Photo by Raahul Hassan '13
Over 100 students gathered at the first ever Captivate Booth event hosted by the Public Speaking Group (PSG), the Leadership Development Office, and the Graduate Business Council on November 7th. The event featured ten different student speakers from the class of 2014, each representing their respective cohorts.
Presenters were asked to prepare a four minute speech addressing one of three topics. The majority of speakers, eight of the ten, chose to address what lessons business leaders could learn from children. Students discussed a variety of shortcomings of business leaders when compared to children such as networking (Linnea Meyer '14), dreaming big (Lu Zhang '14), and optimism (Michael Schoenfeld '14).
Drew Davis '14 was the only person to address the topic November 7th 2030, electing to speak about the need for current business students to be teachers of intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence in the future.
Alex Bezdeck '14, as the sole student to answer what the biggest challenge facing business students today is, was the final presenter. Bezdeck focused on the need for accountability in the work place, advocating for a pursuit of financial success that is also principled.
Following the presentation, each student's speech was scored out of a possible 300 points. Deductions were made for every second speakers went over the stringent four minute time limit. The panel of judges was composed of three extremely knowledgeable and experienced individuals. Waverly Deutsch (professor of entrepreneurship), Jed Buchanan (Partner in Bain & Company), and Troy Henikoff (CEO of Excelerate Labs) all worked collaboratively to determine the winners of the competition.
Adrienne Klein '14, who emphasized the need for business leaders to leave their inhibitions and insecurities behind in order to pursue creativity much like children, swept first place. Bezdeck came in second place followed by third place winner Kourtney Hahn '14, who discussed the never ending nature of opportunity. In addition, Schoenfeld won the audience favorite category and Stuart placed first among the other cohorts for participation in the event.
Of the occasion says Davis, "I take away a rare experience...getting to speak in front of 80+ peers is not an easy thing to organize, and one that may not come along often in the next two years. I also got to indirectly 'meet' a number of people by showing my personality and my way of thinking to a lot of people, which is great."
As rewarding as the experience was, presenters underwent an extensive preparation process for the event. The speaker selection started with the audience captivation training (ACT) speeches delivered in LEAD classes. Meyer explains, "Those who wanted to take ACT farther signed up to do Captivate, the speaking competition. For the first round of Captivate, we competed against other members of our cohort, re-doing our speech from ACT." A group of judges then decided who would move up to the final round from each cohort.
After much preparation and planning, Captivate Booth was a huge success for not only participants and organizers, but audience members as well. "The main goal of the event was to celebrate the best speakers of the Class of 2014 and establish a new tradition that will hopefully continue for many years here at Booth." remarks Raahul Hassan '13, co-chair of the PSG and organizer of Captivate Booth.