Thursday, February 04, 2010

Training sessions don’t need to be boring

In his latest column for, communications consultant Carmine Gallo shares an example of PowerPoint used well to train employees. Training sessions often use PowerPoint, but too often it is not done well. Carmine uses an example of employee training at Wente Vineyards. I’ve been to their location in Livermore, California, so it caught my attention. Here are a few observations about what is described in the article.

First, the presenter, Dan Carroll talked about making it relevant to the audience by using something they are already familiar with. This is the In Context step in my five-step KWICK method for creating persuasive visuals that is described in my book The Visual Slide Revolution. If you use analogies, descriptions and media that the audience can’t relate to, they won’t understand your point. If you use things that they can relate to, they get interested. Look at what caught my attention in the story, the Wente Vineyards. I have been to the winery and we have a cookbook from there, so it caught my attention because I was familiar with it already.

Second, if you are going to use PowerPoint, use it well. Carroll dismisses the notion that PowerPoint shouldn’t be used simply because many people don’t use it well. The tool can be effective and he shows how to use it well. He uses photos and videos, and uses it to reinforce his message, not as a substitute for his message. If you have to present definitions as part of your training program, check out my latest slide makeover video for some tips on how to make definitions interesting.

Third, the underlying key to making training engaging and effective is the attitude you bring to the session. If you are not an expert in the area and don’t feel passionately about the topic, it will show through no matter what you say or what slides you use. Great presenters know when to decline an invitation to speak because they are not the right person to do the session.

Good tips and reminders for those of us who present training programs.


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