Persuasive Speeches, Part 1

Yesterday, the first half of my students delivered their final speech: the persuasive speech.  For this last speaking assignment, it is a requirement that they dress nicely.  They think that it’s because I want to torture them, but it’s really not.  It is to help establish their credibility.  For the Persuasive speech credibility and proper use of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence are the two criteria that I focus on.

I have to say, some of them looked rather dapper in their dress clothes.  One student donned a suit for his presentation and elicited several comments from his  classmates about “looking like Will Smith in Men in Black.”  To which I must agree.  Some students forgot about the requirement and I could see them shifting in their seats uncomfortably.  And I too, must admit that I forgot about it until I was on my way to school.

Burgundy silk top: JC Penney. Denim colored trousers: Target. Gold earrings: Wal-Mart. Peacock ring: Dots. Gold watch: Wal-mart. Hair-tie: Wal-mart. Burgundy pumps: (thrifted.)

If you look back, on speech days I usually dress down because I become a bona fide member of the audience.  But, I gotta say, I felt outmatched by some of my students.  Add to that the fact that I changed 3 times!  I don’t know what it was, I just couldn’t find an outfit that satisfied me.  I showered and shaved my legs, so I kind of wanted to wear a skirt or dress, but it was a little gray and rainy so I kind of didn’t.  The first outfit that I put on was another attempt at the infamous grey shirt dress.  Because of the rain and the slightly cool air, I thought that it was really going to work because I was pairing it with leggings and rain boots.  But, alas it did not.  The leggings had a tear at the seam that I didn’t have time to fix, and the dress kept clinging to my legs and riding up and just aggravating me!  So, off came that outfit.

The next outfit was my purple silk tie-neck 3/4 sleeved blouse and flowered cardigan.  I paired it with my skinny khaki’s and pumps, but decided that it was way too casual for a teaching outfit.  Next, I tried different trousers but still couldn’t quite get it right.  As the pile of rejects on my dresser grew, the minutes ticked by.

Lastly, I pulled out my burgundy silk tie-neck short-sleeved blouse.  That was a good start.  I didn’t want to duplicate the exact same outfit as last time, so I snagged the denim trousers off the top of the reject pile and tried them on.  Surprisingly, I liked it.  It was simple– pants and a shirt, but I felt great and was comfortable.  And then came the epiphany that I could wear my newly acquired burgundy open-toed pumps to complete the look.  I know– it’s a little matchy-matchy but it was working for me.

Obviously, I have a different hair color since the last time that I wore this shirt, but I also think that the styling makes it look/feel different. I like that wearing it by itself, sans cardigan, instantly makes it feel more springy. I find this hard to achieve with dark, saturated colors that normally feel fall-like to me. Also, I like the streamlined simplicity of the shirt and pants. Plus, that color really pops against the bright green leaves of the tree behind me.

Tomorrow is a “Spring Fling” end of the year celebration on main campus, and while I won’t be attending, we are allowed to wear jeans. I have this idea of dressing completely like my students for a little role-reversal. Remember, they will be dressed up for their speeches. I am planning to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes. What do you think? Would that be fun, or inappropriate?


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