The two books that I need to read before the beginning of the semester didn’t go into the suitcase. I almost packed them, but then I stopped myself. It was our vacation, after all. So I chose, instead, a couple from the stack on the nightstand: The Best American Non-Required Reading 2011—more on that beach-appropriate reading in another blog entry to come—and Tina Fey’s Bossypants.
Even though I read Bossypants purely for pleasure, I found myself making notes on a passage that I’ll refer to when I teach oral communication in my Focused Inquiry classes this fall. In a section of the book titled “The Rules of Improvisation that will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat,*” Tina Fey discusses the importance of speaking in statements “instead of apologetic questions”:
No one wants to go to a doctor who says, ‘I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?’ Make statements with your actions and your voice (85).
That’s valuable advice for all of us who strive to improve our public speaking, and Fey’s laugh-out-loud example teaches us more succinctly and effectively than volumes of oral communication theory.