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SLU-Madrid Communication Expert Advances Public Speaking Teaching Methods

by Isaiah Voss

Daniel Chornet, Ph.D. (Communication) is set to publish a book on public speaking techniques after teaching this subject at Saint Louis University-Madrid for over 15 years.

Dr. Chornet has taught public speaking since the early days of his career. In 1999, he started as a public speaking teaching assistant at the University of Iowa.

Two students sit at desks while a professor assists them, writing on a tablet.

Dr. Chornet assists students in one of his classes at SLU-Madrid. Photo by Luana Fischer.


Twenty-four years later, Dr. Chornet has instructed countless public speaking and communication classes. But he couldn't identify a key classroom component: a comprehensive textbook.

"They don't offer some of the skills that I think a student should develop to become a great speaker," Dr. Chornet said about the content of previous public speaking textbooks.

Thus, he set out to combine principles of graphic design, storytelling, visual communication, dialogic listening and performance studies. The goal of his student-focused publication is to enhance the listener and viewer experiences. 

"Presentations and speeches should engage and be simple so they can reach everybody," he said.

His book's aim is to help speakers "believe in their performance."

"If you, the speaker, believe in your own performance, the audience will perceive you as more genuine and natural," Dr. Chornet said.

Public speaking is a performance, and it requires speakers to take on a role and do so seriously, he said. Dr. Chornet noted that acting manuals helped him find teachable skills that lead to a genuine performance.

"It moves away from traditional textbooks," said Dr. Chornet. He hopes that his book gives students a set of skills applicable to the real-world.

California-based publisher Cognella is to publish Dr. Chornet's book by late 2024.

Learn more about majoring in communication at SLU-Madrid