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Don’t Let Your Own Voice Get in the Way of Your Success

Bill Belichick, and I have something in common.  If you’re a trainer or presenter, perhaps you do, too. 

Every elite level coach and athlete will watch hours of game film each week, dissecting each play, finding out how to improve their performance and where to make adjustments the next time around.

As trainers, do we take advantage of available technologies to review our performance with an eye toward continual improvement and effectiveness in our delivery? Or do we cringe at the thought of watching ourselves in action?  If you’re like I am, hearing your own voice is the one thing worse than hearing nails on a chalkboard.

Seeing is Believing

About six years ago, I facilitated a train-the-trainer session for the first time in a new job.  The end-of-session feedback was incredibly positive; to sum it up, the participants felt that my co-facilitator and I rocked, we had exceeded expectations. 

Except for one participant.  She literally thought I rocked, as in I swayed slightly from side to side as I was talking in front of the room.  She said I made her sea sick.  I dismissed it because there’s always one attendee who just has to say something critical.

A year and a half later, as an assignment for a masters program, I had to videotape myself delivering a 5-minute presentation.  And I rocked!  Literally. I was gently swaying from side to side.  Reviewing the video, I grew sea sick.

Since then I have made a conscious effort to beware of my body language and posture when in front of a group.  I never would have made this adjustment (and I would still be gently swaying) had I never seen that video.

Hearing is also Believing

Recordings – whether video or audio – can also be an extremely helpful tool when working with others (such as clients, subject matter experts or co-workers).

Recently, a co-worker and I spent an hour in a conference room reviewing a recorded webinar he had delivered. He’s a subject matter expert and knows his stuff forwards and back.  In all honestly, his presentation was fine.

Listening to his voice grated on his ears. But it was his opportunity to listen to his own voice that was the most important part of this exercise.

Feedback after the live event could have easily turned into a debate between my observations and my co-worker’s perceptions of his delivery.  But after we reviewed a recording of the webinar together, he could hear how many times he said “uh” or “um.” He could listen to the way he struggled to respond to some of the questions.  And there was no disputing these observations.

We identified opportunities for more learner participation:

  • throwing questions back to the participants to answer
  • using the polling feature
  • allowing everyone to see the questions in the chat box (watching the recorded webinar, we realized that participants did not have access to see others’ comments in the chat box)
  • stopping at critical points in a case to ask what others would have done with such a limited amount of information

As we thought about future webinars, we even saw the potential for using the breakout room feature.

After Further Review

Whether you’re working on a 60-minute webinar or a week-long training program, the fact is that your participants are investing time out of their lives to spend with you – time that they’ll never get back.  In exchange for this investment, you owe your participants a top notch learning experience.  Recording technologies offer trainers and presenters an opportunity to catch bad habits and improve every element of your delivery. 

 

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