Presentation Skills Training: REDEFINED. (Part 1 of 5)

January 28, 2013 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Posts for Buyers, Presentation, Training

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

Dale Ludwig, President & Founder of Turpin CommunicationI read an interesting post by Josh Bersin on LinkedIn last week about the mismatch between academic education and job skills. What jumped out at me was research showing that “While 42% of employers believe newly educated workers are ready for work, 72% of educational institutions do.”

That’s a pretty big disconnect, but it’s one that I’m used to in my corner of corporate learning and development. Participants in our presentation skills workshop always have to unlearn what they have been taught in school about presenting. In fact, as I have written about here, most training delivered to business presenters misses the mark because it is built on what is essentially an academic methodology.

I think it’s time to revisit this issue.

My goal in the next four blog posts is to talk about the fundamental differences between an academic (think Public Speaking 101) methodology and the skill building approach my colleagues and I have developed over the past 20 years. The question I’ll try to answer is this: How do I know I’m getting presentation skills training that will give me the skills I need to succeed on the job?

Here’s an overview.

  • Presentation skills training must focus on the type of presentations you actually deliver. So my next post will focus on the difference between a speech and presentation. Or, to put it another way, the difference between a performance and a conversation.
  • Next, I’ll talk about why the skills you need for presenting must be built from the inside out. Improvement must focus on how things feel to the presenter as well as how they appear to the audience.
  • If you find yourself in a presentation skills workshop where you are not working on the nitty-gritty challenges of a real-life presentation, pack up your things and leave the class. This is not because training should be as relevant as possible; it’s about nuance. The fundamentals of preparing a presentation are easy to understand (and most people already know them). The challenge is with their application.
  • Finally, the coaching you receive in a presentation skills workshop must focus on your response to the challenges of presenting. You are not, after all, a blank slate. You have experience and preferences that are unique to you. After a presentation skills workshop, you should have more perspective on yourself and a clear sense of not only what you should focus on to improve but also why you should focus on it.

I look forward to going into more detail in the weeks to come.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4Part 5

by Dale Ludwig, President and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Looking Over People’s Heads

March 12, 2012 in Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, Engaging Listeners, FAQs, Greg Owen-Boger, Myths Debunked, Nervousness

 

Question:
I’ve been told that when I’m nervous I should look over my audience’s heads. Is that true?

greg 200x300Answer:
No. You have been given some terrible advice. We hear this sort of thing all the time.

One of the things that triggers nervousness is the notion that your presentation should be a performance played to a faceless group of people. If it were a performance, this idea might make sense.

But a presentation is a conversation. You cannot converse with a faceless group of people. Instead, you need to converse with living/breathing/thinking individuals. This requires that you look people in the eye and actually SEE them. You need to recognize their reactions and how they’re responding to you. When you do that, you can respond back. When you see their smiles and nods, you know you’re on the right track. When you see looks of confusion, you know you need to explain something a little differently or go into more detail. This is what you automatically do in normal, everyday, low-stakes conversations. This same level of engagement needs to apply to presentations.

So, look people in the eye, connect with them. This will reduce your nervousness and you’ll feel and look comfortable and in control of the conversation. It also takes the pressure off of having to be perfect. Conversations are messy by nature. Embrace that thought. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t prepare for your presentations. I’m saying that once they begin, they need to feel structured AND conversational. Looking people in the eye and settling into the conversation is how to do it.

But that seems counter-intuitive, you’re probably thinking.

Yes, it does. After all, the people in the room are the things that are making you nervous. What you have to realize is that they are not passive viewers whose sole responsibility is to judge your performance. Instead they want to be active participants in the conversation. They may not speak as much as you, but they’re still participating in the dialogue. The only way to engage them in it is to look them in the eye and respond to their contributions.

What thoughts do you have?

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication

Announcing FREE Trials at OnlinePresentationSkillsTraining.com

April 26, 2010 in Author, Dale Ludwig, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Mary Clare Healy, News, Preparation, Sarah Stocker, Training

Take one of Turpin Communication’s online presentation skills courses for a spin before buying.

Been thinking about taking one of our online courses, but for some reason haven’t?  Now there’s no reason not to.  Today we’re announcing free trials of all of our courses.

Simply go to www.onlinepresentationskillstraining.com, click the “Start FREE Trial” button, create an account and begin learning.

If you like what you see, you can purchase the full version and continue learning immediately.

If you give business presentations, we encourage you to take advantage of this new offer. No matter which of the courses you choose, you’ll work on a real-life presentation and take your skills to the next level of effectiveness.

Preparing a Presentation
(course description)

Managing Nervousness & Engaging Listeners
(course description)

The Comprehensive Presentation Skills Course
(course description)

Need to train your entire team?  Check out the Multi-user License here.

Which Hat to Wear? SME or Trainer?

March 2, 2010 in Author, Delivery, Greg Owen-Boger, Preparation, Training

This post was inspired by a train-the-trainer session Dale Ludwig and I led two weeks ago.  We were working with a group of SMEs (subject matter experts) in the insurance industry as they prepared to deliver enterprise-wide training sessions.

Of course the SMEs knew a lot about their topics.  The problem was they wanted to share most of it with their trainees.  This desire is typical not only when training, but when delivering every-day presentations as well.  So, during the training session, we helped the SMEs switch hats.  They needed to take off their favorite, most comfortable hat (the SME Hat), and put on a slightly less comfortable one (the Trainer Hat).

When you switch hats like this you’ll realize that trainees and every-day audiences don’t want or need to know everything you know.  (Nor do they have time for it.)  What they need is to be engaged in a well-developed, listener-focused, concise conversation.

So, put on your Trainer Hat the next time you develop a training session or presentation.  Get clear on your objectives.  Think about what your listeners need to learn from you in order to take the action you want them to take.  From there, create an agenda that includes only the information that will help you reach your goals.

One thing that happens when you take off your SME Hat is that you feel like you’re not demonstrating your expertise.  Don’t worry.  When you zero in on what your listeners need and want to know about your topic, they’ll feel like you really care about their perspective and understanding.  And that’s a good thing.

by Greg Owen-Boger, VP and Trainer at Turpin Communication


Need help preparing for your next presentation?  Take this online presentation skills course today: “Preparing a Presentation.”