Focus Magazine - Summer 2015 - (Page 15)
FRONT OF THE ROOM
We, as trainers,
hen you spontaneously spend a
considerable amount of time - on a
Saturday morning, no less -
providing feedback to a friend's PowerPoint
presentation for a high school math class, you
may have a problem. Let me explain.
My friend shared with me a 10-slide
PowerPoint presentation that he was going to
present as a guest speaker to a high school
math team on the occasion of "Pi Day," March
14, 2015 (he's an actuary by training). When he
sent it over to me, he mentioned his daughter
had noticed a typo - and invited me to also
provide any feedback I might have. Uh oh.
While not prone to critiquing every facet of
public speaking on a continual basis, this
presentation did capture my attention.
To be fair, my pretty visceral reaction to the
slide deck was really not an indictment against
his abilities as a slide creator/presentation
designer. I definitely found his presentation to
be a reflection of where we are as speakers, a
reflection of how oen we leave out the
audience in our design, and how we fail to
connect with what the upcoming experience
might be like for the audience member.
As is oen the case, the deck (10 slides) did
not contain any pictures, graphics or attempted
use of color (though roughly two-thirds of folks
are associated with a preference for some aspect
of "visual learning"), and was heavy on bullet
points. Again, I see this as a reflection on
society as a whole and not a dig at my friend.
is really served as an example to me of how
we naturally focus on ourselves - and our
content - and not necessarily our audiences
when preparing presentations. My friend had
really interesting facts to share - he just didn't
quite see his role as "assisting in the exploration
of a topic." He saw his role as communicating
information (facts and figures). In an eﬀort to
serve as a learner advocate for the students,
here is part of my e-mail response to him, in
which I suggested he use his opening as a way
to engage the students.
"I like to use a 'casual opening' where I
reference something of interest (from an article
or personal story), and then use it to bridge -
and set the stage - for the content being
explored. en, I come up with some sort of
table-team activity that gets groups of four to
six people interacting to explore a question,
definition or assignment I've given. is gets
their hands dirty in the learning process, and
communicates that I - as the facilitator - am
not going to be doing all the work! Learning is
intensely personal - and active - so, I have to
find a way to get them connected to the
material at hand ... and having them put their
own knowledge and experience to work helps
in this process."
I really feel that we, as trainers, have the
responsibility to be learner advocates-and
that's why I put so much time in responding to
my friend: I was sticking up for the students. I
ended my response with this:
"Perhaps I've responded too intensely/
detailed (well - not 'perhaps' but 'for sure!') ...
But, I find myself driven by the fact that the
students have a lifetime ahead of them
(unfortunately) of receiving static PowerPoint
presentations ... maybe your opportunity is to
give them a gi of being involved in the
evolution of your presentation - and not just
recipients of it."
To my friend's credit, he welcomed my
suggestions and planned to re-do his
presentation. So, let's remember: ere are no
trivial, simple presentations - only
opportunities to create meaningful, engaging
experiences in which we can relate, interact and
learn with others. I
Brian Lange, email@example.com, is with Perim Consulting and serves as lead facilitator for LTEN PrimeTime! For
Trainers Core and Masters workshops. He blogs at www.WorkplaceInﬂuence.blogspot.com.
FOCUS | SUMMER 2015 | www.L-TEN.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2015
From the President: Learning Delivery: What's Your Blend?
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Surviving and Thriving in a Volatile Industry
Directions: Let the Networking Commence!
Front of the Room: Dig Deeper
Neuroscience: Memory Garden
Sales Trainer Onboarding: A Fresh Approach at Bristol-Myers Squibb
Leading Cross-Functional Teams
Change Your Paradigm, Transform Your Network
What's the BIG Idea? 3 Tips to Open Doors
Is There a Kink in Your Leadership IV?
Identity Hubs: Secure, Productive Collaboration
How Much Will the Next 5 Minutes Matter?
Virtual How: How Companies are Centralizing Training Functions
5 Questions with Peter Bregman
Focus Magazine - Summer 2015