(479a) Ready, Set, Speak! Classroom Activities for Developing Oral Communication Skills | AIChE

(479a) Ready, Set, Speak! Classroom Activities for Developing Oral Communication Skills


Miskioglu, E. E. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Oral communication is an essential professional skill and while many classes and programs emphasize oral communication practice through regular use of formal presentation assignments, dedicated time to practicing specific oral communication skills is often not included. In a dedicated course on technical and professional communication, a series of impromptu speech and role playing activities are used to both draw students’ attention to specific oral communication skills and provide opportunities for dedicated practice of those skills. Each activity has a specified set of constraints, and often uses extreme scenarios (e.g., having only 5 seconds to review a slide you have never seen) to allow students to assess their own tendencies, as well as develop a “feel for” how they can most successfully structure their informal and formal oral communication. Areas of focus for the activities include eliminating use of filler words, maintaining audience engagement through eye contact, avoiding look at slides excessively, as well as use of body language or visual representations of information. In each activity, students are able to practice their skills, and discover the underlying reasons behind why certain oral communication tendencies occur (e.g., why and when we tend to use filler words) and develop strategies for improvement. Year after year, these activities continue to be student favorites, often described as one of the most immediately impactful experiences in the course.