Resources for Trainers and Presenters
What follows is a list of our favorite resources for trainers or presenters who want to improve their standup delivery skills. (Of course, our own products are at the top, but there's lots of other useful information here as well.)
We'll be updating this list frequently, so check back from
time to time to see what's new.
(the training program)
(the training program)
(the PowerPoint presentation)
The American Society for Training and Development (www.astd.org)
Ellen Dowling has been a member of ASTD for over 117 years (or at least it seems that way!). She likes to say that everything she learned about the training profession she learned from ASTD. (Before ASTD, she was a university professor who had no idea how to teach "adults.") ASTD conferences and monthly meetings (both local and international) offer participants a wealth of opportunities to learn, network, and grow as training and development professionals. If you're in the training field and you're not a member of ASTD, you're missing out.
The International Society for Performance Improvement (www.ispi.org)
Same comments as for ASTD, above. A most worthwhile and useful organization to belong to. (Ellen belongs to both in Albuquerque.)
The Thiagi Group (www.thiagi.com)
Ellen had the distinct pleasure of attending a session with Thiagi (his full name is about 5 times as long) at an ASTD conference some years back. Not only is he a hoot and a half in person, but his web site is just loaded with great stuff to make any presentation or training session effective and entertaining. There are dozens and dozens of games and activities that you can use at no cost. From Thiagi's home page: "Come play with us! We'll have you laughing and learning." Who could resist that invitation?
Anything by Edward R. Tufte (www.edwardtufte.com)
Edward R. Tufte has written seven books, Ellen's personal favorite of which is The Quantitative Display of Visual Information, in which Tufte asserts, "Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space." Don't even THINK about designing a PowerPoint presentation without consulting Tufte first! (On the other hand, don't even MENTION PowerPoint in Tufte's presence. To see how much he despises that particular medium, check out his essay, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, where he opines, "PowerPoint will not do for serious presentations.")
Are you looking for stories and anecdotes to spice up your presentation?
Check out Joe Griffith, editor, Speaker’s Library of Business Stories, Anecdotes, and Humor (Prentice-Hall, 1990). Amazon.com’s synopsis: “From Vince Lombardi's inspiring talk on commitment to hilarious one‑liners about honesty, here's a collection of both fresh and classic stories, quotes, analogies and examples that will add punch and vividness to any business speaker's repertoire.”
Another source for amazing-but-true stories is Randy Cassingham’s e-mail newsletter, This is True, available by subscription at www.thisistrue.com. They have also begun a companion site, called Heroic Stories (www.HeroicStories.com), which contains stories that many Orators and Preachers will find useful.
We get a kick out of true stories about real idiots. If you’re like us (we hope you are), then you’ll definitely need to become a subscriber to Scott Adams’ Dilbert Newsletter. You can sign up for the free Dilbert Newsletter automatically at http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/dnrc/. Then you, too, can gather Dogbert’s “True Tales of In-Duh-viduals” to use in your presentations.
And don’t forget to use the Web as a primary resource for collecting stories and anecdotes. For example, some years back we found a collection of travel horror stories (entitled “Travelers Find Giggles in Their Travails”) on USA Today’s web site (www.usatoday.com). Here is a sample:
From Jeanette Eatherly, New Orleans:
I was running through Chicago’s O’Hare to make a flight when I came upon a smiling, young male security attendant. I hurriedly explained that I have a pacemaker, expecting to be waved around the rope barrier and patted down by a female attendant. (I’d been advised that passing through the X-ray detector could affect the pacemaker’s settings.) Instead, he looked at me and asked, “Do you have it with you?”