The Speaking Studio at The University of Alabama is a one-of-a kind program that helps students, faculty and community partners develop their public speaking skills and build confidence.
The studio is led by Angela Billings, instructor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) and is staffed by talented C&IS and UA students who serve as Speaking Studio consultants. These trained student consultants help clients clarify and craft their message, cultivate dynamic delivery and calm public speaking anxiety through expertise, observation and coaching.
Annually, The Speaking Studio supports over 1,500 students from 63 different majors, and thanks to last year’s Bama Blitz fundraising campaign, the Speaking Studio is achieving great success this year.
The Bama Blitz campaign is a two-day fundraising initiative that aims to support various programs at UA, and The Speaking Studio was the C&IS fundraising initiative in 2022. The studio received an overwhelming amount of support from alumni, faculty, staff and students.
Through the generous gifts made during the campaign, the Speaking Studio was able to expand its offerings through state-of-the-art video and audio equipment that improves the studio’s ability to film, screen and record client speeches. Additionally, the campaign allowed the Speaking Studio to reach more students through appointments and workshops and invest in the professional development of current Speaking Studio consultants through formal training with Billings and Dr. Adam Brooks, director of the public speaking program at UA.
The impact of formal training is felt by Speaking Studio consultants like Max Lowery, who see training as an opportunity to build community and benefit the University as a whole.
“Training shows us how the studio operates and how to communicate with clients, but most importantly, it shows us that we have a community within the Speaking Studio,” said Lowery. “Consultants quickly become your friends and Mrs. Billings and Dr. Brooks quickly become not only your bosses, but also mentors that collaborate with you to inspire change in the University.”
CamiLee Downey also serves as a consultant and credits her Speaking Studio training with developing her communication and leadership skills.
“There are constant opportunities in the studio to grow and become the best consultants we can be,” said Downey. “In training, I learned how to adapt to different people’s needs in a professional environment. Being able to take that information with me into appointments and meet clients’ needs is something I will value through the rest of my time at UA and in my future career.”
The Speaking Studio has become a vital resource for students, faculty and community members, helping them to succeed in their academic and professional lives. The impact of the 2022 Bama Blitz campaign propelled the program forward in producing successful public speakers.
“When I visited the Speaking Studio this year, it gave me space for a one-on-one experience. For individuals, like myself, who have anxiety speaking in front of a large group, this experience makes it much more comfortable to successfully communicate your topic,” said Haylee Pack, a double major in dance and nursing who attended a Speaking Studio appointment this year.
Clients of the Speaking Studio consistently report feeling more confident and prepared for public speaking opportunities, and many have gone on to win awards and recognition for their presentations and speeches.
“One of the most impactful moments as a consultant for me was working with a client that faced public speaking anxiety,” said Lowery. “In our first meeting, the client wasn’t comfortable delivering any of their speech in front of an audience, but by the end of the semester, they had one of the highest performing speeches in their class.”
The success of the Speaking Studio is a testament to the consultants and faculty’s commitment to excellence, and it demonstrates the power of community support and philanthropy on impacting C&IS programs. Thanks to the generosity of donors during the 2022 Bama Blitz campaign, the Speaking Studio is making a significant difference in the lives of UA community members this year, and it will continue to do so for years to come.
To learn more about the Bama Blitz fundraising campaign or for more information about the College’s 2023 Bama Blitz passion project, click here.