Improving your personal presence and impact!

At the beginning of March I was both thrilled and somewhat terrified to be advised that I had been selected as one of ten research students from the College of Social Science to take part in this year’s Festival of Postgraduate Research. In all fifty research students will present their work at the Festival which takes place on Thursday 27th June.

The Festival is about communicating research in an accessible and engaging way that can be understood by non-specialists. This is achieved in part through the development of an A1 Poster which depicts your research and aims to inspire an interest in it. The thought that this and my presentation of it will be scrutinised by the 40 judges feels pretty alarming!

As part of the preparation for the festival, I attended the mandatory session on presentation and networking skills yesterday which was delivered by an outstanding and inspiring facilitator, Pete Bailie of Vox Coaching –

I’m not sure what I expected out of yesterday but what I came away with was some real personal insight, new skills [tactics] aimed at increasing my impact and presence in a positive way, and, a good dose of courage! For someone who avoids ‘role play’ like the plague … there was no place to hide … and in fact, I found I didn’t want to!

Whilst there was lots that I’ll be reflecting on, and hopefully being brave enough to try, in the days ahead … when I come to prepare for the Festival, I’ll be bearing a couple of particular learning points in mind so I thought I’d share these with you.

Firstly, in relation to the ‘communication’ pie chart below, as the ‘contents’ of presentations only accounts for 7% of its impact, I’m going to redirect my efforts away from ‘over preparation’ of what I intend presenting which is where I normally concentrate my efforts, and instead, spend more time ‘rehearsing’ how I can use the visual and vocal aspects of communication [the other 93%] to ‘move’, ‘inspire’, ‘involve’, ‘excite’, ‘reassure’ or ‘intrigue’ my audience.

Comms PieChart

Secondly, as someone who, for the last couple of years, has been working to curb my tendency to perhaps talk too much … I’m going to ‘Fall in love with the full stop’ (Bailie 2013)!

Take Time to Pause!

(Prepared with thanks to my Blog Editor, Abbie Leghorn, age 12).

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About Tracey

Tracey has now graduated from the University of Leicester.

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