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Fear No More While Speaking on Stage Feat. Lawrence Chan

Photo by Lawrence Chan on Instagram

As we go through different phases of education, it is inevitable that we find ourselves in situations where we would have to give presentations or speak in front of a crowd. For some, presentations can be a piece of cake, but for others, it may be a disaster because they lack experience and skills.

As the former COO of IACT College and the current Student Engagement Officer of BAC Education Group, Mr Lawrence looks after student activities. As the head of marketing for IACT College, he is known for his esteemed experience as a public speaker and presenter; hosting more than ten public speaking events annually. Other than giving speeches on how to improve one’s presentation skills, he teaches students techniques on preparing for an interview. Through an interview conducted with Mr Lawrence, he gave students some important tips and techniques he has generously taught to others over the years.

Photo by Lawrence Chan on Instagram

Mr. Lawrence noticed that many students nowadays don't put in much effort into preparation for presentations. Students would rather put the effort into scoring for their exam papers than giving a top-notch presentation. One of the most common problems students make during a presentation is reading off the slides instead of presenting their idea. There are multiple reasons for this, one of which is due to them being unfamiliar with the topic and lacking rehearsal, especially when presenting as a group.

“If you pay attention to group presentations in class, it is not hard to notice that there is always one person that is carrying the weight” he said.

In order to minimize distractions, he advises groups to only have one person standing in front while they are presenting, the others should sit and wait for their turn. Another important tip for presentations is that all slides should use a consistent format and font, as it is one of the small details most lecturers and audiences pay attention to.

Photo by Lawrence Chan on Instagram

It is not hard to see situations where students are running out of points to present; looking through their sheet of paper in front of the crowd. Hence, Mr Lawrence advises students to include only the main points.

“Use a small piece of paper to refer back to the points while presenting, and it is a big no for those who refer to their phones during presentations,” he emphasized.

Other than that, he also shared another important tip. “Always move around and look into your audience's eyes, use any funny stories and jokes to catch your audience's attention and it's best to include videos into your slides.” When having to choose between a slide full of words and another one that consists of GIFs and videos, the choice of the majority would be pretty obvious, so always include interesting elements into your presentation to make the audience remember.

When being asked about reacting to unexpected situations, Mr Lawrence shared some of his unforgettable experiences. During a presentation in an auditorium, a microphone malfunction made him speak to more than 70 people for 50 minutes without any audio equipment. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the best talks he gave as he had created more interaction with the audience. Another challenging presentation that he shared was an idea pitching to a Japanese client who did not understand a word of English. The managing director had a personal translator available to translate what Mr Lawrence was saying simultaneously as he conducted the presentation. It was a challenging task for him. However, he managed to execute it perfectly. The key message here is to not panic and go with the flow as there may be unexpected outcomes.    

“Giving presentations is never hard for someone who is willing to put effort into preparation. I enjoyed discovering new students with potential and am looking forward to seeing more talented presenters in the future,” Mr Lawrence concluded. Now that we have the tips and techniques, fear no more when speaking on stage! It might be difficult at first, but the end result will always be worth it.

By: Suet Khang


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