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Communication and argumentation - workshop No. 2

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Topic:  |  Series: My Journey to PhD
zdroj: Chrismas time I have finally time for blogging again. Let me report you about next workshop I took part in in Brno in the middle of December 2011.

The workshop I am going to write about was following the first part "Communication and argumentation I", which I participated a week earlier (report here). Some of the colleagues, though, took part in that seminar more than a year ago. (You have to pass the first part to be enabled to enroll the second one.) There were places for some forty students in the first workshop, as it was mainly theoretical. On the other hand, the second part consisted of practical training, so only fifteen participants maximum were allowed. Our lecturer was again ThMgr. Milan Klapetek.

Just several days before the seminar, the selected participants received the information about how to get ready for the upcoming event. Everyone should prepare a two-minutes long speech during which (s)he should introduce oneself and alongside fit oneself into one of four intellectual branches, which are mixed in Europe. (They are Hebrew, Rome, Greece and barbarian. They were talked about in the previous seminar.)

The second speech could be devoted to any topic. Also the genre was of one's choice.

The most demanding part of the whole seminar came after the lunch. The speaker was at this time in no need of home preparation. The aim was to draw a topic and than, without any time for thinking through, present two speeches: one positive, with supportive arguments and one negative which stood in the opposite. In the following discussion the speaker had to be able to defend both of the attitudes. (This rhetorical training was the vertigo of the old Greek Sophists.)

And how it all looked like?

The first part was somehow misunderstood. The instruction from the lecturer was "Let us introduce at the beginning to warm up, before we begin." Some of us thought that we should have just told couple of information about us and than the first speech would follow. Nevertheless, THAT should contain the information from the first speech already! So, my first speech, which was at least a bit prepared, remained unspoken just in my head.

In the second part we overheard speeches at different levels of preparation devoted to many diverse topics. I was not satisfied with my preparation of the task: the thinking of the topic in the car during the morning ride to Brno was not really enough. :)

After every speech, the lecturer evaluated the rhetorical technique and the other listeners expressed themselves about what they liked about the speech or what was oppositely disturbing in some way. Some of the participants wanted to hear how to become a superb speaker overnight. But we all know, something like that is actually not possible and the only way, how to improve the speaking is to SPEAK!

I was grateful for the opportunity to speak publicly, even though the audience was not too big. I found amazing and surprising to watch myself in video record. Every speaker was recorded during the second speech and the video could be than brought home on the flash disc.


The afternoon sophistic part was not so successful. My turn was this time right at the beginning. I draw a topic "Superiority of Europe over the other cultures." The start was not bad at all. But than I simply was not able to face the fact I was talking with no firm line, even though it was not so obvious for the listeners, and I just got lost.

I was fairly satisfied with the seminar. I would just appreciate more practical hints, how can we get better in speaking during our ordinary days.

See you ACSA! :)

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