So you think you can speak? Yes, says presentation expert Jim Bussey.

Being an accomplished speaker and presenter is an essential skill for successful business people, said Jim Bussey (EMBA ’99) during the “So You Think You Can Speak?” seminar. The event was presented June 30, 2011 by the Business Alumni Chapter (BAC) of the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU).

“Whether you’re an accountant, a department head or an entrepreneur, making an engaging and professional presentation puts you in the forefront,” he told the 70+ attendees. “The more you get noticed, the more successful you will be.”

Jim Bussey
Jim Bussey

A member of Toastmasters and one of ten finalists in the 2007 World Championship of Public Speaking, Bussey gave the audience specific tips for making a strong presentation, including videotaping practice sessions.

“Watch the tape to examine how you did,” he said. “Then watch it a second time with the sound off. When I first did that, I was appalled at how I looked like a rag doll with wild, repetitive motions.”

In addition to frequent practicing, Bussey advised that a speaker should “lose the podium—and your notes” when possible.

“There should be no barrier between you and the audience,” he said. “Also, make eye contact with audience members. Don’t fall for the trick of looking at foreheads or noses. Look straight into their eyes.”

Bussey also shared with the audience how to use vocal variety to give strength to particular sections of the presentation.

Bussey’s messages are well received—but of course.

“Bussey’s strengths as a presenter and specific tips made for an excellent event,” said Omar F. Cordero (BBA ’06), a BAC member who served as a moderator for the evening. “We’ve received very strong, positive feedback from attendees.”

More than 70 attendees learned how to hone their presentation skills at an event sponsored by the Business Alumni Chapter.
More than 70 attendees learned how to hone their presentation skills at an event sponsored by the Business Alumni Chapter.

Bussey admitted that public speaking is a fear many people have.

“But like many nightmares, it’s all in the mind,” said Bussey, formerly chief of staff to the business school’s executive dean, Joyce J. Elam, and now associate dean of the School of Business at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida. “Think of charismatic speakers you know. Chances are, they learned that skill.”


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