Speaking Center consultations

Speaking Center consultation services

What to Expect during a Speaking Center consultation

How to prepare for a Speaking Center consultation appointment

How to optimize different kinds of Speaking Center appointments

Tips for preparing to present through Zoom

Educational purpose reminder and Panopto recording notice

When you meet with the center's trained peer consultants, we will provide:

  • Digital recording of your presentation/speech. After your appointment, we will send you a copy of your video recording for your future reference
  • Immediate presentation assessment/feedback: constructive feedback on areas many students find difficult including verbal/nonverbal delivery, transitions, pauses, organization and much more
  • Assistance with team/group presentation delivery and cohesion
  • Evaluation and support for concerns about visual aids (PowerPoint, slide decks, etc.)
  • Help with presentation organization, preparation and meeting specific  guidelines
  • Support for concerns related to public speaking anxiety and oral presentation apprehension
  • Impromptu presentation scenario options so you can improve your overall public speaking skills
  • Feedback for all types of presentations and all types of situations (classes, pitches, student leadership roles, special occasions and more)
  • Support for all levels of speakers - from novice to experienced

Speaking Center peer consultants are available to help you with all of your presentation and public speaking questions and concerns. Make an appointment  today! 

What students can expect from a consultation...

What students should not expect...

  • peer consultants to assist you in refining your presentation/ speech and/or verbal delivery

  • peer consultants to create your presentation/speech for you

  • written and verbal feedback about your speaking skills, with tips shared to address your concerns and support your success as a speaker

  • receiving a feedback evaluation form signed by a peer consultant without presenting at the Speaking Center

  • to be recorded via Panopto for all appointments where clients practice their presentation (see details about Panopto below)

  • receiving a grade for your presentation at the Speaking Center

  • peer consultants to focus solely on you and/or your team/group for the full time of the appointment

  • peer consultants to tell you exactly how to do your presentation/speech

How to prepare for your consultation appointment:

  • Be ready for the appointment a few minutes early. 
  • Start the appointment already knowing what you want to work on (impromptu speaking, practicing or asking questions about a specific presentation for an assignment or occasion, pitch, addressing concerns about communication apprehension, visual aids, preparation tips etc.)
  • If your appointment is for a class, it is helpful to share your assignment description or guideline information with the peer consultant(s) ahead of time through an email to or have it with you during your appointment.

Send the following IN ADVANCE of your appointment, or have it on hand for your consultation:

  • Your already-completed work: This includes your visual aid (which we recommend that you email to ahead of time or have immediately available when you arrive), along with an outline of drafted content if relevant to the type of appointment.
  • The recommended materials for your specific type of consultation (see below).

How optimize specific types of consultation appointments:

If you are planning to...

Brainstorm a topic, prepare:

  • Description of assignment (if for a class) or outcome goals for your specific type of presentation
  • Instructor/pProgram expectations 
  • List of ideas that interest you and/or your already-developed content
    • NOTE: While we will not create your presentation or speech, we will assist you in fine-tuning content based on the intended goal

Establish presentation team/group roles and expectations, bring:

  • Notebook and pen or digital device for reference and taking notes
  • All presentation team/group members to the consultation
  • Any assignment descriptions (if for a class) or outcome goals for the team/group

Improve your outline, bring:

  • Current outline
  • Assignment rubric (if for a class) and/or statement of intended goals
  • Example of outlines from program, event, textbook, instructor or other resources

Improve slide deck/visual aid, bring:

  • PowerPoint/slide deck, visual aid (we recommend that you email it to ahead of your appointment and/or bring printed outline with you to your consultation)
  • Outline or notes for your presentation
  • Folder of images, videos or other files you want to include

Practice a presentation and receive feedback, bring:

  • Materials for presentation (we recommend that you email any visual aids to ahead of appointment and/or bring printed outline with you to your consultation)
  • Project/program/event/class assignment expectations

Data visualization, bring:

  • Materials for data visualization
  • Ideas for how you'd like the data to appear in your finished presentation
  • Notebook and pen or digital device for reference and taking notes

Learn tips for addressing oral communication/public speaking apprehension, be prepared to:

  • Discuss areas that tend to make you uncomfortable about public speaking
  • Practice speaking during your appointment through impromptu or prepared presentations and receive immediate feedback from the peer consultants. We recommend that you practice speaking more than one time during your consultation so that you can try out some of the provided tips and receive additional feedback

Tips for preparing to present through Zoom

If you are preparing for a presentation through Zoom or another online format, the following guidelines can help you optimize the experience. We encourage you to meet with the Speaking Center peer consultants for additional insights, feedback and tips!

  • General Setting: Try to set up your screen in a location where you can have some privacy, free from distractions; test your mic volume to ensure it's in working condition. Find a space where you can sit comfortably (preferably in a chair at a desk/table) or stand if you are able to be seen and heard clearly).
  • What's visible: Consider the background behind you and strive for simple and non-distracting with sufficient (not too bright/not too dim) lighting that does not cast shadows on your face. Test out how you look on screen in advance of the presentation and adjust if needed.
  • Camera placement: Adjust your camera so that you can comfortably keep it close to your eye level and focus on it, not the screen; looking at your screen comes across as looking down or sideways to your audience.
  • The Box: Zoom places you in a box on a screen, which is how your audience will see you. If your camera has a wider range, consider standing or sitting a bit back from the camera (from the waist up is ideal) so that more of you is visible on screen; this provides the opportunity to use more of your body for expression. If you do this, test your mic ahead of time to ensure it can clearly pick up your voice.
  • Consider options for utilizing Zoom tools to engage with the audience (white boards, polling, chat, etc.) if it fits the parameters/expectations of your presentation - details are available under the "settings" tab of your Zoom account.
  • Plan for possible lags in audio and/or visual clarity between speakers and audience and adjust speaking pace to accommodate any delays.

Educational purpose reminder

Support materials, video recordings and feedback evaluations sent by or received from the Speaking Center are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be shared beyond the scope of the intended purpose for the consultation. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Senior Associate Director Debora Clinton Callaghan (

Panopto recording notice

During consultation appointments with the Speaking Center, students are recorded via Panopto (the recording is shared as part of a post-consultation follow-up with the student(s) who were present at that time). For general safety purposes, students should refrain from introducing themselves with both their first and last name (we recommend using first names only). Panopto has the ability to share recordings internationally. Although this has yet to occur, students should take precautions to protect their identity.