About one in four people are afraid to speak in public, but anxiety can be reduced if you know exactly what to say, how to organize, start, or end.
The Rochester Institute of Technology’s Expressive Communication Center, which opened in August, works to help students better prepare for speeches and presentations.
“Industry workforce reports, alumni surveys, and university studies have long emphasized the importance of strong communication skills for university graduates to excel, and students have approached us for. get more support for making presentations, ”said Kelly Martin, principal of the RIT school. Communication. “We have wanted for a long time to support students with communication needs. “
The center, located in room 2550 on the second floor of the Wallace Library, receives an average of 40 to 60 visits per week. Undergraduates and graduate students of all majors can schedule appointments for assistance with individual and group speeches, as well as portfolio, poster and lecture presentations.
Peer consultants working at the center are trained to help students prepare and deliver a presentation, including organizing an outline, designing visuals, practicing delivery, and managing anxiety. Faculty members are also available to work one-on-one with course instructors from all disciplines on the creation and assessment of oral communication assignments.
Students can also have a hands-on presentation recorded and reviewed by a consultant who can give them advice and let them know if they are fidgeting, reading too much of their script, or having too much text on their slides.
The center tries to have at least one person on staff at all times who knows sign language for students who prefer this method of communication.
“It’s unique because it supports all of RIT’s colleges and it’s a collaboration with the School of Communication and the Wallace Library, which provides the space,” Martin said.
The center also organizes workshops throughout the year. The workshops provide interview techniques, elevator pitch best practices, ways to pitch for a client, and deal with conflict in a group.
Nicole Weiner, a sophomore media arts and technology student in Brookfield, Wis., Said she struggled with speech anxiety for years and was afraid to seek help at the center .
“As my anxious thoughts filled my brain, my logical side told me I had to go. What if the weather is nice? You have to go try it, ”she said.
Once at the center, Weiner said she immediately felt comfortable conversing with the friendly staff who allowed her to cultivate her ideas.
“Each time I came to the center my experience improved as the tutors learned about my individual style,” she said.