Last night was the AGM of the Lancashire Branch of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). As I'm a committee member, I attended the meeting, part of which was a short presentation by Chris Kelly of Voiceworks. His topic was 'Making an Impact' and Chris's background in acting and radio journalism gave him a unique slant on a well-established topic. Often, effective training is not in what you say but how you say it, and Chris took some familiar aspects of presenting powerfully and provided new insights through his creative and engaging style. Using a spectrum of 'expressiveness' he was able to highlight differences in presenting styles but also how the roles of presenter and audience move further apart over the course of a presentation - unless the presenter takes corrective action. He dealt deftly with both internal factors and behaviours that can affect the impact someone is having. A few simple exercises provided immediate benefits; for example an activity which required the talker to say out loud 'I pause and I breathe' at the end of each sentence, quickly showed how 'Ums' and 'Ahs' could be eliminated, sentences shortened and overall a more powerful impact could be achieved. This was all done with great humour (and skill) and judging by the audience's reaction he was modelling what he advocated.
Underlying his approach is the idea that if the impact of a presentation is constructed between talker and receiver, then it is more helpful for the presenter to think about the impact he/she wants on the audience, rather than the other way round (which is what leads to nervousness and stress). You can find out more about Voiceworks at:
For more on CIPD Lancashire branch click on the following link. They put on some really good workshops (Check the previous blog post about Tony Whalley of Achieve Dynamics).