The Speaking Fellows are specially trained Barnard students who work with speaking-intensive courses and other academically centered programs, helping students improve their presentation and class discussion skills. The program requires Speaking Fellows to be among Barnard’s best public speakers, and to have strong leadership and teaching abilities. We aim to cultivate and empower the “speaking culture” at Barnard by teaching students to be reflective about what they say and how they say it.
Learn about the Speaking Fellows' Annual Cicero Speech Contest. This Fall's Cicero Speech Contest will be on Thursday, November 13th, at 6PM in Barnard Hall's James Room. To enter the contest, please submit an online Participant Questionnaire by October 12th.
Watch this short video to learn more about what the Speaking Fellows do:
Sign up for New Group Workshops
Public Speaking and the Intellectual Voice is a series of public speaking workshops open to the entire Barnard/Columbia community. We have recently developed several concentrated, 1-hour workshops that draw on knowledge and activities from a variety of fields (including debate, negotiation strategies, even improv comedy!) to help you practice, improve, and experiment with your speaking style. In all workshops, you can expect to be on your feet, trying out activities and engaging in meaningful discussions with the support of a Speaking Fellow and a small group of peer participants.
See below for a description of each workshop type. Space is limited, so we encourage you to sign up as soon as possible. To reserve your spot, sign up through our online scheduler.
Managing Public Speaking Anxiety
Friday, 10/31 2-3PM in Barnard 217 OR Friday, 11/14 2-3PM in Barnard 217
In survey after survey, more people rank "public speaking" as their greatest fear than "death." Spend a low-key hour with a small group and a Speaking Fellow to learn how to recognize and manage your anxiety. We will discuss the psychology behind anxiety, learn tips and tricks to diminish anxiety and improve speech performance, and practice public speaking in a stress-free environment.
Preparing to be Unprepared: Improv and Speaking Anxiety
Monday, 11/10 6-7PM in Barnard 217
We often find ourselves in speaking situations where we cannot fully prepare – a classroom discussion, a panel, or an interview, to name a few. Though these circumstances can lead to heightened anxiety (especially if you already feel tense about public speaking), there are methods to “prepare to be unprepared.” This session uses long form improv techniques as tools for getting more comfortable with impromptu speaking.
Empower Your Participation in Classroom Discussions
Wednesday, 11/12 6:30-7:30PM OR Monday, 11/17 6-7PM in Barnard 217
This workshop focuses on seminar discussion skills using certain debating techniques. With the support of your peers, you will learn how to respond to your classmates' ideas effectively; how to challenge those ideas in insightful, productive ways; and how to take charge of and cultivate your speaking responsibilities at the seminar table. Developing these skills will help you become a more reflective, creative thinker, no matter how comfortable (or uncomfortable) you are speaking up in class.
Crafting an Effective Presentation
Friday, 11/14 1:30-2:30PM in Barnard 205
This workshop guides you through the presentation-building process, from the generation of ideas to your delivery. These skills can be applied to a range of contexts, such as presenting a research project or senior thesis, giving a speech for a special event, expressing your opinion on a reading for class, or even creating a short personal statement to have ready for a potential employer. In a supportive, peer environment, you can feel comfortable experimenting with your speaking style, building the confidence to become a persuasive, dynamic speaker.
Speak Your Way to Success: Negotiation Techniques and Skills
Monday, 11/17 8:30-9:30pm in Barnard 205
People are often thrown off by negotiations. How do you best approach high-tension, high-stress situations that have so much riding on them (even though we all seem to always be in one)? How do you set up the room? What language do you use? How do you keep calm? This workshop focuses on how to navigate any type of negotiation (whether in the professional world or a dorm room dilemma that needs to be solved) and how to enter into the conversation feeling prepared and calm instead of heated and frustrated.
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The Speaking Center is now open for the Fall, 2014 semester.
What students say:
“I definitely feel so much more confident in my public speaking skills.”
“The Fellow was insightful, engaging, and fun. She made the two hours fly by.”
“I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it so much. Even though I consider myself a good speaker, I definitely learned a lot.”