The Speaking Center

We encourage all Barnard students to sign up for a one-on-one session or group workshop in the Speaking Center at any time.  Columbia students are welcome to participate if enrolled in a Barnard course and hoping to work on an assignment for that course in the Speaking Center.

One-On-One Sessions

A one-on-one session gives you the opportunity to practice a specific presentation with the support of your own, personal Speaking Fellow.  Your Speaking Fellow can work with you on a range of skills, such as:

  • How to organize and structure your ideas
  • How to create a persuasive, well-reasoned argument
  • How to make key points in clear, precise ways
  • How to use visual aids
  • How to improve and polish your delivery

Speaking Fellows can work with you at any stage in the presentation-building process; however, the more material you bring to your session (i.e. an outline, any visual aids you plan to use, a practiced speech, or even just some ideas), the more you will benefit.

To give you plenty of time to revise and practice your presentation, we encourage you to schedule your one-on-one at least 3-7 days prior to your presentation date.  However, you can schedule a one-on-one as early as 14 days in advance, and you are welcome to make follow-up appointments.

The Speaking Center is now open. Create an account through our online scheduler to receive updates and sign-up information this semester. The last day of Speaking Center appointments this semester is Monday, December 10th (also the last day of classes).

Specialized Group Workshops

We offer a series of public speaking workshops open to the Barnard/Columbia community.  We developed several concentrated, 1-2 hour workshops that draw on knowledge and activities from a variety of fields (including intersectional feminist theory, meditation, and tips from Career Development) 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 previous workshops.  To reserve your spot, sign up through our online scheduler.

Office Hours: How to Do the Most
With Speaking Fellow Julia Khan
6 participants maximum
Wednesday, March 27 from 6-7pm

Having trouble with a concept in class? Big paper coming up? Want to get to know your professors better but haven't made it to office hours yet? Come to our workshop and learn how to set effective goals, organize thoughts, and have productive and fulfilling conversations with professors.

VISP Workshop: Making the Best of Class Participation
With Speaking Fellow Daniela Zecheru
8 participants max
Wednesday, March 27th, 7-8pm

This workshop on class participation for visiting students focuses on useful tools and strategies to meaningfully engage with peers and professors in classroom discussions. Students will have the chance to work in pairs or small groups and practice speaking and listening skills in a space free of negative judgement or pressure. 

VISP Workshop: Delivering Presentations in the Classroom & Beyond 
With Speaking Fellow Daniela Zecheru
8 participants max
Wednesday, April 3rd, 7-8pm 

Giving a presentation on a topic you care about can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience. This workshop provides an opportunity for students whose first language is not English to learn some effective tools and strategies in developing and delivering presentations in and outside the classroom. Students will have the chance to practice their speaking skills and receive meaningful feedback in a space free of negative judgement or pressure. 

The Art of Listening
With Speaking Fellow Lila Etter
5 participants maximum 
Thursday, April 11th, 4-5pm

What does it mean to be an active listener? How does an audience's active listening impact us as speakers? In this workshop, we will explore how listening skills can change our experience as speakers and audience members in various contexts. We will cover both the theoretical aspects as well as practical tools of active listening to enhance our everyday interactions.

The Self-Advocacy Workshop
With Speaking Fellow Megnot Mulugeta
10 participants maximum
April 17th 6-7 pm

Advocating for yourself can be an overwhelming and nerve-wracking experience, but it's an essential skill for establishing boundaries and ensuring that your needs are recognized. In this workshop, we'll go over the root of our fears, the importance of creating a support system, and how to prepare for advocating for yourself (both impromptu and planned). These skills could be beneficial for relationships, the classroom experience, and engaging with institutions!  

Speaking-Up, Telling Jokes: A Workshop about Comedy and Speaking with Confidence!
With Speaking Fellow Eliza Moss-Horwitz
Wednesday, April 24thh from 7:00-8:00 PM | BAR 217
6 participants maximum
Do you struggle to speak with confidence? Do you like telling jokes? Do you believe that humor can be an avenue through which to explore speaking confidently? Come to this workshop on April 23rd to learn more about crafting comedic presentations! We will talk about the barriers that prevent us from speaking confidently and the ways that we can use humor to overcome these barriers. We will explore personal writing, speeches, and stand-up comedy as a way of learning to speak confidently in a variety of settings! Bring your best jokes, ideas, speeches, and a willingness to work with your peers!