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 Forensics (that’s speech and debate, not crime scene investigations) 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.
In 2019, I was offered the privilege of returning to my alma mater to work as West Chester University’s Director of Forensics. I work with students within and beyond the classroom to identify their unique perspectives and ideas, hone the principles of argumentation, and refine their persuasive capabilities. As a bonus, I get to travel across the country with a group of talented, hardworking young people who are eager to pit their ideas against those of their peers – even at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday in New Jersey.
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.