Meet Thadeus Smith, our Content Manager for TalkMaze. Thadeus is the first feature of many in our new Meet the Team series, and we are so excited to introduce the inner workings at TalkMaze by sharing the stories from so many amazing people behind our team!
Check out Thadeus' responses on his favourite part of public speaking, how he incorporates body language to elevate speeches, and why he loves presenting topics that are personal to him.
Q: What is your favourite part of your role at TalkMaze?
The best thing about being Content Manager is that I get to work directly with the coaches to draft our curriculum and courses. Everybody at TalkMaze brings their own unique perspective on speech & debate education to the table, and getting to be the one to make those fit together into a final product is really exciting.
Q: What drew you to TalkMaze?
I was drawn to TalkMaze because, having done debate at an underfunded school, I know how difficult it is to improve if you don't have access to resources. I also knew that if there was a lack of accessible resources in the United States, then I wouldn't be able to imagine the lack of resources in other countries. Working for a company that is bridging the resource gap and making speech & debate education more accessible is a dream come true.
Q: How did you get started in public speaking?
I actually got started with public speaking because my mom made me go to a debate camp through my high school! We had just moved and I was having to start everything all over, make completely new friends, go to a new school, all of that. I started that camp completely afraid and unable to talk in front of people, and I left with a newfound love for public speaking.
Q: What is the weirdest experience you've had public speaking?
The weirdest experience I've had public speaking was my senior year of high school. I was competing in Original Oratory at a big national tournament, and it was the last round. I was the first speaker, but as I was giving my speech I could tell that a couple of the other competitors were really confused. Watching them go, I realized why - three out of my five competitors had the exact same topic as me!
Q: What makes you stand out as a speaker?
I prefer to give speeches on topics that are personal to me, so I often have to manipulate the audience's emotions and try to get them to feel what I feel. To do that, I pay extra attention to the space when I'm not speaking. Oftentimes, well-placed silence has a much greater emotional impact than continuing to speak or repeating what I've said. I also choreograph my body language intensely - In actual conversation, you don't stare at the person's face for ten minutes straight. You break it up with time spent looking at the environment around them and the things they're doing with their hands. Using body language to convey my emotion helps elevate the status of a speech.