This past February, a delegation of Worcester State student leaders had the opportunity to attend the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 24th annual Student Leadership Conference in North Adams, Mass. One of those students, Zoe Bates, presented at the conference on how to become a great public speaker. She took some time to share her experience with us.
By Sarah Farnham, WSU Student || Photos provided by S. Farnham
In February 2019, I had the privilege, as well as a few other RA’s on campus, to represent Worcester State University at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ 24th annual Student Leadership Conference.
At this conference, WSU’s own Zoe Bates presented on public speaking and how to perfect a presentation. I was thoroughly impressed with her confidence and poise through the presentation. After speaking with Zoe, she disclosed some details she enjoyed most about the conference and presenting.
Sarah: Why did you choose to present on public speaking?
Zoe: "I decided to present on public speaking for two reasons. The first is that it is a topic I am fairly well-versed on. The second reason I decided to present on public speaking is because it is an activity that many people are not comfortable with, but will encounter throughout their academic and professional careers."
Sarah: How did you get involved with public speaking?
Zoe: "My freshman year of college, I joined Enactus, a student club at Worcester State. Enactus works on eight projects throughout the Worcester area, all aimed at improving lives through entrepreneurial action. In the spring semester, Enactus has auditions for the Presentation Team."
"The team competes at Regional and National competitions, going up against over 400 teams across the U.S.," Zoe said. "While I have always been comfortable speaking in front of people, it was not until I joined the Presentation Team during my sophomore year that I truly understood the technicalities that can create a strong public speaker."
How do you think your presentation went?
Zoe: "I think it went well. I designed my presentation so that what the audience learned would be applicable to most public speaking scenarios - from a class assigned presentation, to the boardroom in front of the CEO. The audience appeared to be engaged and interested in the presentation, which always makes things easier!"
What do you think are the big takeaways from your talk?
Make sure you are prepared! Knowing your material and practicing your speech are critical components of a smooth presentation.
Convey Confidence. This can be achieved through body language, dressing the part, and avoiding words that imply uncertainty including like, so, and um.
Remember that if you look like you know what you are doing, and you act like you know what you are doing, people will think you know what you are doing!
What did you like most about the conference?
This was a wonderful opportunity to try presenting at a conference for the first time. It was low pressure, well organized, and the attendees were supportive and interactive.
My peers and I learned a great deal about ourselves, our impact, and our potential impact we have on our community at Worcester State University.
Thank you Zoe for representing us well at the Conference!
To learn more about how you can grow as a person and a leader, visit the Office of Student Involvement on the 2nd floor of the Student Center.