Public Speaking Support

We offer peer tutoring for all kinds of public speaking projects research presentations
critique dialogues
artist talks
classroom discussions
slide-show narration
rally speeches
job interviews
and all types of skill development. projecting your voice
focusing your content
engaging your listeners
using gestures
articulating key vocabulary
incorporating rhetorical questions
feeling confident
preparing for the unexpected

Our tutors are ready to help you:*

– Brainstorm, organize, and revise content
– Get a listener’s perspective
– Improve specific qualities and tactics through new strategies
– Understand public speaking in general
– Practice and refine a presentation
– Prepare to talk about your work in critique
– Try physical, vocal, and rhetorical exercises

*Keep in mind that we can only focus on one or two priorities in each appointment; follow-up visits are encouraged.

Public Speaking at RISD

Talking with people is something we all do every day. Public speaking is differentiated by specific contexts and expectations — conditions that can make us feel stressed, exposed, and nervous. People often label themselves as “bad at” public speaking, as if this status is fixed for life. To the contrary: although public speaking skills are rarely practiced, they are highly learnable. 

Students at RISD encounter many opportunities to speak in public (and most mirror the public speaking you’re likely to do in your future as an artist or designer as well). Informal speaking situations, like meetings with professors and in-class discussions, happen all the time. You’ll also find yourself speaking formally, whether persuasively (giving thesis presentations, for example), informatively (in class presentations or introducing a guest speaker), or in performances or readings of your work. Situations for discursive modes of speaking include critiques, panel discussions, and Portfolio Review. 

We provide opportunities to prepare for specific occasions of public speaking — from artist talks and elevator pitches to job interviews to Kickstarter videos — and to build skills you can apply to future occasions. A session could be spent on rhetorical effectiveness, perhaps focusing content or forming a narrative. You could learn more about the psychology of public speaking to calm your nerves or practice projecting your voice and using purposeful gestures. You might want a “studio sounding board” to articulate ideas around your work before a critique. With attention, awareness, and commitment, anyone can gain confidence and ability in public speaking.  


Public speaking is a form of art; art is a form of public speaking. Whether we discuss our ideas or make them with our hands, we are always communicating a specific message. That message is indelible to us as artists, and is the driving force behind why we create. And so when we practice public speaking as an art form, we not only round out our artistic practice, we strengthen the idea behind our creations, and in turn strengthen our work.
— Maura Clark, MDes, Interior Architecture, 2019