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Welcome to BYU's Speech Program!

Here you will find information about our semi-annual showcase, the donors, winning student speeches from past years, speakers in our community, meet our amazing faculty, visit links to speech helps, our course text, and campus speech club activities.

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“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave."
-Dale Carnegie
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We have amazing students here at BYU! More than a thousand of them enroll each year in our campus and online public speaking course, STDEV 150. Read their stories and comments of how they have grown in their skills and have enjoyed being mentored in dynamic classes by competent faculty.

Student Experiences

Annie Leishman
"When I was a child, I was terrified of public speaking. In 7th grade I had to give a report on a research paper to my English class and it was miserable. I shook uncontrollably, was barely audible, and did a poor job delivering the information I had worked so hard to prepare. After years of practice, I slowly started to improve. During my first semester at BYU, I noticed that a Public Speaking class was offered and I knew right then that I had to take it. I started this course with some nerves and a lot of room to grow. Throughout the semester I gained confidence and became more sure of myself and by my final speech I knew I that I had accomplished something worthwhile: I was finally able to speak." -Annie Leishman

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" I LOVED this class! Even though I had been on a debate team before, (and felt like I knew everything there was to know about public speaking) I learned a lot in this class. I found that I didn’t need to use notes and I could rely on my figurative language to make the speech impressionable. Thanks to taking this course, I now have more confidence in myself and my speeches are more meaningful and enjoyable for others to hear." -Rachel Pluim

"I had previously given speeches, some with less than five minutes’ notice, and I had spoken to large audiences. Yet as I delivered my impromptu speech to the small class I stumbled over my words. My problem – I was not “translational.” If I learned to run on a track, I am likely to be a better runner on a cross-country trail than someone unfamiliar with running. However, cross-country trails include hills, grass, and sometimes even mud or rainy weather. Running these courses can be more difficult for first-time trail runners than expected, because these obstacles create not only new physical circumstances, but a new setting that the brain has never felt before. It is difficult to keep the right pace because there are no 1/4 mile loops. In addition, the finish line is often out of sight, making the race feel more intimidating than it actually is. Though the runner is experienced, his experience may not be translational. This is how I felt as I tried to deliver my impromptu speech to the twenty students in my speech class. Despite that experience, I was impressed how my teacher found and acknowledged my simple successes. My first speech began with a nervous mix of words, yet after a semester of training, I look forward without worry to my next impromptu experience. I am confident because confidence is what I have been taught." -Jake Evans

“Honestly, I was the quietest girl out there. The girl that stood in the corner at dances too afraid to dance and make a fool of myself. The girl who would hide from people to avoid talking to them, immersing myself in my music, the only way I could speak freely. As I was signing up for my classes I became worried that maybe I needed to change and hearing about the benefits of taking a  public speaking class at BYU I immediately signed up. I walked into that class hiding from words, hiding my mind, and left with the tools to change my life. I left with a way to be the person I had desired to be over the years. I may not have been the best at giving the speeches, at presenting the ideas, but I left with a confidence that gave me a reason to love people, to love being around people, to be able to speak to people. After this class I have had more fun than I have ever had in my life, because I have been given the freedom, the permission, the will, to be myself.” – Natalie Rousseau

“I have, like many other Latter-day Saints, been speaking in public since I was a child, and especially on a mission. But, still, every time I have done it, my knees have been shaking and my heart pounding. Well, after the practice and the skills that I learned in class — no, the shaking and pounding didn’t quite go away –but they lessened, and in their place came two important lessons: one, that I need to practice a speech before I give it publicly, even if I just review the main points and am familiar with my main desired supporting facts and stories. Second, I also need to love and care about the audience, and speak FOR them and TO them. I was so impressed at the difference that kind of caring made in different speakers that I watched. Really, I will never forget the class, the people I met, or the things I learned.” -Abe Collier

“I have been amazed to see how much I have been able to learn in the public speaking class.  It has been great to notice what a difference it makes that one has spectacular communication skills, much like the professors that teach these courses.  Through my class, I have been able to really grasp what makes a great speaker and the steps to take to one day become one myself.  Taking this class has given me a deep appreciation for those who present their thoughts and beliefs so profoundly to make the audience awe and act upon their proposition.  I can now listen to individuals and pick aspects of their public speaking skills which I myself can develop.  Thank you to all the instructors of this course!  Your hard work is blessing others!” -Monica

“I feel like I learned a lot about writing out speeches, and what works for me as far as planning and giving it. The style of speeches was different than the style I’m used to giving, in that I could use more personalization in my speeches and sound less like a robot. So thank you for everything!” – Stephen
“Now that I have completed the course I would just like to say thank you for all the help and guidance. I would have not been able to finish the course without it. Thank you for the quick returns and in depth feedback. But most importantly I really appreciate how you manage to cultivate me into someone who can publicly speak. Thank you so much!” – Susan
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. I put my heart into those speeches. You know professor, its just like the article you had posted that stated people had a greater fear of speeches than death itself. I am one of those individuals. Through your class I am rediscovering myself through your assignments, through the words I select to convey my thoughts. So much of my education has been in the sciences which exercises the memory of other scientists accomplishments. I learn their values and conclusions and spew that on paper. In your class I am realizing I have my own unique voice. Your comments are so encouraging. I will recommend your class. You are very nurturing individual.”  – Elora

“I have learned a tremendous amount from your course and will refer to it often in the future as a valuable tool.  Thank you for helping me overcome the fear of speaking in front of crowds, both large and small.  I am now able to stand tall and share information without fear.  Endless thanks to your course” – Todd

“I really enjoyed this course. It is very relevant to my career and current position at work. I especially enjoyed the after dinner speech as I feel this will happen more often for me than any of the others speeches. It is great to be prepared for an impromptu speech by applying principles used in this course. Thank You.” -Daniel

“This was my very first public speaking course ever and I have enjoyed it a lot.  Thank you for your instruction, guidance, and encouragement. I have learned much about public speaking. I will certainly use this knowledge that I have acquired at my church, job, and various other places. I am generally very reluctant to speak in public or give presentations but this course has equipped me and helped me overcome many of my fears. I am truly grateful.” – Thomas

“I started student teaching today at our school and the extra confidence that your course gave me has come in handy.” – Donna
“Thank you for all the help you have been through this course!  Your feedback really encouraged me to continue and want to complete this course.  I have learned a lot and really enjoyed this course.  I am trying to get some of my subordinates to sign up for this class.  It is very fulfilling.” – Robert

Currently, we are looking for more student stories about how the speaking course has helped you.  If you have a story you would like to share, please send it as an email attachment, with your picture, to Stephanie Freeman,