How can you prepare your Presentation? – Part 3 – Scripting

Now in the final installment of this article we’re going to look at the most polarizing method to prepare any presentation, particularly for teaching. Scripting a training presentation.

And yes it is exactly what it sounds like. Writing a script—each and every word that you will deliver in a presentation or in this case your lesson.

There is an opportunity to script some training presentations

By this definition this is an ‘extreme’ form of presentation preparation.  It’s a method that demands that you either fully commit to being in (and you say everything you have written) or that you don’t write a single phrase and you choose to follow an organic or queued approach. No in between!

Under normal circumstances scripting is just one of those things you just . . . Don’t . . . do. And when I say that I mean—ever!  In all of the time that I have ever been delivering training, I have never used a script . . . not once!

Being an awesome instructor means knowing your stuff; so your knowledge simply makes scripting redundant. You simply don’t need one!

Besides, imagine having an audience and rather than communicating with them completely—instead you spend your time reading from a script, or spitting out a bunch of words that you hope to remember from earlier.

Chances are it’s not a pretty mental picture. If you have an audience a script is the worst thing you can bring to the lesson.

But . . . What if there was a reason to have one?

Scripting can create doubt with your audience.
Using a script in front of an audience can create doubt

It’s the 21st century, and teaching is not just something that happens face to face any longer. We are now in the digital age, and trainees, students and clients don’t . . . need to be in class at any specific time.

Teaching has changed – In fact a lesson can be delivered at one time, and received at another completely.

Scripts are useful—When it comes to recording your training. And they are useful for two key reasons. The first reason is all about this exact topic . . . preparation. Excessive preparation! The ‘scripting’ of each and every single word that you’re going to say, and there is benefit.

Particularly when recording, a script will provide the opportunity to seamlessly put together your lesson with everything you need to communicate without all of the nuances that we all have, that only come out when we speak naturally.

Secondly, scripting provides one massive final benefit when it comes to recording lessons. A script acts as version control when it comes time to update your lessons from one version to the next. The script is the written record, of what you have presented.

The script is easy to update and edit as required and when it comes to version control, a script is the most valuable method you can use to prepare any lesson you can deliver.

How can you prepare your Presentation? – Part 1 – Queues & Prompts

More often than not there is more than one way to get something done. Preparing a training presentation is no different.

I start with the lesson plan so that I know what is going to be covered.  Then it’s time to think about the audience and where I’m going to give the training. Finally then I’ll be able to think about what I’m going to put in front of the people I’m teaching.

It’s a flow. A process! If one thing changes during planning then so does the final product, and training is a product.

One subject, can be delivered numerous different ways to achieve slightly different outcomes. Whether it be to teach for the first time, revise, or to discover amongst an audience who already have some form of subject awareness.

Go with the Flow

Now, there are going to be times when you’ll be able to deliver your training without any formal presentation. These sessions are great, because they demands flow & presence while being fluid enough to adapt to your audience in real time.

These are what I like to call the ‘organic’ presentation,or ‘organic’ teaching. These also can come across like you’re; making it up as you go, because in effect during the delivery of the training, that’s what it looks like is happening.

However from a preparation point of view, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact when training like this comes off so seamlessly to make it appear like you’re making it up as you go, then that’s the ultimate compliment, especially when your audience comes away with having learn’t the training objectives.

But thinking that an instructor is making it up as they go is as wrong as you can be. These lessons are not just prepared or rehearsed, but the subject matter is so well known that only a seasoned subject matter expert in the material can even truly attempt to deliver a training in this manner often after having delivered these individual lessons previously.

The Ability to teach from experience
Teaching from Experience

So just do it from experience!

So if these lessons require so much skill and can only be done by true ‘subject matter experts’ then surely the ‘organic’ design and delivery are the way to go right?

Hold on for a second before you pass that conclusion. A delivery style, just like a lesson type and all of the other variables that go into teaching are part of a great big toolkit to the instructor. Organic preparation and delivery is all good, but its only a single method and it has weaknesses.

So what are they?

Organic approaches naturally tend to be geared toward a higher ‘caliber’ of trainee. How so?

Without a presentation and perhaps only few training aids, organically delivered lessons which are delivered almost entirely from experience can come out with great depth of information and they can be delivered too quickly. Without self-control and a high degree of audience engagement instructors can go too far too quickly and leave the audience behind.

