UVU Public Speaking Lab
Reading Time: 2 minutes “Even if you’re not confident, act confident,” says Hadley Sanders, an instructional aide at the UVU Public Speaking Lab. Speaking confidently can make the difference to be a good speech.
At the lab, students can engage one-on-one with trained student mentors and instructional assistants to receive assistance, feedback, or advice on their public speaking skills and speeches.
According to Hadley Sanders, an instructional assistant, the Public Speaking Lab is an on-campus resource that mostly caters to students who are in public speaking classes, such as COMM 1020, although “anyone who needs help with any type of public speaking” is welcome. Sanders recommends scheduling an appointment online, but “you can always just come over here and see if anyone’s available.”
Many students visiting the lab look for assistance with drafting and writing their speeches. Sanders says she often works with students on their transitions, thesis statements, attention grabbers, and memorable closings.
“And a lot of students do struggle with the speaking part or even just making an appointment,” states Sanders. “I feel like a lot of people are scared to come here.”
Sanders emphasizes that there’s no reason to be afraid. “We try to be as nice as we can” while giving feedback and working with students.
A typical appointment at the lab focuses on answering questions or addressing concerns that students bring with them. Mentors will ask students to recite their speeches so they can take notes to discuss what they did well and what they should revise. Appointments vary in length, depending on the speech.
Sanders’ biggest piece of advice to anyone worried about public speaking is to “just be confident in what you’re talking about, even if you’re not super sure or completely satisfied with it.” She explains, “Unless they’re an expert on this exact topic, [listeners] are not really going to question you.”
During her time as an instructional assistant, Sanders has “definitely been able to increase or make [her] speaking skills a little better.” Helping other students has helped hone her ability to craft thesis statements and closing lines. Beyond that, she states, “I’ve just learned a lot of cool things about people [with a] lot of cool stories and backgrounds.”
Sanders initially got involved with the lab in August 2023, while she was looking for a job related to her major, which is public relations and strategic communications. She shares that she really enjoyed her COMM 1020 class and is confident in her public speaking skills. “So I thought this would be a cool way to kind of get involved and also meet new people.”
Other students wishing to work at the lab can visit the UVU Job Board to “look for a communications instructional aide,” explains Sanders, who also noted that interested students can also visit the lab and inquire in person. The UVU Job Board is a hub for all students who want to work at the school.
The Public Speaking Lab is in room 5052A in the Clarke Building.