MBA alumni learn the value of telling stories when doing business

MBA alumni learn the value of telling stories when doing business

AUT's MBA alumni learnt how to employ communication skills to create a strong and lasting presence in the workplace, at a recent networking event. Guest speaker Maggie Eyre, the Director of Fresh Eyre, a niche training company that specialises in teaching presentation and media skills, gave her top tips on how to create presence at work, particularly when giving speeches.

Hosted by the Business School and the Alumni team, the event also provided alumni with a key opportunity to network, something AUT's MBA alumni have cited as a high priority.

Ken Lee, Director MBA and Professional Masters said: "We want to help our alumni update their industry knowledge, grow their life experience and improve on their personal and professional skills. A workshop with Maggie, who offers expert advice on communication skills in the workplace, is one of the ways in which we can do this."‚Äč

"Our graduates are our ambassadors so holding dedicated events also helps maintain that sense of connection to AUT," Sam Mickell, Director of Alumni Relations added.

Maggie's top tips - creating presence

"Stories are gold and are nearly always the most memorable part of a speech. Be confident telling them, use your own language and bring them to life. If the audience can relate to your stories, they will connect with you," Maggie said.

Here are some of Maggie's tips to create presence when giving a speech.

  • Research your audience - who are they, what are they interested in.
  • Isolate your over-arching message - the 3-5 points you want to make to put it across, and the stories, anecdotes, and memorable statistics you will use to illustrate it.
  • Develop a powerful, memorable, opening & closing - supported by a coherent structure.
  • Write your speech to be spoken, not read - use plain English, words and phrases that paint a picture, evoke a feeling or a memory. Dump the jargon!
  • Warm up - walk, sing, dance, breathe and/or run through some basic exercises to focus your mind and body before you speak.
  • Believe in yourself - the audience will believe you if you show them you're confident and comfortable in front of them. Be positive. Affirm yourself.
  • Body language - remember, good posture, smile, make eye contact with all sections of your audience, and use gestures.
  • Voice - vary your pitch and pace, emphasize key words, pause and breath.
  • First impressions count - clothing has a language and is a key part of your message.
  • Connect with your audience - ask them questions, give them a short inter-active exercise to demonstrate a point.
  • Rehearse - practice in front of a mirror, present to your team or someone you trust who will give you constructive feedback.
  • Power Point can be deadly - use PowerPoint to add visual impact to what you're saying or highlight, substantiate or make explicit key parts of your presentation.
  • Review every performance and become a student of your own game.