You have likely been to presentations over the years that were entertaining. The presenter got lots of laughs, told lots of stories, had a really flashy PowerPoint presentation and you walked out of there going wow, that was fun. However, the next day when someone asked you what one or two of the key messages in the presentation were, you could not remember. You could tell them how much fun you had, how entertaining the session was but, in reality you did not learn anything.
The other end of the spectrum is the presentation packed with good information but, delivered in a way that makes you want to poke yourself in the eye with a sharp stick.
There is a balance. Your presentations need to be entertaining and engaging as well educational and provide significant content and value to those who invested their time to attend. If people simply want to be entertained they can go to a comedy club. They are coming to training to be engaged and to knowledge, strategies and tactics to help them in their personal and professional lives. You need to challenge the participants to think and to take action.
Some trainers get this. They provide powerful content delivered in an engaging manner. Others spend 100’s of hours developing a super cool and extremely impressive PowerPoint presentations, but spend very little time on their content and their delivery. Some of those presentations might have the wow factor, but result in little or no learning. Others spend little or no time in preparation thinking they can just ‘wing it’ and get by on name recognition or some other factor.
Content is critical but content alone is not enough. A content rich presentation poorly delivered often results in little or no learning. Loud and flashy is not always better; sometimes it’s just loud and flashy. I have experienced some powerful presentations by low key presenters with great material and a great presentation style. I have been to other great presentations that are dynamic and fast paced.
I would challenge you to go to as many training sessions and conferences as you can. I would also strongly encourage you to watch and listen to professional speakers outside the law enforcement community. If you can only go to one event a year go to the annual ILEETA Conference. At each conference take in as many sessions as you can to expose yourself to the wide variety of delivery styles. At the end of each session, or at least the end of each day, reflect on what you learned in each session. Make a list of what you liked and disliked about each presentation and presentation style. Determine what could work for you, not what worked for that presenter. Ask yourself:
- How did the presenter engage the audience?
- What learning activities did they use?
- How were the various activities received by the group?
- What modalities did they use in the presentation (stories, videos, audio, quotes, pictures, etc) and how effectively did they use them?
As you develop your presentation style remember to be yourself. You cannot be Dave Grossman, Tony Robbins, Gordon Graham, W. Mithchel, Mark Sanborn, Jeff Chudwin, Larry Winget or John Bostain, so be yourself. Just seek to be a better, more effective version of yourself.
Thought Leader, Catalyst for Change, Speaker, Author and a Man With Many Questions
President of Winning Mind Training – Leading the fight against mediocrity through Life’s Most Powerful Question – What’s Important Now?
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