Many lecturers and presenters tend to focus on the delivery of their message; they spend most of their preparation time on what they are going to say and what their slides will look like. On the other hand, the best of them focus on the receipt of their message. They spend their preparation time focusing on what they are going to ask, and how they can best orchestrate the necessary mental and/or physical activities on the part of their audiences to achieve the desired objectives.
Guide on the Side
A meeting leader, trainer, presenter or facilitator is a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.” They are someone who guides an audience to a particular outcome (attitude, opinion, decision, or learning point) rather than someone who simply dispenses information. They are also much more focused on their audience than they are on themselves.
This is why it is of great importance for business Managers and Executives to constantly maintain a sense not only of what to present but how to present it. Companies like Exec|Comm provide wide varieties of training so as to ensure meetings and presentations go over with a bang and not a whimper.
Malcolm Knowles, one of adult learning’s pioneers, observed that adults should have the freedom to learn based on their individual style of learning. Learning style is an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of acquiring and processing information.
And what ways to people learn? There are at least five styles of learning:
- Auditory/oral is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning.
- Kinesthetic (also known as tactile learning) is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity. People with a preference for kinesthetic learning are also commonly known as “do-ers” and make up about five percent of the population.
- Interactive learning is a pedagogical approach that incorporates social networking and urban computing, evolving out of the hyper-growth in the use of digital technology and virtual communication.
- Olfactory memory refers to the recollection of odors. I other words, people’s memories are associated with smells, or odor recognition. Unlike with verbal or non‐verbal visual learners, this sort of learning is not functionally strong.
- Print or read/write learners prefer to read the instructions or book rather than watching it or listening to it. As with kinesthetic learners, read-write learners adopt a deep approach learning strategy and perform better academically than do the auditory, visual learners that employ superficial study strategies.
The important thing is to adopt an “audience-focused” or “other-focused” mentality. Unlike theatrical productions, the most important things happening when you are presenting are not happening up on the stage, but out in the audience.
As you hone your presenting, training or meeting manager skills, remember—move the spotlight off of you and on to others.