Follow us on Instagram: @sewaneespeakingandlistening

What is the Center for speaking & Listening?

The Center for Speaking & Listening, or the "CS&L," is a free resource for all students, faculty, and staff at the University of the South. Our staff of trained, friendly, and highly capable peer tutors offer support for all kinds of academic assignments and other kinds of endeavors (e.g., speeches, debates, group presentations, interviews, thesis defenses, and the like).   

Where is the Center for Speaking & Listening located?
  • The CS&L is located on the main floor of the Jessie Ball duPont Library in the Learning Commons next to the Cup & Gown Café. Our physical address is 178 Georgia Ave., Sewanee, TN, 38383.
  • In the shared space with the Writing Center, the CS&L space has several tables and chairs, along with four semi-private practice rooms equipped with technology for collaboration, meetings, rehearsal, and viewing recordings of practice sessions.
With what speaking and listening activities can CS&L tutors help?

CS&L peer tutors are trained and ready to help you with an array of speaking and listening assignments, projects, and endeavors inside and outside of the classroom, including (but not limited to):

  • Informative speeches
  • Persuasive speeches
  • Group speeches or presentations
  • Pair or team debates
  • Simulations
  • Intergroup dialogues
  • Presentations in a second language 
  • Scientific presentations
  • Poster presentations
  • Panel discussions
  • Interviews for scholarships, graduate school, and jobs
  • Thesis and comprehensive exam defenses/presentations
  • Presentations of scholarship (e.g., Scholarship Sewanee, conference presentations, and more)
  • Public presentations in the community 
  • Improving listening practices
Can I only consult with CS&L tutors once I have a speech drafted and ready to practice?

No, CS&L tutors are equipped to help you at any stage of the process, from developing a topic and composing a speech to rehearsal and recording your presentations.

Composition and Argument

  • Choosing and refining a topic
  • Mastery and development of subject matter
  • Using sources in oral presentations (we highly recommend you consult with our expert Research Help Librarians, who can help with finding and vetting sources across databases and disciplines) 
  • Argument (developing claims and using evidence)
  • Kinds and uses of rhetorical proof
  • Organization and the spoken word
  • Introductions, transitions, and conclusions
  • Language use (clarity, correctness, embellishment, and appropriateness)
  • Understanding audiences and adapting to them


  • Vocal quality (including volume, rate, pitch, variation, tone, and enunciation)
  • Uses of strategic pausing
  • Verbal fillers and tag lines (“um,” “like,” “you know,” etc.)
  • Body (including posture, movement, and gestures)
  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions, demeanor, and nonverbals
  • Speech apprehension and anxiety
  • Speaking from notecards, outlines, and manuscripts
  • Speaking with visuals/slides
  • Answering audience questions
  • Navigating audience distractions and disruptions


  • During Center hours, one or more tutors will be available to listen, ask questions, and offer constructive feedback.
  • Semi-private rooms are available for individual and group practice. You may reserve a room here. Please note: tutoring appointments take priority in practice rooms during Center hours. 
  • Record, playback, save, and share your presentations using SWIVL technology. SWIVL is a small and secure unit that pairs with your personal device so that you retain ownership of all recorded content. Center tutors can help you navigate SWIVL and units are available for check out at the Circulation Desk.
How do I make an appointment?
  • If you have never made an appointment with us before, you will need to register at the above link to create a free account. Use your Sewanee email address and create a unique and easy-to-remember password. You can use this login information for all future appointments. 
  • Once you are logged in, you can make an appointment on a day and time that works best with your schedule or with a specific tutor you would like to see. 
  • White times are open for appointments, while blue and gray times are already reserved or unavailable. Once you have made your appointment, your reservation will appear gold.
  • When reserving your appointment time, please provide your tutor with as much information as possible about your course, assignment, and what you would like to work on together.
  • You can also upload documents (e.g., speech outlines, drafts, and slides) ahead of your appointment as well (we recommend you do so!).
  • You will receive an email confirming your appointment, along with a reminder email the day before. 
Can teams and groups of students make appointments?
  • Yes! One person should make the appointment and select “Group Speech or Presentation” under the drop-down menu under “Type of Assignment.” 
  • In the “What would you like to work on today?” box, please indicate how many students your tutor should expect and share the names of those students.
How long are appointments and how many appointments can I make?
  • Appointments come in 30 minute blocks. You can reserve up to two 30 minute appointment times back-to-back to create an hour long appointment per day.
  • You can make as many appointments as needed throughout the semester!
How should I prepare for my appointment?
  • Make sure you understand your professor’s instructions about the expectations for your visit to the CS&L (i.e., how many appointments you should have, when your appointment should be, and what you should work on).
  • Plan to make your appointment at least one week in advance (preferably earlier!) to allow ample time for revision, rehearsal, and follow-up appointments if needed.
  • Consult the CS&L website "Our Tutors" page to see if there is a tutor who might be especially helpful for your needs and purpose for visiting us.
  • Please arrive on time for your appointment!
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
  • Bring all relevant materials with you, including assignment descriptions, rubrics, critique sheets, outlines and drafts, research materials, and visual aids (i.e., slides). The more information you provide, the better your tutor can help.
  • You may also wish to bring a laptop and/or writing materials.
  • Plan to rehearse with what you will actually be speaking with (i.e., notecards, outlines, or manuscripts).
  • Let tutors know if you would like to record your presentation for playback and critique.
What if I need to cancel, change, or reschedule my appointment?
  • You can cancel, modify, or reschedule your appointment at any time in the online schedule. Simply log in and update your information.
  • If you need to cancel your appointment, please do so in the online schedule no more than an hour beforehand at the latest.
  • It would also be helpful if you could email your tutor directly to avoid any miscommunications and so that your tutor can plan accordingly to reopen that time for another appointment. 
Can tutors help me outside of CS&L hours or their appointment times?
  • Per our Center’s policy, please do not ask peer tutors to work with you outside of their scheduled tutoring shifts or Center hours (even if they are your friends, roommates, or classmates). Our tutors are engaged in a host of on-campus activities and responsibilities, in addition to working at the CS&L and doing their own coursework. Tutoring during their scheduled hours allows them to be fairly compensated for their time and expertise, and allows our Center to accurately track our appointments and assess our performance. 
My professor requires proof that I visited the CS&L. What do I do?
  • Your tutor will prepare a brief report of what you worked on together and you will receive an email summarizing the appointment in your university email account. You can use this report to show that you made and kept an appointment on a specific date and time.
  • Please do not ask tutors to email your professor to prove you visited the CS&L. 
What is the best way to submit feedback about my experience at the CS&L?
  • After your appointment, you will receive an email with a short survey asking about your experience. Please share your feedback with us and let us know how we are doing! 
Is the CS&L on social media?

Yes! Follow us on Instagram: @sewaneespeakingandlistening 

I have a question that is not addressed here. What do I do?