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Emily, Communication Consultant

I’ve only been with the Speaking Center for a few months, and I’ve already experienced so much. My favorite Speaking Center story is one that actually reoccurs every so often. Sometimes I work with speakers who come into the Center only as a requirement, and that’s okay. But I love it when speakers come who are motivated to improve themselves.

One particular speaker came to practice her speech and receive feedback, and admitted she was afraid that her presentation wasn’t good enough. I assured her that it is never as bad as it seems. We are often harsher on ourselves than others. She didn’t seem to believe me as she began her speech. Honestly, it was one of the most enjoyable speeches I’d seen in the Center so far. She spoke with such passion for her topic, I could tell that she really cared. This speaker hit me with facts and statistics, personal stories, humor, and everything I find enjoyable about presentations.

I asked how she felt about it, and still she only had negative things to say about herself. As a presenter, I’m always finding things wrong with my speech, or punishing myself for saying something wrong or leaving out a key fact. It is often hard to find the things we did well, so I always try to find several strengths the speaker has. Sometimes we just need a confidence boost.

I told her how I felt about her speech, and she seemed genuinely surprised. She expressed that her main concern was the amount of verbal fillers (words like “uh” and “um”) she used. I then discussed with her ways she could reduce the amount of verbal fillers, as well as ways to handle speech anxiety. I asked her if she had any more questions, to which she just thanked me and told me that I helped her so much.

One of the best things to hear as a Communication Consultant is that I helped; that’s why I love my job so much.

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