Everybody in the organisation benefits from knowing how to present effectively. It’s one of today’s critical skills. Why? Because presenting with clarity and persuasiveness brings in new business, builds valuable relationships and motivates teams.
Once you’ve decided that your people need presentation training, selecting the right training provider can be a daunting task. They all look great on paper, but can they deliver the presentation training that you envision for your employees? And, will the training lead to the results you expect?
In this article, we’ll dissect the attributes that differentiate a great presentation training provider from a good one. You’ll learn the 8 questions to ask and the red flags to look out for.
What should a provider bring to the table?
When investing in presentation training, don’t settle for “good enough”. Instead, look for the attributes of a great training provider.
Addresses the different problems at each level
Junior staff might struggle to stay calm and confident during Q&A, while senior managers look for ways to be more persuasive. Different levels of your organisation will naturally have dissimilar skill levels and grapple with their own distinctive issues. A great provider is aware of these diverse challenges and addresses them with tailored solutions.
Cares about more than just delivery skills
Many professionals mistakenly believe that presentations are just about delivery. But the more experienced ones know that merely improving delivery skills will not make a substantial difference in the quality of communication in your organisation. The issues run deeper. A great provider addresses all aspects of a presentation, such as the underlying structure, the preparation process, and the audience analysis.
Provides practical tools
You want your staff to use newly-learned tools and techniques at work every day. A great presentation training provider will support your learners with practical tools for easy workplace use. For example, we provide all participants of our The Case Maker™ programme with a full manual that they can fall back on, and Clarity Boards which serve a cheat sheet for whenever they prepare for a presentation.
Employs trainers with the right skills and experience
The material of the programme itself is crucial, but for your participants to understand and internalise the concepts, it has to be delivered effectively. Trainers can make or break a presentation training programme. Great providers have trainers who are specialists in presentation skills.
Adapts the programme to your needs
A generic one-size-fits-all training programme will neither engage your learners, nor will it deliver the results you want. Great presentation training providers will make a serious effort to understand your specific needs and adapt their programmes accordingly. The best providers can even adjust the design on the spot to cater for mixed levels in the class and unexpected situations that will inevitably arise.
Offers post-training reinforcement
Learning is rarely a single event. As much as 90% of what your staff learn in training is forgotten within a month if no conscious effort is made to retain it. To help your people change behaviours and apply newly-formed skills, a great presentation training provider will offer a solution to keep learners engaged even after the classroom training has concluded. For example, all of our programmes come with an effective training reinforcement solution.
8 questions to ask when selecting a presentation training provider
Whether you are just developing your short-list or are already meeting with potential providers, certain questions can help you make the right choice.
1. What makes them qualified?
Most training providers speak well, get along with people easily, and have charisma. These are common traits in the profession, but they don’t guarantee great training programmes that effectively teach your employees what they need. Question where their trainers have been trained and by whom. Have they won any notable industry awards, such as the HR Vendors of the Year Award, that underscore their abilities?
2. Do they have an understanding of the challenges your people face?
Some trainers specialise in a specific field and stay within those limits to develop true expertise. Unfortunately, many don’t and may be tempted to re-use concepts, material and stories in the various courses they teach, with only superficial changes made to slides and handouts. When looking for a provider, probe them for their understanding of your challenges, as well as for their commitment to achieving the outcomes you want.
3. What aspects of presentations do they teach?
A great presentation relies on much more than good delivery skills. Here is a selection of topics that professional presentation training could cover:
- How to analyse the audience and use these insights to craft the presentation.
- How to structure a presentation.
- How to frame and justify a proposal.
- How to sequence a presentation from first to final words.
- How to use slides effectively in different types of presentations.
- How to handle questions confidently.
- How to remain calm and composed when under pressure.
4. What results have they produced?
Ask about their experience and track record. Who are their current clients, and what successes have they achieved for them? How long have their trainers been training and, in particular, how long have they been training the specific programme that you are interested in?
Just as everyone has a first job, every training provider has a first run, a first client, a first year in the business. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not good. What’s important is that they’re honest with you about it and prove that they can deliver the learning and behaviour change that you are looking for in your participants.
5. What types of presentations do they teach?
Professionals are faced with a variety of situations: Presenting upwards, downwards, or laterally requires different approaches. Check with the provider for which kind of presentations their methodology is applicable. Here are some of the common types of presentations:
- Presenting reports
- Proposals to senior management
- Reports and proposals to boards
- B2B sales
- Town Halls
6. Do they customise their programmes to your organisation and target audience?
You don’t want a one-size-fits-all training with case studies and examples that are irrelevant to your participants. Instead, you’re looking for a presentation training solution that’s connected to your organisation’s needs and challenges. This means that the provider needs to understand your target audience well and provide the right trainers to match your requirements. For example, your senior managers will require a senior trainer with sufficient depth, breadth and experience in delivering high-level presentations.
7. Do they provide a post-training reinforcement solution?
To be effective, most training need a system that reinforces learning, increases retention, and provides HR with insights into each employee’s attempts at applying the new knowledge and skills at the workplace. Ask the provider how you’ll know that your staff are implementing the new skills a month, or three months after the training. They should be able to provide you with a concrete plan to guarantee the post-training application.
8. Do they have your best interests at heart?
This is a tricky question. How do you find out if a training provider only wants your business or if they are genuinely interested in helping your staff succeed? Look out for the level of professionalism. Some providers will try to get your business at all costs.
On the other hand, a great provider will tell you to look for someone else if a project doesn’t fit with their strengths. Similarly, they will push back if they believe an idea of yours is not the best course of action and provide you with an alternative.
What are the red flags?
When speaking with different providers, watch out for these red flags that will show you that this particular one might not be the right option for you:
- The trainer’s own presentation and facilitation skills are less than strong.
- They propose one presentation training solution for all levels of your organisation.
- Their methodology focuses solely on delivery skills.
- They provide only Level 1 evaluations when prompted to show results of their training.
- They offer only a standalone programme without post-training reinforcement component to guarantee behaviour change.
The next time you need a presentation training provider, look out for the mentioned attributes and ask them the 8 crucial questions. When all are answered to your satisfaction, you can be confident that you have made a good choice.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for effective presentation training programmes delivered by an award-winning provider, then we have three excellent choices for you:
- The Case Maker™ Suite of programmes teaches your technical experts and managers the art of structured persuasive communication. It covers all skill levels and even includes a solution for teams.
- Presentations Alive!™ focuses on imparting fundamental skills – what many individual contributors and managers will need early in their careers.
- Think on Your Feet® teaches the crucial communication skills that make for successful projects and satisfied customers.
Get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs.