Thursday, 21 June 2012

Delivering a better presentation / training course. No. 17. Challenge Yourself.

This is the seventeenth in a series of posts where I plan to discuss my ideas, tips and best practices for delivering a great presentation / training course. Challenge yourself.

Some days you are just not in the mood.

Perhaps you are not looking forward to the course? (We all have a least favourite course).

Perhaps it's your least favourite topic?

Sometimes a course or topic is our least favourite because we don't know it as well as the others that we teach or perhaps we don't feel it's as interesting as the other subjects that we teach.

Well the delegates are on the course for a reason and they certainly don't need to know that "all things considered you'd rather be in Philadelphia", or delivering that new funky Windows 8 Developer course. Though not the Javascript and HTML one because I'm a .NET guy!

You owe it to your delegates to make the subject matter interesting.

Well why not set yourself a challenge to make the course more interesting to you?

  • Get through that backup demo without making the cock-up that you always make.
  • Come up with a better analogy to explain Object Oriented Programming. (Although you can't beat my Age of Empires analogy)
  • Aim for a higher score for presentation style in the end of course evaluation.
  • Try using a different vocabulary (odd one this). It could be something like saying "new/spin up" rather than "instantiate" when defining an object.
  • If you must, you could always play Word of the Day although I have known that one to get out of hand. It can also irritate the audience if it's a poor choice of word.  For example, my local MP - Gordon Birtwistle writes a piece for the Burnley Express each week. Two weeks ago, I suspected him of playing Word of the Day. He used the word "Exceedingly" five times in four paragraphs. I wonder if he won the bet?


Challenges are motivating.

Yesterday, I discovered that one of my posts had been removed from my work blog as it was felt by some that it was a little 'edgy' and could have upset some customers. (That is why I have now begun publishing posts on this blog first and then putting abridged copies on the work blog).

Now on reflection, it was a little edgy and it could well have upset some people and so removing it was the right thing to do (for them). However, no-one, especially me likes to receive criticism. And so I was feeling pretty low and frustrated yesterday evening.

I had pretty much grown up again by this morning but felt that I would probably leave off blogging for a while because my heart had gone out of it.

No sooner had I sat down to master Contracts in Metro style apps than Dave Walker threw down the "Who can write the most blog posts in a week?" gauntlet and what do you know?  I'm back in the game!

By the way, Dave published the first two posts of the competition (it runs midday today until midday Thursday 28th June 2012) whilst I was spell checking this one. Well he's got to sleep some time.

So if you're having a bad day or not looking forward to the course topic, set yourself a challenge to help make it more enjoyable.

I expect there will be a flurry of posts over the next seven days. The four likely contenders are Dave Walker , Andrew Mallett, Bryan O'Connor and yours truly but who knows?

Lianne Mease is kindly supporting the challenge by agreeing to bake a cake for the winner and as it will probably be baked with fresh eggs from MY chickens , I have more than a vested interest.

Now I don't know who will have the most opportunity. Andrew Mallett is writing a book on the side and I am working on my Masters dissertation. Perhaps it will be Dave Walker unless he's busy down the pub playing Carcassonne. ( Oops. Almost said Cyvasse). We had better watch out for Bryan O'Connor then.


So. Tip # 17? Make it more challenging/stimulating.

See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"


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