Presenting Effectively

Provide chocolate

Aaron Schmidt and Peter Bromberg posted recently about delivering effective presentations and I’ve been thinking about the topic, too. I second the great ideas they share and would like to add a couple of ideas, too. I do more small group workshops than large group presentations, but I think there’s a great deal of overlap in ways to be effective.

  • Two voices are better than one. I love to partner with someone to train or present. I think the back and forth of two voices, two personalities, can make a session so much more interactive and energized. It takes some behind-the-scenes discussion about who will do what and when, but it’s so worth it.
  • Be interactive. I think you can do this when talking to a group of 5 or when talking to a group of 500. Ask questions. Poll the audience. Get people thinking about what you’re saying and how it relates to their own experience. Someone smart once told me, if you could walk into a room and deliver your presentation without the audience being there, don’t do it. Getting them involved is imperative.
  • If possible, make a connection before the session. Can you send a “pre-mail” to people, asking them to think about certain things or to bring an example from their library, or just to introduce yourself and what you will be talking about during the actual session?
  • And then, after the session, can you check-in with participants somehow? …with a follow-up email maybe (a great way to more completely respond to questions from the session or to refer people to specific resources, etc)? I have been sending follow-up postcards lately.  I ask participants to self-address the postcard during the session. I sometimes have them write a goal they would like to accomplish in the next 6 weeks or I ask them to use the postcard as a review card: what would they like to remember 6 weeks from now? I will then often add a little note to the postcard, too, and send them out 6 weeks after the session.

I plan to think about this some more and may post again, but I’m curious to know what others think. The golden rule of presenting is to do onto others what you would like to have done to you. From a participant perspective, what works?

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3 thoughts on “Presenting Effectively

  1. Hi Brenda,

    These are some great ideas! I especially like the idea of team training; both for the enhanced experience it provides to the participants and the relief it provides me as a trainer. I recently had the pleasure of co-training an all-day workshop on “Working Together Effectively” and we received many comments from the the participants that they appreciated hearing two voices throughout the day. So we got the data to back this up! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your ideas in this conversation, and congrats on the book deal!! 🙂

    (PS, chocolate good too. Mmmm….)

  2. Hi Peter,
    Thank you!

    I think you’re right about the relief team training/presenting provides for the trainer. It’s a relief, so it’s energizing, if that makes any sense. I have seen/heard George Needham and Joan Frye Williams present together a couple of times lately and think they are a great example of why this works. Big ideas bounced back and forth sink in better than just one person sharing them.

    Thanks again!
    Brenda

  3. Hi Brenda, I love the idea about followup postcards, and having the participants indicate what they would like to remember from the class 6 months from now. The training group that I work with has been trying to find a way to track/measure learning & ROI, and this might be a great way to do that.

    Also, we are required to team teach where I work. Our training coordinator wants to make sure that the show will go on in the case of unforeseeable circumstances. But I do like working with another trainer. In computer lab sessions, we usually take turns speaking, but one is always available to move around the room, and help attendees with computer issues, and following along.

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