To help NASA innovators advance their ideas, APPEL sponsored a keynote speech and day-long workshop as part of Innovation Expo 2017 at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
KSC’s Innovation Expo featured two days of presentations, exhibits, workshops, and competitions designed to promote innovative ways of thinking and doing business. The event offered inspiration and activities that helped foster ingenuity while highlighting the ground-breaking work taking place at the center.
This year, APPEL supported Innovation Expo in several ways. On Monday, October 30, the Academy delivered a day-long workshop specifically designed to help agency entrepreneurs gain the skills and confidence needed to promote their ideas. Presentations Skills for Technical Professionals, led by APPEL instructor Matthew Kohut, was open to participants in the Innovation Expo Kickstart Competition as well as others attending the expo.
“The course is an important complement to the expo’s focus on innovation,” said Kohut. “Having a great idea is the first step in innovating. You also have to be able to sell that idea and persuade others that it’s worth executing. That’s why presentation skills are so important to the innovation process.”
Under Kohut’s guidance, participants spent the day developing a practical understanding of effective public speaking skills. They learned critical tools for persuasion, including nonverbal communication and storytelling tactics, and explored performance techniques to manage anxiety in order to communicate compellingly.
On Tuesday, October 31, APPEL sponsored a keynote address in which Kohut offered insight into how technical professionals can integrate their content with critical nonverbal communication techniques to maximize the impact of their presentations. In particular, he focused on supporting the important work done by technical professionals at the center by helping them remove barriers to connecting with their audiences.
“My goal was to offer people simple, practical things they can incorporate into their presentations to improve them right away,” he said. In addition, Kohut was available to interested practitioners for one-on-one coaching both before and after his keynote speech.
“NASA thrives on innovation. Because of that, APPEL is always pleased to support Innovation Expo,” said APPEL Deputy Director Steve Angelillo. “We were excited to bring in Mr. Kohut, who leads our popular presentation skills course, to share unique tools and techniques that enable agency innovators to effectively communicate the importance and potential benefits of their projects to a diverse range of audiences.”
Read an APPEL News interview with members of Goddard’s Science & Engineering Collaboration Program (SECP) about how the skills learned in APPEL’s Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals course are helping them achieve their professional goals.