The Power of Presentation

YLDP students with the speaker Chuck Hinkle.

By Aamani Pillutla

HOUSTON: September 22, was the opening session of the Youth Leadership Development Program at India House, where the organization’s eager inductees became privy to the enrichment of leadership development. The inaugural session had a speaker on effective leadership and communication skills. Chuck Hinkle, Shell’s U.S. expert in Business Intelligence, has worked for decades to help others deliver messages. He opened the year with the topic of presentation itself, a crucial skill in all avenues of life. He conveyed the importance of knowing how to properly present with digital tools in an age where personality and presence are as important as substance.

Hinkle’s first impression subverted expectations. He was weakly introduced and stood in a baseball cap, something we were not used from a professional speaker. After asking if we thought he was credible, he left the podium, was reintroduced, and reappeared in professional attire. This illustrated the importance of appearance rather than just telling us to wear nice clothes.

Chuck Hinkle, Shell’s U.S. expert in Business Intelligence

Chuck Hinkle, Shell’s U.S. expert in Business Intelligence

Hinkle’s speech went over the main points of digital presentation. The overarching theme was that you are the presentation, not your slides. This is not to say that the content of your slides doesn’t matter; it does, a lot. Everything from color to text is important, but it should supplement the information coming out of you. We were told to limit the number of words on our slides and to manipulate colors and position so the audience actually understands the point instead of being distracted.

As students, presentation is a key aspect of our academic life. We also understand that it will continue to be a key aspect of our careers. Learning how to present, however, is not something a lot of teachers go over. What Chuck Hinkle taught us is applicable to all subjects. We learned the role of every aspect of presentation, from the colors to quotations to how the presenter should verbally convey their material. We emerged from Hinkle’s speech with new knowledge of how to be an articulate, effective leader of the future.