Roughly three out of four individuals are affected by glossophobia, or fear of public speaking, according to The National Institute of Mental Health who reported that 73 percent of people suffer from this social anxiety disorder.
Formed this semester, the Plattsburgh State Oratory Society is dedicated to helping students transcend this fear in order to improve their public speaking skills.

PSUC freshman marketing major Hanh Nguyen, club president, founded the society because of her desire to overcome her own anxiety and strengthen her public speaking skills.
On the other hand, PSUC sophomore Munya Chimanye, vice president, recognized his liking and talent for speaking publicly back home in Zimbabwe.

Chimanye, a double major in journalism and political science, shared that his journalism professor Nora Montanaro also recognized this in him and suggested he join the Oratory Society to help other students learn to love public speaking as he does.

“I felt it would be a waste to not try to get better at what I already do,” Chimanye said.

Despite the differences in why they joined, both members want to provide students the space and resources to increase their confidence and skill in public speaking.
“We just want to make the conversation of public speaking more approachable,” Chimanye said.

A Columbia University study revealed that social phobia has a 10 percent impairment on a college student’s chance at graduating, a 10 percent impairment on wages and a 15 percent impairment on promotions to managerial positions.

Nguyen shared another reason she started the club was because she understands that communication classes that mandate public speaking in the classroom can be stressful for students and wants to provide them a more interactive and relaxed environment.

“I think if I create an environment for people to improve together, I will learn a lot from them,” Nguyen said.

The club held its first meeting April 16 where they practiced presentations, impromptu speeches and other speaking activities. There was a strong turnout where Nguyen reported that 22 students attended.
“It went very well,” Chimanye said. “It was very interactive. People were able to get up and be comfortable speaking.”

Nguyen attributes the first meeting’s success to their proactive and relentless promoting of the club’s meeting and their various mechanisms of reaching the campus community.

“We went around campus and spoke to a lot of people,” Nguyen said. “We invited our friends and told them to invite their friends. We also tabled and sent emails out through the student digest for the whole week.”
Chimanye added there was a lot of effort in making sure everyone was well-informed about the details of the event.

Nguyen and Chimanye hope to increase their public speaking skills to eventually compete in speaking competitions next semester.
The Reading from Manuscript showcase will be the club’s final event of the semester on May 10 in Hawkins 031B.

Email Lexus Gomez at fuse@cardinalpointsonline.com

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