Public Presentations for the Public Good: A course in presentation & training skills
Using public speaking & training skills to make a difference
Our public presenter course is designed to help improve your skills to become a more effective presenter, trainer, and community meeting facilitator.
We will not promise that every participant will graduate with outstanding presentation skills — repeated practice over long periods is the only way to fully engrain the techniques. However, we do promise that every participant will complete the training with substantially more skills and a better understanding of how to prepare for, and implement, a public speaking/training session than they previously had. We say this with the knowledge that the skill level in the room typically varies substantially from one participant to another. Some will be relatively experienced presenters and others virtually brand new at the technique. All will benefit.
The training is designed to cover the elements listed below. In effect, the training is built on core training and presentation techniques that we have been using, and teaching, for the past two decades in the trainings we conduct and the content-specific train-the-trainer courses we have provided over the years. The great benefit of this training is that it offers a broader training curriculum for the challenge of presenting to community groups, peers, and political leaders in different settings. Expected training elements will include:
- Universal preparation elements. There are certain skills and preparation elements that effective trainers always engage in. We'll review those and work on simple ways to ensure they happen before every training or presentation opportunity.
- Preparing for different types of events. How one designs and presents a short presentation to a small group of elected leaders is quite different from appropriate approaches for longer trainings for peers or for participating in "community forum" style events. We look a the choices and approaches involved.
- Time and size scaling. The difference in dynamic approach between a 15-minute presentation and a 4-hour training is much more than the simple difference in time, just as the difference in how one interacts with, and presents to, a small audience is dramatically different from the approach used when a hall is packed with hundreds of participants. We'll look at decision rules for approaches along this continuum.
- Adjustments to fit the audience. A common pitfall is failing to recognize the importance of changing the approach to fit the intended audience. A simple example: What works for teaching one's professional peers will almost never work, verbatim, to communicate effectively with the community at large. We'll look at the different approaches involved.
- Adjustments to fit the presenter. While the principles of effective presentations are universal, the methods for effective implementation of those principles is not. Each presenter must find the optimal way to deliver the message given both the constraints, and the potential, of their own personality and life experience.
- Creating a learning environment. In a sense, this concept is the core of the training skills we teach. People learn new information, and decide to change behavior, when they a) perceive that the speaker is credible and b) elect to listen with an open and curious mind. There are a number of techniques we teach to help accomplish a training environment where this can happen. We'll go over those approaches and techniques.
Specific Training Techniques:
With the core principles established, we review a range of highly specific techniques that bring the principles to life. Some of those include:
- Keeping room logistics on your side. Poor room setup and related issues can kill a presentation — partly because they distract the audience, but mostly because they can distract the trainer. Well look at some key elements to making sure they don't.
- Key tips for starting a training or presentation. A well-planned introduction is far more important than any other part of a training, because it sets the tone, for better or worse, for everything that follows. We'll show you how to do it in a way that sets up the rest of the presentation for success.
- How to use question & answer sessions as an effective training tool. Q&A can kill a training or make the training, and it all depends on the how the trainer approaches the task. We'll show you how.
- Core motivational techniques and how to use them. We'll show a hierarchy of training motivators, explain their value, and emphasize ways to include them in any presentation.
- Methods for controlling the room. The challenges are many. Even the most engaging presenters eventually must deal with disruptive participants, guest presenters who run over time, people who can't stop side-talking, and any number of other situations that can derail an otherwise effective event if not handled appropriately. A number of subtle, and not so subtle, techniques for keeping everyone focused and on task will be reviewed.
- Learning from our mistakes and successes. All trainers make mistakes. The best trainers are their own worst critics — always taking full responsibility for anything that goes wrong in a training (even, and maybe especially, when it is apparently the "fault" of someone else) and asking themselves how to make it better the next time. We'll look at examples of this as well.
- Preparing PowerPoint slides to help train and present. Seminars and online tutorials regarding how to make eye-catching PowerPoint slides and transitions abound. While we will touch on some key steps we have learned that save time or make preparing a presentation easier, our intent will not be to teach PowerPoint skills from scratch. We will focus, instead, on some key methods to use PowerPoint slides to enhance the training skills and delivery of the individual presenter. We'll also discuss how to present data in a useable format for decision makers.
All trainings are adapted to the specific needs identified in advance conversations with the client organization. This allows us to ensure appropriate focusing on the type of public presentation work you are anticipating and the length of time available for the training.
The training is scalable, from a discussion of techniques that can be covered in a few hours, to full day and two-day seminars tailored to the needs and number of trainees participating. Recommended minimum length of training is one full day. For those who have conducted trainings and presentations in the past, a day of training guidance will prove quite valuable without the need to extend to two days. For those who have limited training experience, two days of training allows for more time to conduct role play exercises and mock presentations, as well as cover the intended information. As a more hands-on training method, the learning opportunity is greater, particularly for those whose experience in presentations and trainings is more limited.
Finally, we emphasize that, more than any other training we conduct, the success of this training depends not just on the quality of trainer, but also on the commitment level of the trainees. Participants who are genuinely interested in becoming effective presenters and trainers will gain considerable value from the training. Those who are occupying a seat at the training exclusively because a supervisor ordered them to attend will learn very little compared to the training value gained by their peers in the room.
Still interested? Call us today to discuss the training, costs, and logistics in more depth and find out if this training is right for your organization. We look forward to hearing from you!