We took a detour today to the destination that we call continuous learning. Having said that, the detour was also full of learning. This week, we took a break from the usual activities that are a part and parcel of the continuous learning session. We tried out something new and it was an experience for each one of us. In fact, we tried two new things this week. Both were impromptu.
So why did we take a different route today? Of late, it seemed that we had exhausted our repertoire of activities, but then we came up with this impromptu presentation idea. It was impromptu in all ways – a topic would be selected and we had to prepare the content and present on the topic to the entire team. This time, Monali and Abhilash were the presenters. As an activity, there was also a questionnaire that the team had to fill post the presentation.
The choice of topic was pretty interesting – the Olympics. For a cricket crazy nation, the Olympics is not an event that is very popular with us. Most of the time, it is restricted to the time that the event is on. No, no, Monali and Abhilash’s choice of the topic was not deliberate (yes, we do know that the Summer Olympics are to be held in Tokyo in July this year).
Whoa! Olympics is such a vast subject. But Monali and Abhilash handled it well. They gave a brief introduction to the origin of the Olympics. It was fascinating to know that the Olympics originated in Greece and was celebrated as a religious festival to honor Zeus, the king of Gods. More information was unfolding – the ancient Olympic Games started in 776 BC and were staged through 393 AD. But it took 1503 years for the modern Olympic Games to return and were held in Athens, Greece in the year 1896.
Phew! The influx of information was overwhelming. Thankfully, Monali and Abhilash held it in well. They touched the subject of the Olympics, covered the base, and went on to discuss the topic of India in the Olympics. It was great to know that India has won 28 medals in the Olympics till date, out of which 9 are gold, 7 silver, and 12 bronze. India won its first gold medal in 1928 and the India Hockey Team has been a regular contributor to the medals tally. I could actually go on, but then the session had more things in store for us.
The second part of the session included a quiz session. What’s a good presentation without some kind of activity? Monali and Abhilash put us to test on our recently gained knowledge of the Olympics. We were all overwhelmed by the knowledge that we imbibed during the presentation that many of us forgot to store it properly in our memory. The result? We gave some wrong answers.
Apart from the Olympics-related questions, Monali and Abhilash added a good measure of mathematical and aptitude questions to the questionnaire. Plus, a good deal of current affairs. That was a throw-back into our college days. It was fun. Soon it was time to discuss the experience and learnings. For most of us, we were not that Olympics-savvy and that showed during the presentation. That is what most of us had to say as we recalled our experience. Let’s start with Monali first.
The main reason why Monali and Abhilash took up the activity was because there was much to learn for them as well – unlike cricket or football,
Monali didn’t know much about the Olympic Games. For her, that was the real test – not knowing about a topic but had to give a presentation for it.
For Bhushan, the session was different and though he knew about the Olympic Games, there were some shocking insights for him. He felt it was great to gain more knowledge and the questionnaire session on current affairs added to personal development.
Amit liked both the sessions and the fact that the Olympic Games originated in Greece was a revelation to him.
Astha liked the presentation.
Laxmi like many others had no Olympics related knowledge (in fact, she admitted that she was not knowledgeable about sports and liked the session).
Sakshi and Rajlaxmi found both the activities to be good and liked that it helped enhance knowledge.
Blessy like the concept of presentation and its impact on increasing knowledge.
Bhanu learned a lot of new things.
Shubham and Pritam also echoed their thoughts.
Avinash liked both the activities and had great insight into how to present and the learnings it offered. Heena also concentrated on how presentation skills could be improved.
Prajakta was overwhelmed by Humza enthusiasm for answering the questionnaire.
Humza appreciated Monali and Abhilash on narrowing down the topic to India in the Olympics and loved the activity.
Yogita too appreciated Monali and Abhilash on a presentation done well and said that it perked up their brains as it was a different kind of continuous learning activity.
Abhilash discussed how they went through a couple of other activities but chose this one.
Vivek couldn’t attend the second activity. But he came back to share his thoughts on the presentations. He told us that for 2 people who came across as shy, Monali and Abhilash came forward and gave the presentation and he appreciated their courage.
He also felt that their body language was very relaxed. After discussing the positives, he said that there was a lot of room for improvement like – not to hide behind slides – it makes you bolder, courageous and a leader. He also said that presentations shouldn’t be questions and answers – if it were so – then the participants can just read through. What one needed was to create stories that lead into the next story. If this happened, then one doesn’t need to depend on slides.
The 3rd improvement was sticking to the timeline (in this case Monali and Abhilash had a lot of time left). He ended his comments by asking Monali and Abhilash how they felt about it. Both of them felt good and thanked Vivek for giving them the opportunity. The take away was that work on the presentation and enjoy it. Don’t make it too competitive or complex and ruin it. Staying relaxed and enjoying the presentation is a great sign.
The session and the quiz were no less than a small game of Olympics for us. It was a great session where we ended up taking a lot more learning that teaching.