Interview with Adeola Babatunde

Sandra Ihenacho

Grow Learn Connect: Adeola, you founded a Presentrite Academy, an online public speaking academy for women, even before the pandemic. How did you come up with the idea to open your business online? And why was the focus on women, specifically? 

Adeola Babatunde: My journey into training and facilitation began with my search for a business that I could run from my own home. I realized that an online business was a convenient way to fulfil my career aspirations without being too far from my family. It also dawned on me that a lot of women were in a similar position—juggling family responsibilities and the desire to stay in the workforce. I therefore founded Presentrite Academy only for women. I really wanted women to have an opportunity to build a very crucial skill—public speaking—because I had seen first-hand how the inability to communicate powerfully limited women from growing professionally. 

GLC: How did you become a master of speech? What was your journey? Is everyone able to master that skill? Give us a few pieces of advice that you think anyone can implement to become a better speaker. 

AB: To become a master of speech, I had to confront my own fears. I signed up for multiple courses, practiced continuously and even joined a support group. There were times when I felt very uncomfortable and challenged but I never let this stop me. In fact, I would say ‘yes’ to as many speaking opportunities as I could and eventually this practice enabled me to master my craft.   

There are a few strategies that I would recommend to anyone interested in mastering the art of public speaking. 

  1. Joining a support network. Toastmasters, a community for speaking and leadership, gave me many opportunities to practice speaking to audiences and built my confidence tremendously.  
  2. Teaching others. When I began to teach others some of the public speaking skills that I was learning myself, I gained a different level of mastery. So, if you really want to acquire a skill—teach someone else.  
  3. Keep practicing. A lot of people turn down speaking opportunities because they are scared or feel uncomfortable. But I say ‘run towards such opportunities’—the more you practice, the better you get at it.
  4. Recording yourself. Recording and watching yourself on camera enables you to see what you did well and how you can improve. 

I believe that anyone can master the art of public speaking when they put their mind to it. It is not a talent or personality trait—but a skill that can be taught and learned. Although the speed with which an individual will learn may be different from another because each person is unique. 

GLC: You had been an accomplished trainer and consultant before you joined GLC programs. What brought you in? What were a few new skills that you gained?  

AB: The GLC platform appealed to me because I had this drive to become internationally recognized as a trainer and facilitator. The platform holds this promise through its vast network of trainers and various training programs available. I am able to continuously enhance my facilitation skills and give my clients the best possible results. For example, I learned about advanced facilitation techniques that enable learners to assimilate new information quickly and retain it for longer periods of time. Another important skill that I learned through the platform was setting SMART objectives to ensure that the training program outcome is clear right from the beginning.  

GLC: How did the GLC program (training, network, certification, etc.) enhance your business goals?

AB: The GLC platform has enabled me to position my business as an international brand with clients around the world. The training programs offered via the platform allow me to continuously upgrade my skills, evaluate my work and improve my performance.  

GLC: How did your business change with the pandemic? 

AB: Our business changed significantly on account of the pandemic and in-person training restrictions. We had to create new service offerings to meet the growing demand for online training. The pandemic forced us to deliver training programs remotely and convert our face-to-face programs for online platforms. We had to consider what the market was demanding as opposed to what we were comfortable delivering. We also adapted our pitch to clients and re-positioned our offer of services to include online delivery.

GLC: Your company Inside Business Consulting was one of the first to become a Signatory to the GLC Principles for Learning. Do you anticipate introducing any changes to company’s business strategy/operations to make it fully compliant with the GLC Principles for Learning? 

AB: We are in the process of implementing changes in our strategy to align with the GLC Principles for Learning. The Principles match our own set of values—gender inclusive learning and equal access to skill building programs therefore, becoming a Signatory to the Principles for Learning was a natural step. Our online academy focuses entirely on women and is geared towards reducing barriers to women’s participation in the workforce. 

We leverage digital solutions to design interactive learning programs that are cost-effective and scalable. For example, our online learning platforms and online tools enable us to deliver training programs for any location. Lately, we have been looking closely at one of the Principles for Learning—sustainability. We are exploring how to incorporate transition plans that leverage our client’s internal resources to ensure long-term business resilience. 

GLC: Name one fact about yourself that most people don’t know about you.

AB: Most people don’t know that I love watching cartoons. It gives me an opportunity to bond with my children and some of the messages and storylines really appeal to me. 

GLC: Name one fact about Nigeria that you would like people from other parts of the world to know about your country.

AB: Nigeria is breathtakingly beautiful. There are tourist attractions here that would leave anyone spellbound! From the charming hills in Jos to the stunning expanse of the ocean in the South—the country is simply spectacular. 

GLC: What is your favorite holiday? How do you celebrate it? 

AB: I absolutely love celebrating Christmas. There is so much festivity and excitement in the air at this time of the year, all over the world. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face. I celebrate this holiday with my family—we visit friends and other family members, cook together, visit new hangout spots, attend Christmas carols, and just generally have fun.