Friday, 31 May 2013

How to Make Presentations that are Seen, Heard and Felt

This week, I have been preparing for back-to-back presentations that are being given 3753 kilometers apart; Calgary in the west and Halifax in the east. 
After hours of writing I noticed that my design process hasn't changed much since the early 90s when I was a full-time trainer. I wrote and facilitated many custom-designed sessions in industries as diverse as steel making, cosmetics, book publishing, non-destructive testing, farming and retail. It was a fascinating time.

Like many trainers, my biggest challenge is to not create talks or workshops based solely on my own learning preferences. For example, I am a visual learner who loves pictures and I prefer to work in small groups solving problems. But the best presentations appeal equally to all learning styles.

Here is how I make presentations that can be seen, heard and felt:

  • Write objectives based on needs and session length
  • List key learning points
  • Arrange points in a logical order
  • Add exercises (validate with peers if required. Will it work?)
  • Create slides (text only)
  • Test  design to see if it delivers objectives
  • Add visuals for interest and emotional appeal (my favourite step)
  • Write the script including stories and examples
  • Dry run the slides with the script to test flow, pacing and interest level
  • Read the script out loud as I cycle through the slides the night before and morning of the presentation
  • Present with no notes, amplifying points through passion, gestures and humour 

There are a lot of steps but like all patterns, it has become a seamless routine. I jot down notes after presenting based on what worked and what could be improved. There are always things that could have been better seen, heard or felt.


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