Synergy Speakers' Corner boosts students' confidence< More Stories
“I wanted to improve my skills and now I wish I could do more public speaking,” says Allen, whose first brush with public speaking was with 4-H. “With Synergy Speakers’ Corner, it makes me push myself more. If I can talk in front of a whole group of unknown people, in a way I can accomplish anything.”
Launched in 2015, Speakers’ Corner is a bi-weekly event co-organized by business students Kimberly May and Hyunki Jung. With key support from sponsor Synergy Credit Union this year, students gather over the noon hour to practice the art of public speaking by presenting timed speeches. On average, there are 50 students at each session.
To achieve the Competent Communicator 1 award and receive a green pin, students must complete five out of seven public speaking projects, which range from “breaking the ice” to telling a story, leading a discussion and sharing a joke.
Working through each project and presenting in front of her peers has proven to be a big confidence boost for Jacey Funk, a business administration accounting major.
“For my first speech, I was nervous and my anxiety levels were really high, but then for the most recent one it was my best speech so far. I am starting to realize how important body language is for public speaking,” says Funk. “I have more confidence so I speak up a lot more in class. More of my professors know me now too and I have been getting more help that way. Overall, my confidence in class has risen a lot and my grades reflect that. I am very glad I joined Speakers’ Corner.”
Ben Acquaye, the business department chair, and Angela Minish, a business instructor, and other staff facilitate each session and provide feedback regularly to students. “Their input has really helped me. After each speech they share how it went and what I can improve on,” says Funk, adding she’s worked hard on improving her body language.
During the final Synergy Speakers’ Corner session for 2016 on Thursday, Dec. 8, eight students received their green pin, including Allen and Funk. These students will move on to the Competent Communicator 2 level next semester. They’ll work towards their gold pin by participating in debates, learning how to give a toast and other speaking projects. Students can also work towards the Effective Leadership plaque by completing four of the following projects: greeter, group facilitator, speech evaluator, time keeper and mentor a member.
Eager to continue public speaking and working on the Speakers’ Corner projects, Allen also looks forward to helping others as a mentor. “I like listening to other people and am more than happy to help others with their presentations,” she says. “Synergy Speakers’ Corner will help you go further. The more you practice, the better you get.”
Photo: At their last Synergy Speakers' Corner meeting, eight students received green pins for completing the Competent Communication 1 and Leadership Manual. They'll move on to the Competent Communicator 2 level next semester.