Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dynamite comes in young packages

Today I learned about the most important skill that everyone should possess. It is the path to effective communication delivery. Presentation skills are an important aspect in today’s industries be it the non profit or profit making sectors of business. It is imperative to be able to give an audience their time’s worth and their attention for that matter. Don’t they all say paying attention is expensive? This means when one stands in front of an audience they must give it the respect it deserves in terms of delivery. Stammering, getting at loss for words, running frantically through pages are a no no during presentation making. All these things show that one lacks the 5 P’s which are preparation, purpose, presence, personality and passion. When these important aspects are in place according to the superb presenters we had today Des Patel and Robert Craig from Connemara Consulting (www.connemara.co.za) one can be sure that they will have an excellent presentation.

When one fails to do a presentation properly it means they have failed to sell an idea, a decision or an opinion. This can be very embarrassing as you would have failed to be an ambassador to yourself or the people or company you are representing. Negative result, you may not want to be found in the presence of that same audience somewhere else, this means loss of credibility and so many other things. The other thing that worried me and most of my colleagues which was ironed out by our presenters was the fact that most of us in the internship programme are still young. This means that constantly we will find ourselves fighting for credibility in the world of work where we will be working with people much older than ourselves and are in a decision making position. For me this means acting and dressing the part. I believe that in as much as dynamite can come in small packages; dynamite can also come in young packages like me. After all Nelson Mandela was only 26 when he founded the ANC and Bill Gates was only 20 when he developed Microsoft. A famous African proverb that neatly describes what I am trying to say mentions that “for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” or Oliver Mutukudzi famous Zimbabwean musician whose song has more or less the same meaning that “Chimwe nechimwe chine nguva yacho ramangwana rirongere,” thus young people have a place today and preparation is the key.

Being presentation ‘fit’ assumes utmost importance, achievable through feeding the mind with the appropriate knowledge, regular presentation practice on my own or to friends, having the right tools and skills, being goal oriented, being open to suggestions and continuously monitoring my progress. This contrasts fairly to an athlete, they have to eat well, be on the right, equipment of fitness programme and continuous practice. Rehearsing, rehearsing can never be emphasized enough. It’s essential. One just doesn’t wake up in the morning with outstanding presentation skills. It’s an art that can grow with us as we age provided we are willing to nurture it with preparation. There are a lot of non verbal cues that are of particular importance that an audience pays attention to when one is presenting. How one projects their voice for instance, the emphasis in it, the rate at which that person is speaking, command of the language, making eye contact and so many more. Capturing the attention of the audience is essential and knowing when to stop talking. After all is said and done I feel like I have been on a stage all my life presenting different things at different times. Be it in a friendly conversation with colleagues, a fight or disagreements with my parents or partner, the class presentations in school and university and even writing assignments. Its all just presentation, presentation, presentation, now I that I am conscious of this fact I have to be at it all the time to be that good.


Blogger Lesley Emanuel said...

Hi Pascalia

People are so often paralysed by even the thought of presenting. Your attitude is inspiring, your blog post (your writing) a joy to read!


9:29 am  
Blogger Pascalia said...

Its true, thanks Lesley

2:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4ever, 5210 - rulez

5:55 am  

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