Wolf Pack Airmen practice public speaking skills

Base Info
Staff Sgt. MaryKathyrn Ladipo-Dyer, 8th Medical Support Squadron, interacts with the audience while practicing her public speaking skills June 20, 2012, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Toastmasters-style group was hosted by Team 5/6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brigitte N. Brantley)
Staff Sgt. MaryKathyrn Ladipo-Dyer, 8th Medical Support Squadron, interacts with the audience while practicing her public speaking skills June 20, 2012, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The Toastmasters-style group was hosted by Team 5/6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brigitte N. Brantley)

Wolf Pack Airmen practice public speaking skills

by: Senior Airman Brigitte N. Brantley | .
8th Fighter Wing PAO | .
published: June 23, 2012

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As Airmen progress through the ranks and earn stripes, their jobs may require them to speak to increasingly large audiences.

Kunsan Team 5/6 hosted a Toastmasters-style meeting June 20 to help Wolf Pack members finesse the art of public speaking.

"When I have to speak in front of people, I get extremely nervous," said Tech. Sgt. Ayana Hodges, 8th Force Support Squadron and 5/6 president. "My heart feels like it's beating out of my chest, my ears get red and my hands get cold.

"Speaking in front of people like this forces me to get outside of my comfort zone and learn to better deal with this anxiety," she said.

Becoming anxious while speaking in front of peers, whether at a mass newcomer's briefing or a smaller classroom setting, is common for many people.

During the meeting, Airmen took turns stepping up to the plate and received valuable feedback from members of the Top 3 who are more experienced in public speaking.

"Impromptu is the hardest type of speech to give," said Master Sgt. Arturo Ayala, 8th FSS. "If it's an awards ceremony and I have a script and I've had time to prepare, I have no problem with that. It's harder for people to just get up and speak without something in front of them to look at."

A lot of the feedback the Top 3 gave was about changing small parts of the presentation: avoid distracting hand gestures and crutch words like "umm" and "ah," but also how to use humor wisely and professionally. They also emphasized that with practice comes more ease in front of an audience.

Although the topic for this meeting was easy -- tell us about yourself, your hometown, your job, etc. -- many people still got nervous.

"You get up there knowing what you're going to talk about, but you just lose your train of thought," said Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Aaron, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron and 5/6 secretary.

The meeting even brought in a handful of senior airmen and below, a demographic Aaron said can be harder to connect with.

"The 5/6 wanted a good way to mentor each other as well as younger Airmen," he added. "This environment is easy and laid-back, so it's a great way to meet with them while they work on developing as leaders."

Team 5/6 plans to hold another Toastmasters-style meeting in July, so keep an eye out for an email from the 5/6 with details.

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