Recently I had a lively phone call with a potential client. It was clear that he had done his homework and had some pretty tough questions for me and the other presentation skills training vendors he was looking at.
Here’s my favorite: “What’s the biggest barrier you face when working with people in your workshops?”
I love this question. First, it forces me (and our competitors) to acknowledge the reality that training isn’t always easy and that challenges do exist. Second, it shows me that he’s not just checking training off his list. He’s truly interested in finding a partner he can trust to bring about long-term behavior change.
Answer this question right, I thought to myself, and we’ll be his vendor of choice.
My answer came rather easily because it’s something we talk about a lot around our office.
The biggest barrier when working with business presenters is dealing with all the baggage they carry around with them.
Find your focus means to settle your racing mind and be present. Engage your audience here and now. Don’t think ahead, and don’t beat yourself up for what you just said.
Be yourself means to stop trying to emulate someone else. Just be you.
Only better means that once you are engaged and comfortable, you will be able to manage the challenges of presenting. You’ll be able to read the non-verbal cues from your audience. You’ll know when you’ve said enough and it’s time to move on. You’ll know if you need to slow down. You’ll recognize that you’ve walked into the light of the projector and need to move out of it. You’ll be self aware and in control.
This process helps people let go of the baggage, and it makes all the difference.
If you’re a workplace learning professional, what barriers to learning do you see?
Greg Owen-Boger has been with Turpin Communication since 1995, first as a cameraman, then instructor, account manager, and now vice president. Schooled in management and the performing arts, Greg brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to the organization. Greg is one of Turpin’s facilitators and coaches. When he’s not with clients, he manages the day-to-day operations of the company. Greg is an active member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and was the 2015 President of ATD, Chicagoland Chapter. He is a popular speaker, frequent blogger, and the co-author of the book The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined. His latest book, also co-authored by Dale Ludwig, launched in 2017 and is entitled Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.