Grab Your Audience Attention: How do you get people to listen to you?

Prepared by: Dr. Hema Rosheny Mustafa, Dr. Ibnatul Jalilah Yusof, Dr. Shahrial Bungsu, Cik Rika Diana Busri

Communication Cluster from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FSSH), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) had successfully held an online sharing session on 27th April 2021. AP. Dr. Akhyar Rido, the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Education, Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia was the guest speaker for this sharing session. The sharing session was aimed to enhance students’ presentation skills especially on how to grab the attention of their audience. The target group was FSSH Year 2 students as they were required to do a poster presentation as part of their assessment of an English course (UHLB2122). This skill is further needed when they take another English course (ULAB3162) in Year 3, in which it requires more oral presentation assessments including negotiation and debate.

The sharing session was conducted through two platforms, Webex and Facebook FSSH live. The use of this online platform was aligned with the UTM teaching and learning practice in Semester 2 session 2020/2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The FB live platform gave more flexibility and freedom for other participants to take part in the session, especially those who were not familiar with the WebEx platform. In addition, with the invited speaker being in Indonesia, and since most students were away in their hometown and the moderator being in Selangor, online platform was indeed the best choice to use to conduct this sharing session.

The session was viewed by 584 viewers with 187 participants filled in and submitted the attendance in the google form provided. Although the session was aimed for Year 2 FSSH students, it was actually attended by students from other faculties such as FABU, AHIBS, FE and FTIR. Not only students, the session was also attended by non-academic staff from TNCP, IBD, UTMDigital and UTMLead (based on the google form).

Merit points were awarded to all registered participants for the sharing session. This merit points are given to encourage students to attend activities that are organised every Tuesday for their own benefits. Based on the feedback given by the participants, the session was engaging and the tips given by the speaker on how to grab audience’s attention help in boosting the participants’ confidence when making a presentation in future.

As a follow-up to the sharing session, the Communication Cluster committee had organised an Academic Paper Poster Presentation Competition that encouraged the participants to turn their assignment in UHLB2122 into a shorter video to be submitted for the competition. A Facebook page called “Academic Paper Presentation Competition FSSH” was set up specifically for the students to submit their videos. The competition took place from Week 5 to Week 16 of the semester. Once the videos had been uploaded by the committee to the FB page, participants were encouraged to share their videos on their own wall and groups to get more ‘Likes’. The competition offered prizes for the first, second and third place winners which were sponsored by FSSH while the prize for ‘Most Liked’ videos were sponsored by Dr. Hema and Dr. Ibna. The judging of the videos was conducted by the committee members using a standardized rubric. The winners of the competition were announced on 2nd Aug 2021.