MBA students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business have an opportunity to develop their communication skills through the new Smith Executive Communication Program.
“I wanted to take advantage of this program to build on my soft skills,” MBA candidate Andres Villegas said. “I now feel more confident about speaking in front of big groups.”
The program develops students’ verbal, nonverbal and visual presentation skills through an intensive one-year curriculum. Activities include a series of workshops, one-on-one coaching and creation of personalized development plans.
“It’s very useful for any student,” MBA candidate Muhammad Khan said. “A lot of times what we are doing in class, like using bad posture and filler words, we don’t think about before we do it. This program helps us see how we are presenting ourselves and how we are perceived.”
Designated workshops in the series teach verbal and nonverbal techniques to help students communicate with poise, confidence and power. Certain workshops in the series focus on the art and science of persuasive, results-oriented communication.
Students learn and apply the psychology of persuasion and principles of storytelling to be more effective communicators, said Tricia Homer, the executive communication coach who launched the program through the school’s Office of Transformational Learning. In addition to the group workshops, she said participants are encouraged to schedule one-on-one coaching sessions with executive communication coaches.
“The communication workshops are a safe place to learn and practice what is discussed,” MBA candidate Omowumi Alimi said.
The program includes a cultural component that provides students with the communication tools needed to effectively communicate in different environments. The intention is to build a level of cultural awareness and intelligence that will enable students to better adapt their communication style to different cultural settings.
“It’s the kind of thing I wish I had been exposed to during my MBA program,” said Darlene Durand, a workshop cohost and project manager at AIG insurance company.
For more information about the MBA program at Smith, visit: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/mba
Top photo: Patrick Crowley, a PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, facilitates a session of the Smith Executive Communication Program. Crowley is a director, educator and applied theatre facilitator.
— Mamayaa Opoku, Smith School communications writer