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How To Think and Speak Well-On the Spot!

Professor Dale Deletis, the first in a series of outstanding speakers presented by the Public Speaking Club, gives students advice on how to effectively communicate in case discussions and beyond.

How do I deliver better quality comments in class? How do I organize my comments so they do not sound rambling? How do I participate more frequently than I do now replica breitling? These questions are top-of-mind for many RCs.

The Public Speaking Club kicked off its Outstanding Speakers Series with a session led by Professor Dale Deletis on October 10. The goal was to help students learn to deliver quality comments, a skill necessary to thrive in the case-study pedagogy at HBS and for the communication-intensive professional world later.

Since 2000, Professor Deletis has been the sole speech instructor at HBS, teaching and coaching MBA and doctoral students. Having completed graduate work at Stanford, Professor Deletis includes among his corporate clients, Goldman Sachs, Bain, IBM Consulting, and several Boston law firms. His one-hour session presented a room full of 80 MBA students with two strategies for delivering exceptional comments on the spot.

Practice, Practice, Practice-Out Loud replica watches uk
Remember what it was like learning a new language? We practiced-out loud-while in the shower, while driving, while on the subway. That’s exactly how we should learn the skill of on-the-spot speaking-through endless practice.

Professor Deletis recommended adding one element to every case preparation. At the end of two hours of mind-numbing, number-crunching analysis, spend five minutes reading your answers to assignment questions out loud. “Hear your own voice and critique yourself,” Professor Deletis added.

Sure, the class discussion may or may not be based on those questions you prepared for the night before. But adding this element to your preparation provides you with two advantages. First, the class discussion might just turn in your favor. When the perfect opportunity arises, up goes your hand and out goes your perfectly structured comment to which others can respond. Secondly, even if the discussion does not turn out the way you had anticipated, you just trained yourself to become a more oral, verbal person with the ability to think fast and speak well.

Think Structure
Your hand goes up. The professor calls on you. Your heart beats.faster.and faster. Your mouth rambles, spitting out excessively vague words, too many of them. How many times have we found ourselves in this situation?

“The brain must be connected to the mouth,” Professor Deletis told the students. You may not be brilliant, but with structure, you will be crystal-clear. People can then agree or disagree, allowing the discussion to move on. For example, when stating an opinion or making an argument, start by stating the answer, then follow on with all the reasons and conclude with a summary.

In addition to these two strategies, Professor Deletis also highlighted the importance of body language. Rest your arms on the desk, put your feet on the ground and lean slightly forward. Doing this makes it easier for you to project your voice, command the room and ultimately make an impact with your comment.

The Public Speaking Club routinely features outstanding speakers to help HBS students learn from the world’s best communicators. Our next Outstanding Speaker is Stever Robbins, HBS MBA 1991. Robbins has been a member of startups for over 30 years, including 3 IPO, and has mentored women entrepreneurs with Springboard. He coaches executives on the importance of having the right attitude in front of a group, handling unexpected, short-circuiting hecklers, and having a powerful stage presence. Stever will be speaking in Spangler Auditorium October 26 at 4:00 p.m.

The HBS Public Speaking Club also conducts training sessions. In a comfortable setting, MBA students receive feedback on their speaking from peers in the context of the content and delivery factors outlined above. Just doing it is the best way to make improvements. Thinking of joining? Email the Club’s Marketing VP, Amit Rai, at arai@mba2007.hbs.edu.

October 23, 2006
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