Friday, September 15, 2006

Casablanca: Freshmen Orientation Camp / Being a Teacher!

I'm way overdue in updating my blog *checks the date* for like more than a month. This period had been very hectic for me because of work. First a little update, although the crisis situation in Beirut has subsided much, I still don't have plans to return to Beirut because of work commitments. From the looks of it, I will not be returning for quite some months.

Freshmen Orientation Camp
It's quite unheard of for a company to run a Freshmen Orientation Camp for its new associates. Actually, this is the second one conducted within our organization and the number of freshmen has increased from 7 to 40+!

The Camp began at the end of August and will run it's course until end of September. During these 5 weeks of Freshmen training, the 40 or so management trainees will receive an education on a variety of topics ranging from the TW foundations, BR Kaizen principles, vehicle, service and parts marketing. This kind of training is rare even in TMC group.

Our "camp" happens to be a very plush compound that calls itself Casablanca Appart Hotel. The place reminds me of the Hollywood-ish apartments in popular soaps starring A-list wannabes suntanning besides the pool. Anyway, it's a great place with great hospitality and great food. I'm definitely missing it after September. My involvement in the camp was to be a trainer and coordinator for the freshmen.

My Worst Nightmare: Being a Teacher!
If I knew that in the course of my job I have to lecture to a big class, I will think twice before accepting the offer. Teachers are not in my good books and I have a deep dread for public speaking.

My involvement in the Camp is to be one of the trainers and coordinator. When I learned about it two months ago, I felt shivers down my spine. Panic buttons couldn't stop ringing. Then the "top" assigned me my topics: Vehicle Marketing, Logistics and TW Sales and Marketing.

Are you kidding me?...I was thinking to myself. I never had a day of marketing lesson in my entire 16 years of education (kindergarten excluded). I didn't even know who is Kotler or what the 4Ps are until last month! And I was expected to stand in front of 40+ people, including a number of marketing graduates, to tell them about marketing and selling vehicles for 3 days!?

And then came the late nights trying to cram what I can glean from borrowed texts and the internet into a presentation, all the while thinking to myself if I have enough content to last an entire lecture. Fortunately, the late nights came in handy as I was too tired to worry on the night before my lecture.

The Lesson?
I didn't give the best of lectures but I didn't ruin it entirely either. The deep fear of speaking in public quickly subsided after a few minutes into the lecture. I was defintely nervous throughout but the fear didn't turn out to be a big ugly monster that I thought it will be. The responsive audience helped alot in easing the tension. Sometimes my mind run blank and no words came but asking the audience questions gave me sometime to think about what to say. And the best trick to avoid public speaking? Throw a couple of questions and break the audience out for discussion groups. Once the ball is in their court, they must now do the talking now. I just need to listen. =P

(...having sweaty palms)

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