Oral Communication Skills

Dictionary page with the definition of communication

Good listening and speaking skills are crucial to every field of study and professional endeavor. Good speaking skills are also integral to sustaining a healthy civic discourse and a democratic society.

CSEM will help you develop your speaking and listening skills through classroom discussion, oral presentations, and other means. Learning these skills in the College Seminar, you will become a confident speaker in other settings, whether in future classes, in contexts of community life, or in the workplace.

In small seminars that favor dialogue over lecture, speaking over writing, and participation over passive learning, you will practice listening, questioning, stating and defending claims, and considering alternative points of view. The goal is to help you become a skilled, fluent, and persuasive speaker.

Some of the activities you may practice in the College Seminar include:

  • Delivering a public address in the Great Hall of O’Shaughnessy
  • Debating classmates about great moral, social, political or other questions
  • Interviewing students or faculty on topics of your choosing
  • Presenting an academic paper at the Undergraduate Scholars Conference sponsored by the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement 

Through it all, your experience in the College Seminar will help you become—to paraphrase the old Roman teacher Quintilian—“a good person, skilled in speaking.”