Last week David Schlocker of DRS and Associates was a guest lecturer for Master’s students of The Tseng College, California State University, Northridge where he presented an informative and interactive talk on crafting dynamic presentations and creating a connection with one’s audience. The students, under the instruction of Professor Laura Myerchin Sklaroff, are enrolled in a class titled “Approaches and Methods in Program Evaluation” as part of their final semester of the Master’s of Public Administration program.
David spoke about the importance of understanding one’s audience to effectively communicate and engage with them, and how to use compelling yet concise visuals and content. Anyone who knows David or has been at one of his presentations can see that he is kind of a quiet (not in terms of volume – rather not a loud “salesy” guy) yet passionate speaker who figures out how to make a personal connection with his subject matter and with his listeners through relevant information and good storytelling. He believes “active presenting,” a term he coined, like active listening, is relevant in all situations – whether speaking to a potential client in an intimate setting, pitching/selling, reporting on good or bad results, presenting to stakeholders or even constituents in a public setting – so that his message is truly received.
“The art of public speaking is the art of deciding what NOT to say,” David referenced at the onset of the lecture. He then described two very important points that are the foundation of any great presentation: 1. An interesting idea; 2. The presenter’s emotional attitude towards that idea. “A key component of program evaluation is messaging and reporting,” said Prof. Sklaroff. “David expertly taught students methods to understand the needs of diverse audiences and methods to deliver finely tuned messages that get the right information to the right people.”
The hour and forty minute lecture was enjoyed by the students and professor alike – there was great engagement from the class and no one fell asleep, which is always a good sign! After a brief class break, the students broke out into work groups and were assigned a project related to evaluating a voter enrollment program for a special interest group. The exercise incorporated some of the suggestions and methods discussed in the lecture. David and Prof. Sklaroff went between the two committees and provided any input or suggestions requested by the students. Towards the end of class, the two teams presented their programs to Prof. Sklaroff and David, who then voted on the team with the better delivery and messaging.
How did David do?
Well, according to Prof. Sklaroff: “David Schlocker presented real world situations that demonstrate how one can read a room and capture audiences’ attention. He taught creative methods to engage clients, which captivated my students’ attention. The combination of creative expertise and practical knowledge David shared with the class will greatly benefit them as they complete their master’s degree and continue in their professional careers.”
Her final evaluation comments about David’s performance and delivery prove that DRS and Associates made the grade.