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Workshop: Presenting Potential with Jonathan Talbott

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

WIL's first workshop of 2019 regarding successful public speaking was hosted in collaboration with the Women's Business Initiative International (WBII), briefly introduced to the WIL members by its vice Chairman, Charlene Lambert. She shared her enthusiasm regarding collaborations with WIL and younger women when she expressed that when "[she] was a student [our] age, if someone had told [her] they wanted to make a networking project like [WIL], she would never have thought we would have managed a [crowd] like this".

Jonathan Talbott, this workshop's professional, then briefly introduced himself and his work as someone who coaches in public speaking and presentation-giving skills to NGOs, university students, start-ups and other big corporate businesses. He approached this workshop full of energy, kicking off his presentation with a paired exercise to combat public speaking fear.

Through the insights he has learnt along his career working with students, TED Talk speakers, and 'smart people who are scared to speak in public', as well as through personal anecdotes, Jonathan shared valuable pieces of information regarding efficient and memorable public speaking. During his presentation, he challenged the attending members to keep several questions in mind: What does your audience need to know? Why should they care? What should the world look like because of your talk? He reminded the members of the importance of having a "call to action" at the end of every presentation, and creating the environment you need and want to deliver your message.

Throughout the workshop, Jonathan also addressed the tension between confidence and competence, two necessary qualities for effective and memorable public speaking. He shared his experience of coaching women speakers, addressing women's common tendency to doubt their competence, making them in turn lack confidence. He urged the audience to tackle this disbelief head-on, encouraging women to trust their capabilities and potential to bring new ideas, perspectives, and balance to sometimes very male-dominated industries. He expressed the need for more groups of people, such as women, who from a young age are socialised to collaborate, help and seek help, as well as care for other.

Following the presentation, WIL and WBII members had to opportunity to ask questions to Jonathan. The last one of the evening asked about how to deal with the tendency of men to overlook women's input (at meetings, in conversations) and later steal their ideas, rephrasing them and presenting them as their own. Jonathan, alongside the experienced professionals of the WBII, encouraged WIL members to amplify their voices, to get other women or men to support their arguments and ideas, creating a network of trust and mutual support. This discussion was the perfect way to finish off yet another fantastic WIL-WBII workshop.

For the rest of the evening, WIL and WBII members were free to meet, network or further discuss with Jonathan Talbott about his experiences. WIL members left the highly successful workshop not only with new knowledge, but also a thirst to put their new skills to use.

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