Focus Magazine - Summer 2015 - (Page 15)

FRONT OF THE ROOM Brian Lange Dig Deeper We, as trainers, have the responsibility to be learner advocates. W 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 oen 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 oen 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,, is with Perim Consulting and serves as lead facilitator for LTEN PrimeTime! For Trainers Core and Masters workshops. He blogs at FOCUS | SUMMER 2015 | 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2015

Focus Magazine
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
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions with Peter Bregman

Focus Magazine - Summer 2015