Speaking extemporaneously has never been my strong point. I would much prefer to deliberate in my mind, then write a response to someone’s question. However, I understand that this method of conversation is not always feasible. My grad school experience has forced me to speak on the spot, and I can definitely see a marked improvement in my speaking skills. I do not feel terrible when I’m put on the spot with a question during a presentation, or when I have to speak about a project without much preparation. This is an essential skill — it is in every job advertisement: excellent written and oral communication skills. I already felt pretty good about my written communication skills, and now, thanks to my experiences in grad school, I feel much more prepared for oral communication skills.