Over the years I have found that people attend my workshops for a variety of reasons. Many people are afraid to present and they are looking for some techniques that will help them be calmer about standing in front of other people and talking. This is a valid and important reason to take presentation skill workshops. Many of us have to present in the course of our work life and we want to be better and less nervous while doing it.
Some people take my workshop because they enjoy presenting and want to have more practice and get even better. I like having these people in my class because they serve as an example for others. There’s something to be said for getting lots of extra experiences presenting. It really is an activity that requires lots of practice and with practice comes improvement and less nervousness.
Some people are in the workshop because they have been told to be there. Their supervisor thought they could use some refinement in the way they present and they were sent to me for help. I like to think that I can connect with these people and offer something of value.
Unfortunately, most of the people who don’t take a class think they are already pretty good presenters. These people are almost always wrong. Presenting is not just about standing in front of an audience haranguing them. It’s about convincing people to see your point of view while respectfully hearing theirs. It’s about understanding how your body language can have a profound effect on your success presenting. It’s about learning to build an argument so that it is memorable and has great impact. A powerful message packaged in poor voice and body techniques becomes a weak message. A weak message packaged in a dynamic delivery style becomes more powerful. They all work together.
One of the real values of taking a workshop is that you get levels of feedback you can never receive in the outside world. You hear from the trainer. Your colleagues in the workshop will feel free to give you their impressions. But, the most influential feedback you’ll receive will be from seeing yourself on camera. Presenting. If that doesn’t open your eyes, nothing will.
The real reason someone should take a presentation skills training course is because it is the best thing you can do to grow your career. It is no coincidence that the leaders of companies and the leaders of political parties and the leaders of countries have very strong presentation skills. It’s also no coincidence that in debates and political campaigns the stronger speaker almost always seems to win the election. Speaking well doesn’t always equate with governing well or doing your job well, but it does equate with climbing the ladder.
I think everyone should take presentation training. It helps them to understand not only how to communicate more effectively, but what they are doing in their current style that is causing them to be misunderstood and ignored. It’s a terrific investment in yourself.