Amherst College enjoys a long legacy of teaching rhetoric and public speaking to its students. Our alumni practice powerful speaking in their lives, whether they work as teachers or politicians, or as leaders of corporations or communities. Whether you dread the idea of speaking in front of others or you love standing in the spotlight, we provide the Amherst College community with support for speakers of all comfort levels.
You start with a great idea, or an opinion, or just your own perspective. The next step is to share it. Communicating effectively opens a world of possibilities. The ability to communicate—both in written and spoken form—is critical in academic pursuits, professional vocations, and life!
We provide opportunities to learn and pratice speaking skills, and to participate in events that celebrate public speaking. We work with students, faculty, and staff to help with all aspects of public speaking, whether you’re a beginner or a practiced speaker looking to fine-tune.
Everyone has the ability to be an effective public speaker. See our offerings below, and reach out to us to get started.
Meet Susan Daniels, Associate in Public Speaking, and learn about the various aspects of public speaking and how they apply to your work and life — at Amherst and beyond.
For faculty and staff: Susan coaches speakers for individual presentations. She can support you in many ways, for instance: making a classroom lecture more dynamic, presenting at a professional conference, preparing for a TED talk.
Faculty may request customized speaking support for their courses. Susan Daniels offers consultations on presentation assignment design and evaluation, and she can lead in-class workshops to prepare your students to engage audiences with focus and confidence. In consultation with you, she designs instruction to meet your specific pedagogical goals on a variety of topics.
Each year we host two competitions:
This year’s Three Minute Thesis Competition took place on May 5, 2022. Learn more and watch a recording of the event at the link below.
On February 23, 2022, students participated in Amherst College’s annual speaking competition. Student finalists delivered powerful, persuasive speeches based on the theme of “Progress.”
Find tips for structuring a speech, being persuasive, telling a story, handling anxiety, evaluating performance, and more.