UC hosts a toastmasters presentation

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Amanda Fanelli, assistant features editor 

The Mohawk Valley Toastmasters will be giving a presentation at Utica College on April 21, from 4-5 p.m. in Hubbard 105. This organization teaches students effective communication and leadership skills, which will translate into greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Kimberly Etman, from the Office of Opportunity Programs wears multiple hats in her job. Etman is a counselor for students in the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and UC’s Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP).

One of her roles is to plan different activities each semester that will help students grow academically and professionally. In bringing Toastmasters to Utica College students, Etman hopes that students learn valuable presentation skills and strategies from the workshop.

“By participating in the ‘Table Topics’ discussion, students can test the strategies taught by Ryan Morris and they’ll also have the opportunity to evaluate one another,” Etman said.

She also hopes that this presentation proves to be a comfortable setting where students aren’t afraid to test their public speaking skills.

Public speaking skills are applicable to all majors and are a skill that can set one apart from peers. Etman hopes that students will take advantage of this opportunity to better their public speaking and leadership skills.

Carol Downing, Ph.D. Professor of Communication, said that effective oral communication is the most important way that humans communicate with one another. Downing said that people in management positions have said that the two top skills they are looking for in potential employees are the ability to speak in public and the ability to write well.

“If you are comfortable speaking in front of an audience of 20 people, how much more comfortable are you going to be when you are in a job interview?” Downing explained.

Downing advises students to attend this event because she sees value in any organization that helps individuals realize the importance of being able to stand in front of a room full of people and communicate effectively.

“I don’t believe that an experience like this is a viable alternative to an academic examination of the theory and skills that are necessary to communicate effectively, but I think it could be a nice addition to a person’s public speaking portfolio,” Downing said. “I would hope that students would come to the realization that speaking in public does not need to be their greatest fear. Snakes, heights, and being buried alive – now THOSE are things to be scared of!”

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