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Interpersonal Skills and Cross Cultural Communication Course by Dato’ Mahadzir Lokman


It was like a dream come true for the participants of the Diploma in Diplomacy (DiD) to learn from the Best of the best personality, Dato’ Mahadzir Lokman. The Interpersonal Skills and Cross Cultural Communication course was held from 29-30 May 2012 at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR). The two-day course provided significant and invaluable understanding pertaining to emceeing and cross cultural communication. Interpersonal skills are integral to effective diplomacy and the participants are fortunate to learn these essential skills from an outstanding Master of Ceremonies (MC).

On the first day of the course, Dato’ Mahadzir Lokman shared his wisdom and experience on being a good, professional MC. The session was very interactive and the participants were amused and amazed with Dato’ Mahadzir’s friendly, energetic and adorable approach in teaching the technique of emceeing. According to most studies, “people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death.” With Dato’ Mahadzir’s precious tips, the participants believe they have successfully overcome their fear of public speaking and would now be able to emcee confidently with correct pronunciation and good voice projection.

Some of the important tips on emceeing that Dato’ Mahadzir gave to overcome the nervousness is to hold both sides of the rostrum and to take a deep breath before the start of the session. Furthermore, Dato’ Mahadzir emphasized that we should speak from the heart. Expressions like “Please rise to welcome” should be used instead of “Please stand”. Pronunciation is a crucial part in emceeing, Dato’ Mahadzir highlighted the wrong pronunciation that Malaysians always tend to make and demonstrated the correct pronunciation for words such as “eight, vehicle, that means (instead of that’s mean), says, said, area, salmon and climbing”. Besides that, another important tip that Dato’ Mahadzir gave was on how to give the impression of constant eye-contact without having to look in the eyes of the audience that is, by looking straight at the forehead of the audience. This would help if you are too nervous to look at the audience.

The second day of the course benefited the participants with the handy information on cross cultural communication. Dato’ Mahadzir used simple and fun ways to impart the cross cultural communication to the participants through games. Participants enjoyed the session and understand the importance of cross cultural communication in their journey towards becoming a successful diplomat. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”, Dato’ Mahadzir used practice method in polishing the participant’s skills in emceeing where each participant had to be involved in a simulation activity. This strategy has really helped to improve the performance of each participant.

The two day course was mesmerizing with Dato’ Mahadzir’s presence. The wisdom, experience and guidance that he shared on the Interpersonal Skills and Cross Cultural Communication have definitely left an impact on the participants who are Malaysia’s future diplomats. Dato’ Mahadzir’s thoughts will linger in the participants’ hearts forever. As Dato’ Mahadzir said, “to be a good MC, speak from your heart”, and that’s what the participants of DiD will try to master.