By Eric Maple, P.E., M.ASCE – City of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA – Ron Guilbault from the Mission Chapter of Toastmasters International gave a well-received presentation on speaking skills during the lunch hour on Wednesday, February 22nd. Hosted by the Santa Barbara/Ventura YMF, twenty-three YMF members and guests enjoyed great food followed by a presentation and open discussion on the importance of public speaking skills in the engineering workplace. Mr. Guilbault opened with a personal story of how he came to realize his previous career was limited by his lack of speaking skills, and how communication skills are correlated to upward movement in organizations. His presentation involved a mix of personal stories and specific tips that set the tone for a collaborative and safe environment. Attendees openly discussed their needs for improvement and sought specific guidance on things that catch us all like “um’s” and hand placement. Other topics included keeping Power Point presentations brief, how to prepare for impromptu and scheduled speeches, incorporating humor, and understanding how much attendees can retain in technical presentations. With a takeaway of useful tips and some inspiration, the event was a success in ensuring the art of communication skills is not lost in the engineering world of details.