Why procrastination is a bad idea when speechwriting

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Speeches will begin for most of my students on Monday this week (tomorrow). For many students, it’s the culmination of several weeks’ work, toiling, refining, and the labor needed to ensure that work is “just right.” For others, it’s a last-minute struggle, fighting hard to find the minimum required sources, hit the minimum time frame, and just barely meet the expectations the instructor has laid out time and again in class.

Last year, I began ruminating over a requirement that topics must be approved a week prior to the speech start date. This would ensure that a learner had a minimum 7 days to finalize research, thesis refinement, and main point development. Unfortunately, weather has played a role this semester. Many students have not been on campus, where they do have reliable and regular Internet service. Because of this, I have tried desperately to ensure that students had a longer preparation period, delaying deadlines when possible.

The problem: I still get students who want to alter their topic drastically, a day or two before presentations begin. I do not want to recommend this to anyone, especially given the challenges of finding quality sources to support an entirely new topic so closely to the presentation. While it can be done, it usually brings out more challenges and problems than positive qualities.

A final reminder to students: Be sure that you actually check the News & Announcements section of eLearing. Your speaking order is listed, and a few students have noted their name is missing from the speaking order. If a name is missing, it’s because an outline was not provided to me by the deadline, and no contact has been made since to confirm topic approval. Take responsibility for your actions and choices, because this is not something I can do to “save” your grade at this point…

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