Make it count

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Make the most of every opportunity offered to you at Booth.

In addition to the core curriculum, as a Booth student, you’ll be offered a number of optional training courses where your attendance is not required. These range from everything from invited speakers to workshops to questionnaires and debrief.

A combination of fatigue, jet lag and impending assignments due make it easy to decide not to bother attending these. After all, I can attend a “presentation skills” workshop at my place of employment and just skip this one, right?

Wrong!

Wrong, because the high standard Booth applies to its academic offerings also extends to these optional courses. So you’ll be missing out, big time.

Let’s take that presentation skills course as an example. I’m sure you’ve all attended one of these at one point. This is where you get given invaluable advice like “remember to prepare properly”, “don’t forget to bring your talk USB stick with you” and “dress professionally”. For those of you who have a habit of rolling up to give that important sales pitch in your gym gear while not being able to find your slides this might have been helpful, but, er, not so much for every one else (a previous place of employment of mine - a bank with a business casual dress code - specifically prohibited the wearing of spandex in the workplace, so I guess some folks need to be told but…).

The Booth presentation skills course is nothing like this.

We were first presented with scientific evidence as to what people actually remember when they attend a talk. How many arguments or points do they recall 5 mins, 5 days and 5 weeks later? How much training can you cram into one talk and when is it just going to overflow your audience’s short term memory?

We were then taught to structure a presentation around this evidence, choosing just the right amount of information for maximum impact.

We were also given advice on posture, voice and delivery, filmed presenting and then given tips and suggestions afterwards. (It’s worth pointing out that if this article inspires you to try this at home, you need good audio equipment to pick up the lower frequencies adequately - resulting in an “Alvin and the Chipmunks” effect when you listen to yourself - needless to say Booth’s recording equipment didn’t have this problem).

The group who carried out the training spend most of their time advising media professionals and others in the public eye and so definitely knew what they were talking about.

I’ve made extensive use of the advice and tips ever since when giving presentations at work and I’ve found it really helpful.

The same was true of the evening talk given by Prof Richard Thaler, the personal impact workshop, multiple presentations from the Careers Office, the leadership failures questionnaire and debrief…

So, put a note in your diary, and sign up for all of these in advance. Make it hard for yourself to back out just because you’re tired. It’ll be worth it. The coffee and red bull stash is located directly outside the lecture theatre. Help yourself!

Donnla Nic Gearailt

EXP-19