Whether it be to a small group or large audience, the fear of speaking in public is relatively common among students.
This semester, the UNO Speech Center is offering free workshops for students and faculty on a variety of topics, including overcoming speech anxiety and winning the crowd.
Speech Center consultants Marlina Davidson and Herbie Thompson are there to assist students during these one hour workshops.
“We are providing some topical workshops to help with speech making skills and delivery making skills,” Herbie Thompson said. “We’ll have our next workshop in October which is about PowerPoint development. Topics discussed will be visual aids and how to have success with visuals as well as developing slides.”
In November the Speech Center will host a seminar on how to win over the crowd during a presentation, right in time before big presentations are due for finals.
Topics discussed will include delivery and how the presenter can engage the audience and keep them interested during big presentations.
The workshops are not just available to students. Faculty and staff are more than welcome to attend one of these workshops as well.
“It’s open to all majors,” Thompson said. “Anyone that has an interest is more than welcome to join.”
One of the participants from Wednesday’s workshop is Yulia Dergal, a grant accountant at the Epply Administration Building.
Being a non-native English speaker, Dergal found the tips Thompson and Davidson offered throughout the seminar very useful.
“Anxiety is something that gets in the way when experiencing difficulties in developing and delivering the message in a speech,” Dergal said. “All the information we received was extremely useful and a good amount was provided.”
With the first workshop on defeating speech anxiety completed, students and faculty walked away with the knowledge needed to combat speech anxiety during presentations.
They also learned about the different personality dimensions as well as how each dimension causes public speaking anxiety. A matching treatment for each dimension was identified.
Speech anxiety will always be a problem for many, but with practice and helpful tips from the Speech Center, the problem can lessen.
“We highly suggest developing speaking experience,” Thompson said. “The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you feel.”
All students will have speaking experience with public speaking classes set as a graduation requirement.
“That’s why the Speech Center is such a wonderful resource. If students want to practice and develop a new skill, we’re here to help with that.”
During the workshops, students, faculty and staff have the chance to participate and discuss the topics that are taught during that session.
Every person who attends a workshop receives a session packet tailored for their specific needs in the area where they are struggling or hope to improve.
By the end of the session, the participants are asked to fill out an evaluation and feedback sheet about that day’s session. Many students who attend the workshops find it very helpful, especially with public speaking.
“It has been an excellent experience. I loved our instructor’s enthusiasm, supportive and motivating environment, group interaction and of course pizza,” Dergal said.
The Speech Center will host two more workshops: Oct. 26 about creating the best PowerPoints and the last on Nov. 30 on steps to deliver success. Workshops will take place in the Arts and Science building in room 183 from 12 to 1 p.m.