Young talent shines in best presenter contest

young-talent-shines-in-best-presenter-contest
Finalists in the recent contest to discover new presenter talent

How do you discover new talent within your organization? The conventional way is to go through the usual hierarchical process where certain individuals are selected by different levels of management to make presentations at various business events.

However, in this fast-moving age, it is more effective to look at more unorthodox approaches, which is why programs such as “The Voice,” “X Factor,” “Arabs Got Talent,” and “American Idol” have become so popular.

This is this unconventional angle that our Operations and Business Services (O&BS) organization recently took when it launched the Best Presenter Competition to engage employees, encourage a healthy competitive spirit, and discover talented presenters. The competition invited all employees to take part, allowing everyone to participate on an equal footing.

Strong participation

This first competition proved successful and was enthusiastically received. About 200 employees participated in the competition, which consisted of three rounds with contestants assessed under two categories: age 35 and under, and over 35.

The overall winner was Rayah S. Al-Gheithy, who captured first place as best presenter in the 35 and under category, with Alanood A. Al-Rabiah as runner-up. Éric Saint-Gelais was awarded the title of best presenter in the over 35 category.

Departments proactively encouraged employees to enter the competition, with many supervisors offering their support.

For the first round, participants were requested to submit a presentation with slides on a business-related topic of their choice, accompanied by a three-minute video of themselves giving the presentation. Presenters were assessed on a set criteria of five elements: topic, structure, graphics, delivery, and timing. Following a panel review, 21 individuals were selected to advance to the second round.

For the next stage of the competition, participants gave a 10-minute presentation to an O&BS manager-level panel, again on a business-related topic of their choice. The top six presenters were then selected to go through to the third and final round. 

Words from the winners

“The competition was both an enjoyable experience and a change from regular work routine. I think light-hearted events like this one create a positive company culture,” said Al-Gheithy.

Saint-Gelais said: “This Best Presenter Competition was a great experience, and I am extremely happy to be one of the winners. I accept this title with much humility, because you may be a good presenter some days, but a bit less another day. However, if I can give any advice, it is to try to make your audience smile and laugh. If you can achieve this, then anyone can be a good presenter.”

Meanwhile, Al-Rabia added, “Participating in the O&BS Best Presenter Competition was quite an exciting experience; it contained heavy doses of appreciation and enthusiasm, and without exception, healthy competitiveness followed.”  

The final round

The final round was the toughest. The six finalists were given a topic with which they were unfamiliar, along with relevant but fragmented data, and allowed four hours to prepare a short presentation. They had to understand the topic, organize and format the data, structure the topic, develop the slides and notes for the delivery, all within those four hours.

They subsequently had to present to the O&BS business line leadership team. Each presentation was followed by a Q&A session, during which the panel tested the presenters’ ability to understand and elaborate on the topics, in addition to evaluating the presentation’s structure and delivery.

Ibrahim Khawaji from the O&BS Service Line said: “We are introducing competitions that allow everyone in the organization to participate so that hidden gems can be unearthed and shine by their own initiative and drive without imposing the usual formal hierarchy. The energy and enthusiasm of all the participants in this competition made our quest for talent a very worthwhile exercise, and we’ve been extremely impressed by the quality of presentations and the caliber of presenters.”

Following on from this success, several other similar competitions will be rolled out during the coming year.