Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good example of calling an audible and other presenter lessons

Recently, Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a law enforcement trainer, went to the UAE to do some training. She documents her experience in an article on the Police One web site. There are a few lessons we can all learn from her experience.

First, a strict focus on the audience. She knew this would be a different audience, so she committed to do the research necessary to be prepared. How much time do most presenters devote to studying the audience? Not enough in my experience.

Second, she moved from mostly text slides to visuals. Read what she says about how it freed her to focus on sharing her message and interacting with the audience. If you are concerned that without the text you won’t know what to say, my bet is that you’d be surprised how much you can share on a topic you are passionate about. You don’t need all that text on your slides. It’s not supposed to be group reading, it’s supposed to be a presentation.

Third, she called an audible when she realized that not all of what she had prepared would be appropriate for the audience. She asked the students what they needed to learn. She called this her most valuable lesson and summed it up as follows: “It’s less about what you have to teach and more about what your students want (or need) to learn.” I could not say it any better.

Sgt. Smith was forced to re-examine her presentation due to a totally new situation she found herself in. You don’t have to wait for this type of circumstance to take a fresh look at your presentations. Do it today.


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