Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Speaking in Style

By Ramya Krishna (Double MBA program NTU-Waseda University 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’ a Public speaking workshop by Eric Feng, organized by Nanyang MBA Women In Business Club of Nanyang Business School, was a perfect avenue to learn some great tips.

The event was conducted right after our Mid trimester holidays on January 13, 2012 at NTU North Campus, so it was a refreshing start to a new year for me. Eric Feng, the public speaking coach for CEO’s in Asia, was our wonderful guest and coach for the event. Contrary to what you might expect in sessions like these, we had lots of fun. Yes absolute fun.

Wonder why all the learning in the world isn’t the same.

(Eric Feng in Action)

We started off with writing questions and concerns we had about public speaking and shared it with others who were present there. Eric answered all of our questions with examples, leaving no room for doubts.

(Sharing their questions, my friends ‘Widi’ and ‘Helen’)

(The rest of us discussing the same ☺)

All this was an exercise to get to know, build trust 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 event. We were then 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.

(All of us in action trying to catch the balls..)

This 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 keep 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 threee and surprisingly, we chose 3 different topics which were very different in nature and context.

(Below is my good friend Edwin Ong, making a presentation about ‘Singapore Airlines’ where he is currently employed. ☺)

I found the way he analyses our presentations and the feedback he gaveto be extremely useful. The audience actually understood what to do and what not to do. I am sure Edwin, you and I, will never make the same mistakes again ☺.

(Eric Feng giving his critical feedback to Edwin right after his presentation)

(My friend Eric Oandasan presenting on ‘The differences between Men and Women: And how they still work together’ ☺)

(It was me presenting on ‘The Women Empowerment’☺)

We actually got to see three different kinds of presentations and how to handle such varied topics effectively, through Eric’s Feedback and analysis.

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’s what you want to learn.

As my friend Wahyu Widianti remarked, “Nervousness is only our perception. Audience usually thinks that the presenter is an expert in the topic he/she presents.”

My friend 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.”
Everyone of us felt more confidant at the end of the day. I now know how to get my point across more clearly . It was indeed a fantastic and a memorable event organized by Nanyang MBA Women In Business Club.

(Having fun during the workshop)

(A team photo with Eric Feng and all the to be leaders)

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