Hi everyone! Before I started at the Data School, I used to love Fridays. However, I started to dread them when I was assigned a massive time-pressure challenge every Friday morning. Eventually, I grew accustomed to it and understood the significance of these challenges for my personal growth and development. This blog will present tips on how to prepare for these challenges as well as talk about one of the most important soft skills in the consulting world: public speaking/presentations.

Managing Data School Fridays

Through countless amounts of practice, I have come up with the following tips to help you with your Friday presentations:

  1. Time Management
    You generally have 3-4 hours to find data, come up with insights, prepare a dashboard, and prepare for the presentation. This is very little time, and I’ve seen my colleagues and me spend a large amount of time finding the perfect dataset to the point where we shoot ourselves in the foot by diminishing the other aspects of the challenge.
  2. Don’t Stress Out if You Don’t Finish All the Work!
    It’s okay to present what you have done. The coaches understand how much work you have done throughout the morning. Come up with a coherent presentation that talks about the processes you’ve done and talk about what you would have done if you had time.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
    If you are stuck, ask questions to the coaches or previous cohort. They have gone through this similar process before, so they know how to conquer it better than you!
  4. Be Confident in Your Work!
    Everyone tends to be self-critical, and I don’t think there’s anything worse than lowering people’s expectations. This may be a defense mechanism to some people, but it is just a quick way for the audience to take your work less seriously. Furthermore, don’t apologize for your work as I’ve noticed a lot of the time, my colleagues and I were apologizing for things that happened that were out of our control.

  1. Presentation Tips

Through client projects and one of the best lessons with PK, I have compiled the following presentation tips:

      1. Prepare a Script
        Start with writing a whole script of what you want to say. Eventually, with enough practice, you can reduce this to dot points. Your brain will be able to link what sentence you are saying with each dot point.
      1. Practice Body Language Skills
        It’s not enough for you to memorize the words as you need to practice your body language. Simple stuff such as leaning forward and pausing to emphasize key points can come across as really engaging. Furthermore, if you are presenting in front of a screen or whiteboard, knowing how to direct the audience to the right areas is very important.
      1. Practice Presenting Using a Computer Screen
        Similar to above, if you are to present remotely, make sure that you don’t excessively move the mouse or click things too fast. What you think and see on your screen is not representative of what the audience thinks and sees.
      1. Rehearse
        Speaking things aloud can help your preparation as it greatly boosts your confidence. Having a third party listen to you or filming yourself allows you to quickly catch your mistakes and find out what you need to improve on faster.

    Thanks for listening to my tips! 😊

Nam Nguyen
Author: Nam Nguyen