Anthology Webinar Series

The UOW anthology webinar series spotlights the passion projects, skills and expertise of our alumni community through a curated collection of knowledge, stories and conversations.

Mini-masterclass with Heba Abusedou

In 'Part 1: Presenting like a pro', Heba Abusedou, Founder of iSimplify Presentations, shares her tips and tricks for an amazing presentation and highlights the importance of competence over confidence.

Speaker 1 [00:00:04] Hello and welcome to the alumni anthology webinar series, where we explore the passion projects, skills and expertise of our amazing alumni community. The presentation today is brought to you from Heber. ABC drew an incredible alumnus who graduated from the UAW Dubai campus in 2018 with a master of Information Technology Management. Heba is now based in Toronto, where she works as an IT manager and systems analyst for the Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries. He was also the founder of Ice Simplify Presentations, where she works with people to help them build their personal brand, tell meaningful stories and share their passions with the world. She is a mentor, a music junkie, a coach, a bookworm and presentations pro. Recently, he delivered a live virtual event for alumni across the world, and she was generous enough to allow us to record the discussion, and I am thrilled to bring you part one, which focuses on confidence, competence and techniques for an amazing presentation.

Speaker 2 [00:01:16] My name is Heba Abasi, though I live in Toronto. I am a I'm an alumni of the University of Wollongong Dubai campus. Most advice, I think when we think about confidence, which is like a huge a huge word when it comes to presentations, they fall short, in my opinion. So people tell you, you control, you control your thoughts. You can control how you feel. And my favourite, my favourite, fake it till you make it or you. All you have to do is decide to be confident. They all sound like those self-help books that tell you you have unlimited capacity for love and unlimited capacity for competence. And then you can be supermen and superwomen if you think if you practise confidence enough. But there's a problem with confidence. Confidence should not be a goal. It's hollow, really. It's your goal should not be to look confident. They tell you if you have certain posture, if you pace back and forth on the stage, if you speak really loud, if you use your arms all the time, you will look confident. You will. People will feel that you are confident. The truth is, and this is something that I learnt recently, is that competence is more important than confidence. Because people are here. Whatever the setup is, whatever it is that you're presenting, whether it's formal at work or telling a story to friends or you're at the bar sitting across the table from a friend telling us, telling them about your day or if you're a doctor telling a patient about something they really don't care much about your confidence or you looking confident. We want people to be confident, but we do not want that to be the goal when they think of presentations. A lot of people here, I'm sure, are introverts they identify as introverts, so to them, it doesn't really it doesn't really help them to say you need to present in a certain way. So I think of it as an athlete for Mo Farah is a long distance runner, and he didn't wake up one day and say, I'm going to focus on looking confident or being confident so I can finish a marathon. Instead, what more fair did? He went on long runs. He did speed training. He focussed on nutrition. He did strength training. And he was wearing the right footwear. And and to me, sports is the is the best metaphor for how you do things and how you live your life. Because that means that more, farai, I did not think about being confident. Instead, he trained very well so he can be confident or feel confident enough that he can actually finish the race. He can win the race. So attempting to focus on confidence might actually self-sabotage, because if that's all you think about when you present, you might end up feeling bad about yourself and then it's a cycle. You will never accept your speaking style. You will never accept that you, you speak a certain way. You're soft spoken or you loud or you just very self-reflective or you connect with your audience instead. I think attempts to improve your import performance and your expertise and your competence can genuinely boost your confidence because success your success can breed confidence in your competence can also build confidence. OK, so now the question is how do I, you know, that's all great. I want to stand up on the stage I want to present, and I want to feel confident, whether that's fake or not fake. I really want to do that, right? So what I want to tell you is that confidence is a by-product of something else. It comes hand-in-hand with competence. I want to change people's minds about the stereotypical image of what a confidence speaker looks like. We've seen that in Hollywood. We've seen that in all of these extroverted speakers. I'm an extrovert myself, but I don't really associate with how everybody is presented like a sales person image. I think what is more valuable is focussing on the actual message that you're delivering, because that's what people are here for. And the second thing is that I don't think self-confidence is the problem. I think a lot of people do not understand their strengths and limitations and do not accept them. So a friend of mine is an and he identifies as an introvert. So he's not very loud. He's really soft spoken, but he delivers amazing presentations. And that is because he connects really well with his audience, and he listens, he observes. And then he's very reflective. He gives people the chance to speak, to express themselves. So and he accepts his own speaking style. He knows that he cannot speak out loud in front of people, and that's OK with him. He accepts that, and that gives him the confidence in front of other people, and he's presenting. OK, so let's move to some practical tips. The recipe for confidence, like I said, is growing your competence. But most importantly, is learning to