For new presentations & training sessions, you’ll need to allow at least 8 hours planning, researching, and creating your presentation for every training hour. It sounds a lot, but when you take into account both design and practice equal success, it’s the reality. Get prepared at least one month in advance and practice it several times before presenting it.
Work with the 4 P’s.
Think about how you’ll need to Plan, Prepare, Practice & Present to be successful. Plan what you’ll be training out, take time to fully prepare notes, materials, handouts and stationery etc. Practice as much as you can to time, tweak and refine your content when you say it out loud. Get that nailed and you’ll present fantastically!
Plan for less.
Content that you think will take 10 minutes could take 20 in reality. Make sure you don’t cram in too much and rush through the last 25%. Leave room in your session for your own stories, unplanned discussion, and unexpected questions. That said, I’d have an extra activity or 2 in my back pocket ready to throw in just in case!
Chat to delegates as they arrive.
Your presentation begins before you take the stage and continues after you’re finished. Wander around the room for a few minutes and meet audience members before you’re introduced. When you present, you’ll probably be able to reference some of the individual discussions you’ve had in those chats and you’ll feel like you are talking to some friendly faces!
Tighten activity time.
For group activities, allow less time than you think they’ll need. If you give 20 minutes for an exercise, they’ll wrap up quickly and leave to answer e-mails or make calls. Instead, give them 8 ‘quick fire’ minutes to come up with 10 ideas, and the delegates are more likely to get creative and won’t start over-analysing their own responses!
Break at least every 90 minutes.
Take a break every 60 minutes if the audience is seated theatre style; every 75 minutes for classroom style; and never go more than 90 minutes without a break. The human brain will naturally start to lose interest and you’ll struggle to keep the groups attention if they get restless or need the loo!
Keep break timings clear & strict.
If you start five minutes after you told the audience to return from a break, you’ll be telling them that it’s ok to come back five minutes late. Don’t punish those who made the effort to come back on time. Give odd numbers for break times for memorability, such as 12 or 17 minutes.
Stop on time.
No matter how late you started. Ending late shows a lack of respect for your audiences’ next commitments. Know exactly how long your close will take, and practice jumping to it from different parts of your presentation. Prepare several different versions of varying length and be able to drop a story or exercise.
Print your outline.
If you’ve been allotted 60 minutes, and the speaker ahead of you goes over by 20 minutes, be prepared to be asked to deliver your presentation in 30 minutes. Print your PowerPoint slides (I use 4 slides per page), so that during presentation mode, you can type a slide number on your keyboard and hit enter to jump to that slide. If you click through the slides you won’t cover, participants will feel like you’re missing out important and useful content.
Don’t rush off.
When the session is over, hang around to chat with participants. Many people will ask questions they weren’t comfortable asking in the larger group. Others will tell you a personal story about a point you made or thank you for helping them. That’s better evaluation than feedback forms.