Find Your Voice in CAPIO Speaks


By Joel Zlotnik, Strategic Communications Manager, Orange County Transportation Authority

If you’re terrified of public speaking, raise your hand. Go ahead, no one is watching, raise your hand. If you’d rather clean out the office fridge than stand up in front of a room full of people and give a speech, raise your other hand.

Me too!

But don’t worry, we’re the government and we’re here to help. CAPIO has a free group that meets monthly via Zoom called CAPIO Speaks, which is a place to:




Share ideas
Practice presentations
Evaluate peers
Assess message effectiveness
Keep skills sharp

By way of background, CAPIO Speaks grew out of a more formal effort from a few years ago when a group of CAPIO members joined Toastmasters. We realized pretty quickly that while this was a great opportunity to hone our speaking skills, the format didn’t really fit our needs as public communicators. So, we decided to go out on our own and create a group that would meet regularly on a more informal basis to focus on the types of public speaking we engage in – or want to engage in more – on a routine basis.

It’s a free, low-stress, informal and safe place to practice public speaking for CAPIO members wherever you are in your career. We’ve focused meetings on perfecting your elevator pitch, used the group to present a mock press conference, discussed messaging and what resonated best, and we regularly work on impromptu speaking with off-the-cuff question-and-answer sessions. We’ve talked about how to approach presentations and tailor the messages and your speaking style based on your audience, whether it’s a city council in a formal meeting or a laid-back community coffee chat. And we’re always open to new ideas about how the group can continue to evolve to help develop and refine our speaking skills as professional communicators.

Whether you’re new to CAPIO and communications or an industry veteran and you want to work on your verbal communication skills and/or you want to offer your help to those of us who do, I encourage you to drop in for a CAPIO Speaks session.

We’re taking July off for a summer break but will pick things back up on Wednesday, Aug. 21. We meet the third Wednesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome. Whether you make it to an occasional meeting or join on a regular basis, please join us for CAPIO Speaks.

If you want more information, reach out to me at or Mary Clare Bennett at Click here to add the meetings to your calendar!