Rick Harty, director of internal audit at AvMed Health Plan, speaks to groups often.
“I present at least quarterly to our board of directors and to audit committees, which consist of CEOs, CFOs, or board members from other companies who want to hear about what controls are in place at our company,” he said.
Despite his experience, Harty wanted to improve his skills and found what he was looking for in “Presentation Skills for Managers,” a two-day course offered through the Executive and Professional Education office in the college.
“Any organization depends on people being able to stand up, be assertive, use props well, and present ideas clearly and understandably,” said James R. Bussey, (EMBA ’99), chief of staff in the Executive Dean’s office in the college and an officer in the International Toastmasters organization, who teaches the course. “Yet most people find it uncomfortable to do, and it’s rare that a speaker leaves the audience with something more than that with which they arrived.”
Bussey said that when he joined Toastmasters, he was “awful—unable to organize my ideas or articulate them. But when I got good at it, I realized that many people don’t understand how easy it is.”
He’s been sharing his expertise to help professionals who want to overcome their fears of public speaking, sharpen their ability to present comfortably, learn tips about how to use visual aids effectively, and much more. The program will be offered next on March 16 and 17, 2006.
For Harty, who has since joined Toastmasters, the class “was a good introduction to learn how to communicate to groups of people.”
For Rosie Pagan, PhD program manager in the Chapman Graduate School of Business who hadn’t made a presentation in a long time, the course was a chance to “refresh and practice my skills. Also, I suffer from presentation anxiety,” she said.
Pagan felt the program helped her learn about her weak areas, get acquainted with new techniques, and “perform, perform, perform.”
It paid off right away.
“Shortly after the sessions, I had the opportunity to do a presentation for the Chapman School’s staff at a strategy meeting,” she said. “This time, it was a real group and a very important meeting. I found that I was better able to manage my presentation anxiety. More importantly, Bussey mentioned that I had improved.”
“Presentation Skills for Managers” is one of dozens of public offerings available through the college’s Executive and Professional Education office, which has been collaborating with businesses in Miami on professional certificate and training programs since 1992. In addition to its array of standardized offerings, the office customizes courses, which college faculty, faculty members from other universities, or qualified business people teach at the university or the customer’s site. It also offers a number of programs in Spanish. More information can be obtained by calling 305-348-4217 or visiting http://business.fiu.edu/epe/overview.cfm.