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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

Learning and Development Consultant

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Presentation Skills


If you were delivering a 1 day Presentation Skills course (to Technical professional people with little or no experience or Presenting)...

What would you include and why?

17 Responses

  1. I would go with

    The content from Chip and Dan Heath’s excellent book "Made to Stick" 

  2. Summary

    Thanks…could you summarise the main points…I’m sure there are lots of good books, I was trying to capture some experience.

  3. you’ve been framed….

    I’d get them to do a presentation, video it and then get the rest of them and myself to give them constructive feedback…….it is an excellent way to build their confidence and give them the opportunity to see themselves as others see them.

    Ideally I’d get them to do this a couple of times; perhaps a one minute presentation to start with and then a longer one to build on the first.

    (this of course is notwithstanding what specific objectives were set, eg are we looking for a presentation to a meeting, or a 1500 strong conference audience? Are we looking to deliver information or whip the crowd into a frenzy? etc)



  4. Video

    Thanks Russ…I had the video covered and lots of short presentations looking at a variety of skills, eye contact, body language, use of PPT etc…(appreciete your suggestion though)

    Here is the list I have so far but feel I am missing something…need something "quirky"!!


    What are your current strengths
    Why Present
    What is a Presentation
    Why is Presenting scary
    Presentation nerves
    Qualities of a Presenter
    Why an agenda is not a good idea
    Lessons from Rudyard Kipling
    How to give your Presentation meaning
    Learning preferences
    Learn to use secret Presentation language
  5. A starter for 10

    Hi Steve

    As a starter for a presentation skills course I have often used three questions:

    >What does my presentation need?

    >What do I need?

    >What do my audience need?

    This can very nicely pull out most of the topics you are likely to be covering in the session. You could use it as an introductory exercise or as a summary, even.

    Happy to discuss further if you PM me.

    All the best


  6. Presentation Skills for Techies


    I think if you’re running presentation skills for people with technical expertise some good questions they need to answer before starting to put their presentation together are:

    Who are my audience?

    What do my audience know about this topic/product/industry now?  How familar are they with my industry jargon?

    What do I want them to know/understand at the end of my presentation?

    If they can answer these questions clearly they will learn to pitch their presentations at the right level.

  7. 1 Day Presentation Skills

     Hi Steve

    I like to use memory tools such as mnemonics etc. For Presentation Skills I use STAR for planning  – Structure; Timing; Audience and Residual Message (the walk away) – Then use INTRO for how to get it off the ground oncethey are on their feet – Interest (grab audience attention) Nleed – what’s it it for the audience, why they need to listen; Timing telling audience how long it last; Response when you will take questions – any point; certain points or end of presentation; Objective – reminder of purpose. 

    Hope this helps – Ian

  8. Techies like structure and process

    Forgive the sweeping generalisation.  I have found that confidence soars when a techie has a clear structure that they can follow in their presentation.  If they have a visual diagram or flow chart that shows key words or phrases from their Opening, Subject, Agenda, Main Body Sections, Summary and Conclusion, it gets them away from script and yet keeps them on track.

    I’d suggest not doing any major work on delivery or body language until they have a pres that they are satisfied with to work on. It can be distracting for them when they are uncomfortable with the content.  When their pres is okay, then they can relax and work on how best to deliver it – often about eye contact and vocal variety, in my experience.  Don’t offer too many detailed pointers on body language, at least not until the basics are good enough.

    Good luck,


  9. Models
    Thanks guys. Great answers. Loving all the “models” Who makes these things up? Will try and invent some of my own.

  10. Late?

     I went on a presentation course where the trainer came in about 2 minutes before the course was due to start, plugged his machine in opened a Powerpoint deck with well over 200 slides. He started to introduce himself then his phone rang and he dashed out the room to answer it.

    We waited 20 minutes before he returned, he looked at the floor and mumbled about the topics he was going to cover. Then…

    He screamed ‘STOP’ at us and asked what was wrong with the class so far.

    It certainly made everyone sit up an listen. 

  11. 20 mins
    Glad he got away with it but quite risky to keep people waiting 20 mins when they are paying £495 +vat a day. I do like a quirky character though!

  12. I think I’d have left!

    I agree Steve. A very dodgy tactic. I can see it illustrated the points well but I suspect I would have left – or at least gone for a coffee! I am sure there are less risky methods.



  13. Personal Style and Delivery

    Hi Steve

    I’d include a session on Personal Style and Delivery to make the point that it’s not just the technical content that makes the difference between an excellent or mediocre presentation; it’s what the presenter does to bring it to life. The presenter is the greatest ‘visual aid’. I introduce the topic and then split them into groups to prepare a 5 minute presentation on the Do’s and Don’ts of either Voice, Body Language or Words. It’s fun, gives peopel an opportunity to do a short, impropmtu presentation and consider top tips for bringing the materials to life.

    Hope that helps


  14. presentation skills

     hi Steve,

    we’re doing that right now (well, not right now – but you know what I mean). These guys, who are mainly technical experts, need to be able to present on a number of fronts including board presentations and induction training.

    Although we ask them up front what will really make a difference… I guess they don’t know what they don’t know so we simply focus the day on gaining the confidence to be yourself. We throw out all the usual rules (don’t wave your hands around, don’t stand in front of the flipchart etc) and get them to think through themselves at their very best and why people engage with them.

    If you possess natural ‘likeability’, ooze integrity or even just bounce around with enthusiasm why wouldn’t you use that. Being stuck in a rigid format never engaged anyone – so the message is to be excited by who you are and what you bring to the room.

    If success can be judged by delegate and client feedback… then we’re doing pretty well. Through the day these people reconnect with their natural talent and flourish. Even the most nervous delegates improve beyond their own expectations.

    We add to this simple stuff like storytelling, and our simple model: Outcome, Audience, Memorable which gets them to think about what they’re trying to achieve – maybe it’s to get their audience to agree to something, think or act differently or just get some information – and to focus on that.

    We have been told that the whole culture of presentations is changing… the business already does less of them and audiences are apparently less tolerant of the old slide shows. Mad…

    hope that helps happy to chat on email if you want anything else…


    two bald blokes




  15. Natural
    Hi Bald Blokes
    So glad you wrote…”natural talent”…is perfect. Its what I was aiming at but had 100 words instead of 2 to get there. Perfect…along with all my new models Im there with an hour to spare… ūüėČ Thanks to all who responded.

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Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

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