What We Do

We teach powerful public speaking— the art of storytelling and the craft of live verbal communication.

We give our students the confidence and courage to own their beliefs, voice their opinions, and actively chase their aspirations.

We teach our students the power of public speaking before the prospect of it becomes debilitating.

Why We Do It

In a world where screens light up every lobby, cell phones have their own place at the dinner table, and text messages are often the primary means of communication, it’s a wonder people still know how to talk to each other, never mind to groups or gatherings. Digital technology is fun and efficient, and it has transformed the world — in both positive and negative ways.

An unintended consequence of technological progress is that our ability to listen and communicate effectively has been crippled. We may well be savvy producers of media-ready sound bites or nimble marketers of our various social-media selves, but when faced with the challenge of communicating live, with depth and purpose, we often feel woefully ill-equipped, if not downright scared. And yet these live communication skills are undoubtedly the most important talents that we need to succeed. Regardless of the broad influence of technology, we still conduct the majority of our public and private business face-to-face.

As human beings, we tend to resist and feel intimidated by the unfamiliar. But we overcome our resistance and fear through exposure, careful guidance, and practice. With repetition and coaching, our fear decreases over time.

Unfortunately, most elementary, middle, and high-school curricula do not address live communication skills, and most students graduate having successfully avoided public speech. As a result, they go out into the real world and shudder at the chasm between what they know and what they can express to others.

I’ve been through a lot of interviews in college for clubs and organizations, and the confidence I got from Ms. Kornet’s speaking class has helped me a lot in communicating my ideas and my personality in a dynamic and interesting way. Now I self-check —I know what to look for in my own speaking— I know what not to do.
— Alicia Kaneb, Georgetown University Class of 2017

We all want to be confident.

We want to be able to act on opportunities and give voice to our vision. We want to position ourselves for success. Lumos speaks to these needs and teaches participants how to:

  • Tell compelling stories
  • Convey information in an engaging way
  • Present persuasive ideas and arguments
  • Connect with others from a position of authority
  • Master unfamiliar speaking environments
  • Communicate an authentic self
  • Lead and inspire

As a captain of a Division I Ultimate Frisbee team I often have the challenge of inspiring and motivating my peers. I indirectly draw on my experiences in Ms. Kornet’s course every day in this role. Maybe I always had the ability to lead others, but the tools and confidence I learned from studying public speaking in a rigorous setting have certainly elevated this skill set. Two years prior to working with Ms. Kornet, I fainted while speaking in a formal in-class debate. Two months after, I had the confidence to speak to around 400 of my peers, their parents, and my teachers about my experiences as a senior in high school.
— Alex Trautman, Carleton College Class of 2015