Don’t Bulldoze the Presentation; Won’t Get You a Good Rating

BulldozeDon’t bulldoze your presentation.

As a virtual and in-person trainer and Hall of Fame keynote speaker, I have certainly seen my share of virtual training sessions that have fallen flat. It is not necessarily a problem with the speaker, but with the speaker’s inability to change from the in-person dynamic to the smaller screen.

At Virtual Training Associates, we have long noted that delivering a virtual presentation is not a scaled-down in-person type of instruction, especially when dealing with the subjects that we present: corporate ethics, sports ethics, sexual harassment and abuse issues.

Change the Presentations, don’t “Bulldoze” Them

One common flaw in making the switch to virtual training, is that trainers tend to bulldoze the material i.e., they are bound and determined to present, uninterrupted, for an hour or more at a time – no matter what.

To no one’s surprise, the bulldozing technique not only fails to get material across, but drop-out rates skyrocket.

When I present in-person, I have the experience to hold an audience in attention for 45 minutes to an hour or more. I would never attempt that with virtual training. At most, 20 minutes at a time is about the maximum time length of what one can expect from a virtual audience. In addition, if the presentation is not technically perfect or of a high production quality, it will dramatically accelerate the failure of the virtual session.

In an in-person keynote and/or training session, the best of speakers are able to move about, gesture, engage or repeat points for the audience in an extemporaneous fashion. A good speaker can take cues from the audience. Such is mostly impossible for a virtual speaker. Therefore, virtual presenters should think about using humor or tables or videos or any other devices to engage the audience. Take it to the cloud. Leveraging a cloud-based virtual training platform provides a realistic and reusable hands-on learning environment as well as flexible cloud resources that mean you’ll have the ability to scale up or down to meet demand while saving costs.


One Size Does Not Fit All

It is important to remember that making a successful presentation to “Group A,” does not mean that “Group B,” even in the same industry will be as receptive. Presentations must be tailor-made to each audience. While I might be asked, for example, to give a virtual class on ethics to the sales department and then the manufacturing department of a pharmaceutical company, it would be foolhardy to present the same material in the same way.

This speaks to the idea of engagement. I do not favor “blind presentations” where I cannot see or interact with my audience. A two-way interaction is always much more desirable than talking into the void. As much as possible, a good virtual trainer should strive to control the environment and not let the environment control you. To that end, a good virtual trainer should always strive for feedback. There are many ways to do this, if nothing else texts, email, Q&A sessions, but whatever the methodology of the feedback, it must be enabled, even if after the fact.

I should also add that given what Virtual Training Association instructs, corporate ethics, sports ethics, sexual harassment and abuse, I must always strive to reinforce the material. Without determining if the material is retained, the results are not to be taken for granted. While an in-person presentation might have such feedback in real-time, a virtual trainer could be in the dark if they don’t “demand” feedback of the audience and themselves.

Virtual presentations must be tweaked from any in-person material. It is not wise to rest on laurels or make assumptions. Make no mistake that virtual training is an art-form of sorts. It must be practiced and honed. To that end, we should never regard virtual training as stop-gap. Far after the pandemic is over, it will remain a vital, integral part of the training process. It must be valued in and of itself so don’t bulldoze.



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