On your marks, ready, steady, go!

By:  Marlyne Mananga (Cameroon)


George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything”. I was very excited yesterday when I began my journey because the high rope task was herculean for me due to my fear of heights.

Wow! So soon we are in the third day of the 19th ANLP. Training this afternoon was based on leadership and communication. So this is how my afternoon started. I was very eager to learn more about this topic. I said to myself: in my professional life, I have acquired the main skills which are important to make me a very good communicator so this lecture will just be a revision for me (me in my comfort zone).

So, when Julie introduced Jane, I was happy due to her charismatic way of engaging us for the past two days.

Jane has a lot of energy! Don’t let her age fool you. She began her lecture with vigour. I asked myself, what is this? By the time she got to her fifth slide, all my knowledge in communication was watered down. The realization that all that I had been doing in my previous presentations up till now was all wrong set in. All wrong? Just like that, I was out of my comfort zone, and change needed to happen.

These are the main lessons Jane taught us on presentation;

1)            Having a story to tell to makes your presentation more interesting and understandable. Story telling catches people’s attention and they are able to remember the content  better than just delivering facts, no matter the age group, it is always appropriate.

2)            Know your audience. Your audience will determine how much information and in what format to present them. Can you imagine presenting p-values to parliamentarians? Give me the answer when we meet, I am sure we will have a laugh together.

3)            A bad slide is worse than no slide. The impression created in the minds of the audience from bad slides will last longer than having bad raw egg crushed on your head; forever you are fragranced.

4)            Practice, practice and more practice.  This will give room for getting the best content to achieve the purpose of the presentation. Practicing reduces the stress of not knowing what the other slides are about and gives you confidence. People will then be more comfortable to listen to you.

I conclude with a quote from Bran Stracy, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life”.

Presentation is not all about PowerPoint! And never forget, practice, practice, practice.

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