College Student Speeches, Conferences, or ConvocationsYour college student is a sophisticated, savvy young adult who appreciates the finer things in life. But what does your student want to speak about on his or her speech or convocation?
In my experience, students often choose their speech topic based on what they perceive to be the appropriate subject matter for a school occasion. It is also common for the student to be looking for a reason to do well on a test or write an essay. Whatever the case, there are many ways in which you can help your student achieve these goals. One of the easiest and most thoughtful ways to provide opportunities for subject matter variety is to allow your student to make choices as to what is appropriate for the event.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when a student is looking for an appropriate subject matter for their formal speech topic is that they don't understand what to choose. If you try to provide them with a selection of topics that they know, love, and trust, they are likely to over-suggest, assuming that everyone else is doing the same thing. Instead, we suggest that you provide a little freedom and flexibility.
Perhaps it will help if we consider a formal convocation or commencement speech as a conversation. Let's say that one student is invited to talk about the perils of smoking in a class of smokers, while another student is invited to talk about whether or not he or she is a good candidate for a new job because of his or her efforts at soccer. So, what should the student do?
The first step is to carefully consider the viewpoint of the other student. It may be that the smoker would much rather point out what the smoker can do to better his or her health, such as quitting smoking or avoiding second hand smoke. On the other hand, the non-smoker may have questions that she would like to ask the smoker.
The non-smoker may simply wonder if the student has had any issues with anxiety lately and will be able to offer some insight into the smoker's success at the job. In this way, the non-smoker offers a unique perspective that is, itself, worth a moment of attention and praise.
Depending on the nature of the student's speech, you might consider allowing him or her to speak about what is most important to them about the subject matter. Let's say that the student is very concerned about getting the right doctor, while the non-smoker is focused on being a good soccer player.
The non-smoker might then focus on the fact that she has a great sense of responsibility and how that relates to the particular subject matter at hand. Her personality is more important than the school where she teaches math, and that is the subject that will be most discussed at her convocation.