University of Wisconsin-La Crosse |

Public Speaking Center

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  • Frequently asked questions

    Who comes to the Center and why?  

    Students from all majors can use the Public Speaking Center. Trained, undergraduate peer consultants will help any UWL student. If your goal as a speaker is to inform or persuade an audience, we can help. We offer assistance with:   

    • Topic selection 
    • Audience analysis logo
    • Content development
    • Organizing ideas 
    • Preparation outlines twitter
    • Delivery outlines and speaking notes 
    • Delivery (hand and facial gestures, vocal tone) 
    • Audio-visual aids 
    • Managing speaking anxiety 
    What should I bring to my appointment?  

    Please bring a copy of your course syllabus, assignment directions and rubric, and any notes or drafts. Feel free to bring in electronic versions of your work as well.  

    What will happen at the beginning of my appointment?  

    At the beginning of your appointment, a peer consultant will ask you to complete an assessment form in order to learn more about you, your assignment, and needs. Please be ready to explain what you would like to get out of the appointment.  

    How long do appointments last?  

    Appointments are generally scheduled for 30 minutes. However, they can be shorter or longer depending on your needs. Feel free to visit the Public Speaking Center multiple times for a single assignment.  

    Can I practice my presentation and receive feedback?  

    Yes! A peer consultant can watch you practice and provide feedback on your delivery and/or content. The Public Speaking Center is equipped with a laptop, a large monitor for practicing with visual aids (i.e., PowerPoint), and video camera if you would like your practice session taped.  

    Can I receive feedback on my content and organization?  

    Yes! A peer consultant can provide feedback on content development, outlines, and organization of ideas.  

    Will coming to the Center increase my grade?  

    Our goal is to help you be as successful as possible for your presentations. Most students who meet with a peer consultant during a 30-minute appointment leave with approximately five specific suggestions for improvement. Receiving feedback from a peer consultant is just one step in preparing a presentation. Students should recognize that they are ultimately responsible for their performance on their assignments, and that the feedback they receive may or may not affect their grade positively or negatively.  Please also note that the Center will not:   

    • Write speeches for students. 
    • Guarantee a perfectly composed and/or delivered presentation. 
    • Guess (or second guess) grades.  
    What is the history of the Public Speaking Center?  
    During the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Tony Docan-Morgan and undergraduate student Lindsay Swiggum piloted the Center and found student and instructor interest and need. During the 2013-2014 academic year, we received a permanent home in the Murphy Learning Center, hired 11 peer consultants, provided over 500 student consultations, and hosted six workshops on topics ranging from managing public speaking anxiety, extemporaneous delivery, using creative and vivid language, and using PowerPoint. During 2014-2015, our training program was certified by the National Association of Communication Centers, we had over 1,200 student consultations, and we created and hosted the Public Speaking Competition. During 2015-2016, we had over 1,500 student consultations and delivered 40 public speaking workshops on campus. We’re excited about serving all UWL students and look forward to continued growth and usage. 

    See our 2012-2015 and 2015-2016 reports for additional information regarding our growth, outreach, assessments, and goals. 

    Who supports the Public Speaking Center?  
    The Center is supported by the Department of Communication Studies and Murphy Learning Center. We've also received the following grants: College of Liberal Studies (CLS) Small Grant,  CLS Technology Grant, and CATL Faculty Development Grant. 
    How do I apply to be a peer consultant at the Public Speaking Center?

    Click here for the application.