Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

When you begin your presentation planning, start as basic as possible. Start with one phrase that sums up your core belief about your topic. Start with one question that could serve as the catalyst for your audience's thinking. Begin small and then grow from there - keeping only the important, timely, relevant and unique pieces of information.

This strategy will keep your information load low and drive most (if not all) of your content back to one central theme, point, lesson, etc. Both of these are necessary if you want your audience to retain and act upon your presentation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Characteristics of an Effective Leadership Game or Exercise

Following are the characteristics we look for when creating and developing our leadership games and exercises:
  • Grouped in teams or partners
  • Audience paced, not presenter paced (turn it on and it runs)
  • No to low material/props
  • Includes a competitive element
  • Physical movement
  • Challenging, but inclusive
  • 20 - 40 minutes in length
  • Simple and clear instructions
  • Full use of already existing resources in training room/building/campus
  • Safe and friendly
  • Appropriate music prepared

Print this list. Cross-reference it with your existing material and use it as a checklist during your next workshop or training session planning time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Little Less Information And a Lot More Understanding

In a training environment, you have a choice to make between two significantly different modes of operation...

1. You are more interested in the audience receiving a ton of information. You believe the value of a training program is based on the amount of content given. Your trainings involve a ton of "sitting and getting." You speak and the audience listens (or tries to.) Not much interaction, not much audience participation and not much of anything other than you talking.

2. You are more interested in the audience receiving a ton of understanding. You believe the value of a training program is based on the connectiveness of the content given. Your trainings are interactive, discussion-based and both mentally and physically engaging.

Path one is very presenter-focused. Listen to me. Here is what I know.

Path two is very audience-focused. Let's work on this together. I want you to experience the learning, not just hear the learning points.

Pick your path. Choose wisely. Let's hope for your sake and your next audience's sake that you choose number two.

Monday, October 15, 2007

10 No-No's for PowerPoint Use

Following these 10 points won't make your Power Points remarkable, but they will keep them from being horrible...

  • No bullet points
  • No shadowed text
  • No clip art
  • No red backgrounds
  • No text larger than 64 font
  • No text smaller than 24 font
  • No slide transitions
  • No reading of the slide content
  • No more than 15 slides... ever

Monday, October 8, 2007

Buy Yourself 15 Minutes of Attention

If your group meets in the same place on a regular basis and/or if you are presenting at a day-long or longer conference, buy yourself at least 15 minutes of attention by moving the group to a new location. Facility fatigue can set in over time and make it more difficult than it needs to be to get and keep your audience's attention. Move to a new room and they will become new listeners!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Energy Gaps

After spending the week traveling Colorado and speaking to over 1,600 high school students, I am reminded of the power of one simple strategy you can use in your programs (either keynotes or workshops) to increase the learning, the interaction and the energy:

Remove the Energy Gaps!

What does this mean? This means you need to...

1. Get the audience members sitting as close to each other as possible.

2. Remove the space between you and the audience.

3. Get everyone's physical direction and mental direction turned towards you.

Do these three simple things and your programs will seem more powerful because they will be more powerful!