The Executive Presentation Course, a program in the Better Life Series by City Harvest Church, receives positive feedback.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
For Wong Jing Jing, 29, a clinical research assistant, public speaking has always been a challenge that she battles with on a near-daily basis at work. She decided to conquer her weakest spot by signing up for the Executive Presentation Course under the Better Life 2011 Series. The intimate class size of 10—ranging from working professionals to polytechnic students—met on a weekly basis between July 20 and Aug. 24.
Conducted by Amy Nget from training company DNA Group Inc, this was not the usual one-way class—participants had to roll up their sleeves to learn. At their maiden lesson, without having been taught anything, each had to give a presentation about themselves. On top of that, their long pauses, nervous glances and awkward poses were all captured on film so that they could watch themselves in action thereafter.
After identifying their weak areas, participants were taught different techniques to being an effective presenter. One particularly helpful skill was Eye-Brain Control, which is to look at and talk to one person at a time instead of scanning the room and going blank with an overload of information.
Said Valerie Cheng, 29, a food flavors researcher, “When I forced myself to focus my gaze on one person for a few seconds before moving onto the next, it made me appear calm and confident. I am able to gather my thoughts and deliver powerfully.”
With the small class size, every single participant had a chance to put the skills they learned to good use as they were required to do PowerPoint presentations, answer tough questions posed by the audience, or do on-the-spot presentations with no prior preparation time given.
From varying the tone of voice to having appropriate hand gestures, students practiced the different techniques under the guidance of Nget, and utilized feedback from fellow participants, week after week. They learned to neutralize challenging questions by rephrasing the question, which allowed them to stay in control by setting the tone of the question and buying some time to think.
Student Jovyn Yeo Jia Jin, 19, signed up for this class wanting to enrich himself. He told City News that his most crucial takeaway was the need to organize his points and to structure his presentation. He said, “I realized it is important to define the purpose of your presentation and to understand who the audience you’re speaking to is because this shapes your tone, your body language and the motivation of your presentation.”
Besides learning how to deliver effectively, participants were also trained for impromptu speaking, for situations in which they are thrown random topics and have no prior time for preparation. This prepared them to speak on the spot and to take advantage of opportunities to deliver their opinions. Participants went through rounds of practice where they were posed questions or topics and had to react to them immediately.
At the end of five sessions, participants were filmed once again as they did another impromptu presentation of themselves. This time round, they appeared significantly more confident—a huge transformation from their nervous and self-conscious demeanor at the first session.