By ALYSSA HOLCOMB
The second half of my summer internship utilized a particular skill to drive home everything I have learned so far, both at The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) and in the MSLCE program: public speaking.
Since my last article, I’ve done a lot of deck-building, speech crafting, and rehearsal-organizing. The majority of this was done during a creative assignment that the MSG team developed specifically for the Student Associate program. The group of 50+ interns were divided into teams and given three varying topics. My team, composed of three interns from varying backgrounds, chose corporate hospitality as our theme and got to work.
At first, I thought that this topic was set to challenge me because of my relative lack of experience within the field. Specifically, our corporate hospitality task was to develop an innovative idea that addressed the needs of premium clients in a way that the MSG sales team could include during negotiations. Simple enough, right?
Over six weeks, our team collaborated extensively, ultimately creating a new idea to pitch to upper level management and other team leaders during a 20-minute presentation. Thanks to my experience delivering similarly-styled presentations in many of my MSLCE courses, particularly Professor Smith’s Understanding Creative Industries and Professor Franks’s Marketing Strategies, my nerves were low. I know now how to manage the stress through active participation, group inclusion, and extensive preparation.
I also saw this as an opportunity to flex my leadership skills within the group. As all of my teammates were still pursuing their undergraduate degrees, I bounced ideas off of them by first listening to their input and incorporating my own experiences afterward. Additionally, I provided feedback during our practice sessions to make our presentation flow as seamlessly as possible. This was an informal, but still meaningful way of incorporating my own presentation skills, as well as those I gained in Professor Berger’s Leading Creative Teams class, to both help lead a team and participate in the project as an equal partner.
Our pitch went very well. We provided copies of the deck, as well as a printed summary handout that I designed, to our audience of about 20 people. Many of my own Marketing Strategy colleagues came to support me, which was an added bonus! I also received a number of compliments on my personal delivery and pitching style, which I was proud of – and for which I credit Professor McKinnon and her class, The Power of Pitching and Persuasion, for helping me hone this past year!
I still had one more presentation to give after this, which was more informal. My task was to present a deck I created based on examples of different aspects of the Customer Journey (or touchpoints) during visits to attractions or sites. Given that this presentation was much more casual, I explained my slides and gave visual examples alongside the team leader and my other colleagues. This allowed us, as a team, to brainstorm together as I presented ideas rather than present a list of questions after the presentation.
While these presentation forms differed, both allowed me to focus on flexing the same set of skills in slightly different ways. Being able to effectively deliver a pitch is something that I am constantly working on, as it is applicable to many areas in both my professional and personal life. From job interviews to informal discussions, it’s important to me to communicate effectively no matter what. I appreciate MSG’s ability to encourage practice on each of these through a number of opportunities.
As my internship wraps up for the summer, I can’t help but feel grateful. Living in New York City is no cakewalk, but it does elicit an exciting feeling that there’s nowhere to go but up.