Michael Leach is a professor of communication studies and directs the COC Speech Team, but he was not always the great public speaker he is today.
Like most of his students he first became involved with public speaking only because he was stuck in a speech class. He decided to check out his school’s speech team one night and watch them perform.
Watching the performance helped Leach realize what his true passion was, so he asked to join the speech team.
Although he admits that he was not the most talented speaker, he was certainly one of the most hard working. Being on the team transformed him from being a shy kid to being the top speaker in America at the national tournament during his first year.
That is a big part of what the speech team does: it breaks people out of their shells and helps them realize the talents and natural gifts they have.
Confidence is probably the most important quality someone can take away from being a performer on the team. Confidence is important in all aspects of life, “whether that’s in an office, or at a party trying to get a date,” Leach said.
A common misconception is that the speech team is a debate team, but Leach makes it clear that that is not the case. So what exactly happens at a speech event?
The events are performances, and Leach compares each event to a track meet.
“People are participating in many different events, you don’t just have one,” he said. “You might be better at one but you are participating in many, and that’s what makes up a team.”
This year the COC Speech Team had its second best showing ever, taking home a total of eight awards from this year’s tournaments in Concord, California and Denver, Colorado.
On May 13th and May 27th the team will be presenting their work to the public at what Leach says will be “A Night of Champions” instead of their usual showcase.
The team will show off everything they have been working on throughout the year and tell the public what they are all about. The show will be held in Hasley 101 with showtimes at 6:00pm and 8:00pm