I believe that many of you have positions where you have to stand in front of a group of people and give a presentation, teach or inform on a specific topic, and be available for question-and-answer sessions. This thread gives you the opportunity to tell us what you have to convey, how you plan, what tools do you use, how has been your response, and maybe even share those "oh so embarassing" moments.
This Bear enjoys standing in front of a large crowd and going over something.....just as long as there as been time to prepare, even if only for a few minutes with scribbled notes in a pocket notebook. Had to do it today, in fact, before a group of over one hundred (100).
Old School Bear: Flip-charts, numbered, with cribs notes in light pencil, written on the charts in font-size so small even folks in the front row can't read them. This method keeps me on task and usually on time.
New School Bear: Great tool, especially for the majority of groups that I talk to.....employees who don't give a crap (not all). Need to mix a bit of humor-type slides in a Powerpoint prez.....to keep their attention. I try to never go past twenty (20) slides.
I use some "canned" videos in some specific training.....very generic vids so I usually stop them at certain pre-planned points and reference how what they are seeing on the video affects them at our workplace. I find that videos longer than ten (10) minutes will start to lose the ole' attention span.
AGENDAS / TIMEKEEPER
Many times I will develop a specific agenda and make sure that everybody attending sees the topic points and the target time period. This greatly helps move things along. Sometimes I will ask somebody to help out by being the offfical timekeeper, in case this ole' Bear gets a'ramblin'.....
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
This can be touchy, especially in a big group. If you don't really want to weigh down a large group with questions that may not affect everybody in attendance, begin the meeting by saying there will be a chance for anybody to ask questions, personally, after the session (or presentation).
I have also chaired presentations where I opened with, "The following items are not open for discussion. This is merely a communication of some news."
WHAT TO LISTEN OR WATCH FOR
At the meeting I held today I was able (by listening as I talked) to hear "off-the-cuff" comments somebody uttered, probably as a "joke" to impress whoever they were standing by. This tidbit gives me a feel for how some people feel about certain issues......in today's case it was "mandatory overtime".....and develop appropriate and FAIR responses.
BEAR IS NOT RODNEY DANGERFIELD
I have used some fun lines in presentations or in teaching. Many have worked and some have "bombed". Be careful, know your audience, know the rules.
HR Director Bear