Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Category Archives : presentation

Tip #603: Lightning Talk

On January 11, 2016, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #603: Lightning Talk

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” Mark Twain

Over the years, the term “lecturette” has been used to reinforce the idea that trainers should keep their lectures brief, limited to no more than 10 minutes. After that, trainers are encouraged to give their participants an opportunity to interact with the information, either to check their comprehension or allow them to test or apply what they have learned.

A lightning talk is a conference presentation that, like lightning, beams a brief flash of light that strikes to the core of a discrete subject. It is a concise, clear and insightful form of communication. It is also very quick, typically 3-6 minutes and definitely … Read the rest

Tip #574: Train the Trainer for Two Participants

On June 22, 2015, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #574: Train the Trainer for Two Participants

“No matter how small and unimportant what we are doing may seem, if we do it well, it may soon become the step that will lead us to better things.” Channing Pollock

I recently had the challenge of conducting a train the trainer program for two participants.

I feared that the learning experience would be less rich than it would be with a larger group. Much of the learning in any training program occurs during interactions between participants, both during the training and during breaks. Larger groups also generate much more dynamic energy than two individuals can possibly generate.

The small group would limit the number of perspectives that could be shared and the interpersonal learning that could occur. When … Read the rest

Tip #561: What NOT To Do When You Facilitate

On March 23, 2015, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #561: What NOT To Do When You Facilitate

“Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.” Thomas Carlyle

I just audited a workshop and the experience gave me a renewed appreciation for all of the things that a facilitator should NOT do when in front of a class:

  1. Do NOT begin the training session and introduce yourself while standing behind half of the participants. Stand where everyone can easily see you.
  1. Do NOT leave any participants sitting alone and isolated from the rest of the group. Make sure that all participants are seated with 4 or 5 other people.
  1. Do NOT tell the participants that: “You will get sick of us.” That thought may not have occurred to the participants until you brought it up.
  1. Do NOT tell
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Tip #516: What Do You Want Your Audience to Do?

On May 5, 2014, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #516: What Do You Want Your Audience to Do?

“Every choice you make has an end result.”  Zig Ziglar

I recently reviewed a number of 20-minute videos of trainers in a global organization. I found three major issues. First, there was a heavy reliance on PowerPoint. Second, there was a huge amount of information. Third, it was unclear what the audience was supposed to do with the information.

Let’s look at the issues, one at a time.

When I say that there was a heavy reliance on PowerPoint, this is what I saw:

1.   The slides were filled with text.

2.   The text was too small to see from the back of the room.

3.   The trainers read the slides to the participants.

4.   The PowerPoint slides comprised the … Read the rest

Tip #507: If You’re Going to Videotape

On March 3, 2014, Posted by , In presentation, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #507: If You’re Going to Videotape

There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”  Dale Carnegie

I always videotape the participants on the last day of any train-the-trainer or presentation skills training program. The videotape includes both the participant’s facilitation or presentation, as well as the other participants’ (and my) constructive feedback. We do not replay the videotapes during class. Instead, I convert them into DVDs and send them to the participants after the class. This way, they can review them in private.

Over the years, I have made my share of both embarrassing and regrettable mistakes:  misreading the camera to think that it was recording when … Read the rest

Tip #505: Handling Delays That Impact a Series of Presenters

On February 17, 2014, Posted by , In presentation, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #505: Handling Delays That Impact a Series of Presenters

“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal.”  Mario Andretti

How do you handle it when unexpected delays or interruptions adversely impact the starting time for a presenter who will be immediately followed by other presenters?

This is not a new issue. Trainers and presenters at conferences or programs that involve multiple presenters are frequently faced with this challenge.

If the delay occurs at the very beginning of the program, you might be able to simply move back the beginning and ending times for all of the subsequent presenters. However, that will not be a viable solution if the program has a set meal time and ending time.

So, what can you really do in … Read the rest