This "what if?" will be especially useful to anyone who's ever had to deliver a mandated training day. If you're in this boat, you know how challenging it can be to keep your audience focused AND motivated. Kerri's answer shows you how to use some presentation skills training basics you keep your audience connected.
Got a "what if?" for Team Ovation? Let us know in the comments below!
What if...you are doing a "mandated" training and the audience doesn't want to be there but has to be? How do you help them benefit?
Answer from Kerri: Ah, yes. The struggle of leading a room that HAS to be there. Mandated training often has the added difficulty of content that HAS to be said. It can be hard to stand in front of a crowd that you feel is over you from the start.
Before each mandated training engagement, do a brief audience analysis for yourself. (There’s a full audience analysis chapter in Presentation Skills for Managers. There’s also information on the OC Blog.) Try and get to know as much about your listeners as possible. What experience do they have with your content? What preconceived notions might they have about it? What role do they hold within your organization? The closer you can get to them, the better.
Once you’ve done that, you can start to think about the Super Objective of your content – what do you want them to DO with this information they have to receive? Go beyond “they need to hear it” or “they need to understand it”. Perhaps you need them to engage with a certain process so they can enjoy their job more. Or to decipher complex information that might make them safer. Whatever it is, be specific.
Once you’ve clarified that for yourself, don’t be afraid to clearly articulate this desired action to your audience at the top of your presentation. You can let them know that you’ll be giving them a lot of information, but you have a specific goal for them in mind. This not only helps manage the audience expectations, but clearly outlines how you’d like the day to benefit them, rather than simply leaving the discovery of that knowledge to chance.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to make it interesting. Just because attendance at your presentation is mandatory doesn’t mean that it should be unbearable for the listeners. Tell a story, ask them a question, conduct a poll. Clearly outline where breaks or lunch in your day might be. In short, just because it’s mandatory doesn’t mean it can’t be human.