How Bob Pike Would Help An SME Out Of A Jam

On Monday, I put out a desperate plea, seeking advice for an SME who had a tough time in the preparation and delivery of a presentation (click here to see the full post). Training legend Bob Pike read the case study and decided to weigh in on this particular situation. Following is what he suggested.

Agree? Disagree? Have other ideas? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

“Here are questions I would ask in order to respond to the situation:

1. How many in the audience?

2. Are they all eye doctors?

3. Why did they need this presentation?

4. What is the outcome of the presentation supposed to be?

5. Why were you asked to do this presentation? What do you bring that is unique?

Then, given that it is only 30 minutes and that there is probably a huge amount of expertise in the audience I might approach it this way:

1. I’ve given each of you a piece of paper. Working with a partner you have two minutes to draw an eyeball and label as many parts of it as possible. Begin. At the end of two minutes I would say, “familiarity doesn’t mean competence.”

2. Then, I would allow them two minutes to confer with those around them and add/subtract/correct anything they want to.

3. I would the use this as a springboard into pulling from them the anatomy starting from macro to micro, maybe with a large poster of the eye rather than a PowerPoint just to change it up.

One thing we constantly talk with our trainers about is having at least two ways to present each piece of content so that we are not dependent on technology.”

Bob Pike CSP, CPAE, CPLP Fellow, MPCT

Chairman Emeritus/Founder, The Bob Pike Group

Founder/Editor, The Creative Training Techniques Newsletter

Past Chairman of the Executive Board – Lead Like Jesus

The Voice: A Model for Effective Facilitation

The other night while my wife was distracted, I stole the TV remote and tuned in to The Voice. She asked why I’ll watch The Voice when I don’t watch American Idol or other similar shows. I had to think about it for a moment.

It is true, The Voice is one of the guilty pleasures I’ll indulge in when my day is done. But why? It’s the only show I can think of on TV in which power is dispersed all over the place. Judges decide who stays during the “blind audition” phase. Contestants often have the opportunity to choose which judge they will work with. Judges can “steal” contestants. Viewers can decide the fate of contestants.

And of course, as I reflected on this further, my one-track mind began to see a metaphor for the ideal training situation. Power between the facilitator and the attendees should have a similar ebb and flow.

Instead of facilitators taking on the role of a Simon Cowell-like sage-on-the-stage, holding all the wisdom and answers that matter, the facilitator needs to be willing to return power to the attendees – inviting their participation through discussion, small group interactions, even “boomeranging” questions from the group back to the rest of the audience.

To me (and plenty of other viewers), The Voice is fun to watch because the power dynamics are in a constant state of flux, and the audience has a say in who wins.

When it comes to your next presentation, I think there are two guiding questions:

  1. How predictable (boring) will the power dynamics be in the room?
  2. Will your audience have a say in how things turn out?

Think someone else could appreciate the metaphor between The Voice and the training room? Pass this post along!

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