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In a world where clear, confident communication is crucial, journalist Naomi Robson presents a unique Deakin MBA masterclass.

For a business of any size, effective communication is the lifeblood of the organisation. 

Whether it’s a large-scale presentation to stakeholders, a pitch to prospective clients, or simply a team meeting on Zoom, the ability to communicate clearly and compellingly is essential.

But what if you’re not sure about your key messages, or what your audience needs to hear? And how do you present like a pro when public speaking is out of your comfort zone?

The need for better messaging

With the experience of a long and successful television news career, Naomi Robson has a deep understanding of not only how the media works, but how business professionals can better craft and deliver messages. 

For 14 years, Naomi’s company Managing Your Message has provided customised presentation skills and media training courses for a wide range of organisations and she now brings her expertise to Deakin as presenter of a unique MBA masterclass.

Naomi initially established her company following requests from business leaders who wanted media and communications’ advice, but she says it was soon obvious that help was also needed with presentation skills.

‘Many people are completely unaware of the things that can disengage an audience, how to successfully (or unsuccessfully) customise a presentation, or the importance of body language,’ she explains.

‘We need a very clear understanding of what will and won’t work, and I take participants through all the components behind effective communications, covering academically-validated theories based on the latest research in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and body language.’

Television news career 

After first working as a print journalist in London, Naomi joined Channel 7 in 1991 as an on-the-road reporter for six years before hosting Today Tonight – a public affairs program on the Seven Network which shot to the highest-ranking program in its timeslot during her 10-year tenure as anchor.

Reflecting on her career, Naomi says she loved the ‘immediacy of television news’ and being part of a team that aimed to provide the best possible coverage of stories affecting viewers’ lives.

‘There were many highlights in those 16 and a half years covering some of the biggest stories of the day and year including the 9/11 attacks in New York and the Bali bombings. I also had the opportunity to interview some of Australia’s – and the world’s – most prominent people, along with covering the moving and poignant stories of everyday Australians who generously let us into their lives,’ she recalls.

Working in the fast-paced world of television news also gave Naomi invaluable insight into how the media views, and engages with, business organisations.

‘This understanding has provided me with the skills to assist my clients in dealing with the media…or choosing not to,’ she says.

Training for all levels and all industries

Presented across three sessions, the Deakin MBA masterclass is designed for anyone wanting to improve their communication and presentation skills.

It attracts participants with a broad cross section of experience and expertise and Naomi has designed the course to ensure that all attendees can, and will, make progress if the training is implemented. 

‘I teach the skills and techniques that will improve their competence and proficiency and assist them in becoming more powerful and impactful presenters– it’s what I like to call “high performance presenting”’, she says.

Whether it’s talking to large or small audiences, Naomi says the skills taught in the Deakin MBA masterclass are crucial for developing persuasive communication.

‘This is an invaluable life and workplace skill and the ability to do this effectively is often what separates the best from the rest. There are many CEOs and heads of companies who tell me that a staff member’s ability to articulate themselves effectively is what can set them apart from other team members.’

She adds that improving presentation and communication skills can also assist in building workplace credibility and developing relationships.

‘This can often mean the difference between career success and/or stagnation, particularly if you’re competing with other colleagues who’ve mastered this art.’

Avoiding the communication traps

For many businesses, a key challenge is making sure everyone is successfully communicating the company’s visions, marketing strategies and brand messages.

‘But this can be undermined if teams or presenters are struggling with nerves or have never had any guidance as to how to tailor and customise their presentations to their audience,’ warns Naomi.

Surprisingly, she adds, it’s also common for presenters to forget about their audience.

‘These are the two critical factors when we’re talking about construction of presentations – who’s your audience, and what’s in it for them?’

Naomi incorporates a ‘Key Messages Checklist’ into the masterclass to help identify the messages needed to connect, engage and build audience rapport.

‘One of the biggest challenges is establishing immediate audience engagement and maintaining that throughout the presentation. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise the things they might be doing that actively detract from the key messages or disengage – sometimes even disenfranchise –the audience,’ she explains.

After the second masterclass session, Naomi provides participants with a private, personalised Zoom video assessment based on the presentation they’ve given.

‘This helps identify the things that are working or might need more work. It’s a highly beneficial element of the course and everyone I work with loves this personalised analysis,’ she says.

When COVID-19 restrictions forced much of the corporate world into working from home, one of the consequences was a seismic, possibly permanent, shift in organisational communications.

With Zoom and other video conferencing platforms now a mainstream communications’ option, Naomi says there’s added demand for improved presentation skills.

‘When it comes to presenting online, there are many mistakes that unfortunately undermine the value of what’s being communicated so I take students through a checklist of things to avoid and what they need to be doing to ensure a polished and professional performance.’ 

The Deakin MBA masterclass ‘Managing your message’ with Naomi Robson will be held at the Deakin Melbourne Burwood Campus on 17 and 24 July, and 7 August 2021.  More information and registration can be found here.

MBA Masterclasses are offered throughout the year and are open to people from a wide range of work and study backgrounds. See the full MBA Masterclass schedule.

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