Before I begin on my final post, I hope that everyone reads the quote above, and takes a moment to truly let it sink in.
To me, the importance of being a good speaker only dawned on me when I realized the power of speech. Indeed, the most monumental social changes in human history have always been initiated by exceptional speakers, who could galvanize crowds to believe the unbelievable (e.g. Hitler, Martin Luther King).
With that realization, I find that my biggest takeaway from this course is definitely improving my oral presentation skills. In fact, the 2 main ways that ES2007S has helped me are the frequent presentation opportunities and the constructive feedback from my peers.
Almost every facet of this course required some form of presentations, be it the oral presentation, peer-teching, or even the HR interview. These opportunities allowed me to discover the presentation skills that I already have, as well as the areas of weakness where I could work on. In fact, I believe that everybody has the potential to become a great speaker! It is a pity that very few people have the opportunities to develop their personal style and hone their skills. Furthermore, the peer evaluation in this course has allowed us to share and receive valuable feedback from each other. Consistent practice is pointless if we do not know what we are doing wrong!
I can still clearly remember my first presentation this semester, where I did a short presentation on "active listening" with Vaish. I remember receiving feedback for having a clear voice, but having poor eye contact and non-verbals - I did not realize it, but my presentation was almost as though I was reading a passage!
Subsequently, I have taken steps to slowly improve on many different aspects of communication. In terms on non-verbal communication, I have learned to accentuate my speech with suitable hand gestures and postures, and to maintain eye contact to better connect with my audience. I have also learned to speak in a more concise and structured manner, so that the audience can understand and remember my ideas.
Looking back, it has been a fantastic 3 months. I have had a fulfilling and inspiring time, and I personally felt that this course provided huge educational value. The course might be over, but the friendship and the fun times we had will stay with us forever! :)
To all my coursemates and to Brad, I wish you all the best!