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Lesson for Success #04: Communication and Presentation

During one of the stiffest student contexts at MIT, a young innovator from Makerere made such a passionate pitch that the entire room turned to see what was going on. He presented like there was no tomorrow. He won the small innovation prize!

Similarly, during one of the interviews I participated in some months back, someone was selected because of a very straight forward pitch.

You just have to be able to talk about your shit! Young people need to learn to present their case, concisely but impact-fully. Unabashedly, but not to coquet – as in not to behave flirtatiously. You have nothing to lose, why not kick ass so that even if they don’t give you, they will never forget!

The core message should be clear and well-articulated. The support points are vital because nobody trusts your shit! Present well layered evidence, with numbers if possible. Be ready for an ‘elevator pitch’ (when the CEO runs into an elevator and all you have is the time the lift moves from the 1st to the 4th floor).

PowerPoint presentations should be structured and do not read word for word. Engage the audience. Non-PowerPoint presentations lasting more than five minutes require a list of points. For important presentations, you must do practice runs (including in front of a mirror).

Ms. Winnie Akidi, Founder of WEtalk series Uganda captivates her audience

Present like you have a freaking diaphragm – not like you have a large hernia and you fear to exert yourself lest it escapes through your pants. Have motivation and drive; not like you lost someone. Be pleasant. Un-learn fear by getting ways to cope with it.

Speak briskly. Some people present at a rate of one word per 10 seconds – like the CD in their brain takes ages to load (low band-width)! You have to freaking present or perish!

Communication also involves learning to negotiate – the skill of arriving at and reaching mutually beneficial understandings and agreements with a broad range of people internally and externally.


With his permission, we are serialising and publishing on our CPAR Uganda Ltd website and social media platforms these lessons for success that were first shared by Dr. Roy William Mayega, on Friday, 2nd October 2020, on his Facebook wall. He accompanied them with the following explanatory introduction:

“I have been working with relatively young people (below 40 years of age) and in my interactions with them, I have found 10 skills that prevent many of them from becoming a beacon of professionalism. Skills not formally taught in school yet so vital. Skills that would transform a young professional into a ‘hot cake’ for inclusion in successful enterprises… As for those of us 40 years and above, I have no advice. Our kind is already irredeemably hardwired in our stupidities.”

Dr. William Roy Mayega, a Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, a the School of Public Health Makerere University Kampala

Here below are the links to the other lessons:

6 responses to “Lesson for Success #04: Communication and Presentation”

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