Presence and Presentation: How ifs University College is helping its students prepare for the world of work

07 July, 2015
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One “I” and three “P’s” for confident public speaking.

It probably doesn’t mean much at face value, but Innovation, Purpose, Possibility and Process are four of the ways lecturer Wendy Chowne demonstrated how ifs University College is helping to prepare its undergraduate students for the world of work at its annual Higher Education Conference.

Supported by the Teaching Innovation fund, Wendy, with help from colleagues, recently launched a Presence and Presentation short course for students, who wanted to boost their confidence and improve their presentation skills.

Improved career prospects

The premise behind the course was borne out of students’ own feedback; many felt they had the skills and knowledge to succeed in their future careers but lacked the necessary ability to sell themselves to potential employers.

From this a seven-week course was devised which aimed to create a supportive environment in which students could feel comfortable talking in public and selling their ideas to an audience.

The overall objective was to make effective presenters out of the students in less than 12 hours – challenging, but not rocket science. This was done, through seven stages:

  1. Development of mutual aims and objectives 
  2. The nuts and bolts and technical side of presentations 
  3. Heroes & villains – good and bad public speakers
  4. Student mini-presentations
  5. Neuro-linguistic programming
  6. Preparatory session 
  7. Final presentation to a live audience

As for the course’s success? Three surprise guests finished Wendy’s discussion at the HE conference – three second year students who had gone through the programme, who spoke engagingly about how One “I” and three “P’s” helped them. In just seven weeks the students had gone from introverted undergraduates to confident orators, comfortable addressing hundreds of people in an auditorium.

Following its success Wendy will be looking to run the course again for students and staff.

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