Tina Welborn, an OCT actress and teacher, has found her theatrical talent to be valuable in the classroom. Welborn states, "As an educator, using facial expressions, hand gestures, projection with voice intonation, enunciation, and accents makes the learning lively, enjoyable, and memorable." These nonverbal skills can be applied by educators and students alike.
Lastly, community theatre can boost one's morale in social settings. Whether you are eating lunch with your coworkers or talking with other parents at your daughter's daycare, gaining the confidence to speak up can be unnerving. However, community theatre can equip you with the skills you need to communicate clearly and efficiently. OCT's board secretary and stage manager, Grace Morgan, has seen a shift in her own life after joining the theatre. Morgan says, "I do find myself speaking up more in group settings and making friends with people at local businesses, which is something I never did years ago."
In today's age, public speaking has become commonplace. No matter whether you are a high school student or a local business owner, you have most likely found yourself communicating with different groups of people. If you are looking for a fun way to enhance your speaking skills, consider joining Okeechobee Community Theatre's team of talented actors, actresses, tech crew members, and stage managers!
Caroline Crews is a public relations intern for Okeechobee Community Theatre.