Week 15 of the Data School had Ivy and I share the project-lead status. For today’s blog, I wanted to share my experiences with what I learned being project lead and about my presentation skills focus throughout the week.
My Project Lead Experience:
Being the final project week, cohort 5 has already formulated a style to how they like to approach projects, so the biggest challenge for Ivy and I was to keep the team on track. This proved to be a difficult task with all the noise happening around the world, and the motivation dwindling with the upcoming graduation.
My biggest takeaway throughout the week is that having a relaxed leadership approach was neither the best nor the worst approach. I don’t even believe there is a best or worst approach to leadership, but what I realized more clearly throughout the week is that different cohort members react differently to situations. So, if I had my time again, I would have been much more assertive with certain personalities for the approach to be more team-oriented.
Managing expectations was another key lesson I learned throughout the week. At the data school, we do reflections after each project, and while we all actively participate in each of these, sometimes we lose focus on what our goal is for a week’s project.
A major differentiator for the data school for me was practicing presentation skills. Being a fresh graduate out of university, it was important for me to continue formulating my presentation style. Being forced into presentations every week was a great way to do that. Apart from the timeless teachings of practicing, the communication model and a presentation format, the presentations Guru ‘PK’ tried to explain that the great presenters aren’t those that are well prepared for a static script but can deliver a clear message on their feet, and this ultimately comes down to active listening and being able to “read a room”. This highly relates to answering questions, and the structure that PK offered in addressing the question and the approach to answering the question seemed quite simple yet so many people ignore this simple approach. Specifically, PK gave the advice in trying to think about the needs of the client from their perspective.
It was interesting for me to look back onto my video recordings throughout the 16 weeks, and both see how my presentations have changed but also the tendencies that I still need to work on. I personally feel much more comfortable talking in front of people, not needing to grasp onto the table for dear life anymore or shake the mouse uncontrollably.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being team lead, and I felt the week was invaluable for further improving my presentation skills.