A manifesto for a training company? Really?
Why are better presentations important to us?
Why? Because presentations can change the world – or at least your bit of it. Take a look around you: there’s a lot wrong with the world on the big political scale, internationally and nationally… and at your local level – at work, in your school, your church or mosque or synagogue, or whatever. And there is always something at work that could be better. Sometimes you need to step up to the plate and say something.
And “Presentations” – in the widest sense – are how you can do that.
Better presentations change something in your world
Don’t believe me? Think Brexit, think Trump – even if you don’t like how things turned out, they turned out that way because some people were better at presenting themselves and their ideas than others.
But most presentations suck and fail. On a good day they waste time and on a bad day make people want to kill themselves with boredom. On a really bad day they might make the audience want to kill the presenter, too.
Our mission is to help you make better presentations. We do it to help you change your bit of the world. We do it by sharing the science of better presenting.
That’s no small task – we like to think big. So how do we go about it? Let’s take an example of where we differ from what typical presentation trainers will tell you… it’s a pretty radical piece of presentation-research but that doesn’t make it less true…
How do we live our manifest? Our three Es in a bit more detail
We live and die by our three Es. It took us a long time to make them all start with E, so pay attention! It’s what makes us different in terms of style. We don’t do “nicey nicey” opinion. We do hardcore fact-based improvements to your presentations – (though we’ll usually do that nicely! 😉 )
Evidence – the tools and techniques we use for your presenting have been scientifically researched and proved to work. We go back to the original research, because we can.
We don’t work on ‘just our experience’ no matter how experienced we are. This is because what works for us might only work for us. We read the original research papers as well as the books and the blogs!
What does that look like in reality? Well (as an example), you’ll find a lot of presentation skills trainers jabbering on about how only 7% of communication is in the words themselves. To put it politely, that’s tosh. It’s not how presentations work and the trainers who say that just don’t understand the research. (We know. Not only have we read the research, we’ve listened to the professor who did it!)
Engagement – we take the best and most recent research and translate it into material that people immediately ‘get’ and can apply with relatively little practice or experience. Working with us is fun and lighthearted because that’s how you’ll learn best. No heavy jargon to make it sound more clever. (Hey, I’ve got a PhD that does that for me, after all!)
Equality – all our clients get the same opportunities and the same type of feedback/help, regardless of how “important” you are. Actually that’s not quite true. But almost… it’s as true as we can realistically make it.
Simon, can you give me an example of what that looks like for presentation training?
Of course – though you might not like it, ‘cos it flies in the face of what also-ran presentations training looks like! Here’s an example…
Most audiences want (and most presenters give) a cut-and-dried presentation that is clear, with a linear structure. If you do that your audience will give you better feedback scores 😉
But if you’re trying to help your audience understand and remember something, the best approach can be to jump around a bit, and loop back to topics. Make audiences work a bit. It might make them think you’re less organised, but it improves their retention of your content. So which would you rather be – popular or effective?
Don’t panic! 🙂
I’m not saying you should abandon linear presentations. I’m just giving this as an example of what works according to the research but which ‘normal’ presentation trainers can’t even consider.
It takes courage as a presenter to sacrifice popularity with your audiences (don’t worry, we can teach you how to handle that!).
And… we’ve got the science on our side, but it might not be what you want to hear if you regard presentations as just something to do, rather a way to change your bit of the world.
We might not be right for you – and that’s fine – if you get in touch, we might even be able to point you to someone that’s a better match (after all, there are lots of presentations trainers around and most of us talk to each other!). We’ll pass you their names if we think it’s the right thing to do.
On the other hand, if we are right for you we’ll stick our necks out and say that you’ll find working with us worthwhile so much that if you don’t, we’re free.
Personally…. Why did I set up presentation genius?
I spent two and a half decades as a research scientist – and I loved it! Pushing forwards what we understand about the world is as much a privilege as it is a challenge!
But eventually there came a time when I was being asked the same questions over and over by the people for whom I was doing the research, and I realised that either people were dumb or scientists were really bad at explaining what they did – or a bit of both!
No matter how much I might want to, I can’t do anything whether people understood what scientists are doing because of their education (or whatever) but I can do, and I choose to, do a very great deal about how well scientists can explain things. I set up presentation genius with the explicit intent of making it easier for scientists and other researchers to explain what they do in ways that people understand.
(I’ve since broadened my clientele to people who’re similarly technically very good at what they do but not so good at talking about it.)
And honestly? My background is what makes what I do different from most presentations trainers. I don’t faff about with “do like I do”. I just go for the research evidence of what works most for most people in the real world.