Slide for Encouraging Audience Participation

Most often, good ethics trainers will want to come across as authority figures. This is one reason why even if your audience is wearing summer casual, you may want to wear a coat and tie. In special situations, trainers may benefit by coming across more modestly. For example, some audiences may have significant knowledge of a topic. The instructor may believe it best to encourage audience contributions. Here’s a slide I developed to help in situations like this. I supplement it with this explanation.

This classic photo shows education assumptions from years ago. You’ve got one guy in front that’s supposed to know all the answers, and a lot of passive students soaking up all the wisdom.

I’m not sure that paradigm was ever completely accurate, and I know it’s not accurate here today. Some people in this room have lots more experience with these issues than I do. Let’s take advantage of it. This should be a discussion, not a lecture. Let’s hear comments, corrections and additions from the audience. That will make this hour more valuable for everybody—and I look forward to learning some things.

Like it? Steal it.

Eat Until 80% Full

Presentation Zen has some thoughts on keeping our audiences wanting more:

Japanese have a great expression concerning healthy eating habits: Hara hachi bu. Hara hachi bu means “Eat until 80% full” (literally, stomach 80%). This is excellent advice and it’s pretty easy to follow this principle in Japan as proportions are generally much smaller than in places like the US. Using chopsticks also makes it easier to avoid shoveling food in and encourages a bit of a slower pace.

 Here are some ways to implement the idea:

Hara hachi bu is one simple principle that can help you have a much healthier life. It’s also a principle that can be applied to the length of speeches, presentations, and even meetings, etc. My advice is this: no matter how much time you are given, never ever go over time, and in fact finish a bit before your allotted time is up. How long you go will depend on your own unique situation at the time but try to shoot for 80-90% of your allotted time. No one will complain if you finish with a few minutes to spare. The problem with most presentation is that they are too long, not too short. Performers, for example, know that the trick is to leave the stage while the audience still loves you and don’t want you to go, not after they have had enough and are “full” of you.

In Western terms, “Less Is More.”

“Ignite”: Enlighten Your Audiences at HyperDrive Speed

Would you like to shake up your audiences–in a good way?

Picking up the pace is one way, and the Ignite format takes it into overdrive:

Promoted under the slogan, “Enlighten us, but make it quick,” Ignite is a presentation format where a presenter speaks while slides advance automatically to support them. An Ignite presentation is exactly 5 minutes, and contains exactly 20 slides. The slides advance automatically after each slide is displayed for 15 seconds.

With fixed timing and clear constraints, the Ignite style is suitable for many situations, including classroom presentations, Toastmasters meetings, and both corporate and conference events.

Won’t fill up the time allotted for the training session? Complement the Ignite training with other types of training like teacher-led discussion, a video, a game, other Ignite sessions by you or co-trainers. Shake things up, make it fun.

The Ignite website will help you get started.

Tips for Training Senior Executives

Do you conduct separate ethics training sessions for senior managers? It’s a great idea if you can arrange for it. Managers have some special needs when it comes to learning about ethics. has some good tips in an article entitled How to Present to the Senior Executive Service – Promising Practices – Management. Here are my two favorites:

Bring your “Aha” moment to the front: You’ve spent months on research and preparation, and you want to end the presentation with a big finish. “In summary, we suggest…!” Although that approach is good in theory, surprises aren’t effective in practice. If you blow them away right up front, it will spur questions in their mind and they will be eagerly listening to your presentation for answers.

Rehearse: You’re a seasoned professional with 15 years of experience; you don’t need to rehearse, right? Wrong! The most articulate and persuasive orators rehearse their speeches and anticipate questions from the audience. The idea that you can be a natural public speaker is overblown and simply not true. Get ahead of the curve, and rehearse your presentation.

Kennedy/Mighell Podcast Series on Presentation Skills

Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell are leading lawyers who have shared their knowledge for a number of years with the  Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast on the Legal Talk Network. Their newest project? A series of three podcasts on presentation skills for lawyers:

  1. Presentation Tips for Legal Professionals
  2. Panel Presentation Pointers for Legal Professionals
  3. Webinar Presentation Pointers for Legal Professionals

Of course, this type of instruction is just as relevant to ethics trainers. Check it out.