Expressive Communication Center

At the ECC, students shape their lives, professions, and society by developing their ability to express themselves clearly, confidently, and eloquently through public presentations and with groups and teams.


Need help with your presentation? We can help! In-person, virtual, and small group appointments are available. The ECC is located in Wallace Library, Room 2550.

Overview & Importance

Industry workforce reports, university alumni surveys, and academic studies have long stressed the importance of strong communication abilities in order for all college graduates to excel. Research consistently shows that communication apprehension and hesitancy to communicate undermine academic and professional performance. Better communicators are better students: more articulate, more confident students have higher scores on graduate entrance exams, higher GPAs, more positive attitudes toward education, and better college retention rates.

The center uses the consulting-training model combining: 1) communication faculty and trained tutors who help students prepare and rehearse for oral communication activities with, 2) expert communication faculty who work one-on-one with course instructors from all disciplines. These activities provide real and lasting benefits to students in oral, interpersonal, group, and visual communication competency improvement.

In sum, the ECC offers an engaged active learning environment where students receive training and have opportunities for feedback-based practice from expert tutors.

For Students

At the Expressive Communication Center, students meet with peer consultants for help with all phases of presentation preparation and delivery, including but not limited to:

So you have to give a speech — now what? Deciding what you want to talk about is the first step. Our peer consultants are trained to help you decide on an idea that you’re passionate about and that will speak to a larger audience. Ultimately, we want to help you find your voice! A presentation is always better when you care what you’re talking about, so we’re here to help narrow down that focus.

Preparing an outline can be a daunting aspect of a presentation, but it’s something we can help you embrace! Our goal is to help you design an outline for any kind of presentation or speech that works best for your speaking style. You’ll likely end up with two different outlines — one for organizing the speech, and the second for delivery purposes. We want to find the method that works best for you!

Oftentimes, it’s helpful to back up what you’re saying with a visual aid — we can help with that! The goal is to create something that supports what you’re talking about without distracting your audience. From the content to the color scheme, our peer consultants will help you create material that strengthens your topic

To some, the delivery is the most exciting step of a presentation, but to others, it's the scariest. No matter your comfort level, we’re here to help. Our peer consultants will look at every aspect of the deliverable: your tone, your speed, your movements, everything! We know that it’s tempting to just “wing” a presentation, but it can be really helpful to practice ahead of time. We provide a judgement-free zone to help you get your point across in the best way possible.

We fully understand how nerve wracking it can be to speak in front of your peers and professors, but we also know how rewarding it can be! We want to work with you through every step of the process. Even if you already have your presentation written, the next step is to make you comfortable speaking. The ultimate goal is to make you confident.

The content of every session is different because consultants focus on students’ individual needs. In-person, virtual, & small group appointments available.

  • In-person appointments. Students arrive at Wallace Library, room 2550 at their scheduled appointment time.
  • Virtual individual appointments. To join a virtual appointment, shortly before their appointment time, students log in, click on their appointment, and then select the red 'start or join online consultation' link.
  • Small group appointments. Because of social distancing guidelines, in-person group appointments are temporarily unavailable. However, small groups may schedule virtual appointments. To do this, one group member makes the appointment, and on the appointment intake form, selects the "group" option and provides the emails of the other group members. A Zoom meeting join link will be emailed to the group members.

If students require interpreting services, interpreting requests must be made through Access Services. We also currently have one peer consultant on staff, Cayla Keiser, who is conversationally fluent in ASL. Email crk4791@rit.edu to request an appointment with Cayla.

For Faculty

Faculty from any discipline may request customized oral communication support for their courses. If you include speaking assignments in your courses—such as speeches, presentations, group presentations, debates, discussions, and oral exams—the ECC director is available to work with you on devising those assignments and their associated grading.

Faculty can require or recommend that students visit the ECC, either for a specific assignment, or for general support.

For questions related to writing the ECC into grants or incorporating the ECC into research, please contact Director of the School of Communication, Dr. Kelly Norris Martin.

Meet Our Consultants

The Expressive Communication Center is staffed by undergraduate and graduate students from various majors across RIT. Consultants are trained to work with students from all backgrounds, with some able to assist in languages other than English, including ASL.

Please review the profiles below to identify the consultant best suited to help you as you prepare your presentation.

Cayla Keiser PortraitCayla Keiser a graduate student pursuing her master's in Health and Well-being Management. She graduated from RIT in December 2020 with her bachelor's in Journalism with minors in Communication and ASL & Deaf Cultural Studies. If you prefer, Cayla is fluent and comfortable conducting sessions fully in ASL. She works as a health journalist and enjoys educating readers about how to live their healthiest lives. Come see Cayla for an appointment if you’re looking to brainstorm ideas, develop an outline or discuss ways to manage public speaking anxiety!"

 

Susan Lane PortraitSusan Lane is a fourth year Mechanical Engineering BS/MS student with a minor in Electrical Engineering. She is a member of RIT Baja SAE which designs and builds off-road vehicles for competitions. Susan has tasted the best donuts on the east and west coast, both in cities named Portland. If you’re looking for help with a technical presentation, book a session with Susan.

 

Gabby Garcia PortraitGabby Garcia is a third year Industrial Design major with a double minor in Communication and Supply Chain Management. She is part of the RIT Steel Band Ensemble, plays the ukulele and loves hockey. Gabby’s strength is helping student-clients with their delivery skills; if you have a big (or small!) presentation coming up, visit Gabby at the ECC!

 

 

Shannon McPhee PortraitShannon McPhee is a fourth year Advertising and Public Relations major with an immersion in Psychology. She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and is the winner of the ECC’s Spring 2020 Institute Public Speaking Contest. She is skilled at preparing and organizing speech outlines, as well as creating the perfect multimedia to catch your audience’s eye. Shannon is both an ECC consultant and a communication specialist co-op. If you need help building your public speaking confidence, Shannon is here to help!

 

Emily McIndoe PortraitEmily McIndoe is a third year Advertising and Public Relations major. She is a member of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Lambda Pi Eta Fraternity and the COLA Student Advisory Board. Emily has developed a deep appreciation and love for public speaking after many years of dreading it. Let her turn your fear into passion, too!

 

 

Matt Guiliano PortraitMatt Giuliano is a third year Industrial Design major with a minor in Communication. He is an involved member of Phi Delta Theta, Thought at Work and is a College of Art and Design Honors student. If you are looking to create some spectacular visuals to accompany your presentation or speech, Matt is your guy.

 

 

Jillian Walton PortraitJillian Walton is a fourth year Advertising and Public Relations major with a minor in Criminal Justice. Currently, she works as a communication specialist co-op for the ECC. She is active in the School of Communication office and encourages you to stop by to learn about the various majors, minors and immersions. Whether you are scared to talk in front of your class or an award-winning pro, Jillian hopes to see you at the ECC soon!

 

 

Ali Johnston PortraitAli Johnston is a fourth year Advertising and Public Relations major with a minor in ASL & Deaf Cultural studies. She is the Advertising and Public Relations Manager for Reporter and works as a Social Media co-op for the ECC. Ali plans to pursue a career with either an ad agency or a real estate agency. She is a very talkative person who loves to meet new people. Her strengths are public speaking, creative problem-solving, writing and editing!

 

 

Testimonials

Resources

Here you will find additional resources for the Expressive Communication Center, such as examples of great communication, getting the most out of your appointment with the ECC, steps in the speechmaking process, and managing speaking anxiety.

See Resources for the Expressive Communication Center