communicate and share your expertise. It's not enough that you have the competence I got to tell you you can. You can be the most expert in the world. And we all know that a lot of people have amazing expertise, but they don't know how to deliver it. And then what, after you after you've learnt to communicate your expertise, which is a huge part of the deal, honestly, after you've build your expertise, you need to learn how to connect with your audience, understand the context and communicate your message, so understand the context of your message. Your context might be different for different audience. So you have to learn about that. And what does that look like? Is, for example, if you are telling your friend across the table from you a story about your day, it's going to be completely different from you, from when you were standing in front of a panel or executives or pitching. That's all different. You can't care. It's it's the same skillset, but you have to tailor it together. You are presenting to you and then focus on delivering a value message. I'm going to start with the first one, and that is really, really famous. I love it. I applied everywhere. It's called the rule of three I have. I honestly have the memory of the goldfish. So if you stand in front of me with a wall of text, text and then you present for 15 minutes, my brain goes, la la la la la la. Like, it's just all over the place. You lose me. I'm like, Oh my phone checking Instagram. So I like to have structure when I look at a presentation, whether it's slide or it's just somebody speaking right? What is the role of rule of streaming? It means you. Let's let's say you're you're really presenting about rocket science. OK. It's like really complex. Pick the three top topics that you want to talk about and focus on those. OK? And then organise all of your content in your presentation or your story under these three main categories. The second technique that I like, it's something that one of my favourite YouTubers has told me about because I was really scared of recording myself on video and putting the video on Instagram for like Instagram Reels. He said The technique, I don't know the name I call it, tell them. So what he said you should do is tell people what you're going to tell them or what we call the bottom line on top. So start with the main idea and what you want to share with people and they say, say, tell them what you're going to tell them and then tell them and then tell them what you told them. It's like it's really simple. But once you get used to it, you'll find it very useful. It's very handy when you're like having having to prepare for a presentation in the next 15 minutes and you're like, What the hell do we do now? I don't know what to put in this presentation. Just focus on these three points. And the last technique, which is also one of my favourites. It's called structuring your presentation if you're presenting a problem or a solution. I also use that for one of the videos I prepared to explain something on social media. Start with the bottom line on top, whatever it is that you want to present, then talk about the pain points. Use words like what most people struggle with is or what is stopping people from doing something else. And then you get people's attention because. If you are presenting a solution, people, you want people to connect with the pain point that you're presenting, otherwise you've lost them. They're like, I don't know. You know, I don't I don't relate to this. So I'm not, I'm not going to discontinue listening to you. And then after that, tell people why it matters. I suggest I tell people that they should explicitly and say exactly why it matters, because it really matters that you tell people why it matters. That's no pun intended. And then tell people how you're addressing these pain points and then summarise key points. So let's say I want to explain to you what it is that confidence versus competence. So the bottom line on top is competence is much more important than confidence. What most people struggle with when they think of presentations is that they think is confidence is the problem. Why you should care is because you can have control over your competence, which eventually builds your confidence. How can you solve that problem? One. You can work on your competence, too. You can find ways to communicate your message and then you will grow your confidence. In in brief, competence is better than confidence or more important. It's people. It's something that most people struggle with. And what you can do is follow the rule of three or structure your presentation or follow the technique that I call tell them. So that's just an example. So it's not a secret anymore, though. When I put the slides, it was a secret. Improvement breeds confidence. The competence also breeds confidence and success breeds confidence. What's more important is that you take action and then you work on your confidence instead of sitting and sulking in that feeling. I'm really shy, can't stand in front of people and all of that.

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Mini-masterclass with Heba Abusedou. Part 1: Presenting like a pro

Heba shares her tips and tricks for an amazing presentation and highlights the importance of competence over confidence.

About Heba Abusedou: Heba is the Founder of iSimplify Presentations where she works with people to help them build their personal brand, tell meaningful stories and share their passions with the world. She is a mentor, music-junkie, coach, bookworm and presentation pro.

Watch 'Presenting like a pro' (YouTube)


Mini-masterclass with Heba Abusedou. Part 2: Personal branding

Heba focuses on personal branding and offers advice for developing self-awareness and self-acceptance, so that we can ‘plant our flag’ and share our passions with the world.

About Heba Abusedou: Heba is the Founder of iSimplify Presentations where she works with people to help them build their personal brand, tell meaningful stories and share their passions with the world. She is a mentor, music-junkie, coach, bookworm and presentation pro.

Watch 'Personal branding' (YouTube)


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