I’ve always been asked the question “are you listening to me” by my teachers in my earlier years. I never knew why I was asked that until I took a public speaking class in college. It was my eye contact. I come from a Chinese culture and in my culture; we learned that it is disrespectful to look into the eyes of higher authority. Therefore I never looked at my teachers eyes when I called on or in parent teacher conferences.
Now, I learned that at least in North America, whether giving a speech or speaking in general, your eye contact contributes much to the speech. Beware that eye contact is not linear. The sender and receiver of the message need to provide eye contact for an effective model of communication.
For those of you who have not been to CALL(Communication Assessment Learning Lab), I want to tell you about my first experience there as a mentee a year ago. As the first day public speaking class, I was told that I had to go to CALL four times throughout this semester. Had no idea what to do there and was comparing and contrasting to a chemistry lab hence the name communication “lab”. I mean, all the possibilities that went through my head like… are they going to give me surveys? Test my communication skills? Or what?
Well, honestly I am too scared to go myself but reluctantly I had a group of friends taking the same class as I; so we went together. If I am recalling correctly the first speech was the artifact speech. I went in five minutes early and they got me a mentor to assist me. She nicely greeted and told me to come this way (to the recording room). I thought it would be awkward as it is just her and I in the room but she asked me a lot of questions and made it really welcoming. As my nervousness went down I was more open to talk about my artifact and the concerns I had presenting in front of a group. She gave me helpful advices and I took them and was able to utilize some of the advice she gave me as I was filming my speech. She went over what I did good and what I needed more improvements on and excitedly thanked me for coming and wished me luck on my speech! Now you have it, my short first experience at CALL as a mentee which is also a memorable one.