IUPUI Speaker’s Lab

Mission Statement

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab is an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of public speaking, presenting, and interviewing skills in the IUPUI and global communities. We welcome everyone and provide support for clients at any skill level to overcome public speaking fears and hone communication skills in a nonjudgmental environment.

Lab Services

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab is a service that is available to all IUPUI students, faculty, and staff. We offer one-on-one mentoring, recording services, and outline review for both oral and written presentations. We mainly serve COMM-R110 students; however, we can help with almost all public speaking needs.

Our mentors commonly help communicators to:

  • Understand speech assignments and requirements
  • Brainstorm for topics
  • Identify and research sources
  • Strengthen speech content, structure, and organization
  • Improve outline and note card usage
  • Develop visual aids
  • Polish gestures and speech delivery
  • Reduce speech anxiety
  • Host mock interviews

Lab Schedule

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab operates when campus is open and closes when campus is closed for holidays and designated breaks. The hours of operation are typically 9am to 6pm on Mondays through Fridays, plus 10am to 3pm on Saturdays unless otherwise stated. Generally, the Speaker’s Lab does not offer mentoring to students during the first and last weeks of the semester. During the first week of the semester, mentors visit all R110 speech courses and explain our services, in addition to assisting students and professors with the start of the course. In the last week of the semester, mentors finish up projects and prepare for the following semester, as students have finished their speeches in preparation for the final exam or project.

Lab Technical Resource

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab is an on-campus resource facility that is located in Cavanaugh Hall Room CA-001G. The lab has 780 square feet of workspace for five computer workstations and one Computer/Scheduling Reception space. These stations are used by the 28-30 lab mentors to review outlines, prepare help videos, and conduct personal Zoom session consultations. The Speaker’s Lab also has three additional soundproof recording and practice rooms of 180 square feet each. Each recording studio is equipped with video recording equipment and a computer and monitor to allow students the ability to digitally record and transmit their presentation to cloud based services. On average, the physical lab space is utilized by 60% of enrolled R110 students.

All technology needs are provided and maintained by SLA support services. In addition to being a physical resource on campus, the Speaker’s Lab provides a constant virtual resource.

Lab Personnel Expertise

Each lab mentor is equipped to help R110 students with course work. Each mentor has taken and passed R110 with a B+ or higher. Mentors can help during any step of the speechmaking process – from brainstorming for topic ideas to polishing the final presentation. Mentors know how to create PowerPoint presentations and can help polish the slides as well. Mentors also help develop public speaking skills for everyone who comes to the lab for assistance on a presentation or speech.

The Speaker’s Lab employs Communication Studies graduate students and undergraduate workers across many IUPUI campus academic disciplines. One strength of the IUPUI Speaker’s Lab is in the diversity of our mentors. Both in life experience and academic discipline, the Speaker’s Lab is able to assist with any presentation and on any subject through the skills and knowledge of our mentors. The lab follows all university policies related to hiring and diversity and provides a safe work environment.

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab follows a four-step training process: Canvas training site, shadowing senior mentors, assisting students under supervision, and assisting students on their own with supervisor check-ins and possible re-training. Once mentors are fully trained, they go through a probationary semester where they are not able to participate in training or promotions. During this time they work on projects and continue to develop their mentoring abilities. After their first semester, all mentors are eligible for promotions to senior lab mentors, project leads, shift supervisors, or one of two executive supervisory positions.

Speaker’s Lab Interview Program (SLIP)

The Speaker’s Lab is a resource for any IUPUI student who wants to improve communication skills of any kind. Many students come to the Speaker’s Lab for help with interviews of various types, including:

  • Job interviews
  • Medical or graduate school interviews
  • Program interviews
  • Networking events

Mentors can provide a variety of help:

  • Preparing for an interview
  • Helping interviewees do research
  • Practicing with mock interviews
  • Finding out aspects of the company/organization that interests them
  • Helping with interview questions
  • Reducing interview/communication anxiety

The Online Speaker’s Lab Support

In order to better assist students who may not be able to visit the IUPUI Speaker’s Lab during our office hours, mentors have developed an online support site using the Canvas Learning Management System. Students are added to this support site by mentors as soon as enrollments are finalized. In these support sites, students can get feedback and assistance from mentors without visiting the physical lab. These sites support students in a number of ways: discussion boards, outline submission, and Zoom mentoring.

The Canvas support site has five discussion posts so that students can post questions for mentors to answer; everyone can view these. These posts are sorted into five categories: general questions, outline questions, Zoom questions, Kaltura (video recording) questions, and Speech Night questions. There are also five assignment slots where students can submit their outlines an unlimited amount of times, sorted by the type of speech so mentors can provide more accurate feedback. On average, students submit two outlines directly for review, in addition to our synchronous mentoring services. In order to create a secure Zoom mentoring space, the information to access the Zoom online office is only available through the Canvas support site. Here, students and mentors join breakout rooms to privately discuss their work and progress in the course.

Social Media Presence

YouTube is an additional outlet that the Speaker’s Lab uses to reach audiences with tips for speakers. The home page of the lab’s channel showcases a short trailer for the YouTube channel. In order to inform audiences of what services the Speaker’s Lab offers and what they can find on the website, the video displays samples from video coaching and resources. Upon clicking on the “Videos” tab at the top of the YouTube page, students are taken to a gallery of videos. Here, mentors have uploaded Speech Night recordings, speech tips of the week, explanations of different parts of speeches, tips on how to record speeches on a laptop, and numerous example speech videos. Overall, this page includes videos that can be found on the Speaker’s Lab website so that a more diverse audience can locate them. These videos are also on a widely used platform that allows for people around the world to find our videos if they are searching for speech help.

As Instagram is an online platform widely used by college aged students, it is important that the Speaker’s Lab has an engaging Instagram account. When students click on the profile, the first thing they see is the biography, where there is a short description of what the Speaker’s Lab is. Additionally, the biography includes a direct link to the Speaker’s Lab website and the location of the in-person lab.

Below the biography is the Instagram highlights section. Here, we post weekly agenda checklists for R110 students. This allows for easy access to the weekly syllabus in a sometimes hectic hybrid semester. There is a SLIP highlight, which explains what the program is and includes a method of asking questions to which mentors respond. The remaining highlights include “Mentors,” “Speech Night,” “Appointments,” and “Location.” These highlights are additional information about the lab and the services it offers. The next and most important section of the Instagram page is the gallery. Here, the social media team posts speech reminders, quiz question examples, speech tips, common outline errors, and other information about the Speaker’s Lab and the mentors.

In regards to the Facebook and Twitter accounts that the Speaker’s Lab manages, the exact same content is posted, excluding the highlights. One thing to note about the Twitter page is that – due of character limits in tweets – students are directed to visit the Instagram and Facebook pages for the full posts. Overall, these platforms allow the Speaker’s Lab to efficiently communicate with students and keep them updated with tips, reminders, and other information.

The Online Speaker’s Lab

The IUPUI Speaker’s Lab also hosts a website available not only to the IUPUI community but also to those seeking public speaking resources nationally and internationally. The Speaker’s Lab created an extra online resource for extra help with the communication process. The website has everything from topic selection to video coaching to study tips to citation help. The site’s resources tab provides video coaching to help students with different aspects of speaking. All of these videos were recorded by our Speaker’s Lab mentors, a testimonial to strengths of this student-driven organization. One of the most important links we have on our website provides access to the official Outlines for every speech in the R110 course. Each outline has the IU Logo, copyright, and plagiarism statement; these outlines are the only ones IUPUI R110 students can use.