How learners are picking up public speaking skills at UPES
UPES School of Business has always encouraged its students to find their authentic voice. The SoB Student Council organises Emcee, an event in which various teams compete to host a show. The participants select a topic from business-based themes. The event, now in its second year, aims to help future business managers to acquire contemporary stage management and public speaking skills
What do Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Maria Eitel (Nike), and Dr. Sudha Murthy (Infosys Foundation) have in common? Apart from being corporate chieftains, they are also exemplary public speakers. Their communication skills, confidence in front of a crowd, articulation, and the ability to interweave literary devices such as metaphors into their speeches, enthral their audience.
Public speaking is a soft skill that comes into play in many places – from giving presentations at the workplace and hosting events to pitching ideas at conclaves and addressing seminars. A persuasive public speaker can breathe life into words.
Considering the significance of this skill, UPES School of Business (SoB) has always encouraged its students to find their authentic voice. The SoB Student Council organises Emcee, in which various teams compete to host a show. The participants select a topic from business-based themes. The event, now in its second year, aims to help future business managers acquire contemporary stage management and public speaking skills.
The word ‘Emcee’ is derived from the abbreviation MC, which stands for Master of Ceremonies, meaning a person who acts as the host of the program. The success of an event primarily depends on how good an emcee is. Students acting as hosts learn to manage and drive the crowd, timing, and flow of the program. They are judged based on the parameters of content, confidence, expression, body language and fluency. The top six performers bag the coveted title of ‘Star Performer of the Day’ and ‘Bloom of the Day’. The event is graced by Dr. Githa Heggde, Dean, UPES School of Business, and other faculty members.
Explaining the thought behind the event, Dr. Heggde says, “Emcee is a peer-learning group formed by SoB Student Council. It helps students to acquire contemporary communication skills through a series of creatively-designed activities such as moderating mock panel discussions and extempore. Starting as a 10-member group in June 2021, Emcee is now a thriving community of more than 300 enthusiastic learners. The exposure is certainly helping participants to overcome their fear of public speaking, be more confident, and emerge as future leaders.”
Preeti Aneja, Assistant Professor, Department of General Management, SoB, adds, “It is heartening to see the students pick up these skills. It will not only enhance their personality, but also their employability prospects. Public speaking is a prerequisite for leadership positions and inculcating these skills in our students will make them industry-ready and set them up for a successful career.”
What the students have to say:
Vrinda Shree Bhatnagar, BA Public Policy, second year: “Emcee has given me a platform to express myself in several ways – starting with the role of a spectator, being in awe of my fellow peers to participating in panel discussions and hosting events. I also got the opportunity to interact with my seniors, who guided me through the process helping me understand the nuances of public speaking and achieve the ‘Star of the Day’ title.
Shiuli Basu, BBA core, second year: “The platform helped me polish my personality. There were many new faces in front of me, there were judges to give feedback on the way I spoke, my body language, and how I presented myself. All the participants had different personalities. I got to learn from their distinct dispositions. I bonded with people I had never met before and got advice from my prep buddy. The event boosted my self-esteem. Public speaking might look scary from a distance, but once you try it, it is fun and impactful.”
Parth Agarwal, MBA, first year: “Emcee is not just a society, but also a family that supports me to unlearn my fears and guides me to groom myself. It is a journey, which begins from stage fear to owning the stage. It has helped me build my communication skills and work together as a team. The platform helped me develop a positive attitude on how to present my ideas confidently when in front of a crowd.”
Shreeni Sai, MBA Core (HR): “I entered this university with a love of public speaking and an aspiration for confidence. That is why I decided to join Emcee. I participated in several activities, which honed my public speaking skills and helped me in my networking, presentation and communications skills, all of which I can proudly add to my CV. I also got the opportunity to work under and with many talented individuals who had a different set of unique skills. The Emcee took a raw individual and transformed her into a confident female who would not shy away to stand on a podium and address thousands of people.”