Presentation Genius Manifesto

A manifesto for a training company? Really? Pretentious much?

Why are better presentations important?

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. 😉

My 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 I live that manifest? The three Es in a bit more detail

I live and die by the three Es. It took a long time to make them all start with E, so pay attention! It’s what makes me different in terms of style. I don’t do “nicey nicey” opinion. I do hardcore fact-based improvements to your presentations – (though we’ll usually do that nicely! 😉 )

Simon Raybould - presentations trainer

Evidence – the tools and techniques I use for your presenting have been scientifically researched and proved to work. I go back to the original research, because I can.

I don’t work on ‘just our experience’ even though I’m hugely experienced. This is because what works for me might only work for me. I’ve 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. (Not only have we read the research, we’ve listened to the professor who did it!)

Engagement – I 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 is fun though, 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 my clients get the same opportunities and the same type of feedback/help, regardless of more or less everything. Actually that’s not quite true. But almost… it’s as true as I can realistically make it.

Okay, 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, I can teach you how to handle that!).

I might not be right for you – and that’s fine – if you get in touch, I might even point you to someone that’s a better fit (after all, there are lots of presentations trainers around and most of us talk to each other!). I’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 I’ll stick my neck out and make you a promise. If you don’t think working with me is worthwhile, it’s free.

Click here to drop us a line if you want better presentations from you or your team.

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!

There's science to making good presentations

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.

What am I like personally?

Let me sit you down in the back room of my local cafe and chat, with wine! 🙂