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speakerOne of the biggest misconceptions in the professional world – regardless if it’s employee assistance, supported employment, or any other field – is that if you are an expert on a certain topic, then you can be a trainer.

However, understanding a given subject does not necessarily translate into knowing how to help others learn the topic. In truth, the secret to successful training is to train the trainer FIRST… before they can train others.

Presentations needn’t be a chore when you, as a speaker THINK first. The letters “T’, “H’ and “I” in this method were explained in earlier posts. The letters “N” and “K” appear below in the final installment in this series.

Net results make you valuable

Always ask yourself this question, “What do I want my audience to think, feel, and do as a result of this presentation?” It may help to send an advance email to the participants at your next meeting, asking the group about their work, their current challenges, and what they hope to learn during your time with them. This will give you a clear sense of direction that meets the audience where they are psychologically, and where they want to be professionally. Net results are what your boss and clients care about.

Know the stories and examples that make your presentation memorable

Watch the presenters at your next meeting just minutes before they start. Too many of them are likely fiddling with their slides. There comes a time, however, when professional presenters will stow away their slides and note what stories and examples they will use to accompany each visual. This change in focus will have a dramatic change on how the audience perceives the speaker. When you personalize the content with real-life stories, your audience sees you as a peer – not as a lecturer.

While PowerPoint can be a great tool for visually representing data, many speakers rely too heavily on it. To force yourself to re-focus your attention on your message, use a flip chart for your next presentation. As you draw and write you will focus on what the audience needs to know. Remember, some of the most intimate connections with an audience can be made without visual aids! Your audience will forget the slides, but they’ll remember the stories!