Rock the Podium: Foundations

Rock the Podium Foundations

Welcome to Rock the Podium! Communicating in an effective manner is a key skill for academic faculty, whether they be researchers, clinicians, or teachers. However, many academic faculty have never taken a formal course in public speaking and/or slide construction.

The overall purpose of this workshop series is to help scaffold and develop specific skills as public speakers, particularly as it pertains to the academic environment.

The program addresses topics such as: Storytelling & Construction, Delivery & Movement, Slide Design, and Speaker Masterclass. By the end of the program, learners will be able to prepare a presentation for a live or virtual audience on their topic of choice and subsequently provide specific and relevant feedback on presentations delivered by their peers.

Participants can claim up to 10.25 Mainpro+ credits or 10.25 MOC Section 1 hours.

📅January 18 - April 1, 2023, 7-8:30 pm EST/EDT

💻 Delivered Virtually*

Main Sessions January 18, 2023February 1, 2023February 15, 2023March 1, 2023March 15, 2023April 1, 2023
Coaching SessionsIndividual and/or small group coaching sessions.

Questions? Contact Us

* The Final Showcase will be in-person, details to follow.
Early Bird Registration Fee (until December 15th, 2022):$695 + HST for external faculty or practicing professionals outside of McMaster$495 + HST for faculty within McMaster$249 + HST for trainees/fellows/students
Regular Registration Fee (after December 15th, 2022):$735 + HST for external faculty or practicing professionals outside of McMaster$535 + HST for faculty within McMaster$255 + HST for trainees/fellows/students

Program Content

The following is a listing of the content that participants will engage with during Rock the Podium.

Session #1: Know Your Audience

Session #2: Presentation Construction

Session #3: Movement & Delivery

Session #4: Slide Design

Session #5: Rehearsal, Critique, & Improvement

Session #6: Final Showcase

Learning Objectives

At the end of this learning activity, 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 versus ineffective slide construction.

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

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

Session Specific Learning Objectives

Session #1: Know Your Audience

with Sarrah Lal

📅 January 18th, 2023

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

  • Explain how a presentation can evoke specific emotions and the relevance of this for effective delivery.

  • Critique three approaches to a presentation based on an analysis of the audience-message fit.

  • Assemble a one-sentence summary that captures the relevance of your presentation to the intended audience.

Session #2: Presentation Construction

with Hsien Seow

📅 February 1, 2023

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

  • Share a template to structure any presentation.

  • Apply the template to participant’s own work.

  • Understand the key ingredients and tips of memorable presentations.

Session #3: Movement & Delivery

with Dale Kalina

📅 February 15, 2023

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

  • Understand voice/breath control, volume, pacing, modulation, and effective use of hands and body movement.

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

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

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

Session #4: Slide Design

with Mino Mitri

📅 March 1, 2023

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

  • Understand the theory behind multimedia presentation and the rationale for improved slide design.

  • Review and apply basic principles of effective slide design.

Session #5: Rehearsal, Critique, & Improvement

with Ilana Bayer

📅 March 15, 2023

Session #6: Final Showcase

with a Panel of Coaches & Facilitators

📅 April 1, 2023

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

  • Present in-person a condensed version of a presentation.

  • Receive constructive feedback on the presentation.

  • Have fun showcasing!

Planning Member, Facilitator, & Coach

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.


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.


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 the McMaster Program for Faculty Development (@MacPFD) at McMaster University.

Facilitator & Coach

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.


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).

Planning Member, Facilitator, & Coach

Mino Mitri

Dr. Mino Mitri is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Palliative Care. His passion for education and palliative care have provided him with the drive to fine-tune his presentation skills. He was a TEDMED 2018 Ambassador for CMA Joule. He has since delivered several workshops on presentation skills. Currently, he is the Program Director for the Royal College Subspecialty Program of Palliative Medicine at McMaster University.

Facilitator & Coach

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.

Accreditation Statement

McMaster University, Continuing Professional Development Program (CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide CFPC Mainpro+ and RCPSC Maintenance of Certification (MOC) study credits for Continuing Medical Education.

This one-credit-per-hour Group-Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by the McMaster University Continuing Professional Development Program for up to 10.25 Mainpro+ credits.

This activity is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and approved by McMaster University Continuing Professional Development Program. You may claim a maximum of 10.25 MOC Section 1 hours (credits are automatically calculated).

Through an agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Medical Association, physicians may convert Royal College MOC credits to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Information on the process to convert Royal College MOC credit to AMA credit can be found at

Each attendee should only claim the hours they attended.