04 Sep 2019

Andy Kowalski tells us how he has developed his public speaking skills

One of the ways we technologists, technicians and scientists can communicate our views on subjects which are dear to our hearts, and which will benefit others, is by speaking at events and giving presentations. This can be delivered in a number of different ways such as via PowerPoint presentation or a formal prepared talk, and it is usually aimed at getting your point across to a dedicated audience.

I felt that in my job as STEM Coach and Mentor I could be addressing not just individuals but also much wider and bigger audiences. I enrolled on a programme to develop my presentation skills after seeing a stall outside a community centre in Loughborough, where I live, for a local Speakers Club. Part of that programme, to learn the basics, was to attend a number of presentations prepared by seasoned speakers. In January, February & May of this year I delivered some of my own talks on topical items.

Each speech of my presentations had an introduction, a main body and a conclusion. Some of my talks that may be of interest to IST members are those that I did on the importance of doing Safety Risk Assessments in the workplace, and the consequences of not doing them, or when they are not available, simply missing!

I also delivered a presentation on the work that I currently do, where I outlined coaching and mentor origins from Anglo-Saxon times, how coaching and
mentoring helped me as an individual and how I now use it to help unlock people’s potential. I also talked about the International scope of my work, and found that my audience was surprised to learn that a large percentage came from African states, India and Pakistan. I am a referred Mentor by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and have two Mentees, one in Cameroon and the other in Uganda.

My talk was reported in the local press, and I had very good feedback from the programme’s speech assessor. Developing my public speaking skills has really helped me to convey my message at recently held local networking events.

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