“Please… don’t do these”
Updated: Mar 5, 2022
I facilitated a program last month which consisted of sessions delivered by various speakers. Wearing the hat of a trainer, especially as a presentation trainer, there were a few moments which I almost could not help to intervene. Let me share these with you so that we can avoid them in the future:
Comparing the participants 'down' - One speaker started his session by asking a few questions. Whilst the questions were not 'easily-answerable' questions (I shall discuss more in the future posts on the topic of 'easily-answerable' questions), the participants were not very responsive - there were moments of silence. The speaker then made some unnecessarily-damaging comment along the line 'You guys in Shanghai are quiet. I were in Shenzhen last week. Your colleagues in Shenzhen were much more active." Together with his tone, it was obvious that he was comparing the participants down as compared to their counterparts in the south!! Big No-No!! No one likes to be lectured on 'what I did wrong', especially when there was no precise right or wrong in that case - 'what is wrong if I do not speak up' . In particular, you do not want lecture them especially since you want their cooperation in your presentation!!
Act like their bosses - There was another speaker who just shouted, pointed her finger and ordered the participants to answer questions. Well, this is another to-do if you want to shut people down. Arguably, you can do it if you are really... the boss.... but still... I consider it undesirable. My philosophy is that you should consider all presentation to be a sales presentation. In other words, you have to win people over, no matter what your position are. Well, your (senior) position can win over the participants' bodies (in being there), but not their heart to really absorb and carry out the messages you try to get across!!