Presentation Skills Workshop - Case study
(Source - A Newsletter for Foodservice Executives)

"Janine Sergay can make a room full of FCSI consultants and manufacturers lie on the
floor and make funny noises - and enjoy it!

President of The Sergay Group, Ms. Sergay teaches presentation skills that focus on the needs of her audience - and one thing we needed last week was to learn to breathe
properly; hence the floor exercises."


Her first step was to find out the group's fears (responses follow):

  • Making mistakes. Remember that no one wants you to fail, the audience wants you to do
    well. It's not about yo
    u. It's how you handle glitches and istakes - it's good to be human.
  • Equipment failure. Expect it, consider the screen a back-up, the focus should be on the speaker anyway.
  • No reaction from the audience. Sometime's it's cultural - stop and check with them, involve the group in doing stuff, show your own foibles.

Here are a few tips Ms. Sergay showed us:

  • Our short term memory only holds 7 things - don't overload the audience.
  • Keep your presentation on a thumb drive as a back up and have a printout for yourself.
  • Your audience may have different levels of knowledge - establish those levels by doing
    an exercise that draws out what they know. "What are some of the issues you're facing?". Their language can give clues to their level of understanding. Change the audience's seating
    to allow for peer mentoring.
  • Eliminate "umm". Stop the voice. Pause. Breathe. Continue. Same goes for other expressions like "you know". "Do you understand" can sound patronizing. How to check for understanding? Do it only once by asking the audience for an example, or ask for questions. If you break the audience into groups they will be more comfortable - listen to conversations in the groups to see if people get it.
  • Dress one level above your audience. You can wear a maximum of two patterns - and "pattern" is defined as discernable from 3 big steps away.
  • Height gives credibility. If you don't have it, give yourself the impression of height by the
    way you dress.
  • Your image starts being created before you even enter a room and stays after you leave.
  • If you want to use an icebreaker, make sure it incorporates a point of learning.
  • Have two conclusions - one at the end of the talk and one to bring the talk back to the
    image you want at the end of a question session.
  • Focus on what the audience is there for.

(From: Ideas Well Done)



The Sergay Group


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