The bustling streets, fervor activity. I’ve long heard about their friendliness, sincerity and enthusiasm at learning. But none had really prepared me for the scenes I was to see, yet alone be part of.
I’m of course, talking about my latest training adventure at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Organised by a team of passionate and dedicated Vietnamese students, the iPresent,iLead workshop was incepted to address the mismatch of skills between young graduates and the demands of fast changing Vietnam labor market. Communication and presentation skills (hence iPresent) was identified as one of the key areas that they sought to shore up.
And boy did we have fun… training, I mean *winks*.
Over two days, two hundred students walked through the gates of the Ho Chi Minh University of Economics to gather skills on How to Overcome their Fears of Public Speaking, How to Craft an Impactful Speech, and How to Make Body Language Work For You.
Over the course of the workshops, participants also had the chance to practice, receive personalised feedback and put their new skills to the test. Everybody also had a chance to witness the various speaking styles different speaker possessed whilst the sharing of personal speeches also offered the audience an opportunity to learn a lesson or two from their peers.
Besides the excitement and opportunity to further experience a different culture and train in a foreign environment, I think one of the biggest highlights of training in Ho Chi Minh City was probably getting the opportunity to bask in the sincerity and passion of the Vietnamese students!
Despite the language barrier (English is after all not their first language), I found it really heartening as the students did their best to hang on to every word and sought to have their questions answered. They took their tasks seriously, participated earnestly when we gave them the opportunity to speak, and took the time to stay back after class to have more of their questions answered when time was up. I even recall staying back for over an hour and a half… just to answer all their questions!
But I’m not complaining. It’s all in the spirit of education after all. =)
Anyway,I can see why they were the “chosen” ones – the top 200 selected out of the 300 applicants interviewed.
Perhaps, however, one of the greatest takeaways I got out of training was getting to hear and listen to the amazing stories presented by the budding speakers who took the courage to come forth and present their speeches of events and lessons that changed their life.
Of the speeches that were presented, I can still remember one that stood out in particular. The speech was about the Beauty of Imperfections – and the Speaker showed us all how we are truly beautiful and able to shine when we are able to embrace our imperfections.
It was a beautiful story – one that truly touched the audience’s hearts. I was not surprised that the speaker won the award for the Best iPresent Speaker Award for that workshop. Neither was I surprised, when he received a standing and rousing ovation from the audience.
It was definitely fitting then, that the speaker was eventually voted the best speaker for the session – for he has not only stood up to share his story, but more importantly, stood up to share value with the audience – and really touched the lives and hearts of others in the process.
Here’s to the success and wonderful work put in by all involved in the successful completion of the iPresent,iLead 2009.
May we continue to touch more lives for now… and in the future!