GMD Student Board holds its very own Skills Event!

Words by GMD Student Board

On the 18th of March, the GMD Student Board held its very own Skills Event!

This event provided the GMD cohort with three valuable skills workshops designed with future careers in mind. The first workshop covered storytelling, public speaking skills, and how to get a message across in an authentic, clear, inspiring, and self-confident manner to wide audiences. Speaker Steven Asei-Dantoni, who is a researcher and advisor of Inclusive Education and Social Innovation and hosts the Innovating Education podcast, explained that the basic principles of storytelling are emotions and empathy, which you need in order to connect with your audience. Moreover, the narrative structure of any good story starts with a character description, which is followed by a conflict the character experiences and ends with a resolution. The participating students practiced creating a worthwhile message through humanizing inanimate objects. It turns out it is possible to create a dramatic story full of personal development and conflict about a plastic cup! 

The second workshop honed the negotiation skills of the participants as they learned the fundamentals and essentials of any negotiation. Frans Schram, who usually trains or consults in negotiation, mediation, intercultural dialogue, and diplomacy for Foreign Ministries, NGOs, or diplomatic academies, showed that preparation is key. Who is the other party, what is the problem at stake, and what is the best way to get what you want? Mr. Schram also gave some insight into the delicate tasks of fostering trust, disclosing details, and risk management. Students practiced their newly acquired skills through negotiating a case with each other. How do you come to an agreement if both parties need a very unique species of mango of which only a few hundred exist to save lives? While some participants got stuck in trying to acquire all the mangoes for themselves, it turned out that in this case discussing the details was warranted: one party only needed the juice, and the other only the seeds. This showed that negotiation does not have to be a fight, but can result in collaboration as well. 

Lastly, an InDesign workshop was held to offer students design experience specific to visualizing information in a policy brief. Wouter Oomen and Ymar de Jong, both graphic designers, offered simple as well as more complex design tips to greatly enhance the explanatory power of policy research. The golden rule? Do not overcomplicate your design, because every additional element can distract from the message. In their words: “Style is more about what you do not do.” They also taught students that design needs to be structured and that it should be made with the reader in mind. They need to be guided through what needs to be read, and their eyes need the occasional rest, which can be provided by adding enough white space.

The Student Board Events Committee hopes that everyone that participated had a great time and was able to take away several new skills. We can’t wait to see what exciting things you will be able to accomplish! We greatly appreciate the time and effort that each presenter put into making this event special. We would also like to thank the LDE Centre for its support with this event.