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5 Tips for Presenting Content Effectively

Posted by Linda Carole Pierce on 2/6/14 3:00 AM
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Photo by: Tirachard Kumtanom via Pexels

Trainers often complain about participants “not getting it,” or they ask, “How can we make our training interesting?” When I ask what methods they are using to deliver their content, they often reply with, “PowerPoint and lots of it!” The bad news is, presentation alone is not training. Boring people with a slide show will not make the training interesting, nor will it help the participants retain the content. Remember, “The brain can only retain what the bum can sustain.”


The good news is, PowerPoint is a wonderful visual aid. It should aid in our training but not be our training. The mistake is many instructional designers and trainers are asked to put together a slide deck and call it training. As a result, trainers along with learners are craving for other ways to present and receive content.


The following tips are basic principles that will assist you in your efforts in creating interesting training that will enhance retention.

1. Focus on the need-to-know versus the nice-to-knowCourses are often top heavy with content because we want to put everything into the course. The question we want to ask is, “What content must my learners know to improve their job performance?” The answer to this question will provide the content that needs to be covered in the course.


2. Provide access to nice-to-know informationInclude information in the appendix of the participant manual or a website where nice-to-know information can be accessed. This creates an opportunity for adult learners to take responsibility for their own learning.


3. Select a variety of presentation methodsWe all know that lecture has been the most common way to deliver content. Now it’s lecture with PowerPoint. I once heard an instructor describe lecture as “the notes of the instructor transferred to the notes of the listener, without passing through the minds of either.”

Fortunately, there are other ways to deliver content. If you want to stay sharp as an instructional designer and/or trainer, and keep your participants stimulated, it is important to select methods that promote two-way communication as opposed to traditional lecture, which is often one way. We must also consider selecting methods that appeal to different learning styles. This leads me to tip number four.


4. Use more than one visual aidPowerPoint, when not overused, is a fantastic tool. However, it should not be considered training or the only visual aid. Other visual aids include flip charts and white boards. PowerPoint appeals to the visual learner, while the kinesthetic learner eagerly desires more hands on activities. Using flip charts and white boards allow for group exercises and often appeal to the kinesthetic learner who will most likely volunteer to be the scribe. I also appreciate that scripted work on flip charts can be posted around the training room, which supports retention in multiple-day courses.


5. Demonstrate polished presentation skills. As trainers we must skillfully model strong verbal and non-verbal behaviors. Without solid presentation skills, everything else can fall flat.


Following these five tips will surely set you and your learners up for a successful training experience. In addition to offering a glossary of 50 presentation and application methods, we emphasize these principles in much more detail in both our instructional design and instructional techniques courses. I hope to see you in those courses real soon!

Dealing with Difficult Participants

Linda has been a course leader with Langevin since 2005. She graduated from New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She’s also had the privilege of teaching at NYU’s Gallatin Division in the area of Theatre and Education. Linda began her career facilitating conflict resolution and coexistence workshops for diverse groups, and running workshops in the Middle East and South Africa, as well as facilitating social issues workshops for young people in the NYC school system. Linda believes learning works best when it is student-centered, experiential, interactive, and fun. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find Linda at the theatre, either as an audience member or actor, or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Tags: instructional techniques, presentation skills, tips-for-trainers, instructional design

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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