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Interested in Speech Competitions?

If you are interested in participating in any of the various speech competitions, see Mr. Cortez in Room C-1.

Also, for info on Speech Meets, be sure to text @oratorical to 81010, and follow me on Twitter - @cortezhistory

The Benefits of Public Speaking

Personal Satisfaction


Many people have a phobia of public speaking. Jerry Seinfeld put it this way: "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy." Even though public speaking can be scary, it is possible to succeed in spite of these fears--with preparation and practice.


Public speaking is quite the self-esteem booster. Overcoming the fears and insecurities that accompany public speaking is empowering. Furthermore, connecting with audiences can be a great reminder that you have valuable insights and opinions to share with the world.


It can be very satisfying to share something that matters to you with people outside your usual social circle.

Critical Thinking


The process of writing a speech will exercise and strengthen your critical thinking skills, from the research to the actual speech-drafting.


Preparing a speech will force you to reevaluate the way you communicate and re-examine your speaking habits.

Personal Development


When you write a speech, you have to think carefully about the best organizational framework, persuasive strategy, and language to communicate your message to the audience. This type of thinking can help you improve your communication skills in other areas of your life.


Public speaking engagements are great places to meet other people who share your interests.


Success in public speaking indicates creativity, critical thinking skills, leadership abilities, poise, and professionalism--qualities which are very valuable for the job market.


Public speaking is a great way to bring your message to a wider audience.


Public speaking can bring like-minded professionals together to share ideas. These engagements are great networking opportunities!


If you establish a good reputation as a public speaker, your public persona will set you apart from the sea of faceless resumes and cover letters.

Influence the World Around You


Public speaking has a long history as a catalyst for nonviolent activism and political change. It is a powerful way to unite people under a common cause and motivate them to take action.

Article courtesy of:  

Norco Speech Meet Results!

On Saturday, March 18th, a number of my students participated in the Friends of Forensics Speech Meet, held at John F Kennedy Middle College High School in Norco. There were 127 total registered participants.

There were four categories: Informative, Storytelling, Current Events, and My Hero. Each category had dozens of participants from many schools in CNUSD, MVUSD, etc. … and each category had a first, second, and third place winner.

Vista Heights had two first place winners (Isabella Rodriguez and Kolani Smith) and two third place winners (Hannah F. and Gabriela Melara). That means that we produced 4 winners out of the 12 total medals!

On May 12th, at RCC, there will be a community event which will give out prizes (including cash prizes) to the winners, and some of the students will deliver their speeches.

Oratorical Contest Update

On Saturday, February 4, six Vista Heights students participated in the 28th annual Alpha Phi Alpha/Alpha Kappa Alpha Oratorical Contest. It was held at Central Middle School in Riverside. This was the 28th annual oratorical competition held by the fraternity and sorority.

The VHMS participants were: Cassidy Sawyer, Alan Cervantes, Jesse, Pigeon, Kolani Smith, Arianna Jauraqui, and Anthony Avina.

Kolani won first palce, beating students from all over the Inland Empire. She won a trophy and $200 cash!!

10 Tips to Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking

Here are some tips that may help you become a better public speaker. 

1. Prepare.

It may sound obvious, but don’t wait until you hit the stage to get things together. Take some time to know your audience, and get all of your notes together before your big day. When preparing for his legendary presentations, Steve Jobs would spend days rehearsing and getting feedback. Write your material, read your notes and practice.

2. Understand your fears.

Matt Haughty, founder of MetaFilter, offers an excellent piece of public speaking advice: understand your fears, and recognize the biology behind them. It’s important to recognize that it’s normal to feel anxiety when there are hundreds of eyes on you. After all, if you're in the wild, and there’s a pack of eyes on you, you’re in trouble. Instead of going with your fears, tell yourself that those eyes don’t symbolize trouble, but just that a group is there to learn from you. You’ll be OK.

3. Loosen up.

Before taking to the stage, loosen up. Go out with friends, listen to music or watch some comedy. Whatever it takes to help you relax and get revved up. Music especially has been shown to have a profound physiological effect on us, and listening to some high-energy tunes can help you to get psyched up and motivated.

4. Be human.

Don’t feel like you need to put yourself on a level above your audience to be taken seriously. You’ll connect better if you let your humanness show. Tell personal stories, be real and let the audience in on your emotions.

5. Tell a joke.

This isn’t to say that your entire speech needs to be a comedy routine, but telling some light-hearted jokes and adding in some humor throughout your talk can help to engage the audience and lighten the mood. Although this should go without saying, you should never make a joke at the expense of someone in the audience. You’ll lose respect if you attempt to go this route.

6. Keep it light.

You shouldn’t try to instruct your audience with your tremendous wealth of infinite wisdom -- they’ll get bored and you’ll lose them. Instead, keep things short and sweet. Focus on distilling your lessons into two or three points. Teach them through examples, anecdotes and easily digestible tidbits. It’ll be more fun for you -- and them.

7. Pause.

Taking deep breaths can help calm your nerves, so pause and breathe deeply after you make a point. Pausing for a few seconds also shows the audience that you’re confident and not rushing your material.

8. Don’t try to sell something.

There’s enough pressure when you’re on the stage. The last thing you’ll want to be doing is trying to sell something. It’s not clever and it’s not polite. Your presence on stage is enough publicity for the moment. Don’t try to slip a sales pitch in -- you’ll only regret it

9. Don’t fear your audience.

Don’t fear the crowd. That's easier said than done, but when it comes down to it, giving a speech is basically like having a group conversation, but with a few more people, and of course, you’re the only one talking. The fact is that most of the crowd will be rooting for you anyway. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there, so you’re in good company.

10. Be willing to make some mistakes.

There’s no shame in making mistakes as you learn. Your first speech is just that -- your first, so don’t worry if you’re not talking like a seasoned pro. You’ll get better in time. Just remember: we are our own worst critics. You may not notice (or remember) the mistakes that other speakers make, but you can be sure that they notice them. If you’re not willing to make mistakes, you won’t be able to improve.

Remember, a great speaker isn’t perfect by any means, but they are passionate about their messages and are able to convey that passion to their audiences.

Don’t worry about being the best speaker of the night. Instead, focus on your enthusiasm and your drive. Think on the purpose behind your speech. Channel some of that into your message, and you’ll give a powerful talk.


Great Sample Speech!

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