How to Improve Training with Effective Presentation Skills
As I recently prepared to conduct live classroom-style training at one of our site locations, I was reminded of how important effective presentation skills are! Because a majority of training is now conducted via eLearning or on a web-based conference tool, I took this opportunity to refresh my live presentation skills.
To get started, I dusted off a “Teaching Do’s And Don’ts” list from a 1996 Train the Trainer (Dr. Charles Martinetz, Train the Trainer Techniques of Instruction, “Instructor’s Classroom Behavior”, 1996) course and was pleased to find that although we have progressed with technology, the basics are all the same! In fact, many of the items on the list are not only relative to trainers, but any employee responsible for presentations – including sales or operations teams. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Do Not Break Time Agreements. Start the class on time and break when you say you will. Broken time agreements will have the students checking their watches instead of listening to you.
- Do Not Read Your Material. Reading is not teaching. There are very few things that will turn off a class as fast as reading long passages of material.
- Do Not Fake it. It is better to admit that you do not know an answer than to try and bluff your students. If you don’t know an answer, don’t be afraid to tell your students that you will find out the answer and get back to them. It helps to write any unanswered questions down so that the students know you are serious about finding the answer.
- Do Not Display Distracting Mannerisms. The overuse of “OK,” too many “Umms,” or toying with a marker or pen will distract students from your intended delivery.
- Be Prepared. This means having your materials ready, handouts available, technology cued up and whatever else that may be needed for that session ready to go.
- Make Class Comfortable. This item has two parts: physical comfort (making sure everyone can see and hear) and mental/psychological comfort (everyone feels free to ask questions).
- Show Enthusiasm. Your enthusiasm should take two directions; be enthusiastic about your subject and be enthusiastic about teaching. Students pick up and respond to a teacher’s enthusiasm.
- Know Your Material. This item is the most important one on the list. Nothing causes a student to tune out a teacher faster than the instructor losing his or her credibility. Students do not expect an instructor to know everything. But if you give wrong or incomplete information, eventually your students will doubt everything you say.
The time you are preparing to teach a training class or give a presentation, review this list and add items of your own. You will be rewarded with the confidence to deliver the material effectively and an audience appreciative of your skills!
What items would you add to a “Teaching Do’s and Don’ts” list?