Advanced presentation skills at St James’s Place

Like a lot of organisations that believe in development, St James’s PlacePlace has sent its people on their fair share of presentation skills courses and workshops. But they wanted something different and better, which is why they called in Laughology.

We delivered our advanced presentation skills training to 15 of their support teams and the feedback has been amazing.  The teams support the business’s financial advisors in many different ways and wanted creative fun ideas and techniques to engage people and facilitate meetings, learning workshops and online workshops.  This is where we came in. We delivered a full-day that consisted of:

  • Communication and presenting yourself
  • Delivering information in an engaging way
  • Working and facilitating challenging situations and people
  • Language and communication styles for content that resonate
  • Designing creative content and having fun with learning
  • Confidence and improvisation

At the end of the day delegates were tasked to bring together what they had learned and present it back in teams to the rest of their colleagues.

Traditional presentations are often boring. In a recent survey by Prezi, 46% of respondents admitted that they’ve been distracted during a co-worker’s presentation. Instead of watching the presentation they confessed to sending text messages, answering emails, checking social media and falling asleep. Creating and delivering a presentation that engages hearts and minds does take work and creativity, but pays in terms of engagement and career success.

So why should you work on your presentation skills?

  1. Fear of public speaking cuts wages by 10%
    According to research, those who fear public speaking make about 10% less, on average, than those who don’t. And that makes sense when you consider just how pervasive presentations are—from the boardroom to the pitch room and meetings, nearly every industry involves some form of speaking in front of groups.
  2. Fear of public speaking inhibits promotion to management by 15%
    A fear of public speaking makes it more difficult to be promoted to a management position. And even if you make it, it’s hard to perform well given how much group speaking is typically involved management roles.
  3. Your delivery matters more than your content
    According to research, what you say to an audience isn’t nearly as important as how you say it. Studies suggest that effective presentations are 38% your voice, 55% non-verbal communication, and only 7% your content. That means that you should spend even more time preparing your delivery than you do developing awesome content.
  4. Talk less to engage your audience more
    Research suggests that if a presenter does all the talking without giving the audience an opportunity to participate, then audience engagement drops by 14%. Therefore, take care to provide plenty of opportunities for your audience to ask questions, interact with you, and otherwise participate in your presentation.
  5. Adding facts and figures to a presentation increases audience retention by 20%
    Delivering information to your audience is one thing, ensuring they remember that information is quite another. If you want your audience to retain your content, then you should include facts and figures to back up your claims. Just be sure those facts and figures are presented in a way that’s engaging and visually compelling.

Some of the feedback from the course:

I just wanted to say thank you so much for your session yesterday. I’ve done a lot of presenting in the last five years since taking on this role but I got so much out of it.  I also oversee our Academy Workshop proposition which five of the guys in the PSM team deliver so I’m going to get us together to talk about how we can tweak the presentations to make them as interactive as possible.

Thanks again, it was superb!

I just wanted to personally say thank you. I found it really helpful and I’ll say again for the millionth time – your post-it note trick will save my life.

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