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Public Speaking Center

The Public Speaking Center supports student success by providing quality peer-to-peer consulting for all UWL students seeking assistance on oral presentations. Peer consultants aid students with topic selection, outlines, content development, delivery, audio-visual aids, managing speaking anxiety, and increasing confidence. 

Public Speaking Center - Hours and Appointments

The Public Speaking Center is open starting September 19th for Fall 2016! Our hours are Monday from 8am-10 pm, Tuesday 8am-9 am, 11am-9:30 pm, Wednesday 8am-10 pm, Thursday 8am-9am, 11am-9:30pm, Friday 9am-5pm, and Sunday 11:30am-10pm.

We are located in Murphy 251 (within the Murphy Learning Center). We recommend seeing a peer consultant at least one week before your assignment is due. To make an appointment, CLICK HERE. Appointments are recommended. Drop-ins are welcome if a peer consultant is available. Read the frequently asked questions before coming to your appointment.


Peruse our 2015-2016 Yearly Report for information regarding our growth, outreach, assessments, and goals.

Discover additional tutoring services on campus by visiting the Murphy Learning Center page. Find additional student success resources by clicking here.

The Public Speaking Center at UWL is one of fifteen communication centers in the United States that has a training program certified by the National Association of Communication Centers.




Contact Terry Smith, Public Speaking Center Director, at or 608.785.8523 for questions, ideas, and feedback. Find us on Facebook.

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Who comes to the Center and why?  

Students from all majors can use the Public Speaking Center. Trained, undergraduate peer consultants will help any UWL student. If your goal as a speaker is to inform or persuade an audience, we can help. We offer assistance with:   

  • Topic selection 
  • Audience analysis logo
  • Content development
  • Organizing ideas 
  • Preparation outlines twitter
  • Delivery outlines and speaking notes 
  • Delivery (hand and facial gestures, vocal tone) 
  • Audio-visual aids 
  • Managing speaking anxiety 

What should I bring to my appointment?  

Please bring a copy of your course syllabus, assignment directions and rubric, and any notes or drafts. Feel free to bring in electronic versions of your work as well.  

What will happen at the beginning of my appointment?  

At the beginning of your appointment, a peer consultant will ask you to complete an assessment form in order to learn more about you, your assignment, and needs. Please be ready to explain what you would like to get out of the appointment.  

How long do appointments last?  

Appointments are generally scheduled for 30 minutes. However, they can be shorter or longer depending on your needs. Feel free to visit the Public Speaking Center multiple times for a single assignment.  

Can I practice my presentation and receive feedback?  

Yes! A peer consultant can watch you practice and provide feedback on your delivery and/or content. The Public Speaking Center is equipped with a laptop, a large monitor for practicing with visual aids (i.e., PowerPoint), and video camera if you would like your practice session taped.  

Can I receive feedback on my content and organization?  

Yes! A peer consultant can provide feedback on content development, outlines, and organization of ideas.  

Will coming to the Center increase my grade?  

Our goal is to help you be as successful as possible for your presentations. Most students who meet with a peer consultant during a 30-minute appointment leave with approximately five specific suggestions for improvement. Receiving feedback from a peer consultant is just one step in preparing a presentation. Students should recognize that they are ultimately responsible for their performance on their assignments, and that the feedback they receive may or may not affect their grade positively or negatively.  Please also note that the Center will not:   

  • Write speeches for students. 
  • Guarantee a perfectly composed and/or delivered presentation. 
  • Guess (or second guess) grades.  

What is the history of the Public Speaking Center?  

During the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Tony Docan-Morgan and undergraduate student Lindsay Swiggum piloted the Center and found student and instructor interest and need. During the 2013-2014 academic year, we received a permanent home in the Murphy Learning Center, hired 11 peer consultants, provided over 500 student consultations, and hosted six workshops on topics ranging from managing public speaking anxiety, extemporaneous delivery, using creative and vivid language, and using PowerPoint. During 2014-2015, our training program was certified by the National Association of Communication Centers, we had over 1,200 student consultations, and we created and hosted the Public Speaking Competition. During 2015-2016, we had over 1,500 student consultations and delivered 40 public speaking workshops on campus. We’re excited about serving all UWL students and look forward to continued growth and usage. 


See our 2012-2015 and 2015-2016 reports for additional information regarding our growth, outreach, assessments, and goals. 

Who supports the Public Speaking Center?  

The Center is supported by the Department of Communication Studies and Murphy Learning Center. We've also received the following grants: College of Liberal Studies (CLS) Small Grant,  CLS Technology Grant, and CATL Faculty Development Grant. 

How do I apply to be a peer consultant at the Public Speaking Center?

Click here for the application.  

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Public Speaking Basics (click links below)

  1. Select and narrow your topic
  2. Analyze your audience
  3. Create a preparation outline and speaking outline (.pdf) (.doc)
  4. Develop supporting material
  5. Find, evaluate, and cite sources
  6. Use creative/vivid language and gender inclusive language
  7. Engage the audience
  8. Design and use visual aids
  9. Practice delivery
  10. Manage speaking anxiety

Informative Speaking - Resources and Examples

  • Austin MacKenzie's purpose was to inform the audience about spray paint art and to teach them how to create an original piece of spray art. Files: Speech videopreparation outline

Persuasive Speaking - Resources and Examples

  • Charlotte Plehn's purpose was to persuade the audience to support physician assisted death choices. Charlotte won the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File:Speech video
  • Megan Graham's purpose was to persuade the audience to support music in our schools. Megan was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File:Speech video
  • Oliva Tasch's purpose was to persuade the audience to donate blood. Olivia was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File: Speech video
  • Rachel Bernard's purpose was to persuade and motivate the audience to take action in fighting illiteracy. Rachel was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File: Speech video
  • Carly Boles's purpose was to persuade the audience to take a stand against trophy hunting of lions. Carly was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File: Speech video
  • Cassie Wessing's purpose was to persuade the audience to reduce the amount of time they spend on social media. Cassie was a finalist in the 2015-2016 Public Speaking Competition. File: Speech video

Library/research tutorials

For additional help and questions regarding library resources and research, contact one of the UWL instructional librarians listed below. Both work closely with students in CST 110.


Have ideas for resources? Contact Terry Smith at
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