These teaching lessons can also sometimes begin to blur the lines between teaching and coaching, and when an instructor asks too many questions too quickly the student can definitely become saturated.

Not ideal.

In the next installment we look at how to prepare for distracting questions

Why your Audience won’t Engage

Some days it’s Mac & Cheese and others it’s a slow cooked Beef Brisket with all of the trimmings. (Insert your own personal metaphor here!) I’ll explain as we go.

Find out some of the reasons your audience won’t engage in training.

The practice of instructing others so that they can gain independence, is many things. It is intimidating & a time intensive. It’s also a professional investment, and requires patience. It is also mentally demanding and because of that can be quite exhaustive.

But this article isn’t some rant about how teaching has some prices to pay before the investment reaps rewards. Not at all! Not everyone is cut out to instruct. But for those that are (and those that have), each lesson has the looming specter of attention loss in the background.

Boredom & Distraction are a threat to every lesson

I’m talking about the lack of, or refusal for ‘students’ to engage. The risky situation that no matter what your best efforts try to achieve, result in what is the worst case scenario for any instructor—attempting to teach an audience that simply isn’t ‘there.’

You see I’ve taught countless lessons, and I have literally (and legitimately) taught teenagers how to handle explosives, as well as other skills where the difference in a single digit can literally result in fatalities.

But those were some of the ‘easier’ subject to instruct on. These subjects were slow cooked beef brisket.

They were appealing, demanded respect and focus. Most of all they were easy to capture and maintain the attention of the audience.

But not everything is Beef Brisket!

There are other subjects that are Mac & Cheese . . . Boring! Necessary but Boring! The worst thing is that some of the material can be relatively simple to communicate—such as teaching a Sales specialist the difference between two products, and the consequences that come with getting them confused.

Beek Brisket

“But those were some of the ‘easier’ subject to instruct on. These subjects were slow cooked beef brisket.”

Despite having immediate needs for knowledge and consequences, sometimes, Mac & Cheese just won’t get accepted or eaten by your audience. Your audience will look at it & leave it there . . . saving themselves for something better!

And there it is! In this week’s video I go through some of the main reasons that students tune out, but it boils down to one simple thing. We pay attention to what’s, useful, important . . . sexy!

Sometimes subject matter just isn’t sexy! It’s about getting your audience to pay attention. So how do you get your audience to tune in to boring matter?

What is attention?

Attention is a cocktail of reward & tension. Your training regardless of the matter must ‘give’ something. There has to be a value & reward with it. There also needs to be the threat of ‘take’, that there must be consequence attached to it.

Is there anything  better?

If you constantly provide value and reward then this will likely be accepted as a sure thing and the audience tunes out. If you over embellish reward the audience will tune out. If there is nothing other than risk, then the audience will accept the downside outcome and tune out.

When you’re dealing with mac & cheese and can’t explain why, the audience won’t even sit down at the table. What I have found to work best when it comes to dealing with ‘Mac & Cheese’ is to show its value elsewhere.

And showing value needs to be done carefully. Explaining that a dry subject which wants to push your audience away has value will keep them interested for a bit longer, but context needs to be added carefully.

If you show the full value early then you’ve just given your audience the best part of your training early enough for them to disengage.

Building and escalating on value, while building the bigger picture tends to have the best results, until you can get into something more interesting . . . like some brisket!

Is Instructing Hard?

Is Instructing hard?

It seems like an overly general question to ask if instructing or teaching is hard but let’s ask it anyways.

“Is instructing hard?”

Asking a question like this—about a skill that you may or may not have started to develop or use is like asking—is it hard to land a plane?

A seasoned pilot will say ‘No.’ A person who has never thought of flying would say ‘Yes.’ When it comes to instructing on any skill the worst thing for most instructors will be simply; getting up in front of others and starting.

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Are you Presenting or Teaching?

Presenting and teaching are similar but have differences.
What is the difference between the two?

If you were asked by someone to explain the difference between presenting and teaching what would you say?

You’d probably suggest that there isn’t much difference, right?

Now if you were delivering training, would you know whether you presented or whether you taught?

Chances are you’d be wondering ‘Aren’t they the same thing?’

After all presenting and teaching have many similarities. Both involve the delivery of information. Each can be done within the same environment, to the same audience, and both can be ‘carried out’ by the same people 
& both can be done in many of the same ways

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