Case Study #1: The Expert
Arthur is an accounting specialist in his organization with over 15 years of experience. Because of recent changes in tax law, the organization will have to adjust how it reports and calculates certain expenses. Arthur has been assigned to give an office-wide training session to about 50 people. He has indicated that he has very little public speaking experience, and isn't that comfortable being the center of attention.
As we assess him, it quickly becomes obvious that Arthur knows his stuff. But his presentation is a little on the boring side. Even Arthur thinks it's boring! His words are clear, but his tone is monotonous. Also, he has arranged the material as a series of unconnected pieces of information.
Arthur needs a little help in structuring his material. He also needs some help coming out of his shell, so that when he speaks to the audience, it's more like he's telling his friends a story than presenting on tax law changes. Let's make a plan for five sessions.
“Build an Executive Summary”
First, let's work-up an introduction that gives the audience the context it needs. This will include: a little information about Arthur, what changes were enacted, why they were enacted, how the changes will affect the company, the risks of non-compliance, and what will be covered in the training.
Using the language of this summary, we will try some approaches to build Arthur's expressive toolkit. We work a range of vocal, physical, and emotional dynamics and see what feels comfortable. We'll also gently push some boundaries and see what we find.
Each teaching point Arthur needs to hit gets one sentence. Once we have identified each sentence, we will look for the best phrasing and examples. We will then work these phrases, again looking to widen Arthur's expressive toolkit.
Because this training involves changes to an existing practice, it should be easy to take the changes in the law and apply them to a hypothetical with which the audience is familiar. This application of the changes in law to a realistic situation may help the audience understand more easily.
Here, we'll look for some personal material for Arthur to use at the beginning of the session, meant to grab the audience from the get go.
“Q & A Rehearsal”
Since we are using some hypotheticals for Arthur's presentation and because the audience already has some familiarity with the topic, we'll look for ways for Arthur to draw-out the knowledge of his audience. This will help keep them interested.
“Putting it All Together”
This session is dedicated to running the entire presentation with stops and starts, as we make adjustments to language and style.
We run the presentation several times without stops, giving notes in between. Arthur can invite an audience for the final run, if he likes.