Well I have and can tell you one thing… it hurts. A lot!
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Over the years I have learned some tricks and tips that have helped me immensely. And while I don’t claim to be the world’s best instructor… I can hold the attention of a room no matter the topic – even descriptive statistics!
1. Know Your Stuff
This one may sound obvious. But you’d be amazed how many times I have seen instructors attempt to “teach” a class by reading the slides back to me.
If you don’t have a deep understanding of the content you’re about to present I suggest you take the time to gain a deep understanding of the material.
In other words, you should have some real life, practical experiences to share with the students.
2. Work the Room
I am not 100% sure what the “presentation police” teach in presentation school… but standing in one spot doesn’t work for me.
I need to move about the room in a fluid manner. I especially like to “work the U” when the students are sitting in a U shaped manner. This allows me to connect with students and make the training more personal and less sterile.
3. Lighten Up
Life is too short to not laugh a bit… so be sure to have some fun.
I mean if I can find ways to make people laugh and smile while teaching them how to calculate sample standard deviation by hand anything is possible!
While not an exact science, I try to find a way to make people smile and preferably laugh every 12 minutes. Research shows that adults need some sort of stimulation every 10 to 15 minutes so do your best to keep them smiling.
4. Speak with Confidence and Passion
This tip is related to tip 1. You see if you really know the material you’re far more likely to speak with confidence and passion. If, however, you’re up there faking it there is little hope you can pull this off.
Speaking with confidence means you NEVER say things like “I believe the answer is…” or “I think you’re right…” or any other wishy washy phrase.
As soon as you use a wishy washy phrase you’ll lose half the room since they’ll believe you don’t know what you’re talking about… which won’t be true if you listen to step 1.
5. Memorize the First Sentence of Each Slide
When I was first learning to teach I would often write out what I wanted to say for each slide. Of course I rarely said these exact words… but the simple fact I at least had a plan gave me a lot of confidence.
So while I don’t propose you “memorize” every word you plan to say it can never hurt to have at least the first sentence or two for each slide on the tip of your tongue.
What do you think?
Do you agree with my list? If you’ve ever done any teaching what techniques have you found to be useful?