Speaker Development

Rock the Podium

Communicating in an effective manner is a key skill for academic faculty, whether they be researchers, clinicians, or teachers. Many academic faculty, however, have never taken a formal course in effective communication and/or slide construction. The overall purpose of this workshop series is to help scaffold and develop individuals seeking specific skill development in core elements that will make them a better speaker.

Registration Fee:$695 + HST for external faculty or practicing professionals outside of McMaster$495 + HST for faculty within McMaster$249 + HST for trainees/fellows/students
Registration is now closed.

📅September 30th-November 24th, 20217:00-8:30 pm (EDT GMT -4 /EST GMT -5)

💻 Delivered Virtually


Main SessionsThursday, September 30th, 2021Wednesday, October 13th, 2021Wednesday, October 27th, 2021Wednesday, November 10th, 2021Wednesday, November 24th, 2021
Office Hours - to work on your talkAlternate weeks on Wednesday(i.e. October 7 & 20, Nov 3 & 17)
Coaching SessionsIndividual and/or small group coaching sessions.

Questions? Contact Us

Program Content

The following is a listing of the program content that participants will engage in over the duration of the Rock the Podium Program.

Session #1: Storytelling & Construction

Session #2: Delivery & Movement

Session #3: Slides (Visual Communication)

Session #4: Rehearsal, Critique, & Improvement

Session #5: Showcase

Learning Objectives

At the end of this learning activity the learners will be able to:

  • Create a plan for their next speaking engagement including their story, staging, movement, emotion, and visuals.

  • Discern between good slide construction vs. ineffective slide construction.

  • Develop a list of strategies for preparing effectively for their next speaking engagement.

  • Deliver high quality feedback to a peer about their lecture or presentation.

" I was looking to add an edge to my presentations and an elevated pitch! It is more challenging to capture the audience attention for an hour especially with virtual platforms. This workshop is unique, not only that it provides so many tips and tools to improve presentation, but also provides opportunity for one on one coaching from experts. You get exposed to many facilitators with different styles and expertise which allows opportunity to find what matches your own style! Then comes to the best part, at the end, you show your case by sharing your final presentation Ted talk style! Truly, Rocking the podium!!"

- Dr. Enas el Gouhary

Associate Professor, McMasterRTP Alumni

Session Specific Learning Objectives

Session #1: Storytelling & Construction

📅 September 30th, 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Sarrah Lal & Hsien Seow

By the end of this session, the learners will be able to:

  • Construct a storyboard for their next presentation.

  • Refine their story line to include content, engagement strategies, and emotion.

Session #2: Delivery & Movement

📅 October 13th, 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Dale Kalina

By the end of this session, the learners will be able to:

  • Understand voice/breath control, volume, pacing, modulation.

  • Understand effective use of hands and body movement.

  • Develop presentation content that highlights speaker’s main points effectively.

  • Practice one key component of presentation.

  • Create a plan for their next speaking engagement involving staging and movement.

  • Make a plan for delivering their talk without slides (e.g. in case of tech failures).

Session #3: Slides

(Visual Communication)

📅 October 27th, 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Mino Mitri

By the end of this session, the learners will be able to:

  • Create a plan for the visual components of their talk.

  • Identify key repository of creative commons photographs (e.g. pixabay, unsplash) that might enhance their visual library.

  • Generate a harmonized visual style for their presentation.

Session #4: Speaker Masterclass
(Rehearsal, Critique & Improvement)

📅 November 10th , 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Ilana Bayer

By the end of this session, the learners will be able to:

  • Provide useful, specific feedback on a presentation to a peer.

  • Identify at least 3 key areas of their own presentation that should be improved.

  • Generate a harmonized visual style for their presentation.

Session #5: Showcase

📅 November 24th , 2021, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

By the end of this session, the learners will be able to:

  • Provide useful, specific feedback on a presentation to a peer.

  • Complete a presentation to a live or virtual audience on their given topic.

Meet Your Instructors & Coaches!

Ilana Bayer

Ilana Bayer, PhD (@IlanaBayer) is the Director of Learning Technologies as well as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine. Dr. Bayer has worked in the corporate sector developing educational and performance-based training materials. She has a combined background in health sciences, e-learning, teaching and training. In her role, Dr. Bayer assists faculty with all learning technology needs and, specifically, supports faculty development around the use of electronic modalities to enhance teaching.

Ruth Chen

Dr. Ruth Chen, PhD, is an associate professor within the McMaster School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences. She is the associate director of the McMaster FHS Academic Leadership Program. She is also the assistant dean of academic resources and Department Education Coordinator for the School of Nursing (SON) at McMaster University.

Teresa Chan

Dr. Teresa Chan (@TChanMD) is an associate professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She is the associate dean for McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Continuing Professional Development (@MacPFD, @mcmasterchse, @MacLtl). She is an avid scholar in health professions education and works with the MERIT group (@MERIT_McMaster), and conducts research and scholarship within this area. She has written almost exclusively using collaborative platforms for the past 5 years.

Sarrah Lal

Sarrah Lal , MBA (@SarrahML) is an assistant professor in the Division of Education & Innovation (DEI) within the Department of Medicine. She is a entrepreneurship and innovation expert and directs various educational efforts within the Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare. Currently she is also the lead of the Leadership & Management team in the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Program for Faculty Development (@MacPFD).

Dale Kalina

Dr. Dale Kalina, MD, FRCPC, MBA (@dalekalina) is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Education & Innovation and the Division of Infectious Disease within the Department of Medicine. Since the pandemic has started, Dr. Kalina has been a spokesperson and salient voice around topics to do with COVID-19 and infection control.

Mino Mitri

After graduating from McGill University’s medical school, Dr. Mino Mitri trained in the specialty of Internal Medicine at Queen’s University. Fueled by a passion for education and palliative care, he pursued a Master of Education while at Queen’s University. His thesis, Perceptions of Physicians on the Adoption of a Palliative Care Approach in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, birthed his advocacy for an earlier integration of a palliative care approach in the care of patients with any life-limiting illness. In 2019, he was the first to graduate at the University of British Columbia from the inaugural Royal College Subspecialty of Palliative Medicine. His clinical and academic interests include palliative care in non-malignant diseases, sexual medicine, palliative medicine education and improving the art of medical presentations.

Hsien Seow

Dr. Hsien Seow, PhD (@HSeowPhD) is the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation at McMaster University and Director of the ICES-McMaster site. Previously he held a CIHR New Investigator award and the Cancer Care Ontario Chair in Health Services Research. He has given national and international speaking engagements for numerous years.

X. Catherine Tong

Dr. Catherine Tong, MD, CCFP-EM (@XC_TongMD) is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine within the Department of Family Medicine. She is the Faculty Development Lead of the Waterloo Regional Campus for McMaster University's Medical School. Currently she is also the lead of the Inspired Teaching team in the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Program for Faculty Development (@MacPFD).