By Ramya Krishna, Indian, Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA, Intake 2011
Don’t we all want to be good speakers?
We all want to impress, influence and motivate our teams, clients, each and every person we meet. How, then, do we get there? How do we train and practice?
Like everybody else, I had a plethora of the similar never ending questions.
‘Get- to- the- Point’ is a public speaking workshop by Eric Feng, a well-known public speaking coach for CEO’s in Asia. The workshop was organised by The NANYANG MBA Women In Business Club (WIB) and it was a perfect venue for us to learn some great tips. The event was conducted right after our mid-trimester holidays at Nanyang’s other campus, NTU One-North Campus in Buona Vista, so it was a refreshing start for most of us.
Contrary to what you might expect in sessions like these, we had lots of fun. Yes, absolute fun.
Now, you all wonder why all the learning in the world isn’t the same… Below are a series of photographs captured during the various activities, showcasing on how interactive, and ‘fun’ the workshop was for all of us – we learnt about our capabilities and how to maximize these, with Eric coaching us on how to become effective public speakers.
We started off by asking questions and concerns we had about public speaking and shared it with the rest of the participants. Eric answered all of our questions with examples for clarity, leaving no room for doubts.
The activities and exercises were meant to get to know ourselves, build inner confidence, gain trust among each other, and to get to the same level of the audience. It was a starter for us to calm down and refresh at the start of the workshop.
We were divided into 2 groups to play a game. Each team had a leader who would throw the balls towards his/her team under a certain time limit and the members were supposed to catch and hold the balls as many as they could in just their hands.
The game of ‘catching balls’ was done to drive home certain key points related to public speaking. Eric explained the simple criteria based on which the audience judge the presentation. He explained how to create clarity, how to prioritize, how to have clear flow and how to develop a meaningful structure for the presentation. He also mentioned that a presentation should have ‘One Key message’, and the importance of conveying that key message in a story, so that it is more impactful.
Eric gave us several valuable tips on how to speak with confidence, how to fight the stress of public speaking and many other things that kept running in our minds while preparing for our presentations. We soon understood the nuances of public speaking, the audience and what goes on in their minds.
Each time Eric explained something, I would marvel, “How true, how true. Now I know what to do!”
Then, we had 3 volunteers who bravely took up the challenge to present, and earned the privilege of getting critiqued by Eric. I was one of the three and surprisingly, we chose 3 different topics which were very different in nature and context.
I found the way Eric analyses our presentations and the feedback he gave to us to be extremely useful. The audience actually understood what to do and what not to do.
The next presentor, another good friend and Nanyang MBA peer is Filipino Eric Oandasan presenting (see image below) on ‘The Differences Between Men and Women: And how they still work together’.
Then, the time has come for me to present on ‘The Women Empowerment’ (see image below)
The audience, including us the presenters, got to see three different kinds of presentations and how to handle such varied topics effectively, through Eric’s Feedback and analysis. We learned a great deal from Eric’s inputs and everyone was busy taking down notes.
In most of my previous experiences in public speaking, the feedback from mentors would usually be mellowed. However, Eric judges you at a different level altogether. He wants you to aim for excellence and he tells you how to get there. That was the best part of him and that is what you want to learn.
As my friend and Nanyang MBA peer, Indonesian Wahyu Widianti remarked, “Nervousness is only our perception. Audience usually thinks that the presenter is an expert in the topic he/she presents.”
Edwin, whom I feel is a good presenter himself says that “Eric Feng’s Get- to- the-Point’ is a very useful workshop for everyone to attend, including the experienced presenters who wish to further hone and excel their presentation skills.”
Every one of us felt more confident at the end of the day. I now know how to get my point across, and more clearly. It was indeed another fantastic and a memorable event for us at The NANYANG MBA.