How to Avoid a “Michael Bay Meltdown”

Photo taken by Mrs. Cozby
Jordan Cozby speaking with the Madison County Democrats Executive Committee about his time at the Young Democrats of America High School Leadership Academy in July 2013.

Megan McDowell, Writer

Imagine you’re watching a movie—a superhero movie—the action is high, there are explosions going off in the background, and the hero has the villain cornered. Now imagine, instead of saying the witty catchphrase you’re probably expecting, the hero freezes and runs off the screen.

On January 6, 2014, Samsung released their new curved HDTVs at the Consumers Electronic Show (CES) Press Conference. According to Endgadget.com, this new development in television technology will allow viewers to more fully enjoy the visual aspects of their favorite movies and TV shows. The screen is 105 inches wide, has a 5,120 x 2,160 resolution, a 21:9 aspect ratio and has “Samsung’s hallmark saturated colors and crisp picture,” according to Michael Gorman of Engadget.com.

As stated by TheVerge.com, to help promote this stunning new product, Samsung asked Michael Bay—director of the visually astounding Transformers movies—to endorse their product. Amazed by the visual brilliance this product would bring to movies like his own, Bay happily accepted the offer.

Bay made an appearance at the CES Press Conference to answer some questions and give his opinion on the product. Unfortunately for Samsung, the event did not go as expected.

As Bay stated in the video of the event found here on TheVerge.com, he had been relying heavily on the teleprompter to help him with speech for the conference, and when the teleprompter started to malfunction, he froze.

Despite the fact that the Samsung spokesperson gave him several prompts, Bay was still unable to speak and fled the stage with only an “I’m sorry.” Samsung’s stocks have dropped 0.23% since.

Whether you’re in a job interview, giving a presentation for school, or endorsing like Michael Bay, public speaking shows up in nearly all aspects of life. In today’s modern world, public speaking is becoming one of the most important skills an individual can possess. When you’re able to communicate effectively, it’s easier to get your message across.

According to sources such as “Psychology Today” and “The Ohlmann Group”, surveys and studies conducted on phobias have shown that public speaking is the number one fear in the world, with death coming in a close second. Though speaking in front of a group of people can be daunting at times, there are many ways one can make this task seem a little less scary, or at the very least feel more prepared.

Most high schools and even some middle schools have speech courses available for students. At Bob Jones High School Mr. Jon Campbell teaches the course in a 9-week period.

“In speech I try to teach professionalism, and I try to build self confidence and a strong work ethic. I also try to teach my students to be creative and make their speeches their own,” says Campbell. “What makes public speaking so interesting is that everyone has a story to tell and different spins on materials.”

“We basically covered having confidence how to not bore your audience. We also learned how to give a speech and have a presentation,” says Ingrid Hickey, a senior at Bob Jones who took the course. “It helped me feel better about presenting stuff in other classes. I have always been nervous about that.”

There are other activities at school that can help with public speaking without taking a speech class. Theater, for example, teaches people to do more than just act—and Carter Palek, Bob Jones graduate and former Advanced Production member, can attest to this.

“Theater helped me to isolate my own body language and adapt it to my advantage. If you’re aware of it, you can project a lot of nonverbal cues that people pick up on. I’m actually really awkward around adults and never really feel like I’m saying the right things, but drama helped me get through that. We’re all acting all the time, so drama really is just a playground for that ability.”

Palek is now attending Auburn University where he is a news anchor for the school’s news station “Eagle Eye TV” and putting his public speaking skills to the test.

Activities like debate teams and participating in young politician groups can also help you culture your public speaking skills.

Lakshmi Subramani, a senior that is part of the James Clemens debate team and a Health Occupation Students Association (HOSA) member says, “Debate is a really good way to condition your public speaking skills. The most important thing it’s taught me to do is seem like you know what you’re talking about even when you don’t.”

Jordan Cozby, a Bob Jones sophomore, participant in debate team and young politicians, has proven the power of communication by using his experiences in these programs to head start his political career.

“I’ve worked on various political campaigns from Tommy Battle’s successful re-election as Mayor of Huntsville, to President Obama’s successful re-election. Much of my political work has involved directly working to contact voters and win their vote. Public Speaking and communication is absolutely critical.”

And maybe these classes and activities aren’t your cup of tea, or maybe you don’t have access to such courses; there are still other ways to improve your speaking abilities.

Hit up that good ol’ Google bar, practice in front of mirror, make sure you know your material. As shown by Michael Bay, it’s a skill you’ll need for the rest of your life, so the sooner you practice, the better.