Archive for June, 2010

My 8 Keys to making a good presentation

I’m a trainer by trade and practice…

…but I am good at a lot more. The learning aspect is just what I really love. I have been working for over 13 years. Within my career I have been in sales and marketing, Human Resources with the bulk of it being within the realm of Training Development, Business Strategy, OD. I have coached, developed, and designed programs and interactions. I have been in front of groups of one to one thousand.

I’m pretty good at it, but it never fails…

… something always happens. I have been in front of so many groups that I know my own routine. However, it never fails that before I get in front of an individual or group; for a small technical presentation to a large group of big wigs for leadership development - I always get nervous. Preparation is great, but for a few seconds between when I am introduced and that first set of words or that beginning slide, I tend to go completely blank.

It never fails. My left leg starts shaking feverishly. I get scared. But after a few moments, I regain my footing and no one can tell that I had a small heart attack… internally. Anita Baker told me “…ahh that’s because what you do means something.” I guess it does. Maybe it does

Ignite Cincinnati

Tonight I will be presenting at Ignite Cincinnati (@IgniteCincy). Can’t wait. It can wait. Waiting is too much.

The format: You get 20 slides, rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Five minutes to share, enlighten or entertain. I hope I can do that tonight.

A Few of My Own Presentation Tips

Here are some things I always try to do when I present (I’m not always great at it but I do try and perfect)

  1. Tell a story. I deans typically mean something more, reign true or leave the attendee more deeply if you can use a story to paint a picture.
  2. Make a Connection. You have to understand the audience you will be meeting so they can get you, and get what you are talking about. If you don’t make a connection then what’s the point.
  3. Make Eye Contact. I don’t care how dry, deep or inspiring a subject; if you don’t make eye contact with people in your audience it can come across as insincere or even egotistical. This is not always bad, but you want people to believe that you believe what you are saying.
  4. Humor is key. Maybe it is just me but humor helps lighten things up. It helps clear the air. The only bad thing about humor it can be like taste. Not everyone has the same as another.
  5. Be concise. I am constantly working at this. In this type of format: 5 minutes, 20 slides, auto-advance after 15 seconds - you have to work even harder at it. Make a point but don’t milk it too much for each idea.
  6. Move with a purpose. Another item that I especially have to work on in a format like this. Try not to move your hands, arms or whole body around to much. It can be distracting. Moving and standing in one place at the right moments can add meaning to what you and your topic.
  7. Do your research. Know what you are talking about. At the very least, prepare to answer the questions that your audience may have in their minds. Also know that anything can happen. So be ready and comfortable with not being “ready or comfortable!”
  8. Close with action! I think that at the end of every presentation you do in a format like this their should be a call to action. A chance for others to engage in your cause or do something on their own to move forward.

I think I will do OK. I think I am pretty good. I don’t think I’m any good; but don’t we all feel that way! So wish me luck and if you are there then you can heckle me, just wait until the end!

There are just what I typically follow to make sure that I am on point as well as keep the audience on my page. Is there anything that you do to connect to your crowd?

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Showing Appreciation & PunkRock HR

Here’s the thing about appreciation…

It’s kind of like feedback in a review. Sometimes hard to get and when you get it, it is often unappreciated!

I am very into feedback. I think feedback is great and I am one that can take the good and the bad. Just like feedback I enjoy the bellowing of appreciation. The evidence of gratitude shown to me or by me to another person, for an action I have taken.

There’s this little blog that could….

like a little train through time and patience it has been shown appreciation  (I called her blog a little train lol). I am speaking of Laurie Ruettimann and her sounding board Well yesterday I guest posted on the subject of Employee Appreciation - she’s a Forbes top blog and I’m just a dude that happened to be cool enough to post on it.

Feel free to stop by, read the post: Employee Appreciation and leave a comment. Would love to see your thoughts and reactions.

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No Need for ‘BIG’ words when explaining a “BIG Concept”

A sense of EGO

I think it is very easy to let ego get ahead of humility.

To allow our knowledge, expertise and know how get in the way of explaining concepts, ideas and information more simply.

Too many of us feel as if we need to show off our understanding with “big words” and “long sentences” in order to prove that we are

proficient, knowledgeable and practiced with a skill, trade and/or ability.


Words like: Capability, Auxiliary Results, cross-functional teams, workplace dynamics, talent acquisition, functional teams,

process transformation, deployment program management, blah blah blah

All these words have there place. But often we place them where they should not be like… everyday conversations.

We are all subject to this “mess” of a practice. Even I am constantly working on using smaller words to explain and transfer “large concepts and ideas”

Let’s start making it simple

The next time you find yourself doing this… using your guru mind, expert words, and “pro” perspective to answer client questions, employee inquiries, or a company’s request… remember

sometimes the “BIG” words you use, do nothing but make you look “small”

I know I have a problem with doing this, what about you? Do you? Are there any examples you would like to leave a comment about of when others do this to you when a simple-to-the-point answer would suffice?

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  • The Author

    Grad with honors Benjamin McCall is an HR practitioner with specializations in Business Strategy, P&L;, Change Management, OD, and Learning & Development. His passion for aligning the functions of HR with the strategies of business is evident through this blog where you will find his thoughts on the complexity of business and humanity around management, people, leadership, networking and his love for family and golf! It's about starting a conversation - so let's talk!
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