Strengthening Public Speaking Skills, Solving the SDGs, and The Knot Game

With only one week to go in PROWIBO’s adventures in India, our lecturers took time over the weekend to reflect on the program so far and its impact on students. Please enjoy the following post from Philippa, Rachel and Suzanne, which includes their thoughts as well as comments from students enrolled in PROWIBO’s program at Karamat College.

This week, Karamat students were gently nudged out of their comfort zones when they were given the opportunity to put into practice the public speaking skills and techniques discussed in earlier classes.  For some, it was their first ever attempt to speak in front of a group of any size, and we are so proud of these young ladies for facing the challenge with grace!


“It was my first attempt to give a speech to juniors and professors, I was really nervous because my friend, who is an outstanding student, forgot the line on her topic and this increased my heartbeat fast and shook my hands, thinking about what will happen with me now? Well, I breathed deeply and went on the stage and gave a speech and thanked to my juniors who gave me glow feedback (appreciates me) and thanks to Rachel, who motivate[d] me.”-Andleeb via Facebook

Students in Suzanne’s Design Thinking used cards based on de Bono’s Six hats for feedback during their group activity.

We closed the week with a fantastic exercise Suzanne developed called ‘Ludic Foresight’. Students groups were assigned a sustainable development goal (SDG) and given a set of cards outlining the political, economic, technological, environmental, social and values parameters of their world in 2030. They then had to develop a strategy to solve or work towards solving their SDG within these constraints. At the end of the session, some groups presented their solutions, providing another opportunity to work on the specific growth areas identified in the previous public speaking exercise. The activity promoted critical thinking, analysis, debate, and a host of skills all at once and the students loved it!

 Suzanne teaches students about ludic foresight.

“Indeed! We loved it like we love you guys.” -Amber via Instagram


Meanwhile, at Sanatkada, the public speaking exercise was adapted to their specific needs, be it customer-facing, pitching for new business,  or community outreach. Each of the participants made a brief speech, and the group then analysed the speaker’s ‘glows and grows’ – what was done well and what can be improved next time. Each group member participated actively throughout, as speaker and analyst; this promoted continued reflection on their peers’ performances and the relevance of all feedback to their own development as public speakers.


We used the human knot activity to launch a deep discussion around teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and perseverance. The ladies themselves drew parallels with many different aspects of the organisation’s work. To run the activity, the ladies stood in a circle and took each others’ hands, with the rule that each hand had to be held by a different person and that they could not hold hands with the person standing directly on either side. They then had to untangle themselves into a circle without breaking their grasp. Much hilarity ensued! We are helping the team build a repertoire of similar activities for team-building and community-outreach purposes.

At Sanatkada, workshop participants play the knot game.


Many thanks to Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne and the students for sharing their thoughts with us. To learn more about the programs at Karamat College and Sanatkada and to receive more updates from Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne, follow our blog.


All comments  in this post have been included with the permission of each student.


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