Graduate Students’ Success

Duane Smith conducted an in-class public speaking workshop for my class of graduate students in the Master of Planning program at USC’s Price School of Public Policy. These students were tasked with creating design proposals and development recommendations for a client as part of their final project for the course. The course assignment consisted of a professional-grade written project document and a final presentation to their client explaining and defending their proposals. Because these students were at the graduate level, and many had not undergone formal public speaking training in the past, many of these students, though good speakers, had developed a number of habits and patterns in their speaking that had never been corrected before. Having Duane in the room to listen and critique their presentations and provide real-time feedback, made an incredible difference in their delivery, confidence and overall presence in front of their client. As part of the workshop, Duane gave a very effective and highly educational presentation himself where he not only taught the students skills they will use throughout their life, whether in front of a room or in everyday conversations; but, he also applied the skills and techniques he was teaching throughout his own presentation so the students could see and understand their application. Duane was a very critical part of the students’ success in front of their client, and later on when they presented in front of a graduate panel during their comprehensive exams prior to completing the program. We look forward to having him back next year when the class is offered again.