Communication Studies Launches Speaking Well

How do you best support your friends during a time of need? What are a few tips for surviving these contentious political times? What was the seed of the ACT Human Rights Film Festival? What’s the purpose of voting? How do you improve your public speaking to make change? Department of Communication Studies Chair Greg Dickinson explores these questions and more with department faculty in a new podcast titled, Speaking Well.

As Dickinson says in his introduction, Speaking Well focuses on communication in every day life with a focus on how communication research can provide resources for navigating complex interactions – whether in personal relationships, politics and civic engagement, in media and film, intercultural communication and beyond. As of early November, five episodes have been produced in the podcast’s first season, which features Department of Communication Studies faculty. Episodes average about 20 minutes in length.

“More than anything,” Dickinson says, “I wanted to create an platform for introducing folks to the breadth of the work we do, and give our faculty an opportunity to share helpful communication tips and takeaways they have distilled from years of research and teaching. And, these are practical, useful, and relevant life hacks that for where we are in this moment.”

Faculty featured in season one so far include Assistant Professor Meara Faw, Professor Karrin Vasby Anderson, Professor Scott Diffrient and ACT Human Rights Film Festival Managing Director Beth Seymour, Associate Professor Katie Knobloch, and Associate Professor Tom Dunn. Two more guests are slated to round out the semester. Podcasts are produced in partnership with KCSU 90.5 FM and hosted on their website.

Speaking well host and guest record in the KCSU studio

Socially-distanced so that masks be be removed during recording: Katie Knobloch (on the left) talks with Speaking Well podcast host Greg Dickinson in the KCSU studio.

“We attempted to produce the first two episodes in our department conference room, but were challenged by sound and recording two mics through one computer,” Dickinson says.

Steve Weiss from the Department of Journalism and Media Communication recommended that Speaking Well seek out the expertise of Hannah Copeland at KCSU. Within the week Copeland had connected Carol Busch, communication studies staff who works with Dickinson to produce each show, to Matt Gusmerotti, KCSU podcast director and a collaborative partnership ensued: KCSU records, edits and posts each podcast, while Dickinson invites guests, writes introductory statements, and preps guests for interview questions.

“We simply walk into the studio, put on our mics, check the sound and start recording,” Dickinson says. “The simplicty is wonderful and makes chatting with each guest that much more enjoyable.”

Over the semester break Dickinson and Busch will plan the second season of Speaking Well, and expand its guest list beyond department faculty to include students and alumni.