A Talking Matter

Kean's Public Speaking Lab prepares students for presentations, interviews and more

Features > A Talking Matter
A Talking Matter

The Nancy Thompson Library houses the Public Speaking Lab, Tutoring and Support Services, the Writing Center and more.

Victoria Gasper, Staff Writer

The Public Speaking Lab, previously known as the Speech Lab, is located across from the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in the Nancy Thompson Library, Room 109. Workers in this department can range from professors to graduates, with part-time job opportunities for students starting at $10 per hour. There are currently two student workers in the lab that handle coaching, scheduling and other minimal tasks.

With flexible hours varying day-by-day, but usually ranging from 8 a.m. to around 9 p.m., a part-time worker is always available to help students with whatever they need. Students typically come in for help with class presentations, but the public speaking lab also offers services to assist in using tools like PowerPoint while presenting and preparing for job interviews.

Michael Canova, an academic specialist, graduated from Kean two years ago and has been working in the public speaking lab part-time since November 2018. He focuses more on promotional aspects of the lab by visiting classrooms and developing workshops, as well as making sure someone is scheduled in the lab at all times.

"The most rewarding thing about working here is when a student comes back to let us know that they aced their presentation or speech," Canova says.

Eric Shandroff, a communications major, has used the public speaking lab on many occasions and has attributed it to his personal success inside and outside of the classroom.

"The Public Speaking Lab was very helpful to me when I was working on my business plan competition presentation. They gave great feedback on my presentation skills and helped me finish in fourth place out of 95 students [who] entered the contest. I was [also] the only communication major to place as a finalist, and [they] helped me win $900," Shandroff said.

Shandroff was one of those students who came back to tell staff such as Canova about how the lab helped him defy the odds and come in fourth place with a monetary reward.

"I am so grateful for the phenomenal academic specialist Michael Canova!" said Valerie Allen, a dual major undergraduate. "He has given me the most helpful tips, tools and rebooted confidence I needed to present and speak in front of the Greek Senate Committee, FTK Color Run and Greek Rally all in raising funds for the Children's Specialized Hospital, as well as standing before my class to present my portion of our Worlds of History Group Presentation with high points and remarks earned and received."

There are three main types of sessions in the lab:

  1. Working on an outline of the speech to collect all of the information
  2. Turning the outline into a presentation and narrowing down the information into a smaller version of the outline
  3. Balancing using PowerPoint or Google Slides while presenting their speech

Aside from these skills, students of all class levels have also come into the lab to conduct mock-interviews or meetings with staff members to learn the proper things to say to sound more professional in a workplace environment and to present themselves in a more sophisticated way to future employers.

For students like Shandroff and Allen who are interested in utilizing the Public Speaking Lab, email the at speechlab@kean.edu or reach out to Graduate Assistant Tala Shatila at shatilat@kean.edu. To get a job with the Public Speaking Lab, students can go to the front desk and set up an interview or fill out an application on Cougar Link once it becomes available.

about the author

Victoria Gasper, Staff Writer

Victoria Gasper joined The Cougar's Byte as a staff writer in March 2019.