Center News

Hours

Fall & Spring Semester
Monday-Thursday: 10am-7pm
Friday: 9am-Noon
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 4pm-8pm

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Becca, Graduate Assistant

Being submerged in Speaking Center life I have quickly learned that every consultation is different, and every speaker’s needs are different as well. However, I have also learned that often times we have similar struggles such as anxiety about speech making, use of verbal fillers, and sometimes an overall lack of confidence in our ability to deliver or put together a speech. This is how I have come to feel connected to the Speaking Center because it has provided me with the chance to not only help others, but to also experience personal growth. As I attempt to guide speaker’s through their anxiety and other areas they may have room to improve I learn ways in which I myself can grow and find new strategies to become a better communicator. Sometimes as a communication major, people assume I am completely comfortable with all things communication, but I am not. I have areas I would like to grow and enhance just like the speakers who come into the center. Sometimes it is challenging leading consultations because people either express utter disdain for being required to be in attendance or feel intimidated as if they are awaiting judgement. Speakers know that it is our job to give feedback but are often confused on what exactly that means. It does not mean we grade them or make them feel like their entire speech is the greatest or worst thing in the world.

One of my favorite things about the center is that we strive to find a balance when giving feedback. We always let the speakers know when the execute an element of speaking that is effective and when they might want to tweak the content or delivery style a bit. No one enjoys being required to go somewhere and having their perceived weaknesses being highlighted. Being a consultant has taught me that we are all collectively capable of being persistent in setting new goals to improve our academic, social, occupational, and overall everyday lives. It can be hard to break down this barrier of anxiety, but I’ve learned that each time I do establish trust with a speaker or lighten the mood it seems their level of initiative rises tremendously, and their entire mindset becomes more positive. It is wonderful to be a part of an organization that has the capacity to do this. As previously mentioned, I have experienced anxiety myself even as a consultant. One of the more intimidating experiences for me is working with high level speakers like those who are in grad school or community members who have already obtained a degree. The truth is I worried my feedback would not be beneficial to someone with a higher level of education or that they would feel I had wasted their time. Once I got the privilege to work with an upper level speaker on a high stakes scientific presentation I felt very out of my element. Not only was I an undergrad liberal arts student, I was also not well versed in scientific jargon. However, I was amazed by how open minded and appreciative the speaker was throughout the consultation. He did not make me feel like my feedback as an undergrad was unwanted. This speaker came back multiple times. Myself as well as other consultants got to follow him through this project. To see it from start to finish was impeccable. I think this experience would be the greatest example of our work as a center having a positive impact on people of all different backgrounds and levels of education.

 

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