Continuing public speaking and writing education

While I have expressed my support for subject matter specialization by undergraduate years, I simultaneously support inclusion of certain subject matter into undergraduate curricula regardless of chosen field. Two of these areas are public speaking and writing, as they entail skills that are used throughout all disciplines and careers, as well as in life generally. Proficiency in public speaking and writing can prove beneficial in any job, and beyond.

Looking outside of the humanities where applications are more obvious, let’s consider a software developer. In addition to writing in their programming language of choice, they must write up progress reports and updates on additions to their code. They also must present these updates to team members and team leaders so that everyone understands what has been done and needs to be done. When in a leading role, these skills become more important as these developers pitch their ideas/updates/applications to higher-ups, to clients, and to outside parties looking to invest.

Similarly, those with the greatest success in the sciences are able to clearly convey their work and their ideas to a variety of people. Scientists must write grants to people in their field, to scientists in related areas but not exactly in their field, and to non-scientists representing grant-giving organizations in order to obtain funding. They must also give presentations of their work in conferences, and if hoping to turn their work into a marketable product, then in pitches to potential investors.

Even if these skills aren’t directly applied in job tasks, they can be of use. Good speaking skills can help negotiate for a raise. Proper writing skills can help ensure emails are conveyed correctly. Comfort in speaking publicly can help in befriending coworkers and clients. Aptitude in essay- and story-writing can help people to convey ideas in a logical and interesting manner so that other people understand and appreciate them better. These capabilities might be targeted in primary school, but we continue to grow and develop throughout college. Putting a stop on the growth and development of these skill sets is a great disservice to our potential.

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