I’m Dr. Presswood, but please call me Lanie. (My given name is Alane. Please don’t call me that.)
I’m a professional persuasive person:
A rhetorician, an itinerant professor, and a public speaking consultant for hire.
I like loose leaf tea, yoga, small dogs, Russian literature, pastries, vegetarian food, binge-watching television, and the art of collage.
But most of all, I really, really like public speaking.
I have a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from West Chester University with (impractical but artistically enriching) minors in French and Film Studies.
During my four years in college, I competed in intercollegiate public speaking and debate (Forensics) and won one national championship, two national finalist titles, three state championships, two scholarships, and countless regional tournament awards. I traveled from New Jersey to Texas to Oregon and everywhere in between. My specialty was in limited preparation speaking, but I also ran the gamut in informative speaking, persuasive speaking, rhetorical criticism, various theatrical/performative events, and parliamentary debate.
After graduation, I promptly realized my dreams of becoming a hardboiled newspaperman were more about a romanticized fascination with the noir aesthetic than the job itself… So, after reflecting on my love for the art of persuasion (beautiful and just), I went back to school and earned my Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Culture from Ohio University. While at O.U., I worked as a speech coach and the associate team director for the Ohio University Speaking Bobcats, and proudly assisted the team in garnering an assortment of state, regional, and national titles.
Now, it’s my job to help others – students, teachers, and entrepreneurs of all levels – conquer public speaking.
I’m currently a Visiting Assistant Professor and the Director of Oral Communication at Hollins University (an all-women’s liberal arts college) in Roanoke, Virginia. As the D.o.C., I provide students and faculty with tools for mastering public address and meeting the communicative challenges of the 21st century. On any given day, I might be conducting open student workshops, meeting one-on-one with instructors (in specialties ranging from medieval literature to environmental biology) to discuss assessment and instructional praxis, researching recommended practices across the discipline, approving new courses, proposing program assessment and revision strategies, or helping individual students prepare for capstone presentations.
Did I mention that I really like public speaking?
Learn more about how those interests translate into my scholarly research here…
Or see how I can put those skills to work for you as a consultant here.