When I registered for my first MBA class at Elon, I contemplated how many classes I would need to complete before I could apply my newly acquired knowledge and skills to an assignment at work. I expected the courses would be more like building blocks, and over time, they would become applicable to my job. As it turns out, I was able to successfully use some of my new skills almost immediately!
I just completed Enhanced Managerial Communications and as the course title implies, the class included a lot of business writing and oral presentations. Prior to taking this class, I considered myself a fairly decent communicator, both with my writing and oral presentations. But with the practice and constructive criticisms (or “gifts” as Dr. Buck would call them) which I received during this course, I was really able to improve my skills!
For example, this month at work, I was called upon to give presentations in front of about a dozen groups, ranging in size of 15 to more than 100. Prior to taking this class, I would build a very basic presentation without any “bells or whistles”, I would never practice and all I would worry about was whether or not I communicated my message. Fortunately for my many audiences, I applied some of my new skills to this project.
Having become very self-aware, I thought beyond just relaying a message and more about how to make a very effective and memorable delivery. Depending on the audience, I added appropriate levels of attention getting tactics, such as a relevant quote that captured a sense of the topic at hand, a video clip that reinforced the quote and prizes for audience members that participated in the interactive sections of the presentation.
I received very positive feedback from some of the senior leaders in attendance and even received a hand written note from one of our vice-presidents on how well everything went with my presentation!