How to Hold a Presentation Skills Workshop
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”― Benjamin Franklin
Edgar Dale was an American educator who developed the Cone of Experience, also known as the Learning Pyramid. It says:
People generally remember:
10 percent of what they read
20 percent of what they hear
30 percent of what they see
50 percent of what they hear and see
70 percent of what they say and write
90 percent of what they say as they do a thing
People learn best by doing an activity and talking about it with others.
One way to do this is through a workshop. Have you ever considered holding a workshop to teach presentation skills by having your students prepare and deliver a presentation with feedback on their presentation during the workshop?
Workshops are a great way to teach presentation skills. Below are some considerations if you choose to hold one.
Preparing Your Workshop
A presentation workshop is a mixture of delivering presentation skills best practices and then having your students practice these best practices.
There are many presentations in “bite-size” parts so the students can remember what you said and then immediately apply this. The “bite-size” parts follow the same format:
You present maybe one or two best practices
Your students apply what you said to an activity
Your students brief out what they experienced
For example, if you have an hour and a half for your workshop, one segment may be to:
Present how to prepare a presentation
Students prepare a presentation
Students out brief their experience preparing their presentations
Another example could be to
Present best practices for delivering their presentations
Have one or two students give their presentations
Have the one or two students describe their experience
You must be a good time manager when you present a workshop because the time will go fast, especially when students are talking. You lose control over the timing when students are briefing out.
So, you now have an idea of how to prepare your workshop.
Let’s talk now about workshop exercises and handouts.
You must give some thought to your workshop exercises and handouts. It is essential that the exercises and handouts just support your message and do not become the message.
Handouts, generally, do not take much of your workshop’s time. However, if you do not keep a close eye on your exercises, they can take much more time than you anticipated.
Make your exercises about what you just went over in your presentations. For instance,
If you are showing your students how to prepare a presentation, have an exercise where your students prepare their presentation
If you are showing your students best practices for delivering their presentation, have one or two students present their presentation
If you are telling your students how to lessen their fear of public speaking, lead a discussion of their fears and how to overcome them
Let’s now talk about handouts, both their content and when to hand them out.
As I mentioned, your handouts should support your workshop and not become the focus of your workshop.
If you are giving a presentation skills workshop, you may want to create handouts on
How to overcome your fear of public speaking
Best practices for preparing a presentation
Best practices for practicing a presentation and delivering it
You should distribute your handouts after you present the information the handout supports. Remember, you are the message. You want your workshop students to concentrate on you. If you distribute the handout before delivering the information, your students will focus on the handout instead of you. This applies to all formats of speaking, including workshops.
So, you have done your workshop preparation and practice and created the handouts for your workshop. Let’s now talk about how to deliver your workshop.
Delivering Your Workshop
Remember, your workshop will probably not be a stand-alone event. There are probably other workshops and presentations on the same program. You don’t have much control over when you start your workshop, but you do have control over when you end it.
The program may have you down for one and a half hours for your workshop, but will you actually have this amount of time? If you are on early in the day, you will probably have the allotted time or close to it. However, if you are in the afternoon, you will probably not have the total amount of time. What should you do?
As I mentioned in my article entitled, What is Your Plan B?, during your workshop preparation, think of all the things that can go wrong in your workshop (not having the full allotted time is one of them) and create backup plans in case something does go wrong, develop backup plans for everything that could go wrong, and then implement the backup plan if need be.
If you are not a detail person, this is your opportunity to practice. Create a minute-by-minute schedule of your workshop, including the time of day. You will quickly see what can stay in your workshop and what needs to “be thrown overboard.”
During the workshop, you can easily see whether you are ahead or behind schedule. Don’t underestimate this necessity. You will be glad you didn’t.
By knowing whether you are ahead or behind schedule, you can either expand what you are doing at the time or contract it to recover time.
Remember, people remember beginnings and endings – plan to do your complete opening and closing. Then, during your workshop, expand or contract the timing of your presentations and exercises to fit your allotted time while keeping your opening and closing intact.
Always have a summary and call to action for your students at the end of the workshop.
This article discussed preparing your workshop, how to create exercises and handouts that support your message, and considerations for delivering your workshop.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, people retain 90 percent of what they say as they do a thing.
Workshops are a great way to significantly accelerate learning in the same time it would take someone to read an article or attend a presentation.
Try it. You’ll like it!
Call to Action
Be a good time manager when you are planning your workshop; the clock will not stop
Plan your workshop exercises and handouts to support your workshop message – your message should be your focus
Create a detailed workshop schedule first, including time durations and times of your workshop parts – this is indispensable to staying on time
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”― Aristotle
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”