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8 training-related resources that might help with your next presentation

We all have our go-to resources. Here are 8 of my favorites when talking about presentation skills.

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Earlier this month I had an opportunity to co-facilitate a webinar in the Early Childhood Investigations webinar series. During the session, I mentioned several resources that presenters may find handy as they prepare for their next presentation.

Every time I mentioned one of these resources, participants would send a chat asking for a link to the resource. My colleague, Tim Waxenfelter, set up a page with links to each of these resources.

If you’re interested in any of these resources, here is a little more information about each one:  

1. Change or Die (written by Alan Deutschman and originally published in Fast Company on May 5, 2005)

I reference this article all the time in order to illustrate just how hard it is to get people to change their habits. This particular article, among other things, discusses the details of what happened when patients who had underwent heart surgery were given the choice by their doctors to either change their living habits or face the prospect of more surgery (or even death).

Two different doctors detail the results of two different approaches. One doctor shares that about 90% of heart patients chose not to change, even when faced with the prospect of more surgery (or death). Another doctor shared a strategy that led to a 77% rate of patients who chose to make changes, and stick with those changes three years after their surgeries.

If the success rate of change efforts of people facing possible death are so low… how do we get people to change the way they do things around the office?

2. What are the secrets of a great WikiTalk? (Phil Waknell)

I refer people to this video a lot when discussing presentation skills. In less than 20 minutes, Phil Waknell walks novice presenters through a series of specific strategies that can be used to engage any audience.

3. Talk Nerdy to Me (Melissa Marshall)

In less than 5 minutes, Melissa Marshall shares specific strategies around the visual presentation of complex information that can capture the attention of any audience.

4. PollEverywhere

I love using this freemium polling service in front of audiences in order to engage them with poll questions throughout a presentation. I’ve used it with an audience of 15 people and an audience of 1500. It helps me to physically see what people think about a topic, and I always hear ooo’s and aah’s from the audience when they see what their peers think about a topic.

5. Kahoot!

Several participants actually brought up Kahoot! when I asked them what they do to engage an audience. I love this free tool as well. Similar to PollEverywhere, Kahoot! allows you to quiz your audience as they use their smart phones, and it keeps score based upon how many correct answers each person gives (and how quickly they respond correctly).

I’ve used Kahoot! in training sessions and in all-staff meetings.

6. Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel)

This is a book that I not only reference, but I also try to incorporate principles from it into my training design as much as possible. The authors discuss how conventional thinking that highlighting text in an article or a book actually doesn’t help with retention as much as things like quizzing learners (even if they get questions wrong) and spacing learning out across days and weeks.

7. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School (John Medina)

John Medina makes brain science accessible through his writing and offers 12 principles that L&D professionals can bring into their work. The piece I reference often is the anecdote in his book in which he discovers the importance of switching up his lectures every 10 minutes in order to keep his students engaged.

My wife wrote a guest blog post a little while back about how Medina puts his own principles into action when he speaks.

8. Transfer of Training: Action-packed Strategies to Ensure High Payoff from Training Investment (Mary Broad and John Newstrom)

I often mention the findings from this book when I’m talking with people about how to make training programs “stick”. I’ll begin by asking people to rank the following in order of importance when it comes to predicting the likelihood that learners will actually apply what they’ve learned to the job:

  • The learner
  • The learner’s manager before training
  • The learner’s manager after training
  • The trainer before training
  • The trainer during training

The authors, through their research, make the case that the learner is the least important of these 5 choices in determining whether something will be transferred to the job. I’ll let you read the book to identify the #1 through #4 most important determining factors!

There you have it, 8 resources that I shared during a recent webinar.

Do you have some go-to resources that you tend to reference during a presentation? What are they?





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