If you are a regular reader of the Excellence in Training blog I assume you are also a member of ILEETA – the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. If you are a member and considering submitting an Instructor Proposal prior to the November 15 deadline here are some tips to enhance the presentation.
Presenting at an ILEETA conference is an amazing experience. As a law enforcement trainer the ILEETA audience is one of the most supportive you will ever experience. They want you succeed and want to learn from you. Yes, they will still sit in the back row and you may have to work to get them to participate (they are cops after all), but they are there to support you and take away some strategies to make them better trainers. They do however, have high standards and expectations for those chosen to present. Here are seven tips to ensure your presentation is a success for both you and the audience.
- Make sure the presentation is instructor focused. Some of the proposals submitted are designed with the end user in mind, not the trainer. ILEETA is an organization of law enforcement educators and trainers so craft your proposal and your presentation to meet their needs.
- Get your thoughts together before you ever open up PowerPoint or Keynote. Decide what the key messages and takeaways from your session will be, then brainstorm and build from that foundation. The visual aides, if you decide to use any, will come after you determine the content for the presentation. Remember content is king. The other stuff is there as an aide and should not be the focus of the presentation.
- If you are using PowerPoint or Keynote remember this – Just because you can, does not mean you should. There are a lot of things you can do with PowerPoint, many of which you should never do (too much data, stuff flying in, out and exploding, sounds with every slide flying in, out and exploding, font too small, poor color choices, etc). Before you build your slide show read Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and subscribe to his blog. Then visit Nancy Duarte’s website www.duarte.com and spend some time learning from one of the thought leaders in the world of presentations about crafting effective stories and presentations.
- A longer presentation is not always better. Trainers are always looking for more time so it is easy to convince yourself that an 8 hour time block must be better than a 4 hour one, and that 4 hours is better than 2 hours. Sometimes 2 hours (actually 105 minutes) is best as it allows you to drill deep with one or two key points. Conference attendees are faced with tough choices every day regarding what classes to attend. A 2 hour class has the advantage of being offered twice during the week making it easier for people to attend your class. Regardless of the amount of time you have, make sure you show up with the appropriate amount of material. If you have a 1 hour and 45 minute time slot show up with 1 hour and 30 minutes worth of material knowing that an engaged audience will want to spend more time discussing some of the key points. Showing up with 4 or even 8 hours worth of material and trying to cram it into 105 minutes is highly disrespectful to your audience. If you end up with too much information (which we all do), have a predetermined way to jump ahead or simply blank the screen and go into your wrap up.
- Be willing to be vulnerable. There are two aspects to being vulnerable:
- Be willing to be contrarian and challenge ‘common practice’. Contrarian thinking, supported by strong evidence for the new way of thinking, is what continues to drive changes in training. Being contrarian will piss some people off. Be ok with that. As Derek Silva points out in his TED talk starting a movement requires one person with the courage to be the leader. That can be you.
- Being vulnerable also means being willing to talk about your failures and not just your successes. We have all failed, sometimes miserably, and learned from those failures. We need to start sharing those failures. It takes courage to be vulnerable, but there is no better place than ILEETA to be courageous.
- Start your presentation with your content, not your bio. The people in your class have already read your bio in the conference booklet and liked what they saw or they would not be there. If your start with the standard “Blah, Blah, Blah, bio” you will lose them before you ever get to your message.
- Prepare relentlessly. Just because you are a trainer does not mean you can ‘wing it’. Lack of practice and preparation will be immediately evident to your audience and regardless how good your ideas are, those in attendance will feel disrespected. The great speakers and trainers make it look easy because they prepare relentlessly.
Consider these 7 Tips as you prepare your instructor proposal and build your presentation. I look forward to seeing you at the 2015 ILEETA Conference April 20 to 25 in Wheeling, Illinois.
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