- Application Essays
- Bethesda, MD
With a Masters in Communication and additional post-graduate studies, Toby has had a long and varied career in teaching, training, and coaching people on how to communicate effectively. She designed and was the first Chair of the Department of Communication at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC, where she emphasized intercultural and gender issues at a time when they were still considered novel. After leaving her full-time faculty position, she was a leadership-development specialist and a frequent speaker at meetings and conferences, where she focused on improving communication between people with and without disabilities in the workplace.
After leaving Trinity, even while working fulltime in other positions, Toby continued teaching as an adjunct at local universities and colleges. Currently, she teaches several classes per semester at Montgomery College. Topics include self-awareness, interpersonal communication, small-group communication, and public speaking. In the past few years, she has had the privilege of teaching her MC classes to high school students. That delightful experience was the catalyst for wanting to find an additional way of working with younger students. Being an Essay Specialist with PrepMatters is the perfect complement to her role as a college professor.
I believe it is possible to make any topic interesting to anyone. This holds true for conversations, presentations, and essays. To do so, you need to be genuinely enthusiastic about your topic, customize your message for your audience, and organize your thoughts so that they are easy to follow and understand.
When I ask my public-speaking students to choose a topic for their speech, many will say, “I don’t know what to talk about.” So, to help them decide, I ask them about their experiences, hobbies, and interests. Inevitably, something causes their eyes to brighten, a smile to emerge, and their words to freely tumble out. That’s when I know we have hit on the right topic, and the student will have a lot to say about it. Sometimes students surprise themselves, and I love to see that self-discovery emerge.
Of course, that euphoria is soon followed by the student saying, “Yeah, but no one else will find it interesting.” That’s when I remind them that finding a topic they are excited about is the biggest hurdle because that is something that can’t be faked. Getting the audience interested as well is just a matter of utilizing the mechanics of good writing and presentation skills. Those can be learned and honed. That’s what I’m there to help them do.