Brief speeches were written by students to practice their speaking skills in Mrs. Laura Penrod’s Freshman Studies class.

“I chose the topic of engineering because it’s my program area,” freshman Jeffrey Zhu said. “I already had some of a background knowledge on the topic so it was kind of easy for me to explain it.”

The goal of the elevator speech is to help students deliver important information to an audience. Since elevator rides last under a minute, students had to condense their speech down to quickly make a point about their topic.

“The time limit affected me because I had to cut out some information on the day of practice to make the speech shorter,” Zhu said. “When I was presenting, it caused me to rush some parts and slow other parts down because I didn’t know how much time passed.”

Penrod graded the speeches based on whether the speech addressed the who, what, when, where and why of the student’s chosen topic. She also took note of the amount of time they took to deliver their information.

“My goal of the speech was to make sure I said all the information I wanted to say,” freshman Jessica Tan said. “I also wanted to speak clearly without pausing because I notice that I stutter sometimes when I present something.”

Despite having limited time to present their speech, students had a full week to put it together. Penrod assigns this project every year to ensure students improve their speaking skills.

“I feel that the speech helped with my speaking skills because I’m not use to talking in front of a bunch of people,” Tan said. “I was really nervous too but every presentation that I do makes me feel more confident and less shaky than the others before.”

Have you ever done an elevator speech?