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Center Supports Public Speaking

May 18, 2021

Public Speaking Center at JHBC

Student demand for support with public speaking – one of the top skills for workplace success - remains strong despite assistance being moved to online.  

The Speaking Center at JHBC opened just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, offering strategies and tips on delivering speeches from idea generation and content development to coping with speaking anxiety or apprehension and presentation organization through one-to-one meets with student consultants trained in those areas. It is the result of a collaboration between the Jack H. Brown College and the College of Arts and Letters. 

"It is crucial to support students’ success through one-on-one meetings even after we’ve moved online. Many students crave the human connection during the online learning prompted by the pandemic, so having a meeting for up to 45 minutes at a time helps students not only in strengthening their public speaking skills but also in feeling connected with the university through a friendly fellow student (consultant) in real time. Very frequently students keep coming back, for example to practice interview questions, and they enjoy the virtual appointments via Zoom" says management assistant professor Maggie Boyraz, who co-directs the center along with management assistant professor Ying Cheng, management lecturer Matthew Habich and communications assistant professor, Julie Taylor.

With moving operations to the virtual platform, the center has been able to offer more personal attention, accommodate schedules better and increase services. This spring, the center started offering workshops on negotiating a job offer, persuasive speaking and other areas where individuals must verbally communicate. It also helped prepare participants in a new CSUSB Social Change Speaking Tournament.

In addition to helping students, The Speaking Center gives faculty the opportunity to provide students with individual presentation skill practice that they otherwise wouldn’t have time for in the classroom. Oftentimes, instructors refer students to the Speaking Center and JHBC Writing Center. Some students find so much benefit that they return multiple times. 

The center is one of nine institutes and centers offered by JHBC to help its students grow and succeed.