A timely topic for a workshop during the COVID-19 pandemic!

A total of 46 (young) professionals in the field of nutrition agreed that this was the time to learn more about presenting and online visibility.

In November 2020, the ENLP NL Local Circle and Young NAV (the young professionals-section of the Dutch Academy of Nutritional Science) coordinated their fourth co-organised workshop on leadership skills. Because of his great experience in debating, communication and (online) meetings, Gijs Weenink (Director of DebatAcademie) was invited to host this workshop. Within merely two weeks, Gijs hosted a series of four one-hour meetings for four different groups of nutrition professionals who wanted to learn more about (online) presentation skills. The highly interactive meetups focused on learning from each other, receiving feedback on presentation techniques and getting more skilled at delivering impactful presentations.

The workshops started off with some homework, looking at good examples from presentations by others, identifying techniques to get an audience engaged, motivated and inspired – and to let them applaud you during your speech or presentation – and diving into the theoretical background. Immediately during the first meeting, participants got to know each other by presenting themselves using some of the introduced techniques. In very creative ways, people showed who they were and conveyed to the group what they excelled in. The group feeling created in the meetings made the workshops great learning opportunities, giving feedback on the delivery, applied techniques and skills of the presenter. Even though looking into the camera instead of watching your audience on the screen may feel strange as a presenter, we experienced ourselves that this is one of the main ways to connect with your audience online! In the consecutive workshops, Gijs challenged participants to practise their skills through different assignments; from discussing favourite books, to using ethos, pathos and logos wisely in a short speech, to learning from ancient Greek debaters. The participating nutrition professionals learned new skills to improve the delivery of their presentations, to make their messages stick.

In many online meetings, a lot of things go wrong. As online meetings are likely here to stay, even beyond this pandemic, we need to be fully prepared for (more) online meetings. How do you keep people sharp? How does everyone get their chance to speak? How do you make a good impression? How can you show leadership skills during (online) meetings? Through attending this workshop series, 46 nutrition professionals have been able to further develop their skills and to let their messages become increasingly impactful!

Special thanks go to all actively contributing participants, Young NAV for the collaborative efforts and of course to the workshop trainer Gijs Weenink!

Thank you to Dr. Alie de Boer for writing this blog post.