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 opens for the Fall 2018 semester on Tuesday, September 18th. 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.


Speaking out on Campus: A Workshop on Presenting about Political Issues

With Speaking Fellow Eliza Moss-Horwitz

Wednesday, November 7th at 8 - 9: 00pm | BAR 217

Are you passionate about a political issue on campus? Do you want to present to other students about pertinent political issues? Don’t know how to navigate a presentation that is geared towards your peers rather than a Professor? Come learn about the ways to craft an effective political presentation.on-campus! This workshop is designed to assist you in speaking about political issues on-campus and delivering effective, clear presentations about issues that you're passionate about!


Office Hours: How to Do the Most

With Speaking Fellow Julia Khan

6 participants maximum

Thursday, November 8, 2pm - 3pm

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.


Speaking with Sway: Conveying Authority in Speaking

With Speaking Fellow Leora Balinksky

Monday, November 12th, 6 - 7 pm | BAR 217

Conveying authority is a necessary component of effective speaking. However, authority can take many different forms. This workshop involves discussing how to convey authority in YOUR way, as well as general tools for more authoritative speech.


The Art of Listening

With Speaking Fellow Lila Etter

Thursday, November 15th, 6-7:00 pm

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


Speaking-Up, Telling Jokes: A Workshop about Comedy and Speaking with Confidence!

With Speaking Fellow Eliza Moss-Horwitz

Wednesday, November 14th at  8 - 9: 00pm | BAR 217

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 TBA date 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!


Crafting an Effective Presentation

With Speaking Fellow Supriyah Khandekar

Thursday, November 29th from 1 - 2 pm | BAR 217

Do you have a presentation to prepare and don't know where to start? Does public speaking in general seem like a big task that you need help with? Come spend an hour learning how to prepare, structure, and deliver any presentation or speech with the Speaking Fellows! We can answer your questions, give you personalized tips, and help you get started on turning that paper you are writing into a much shorter and understandable speech!