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Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

Mini-Van or Ferrari for Presenters?

To go shopping, would you use a minivan or Ferrari? What if you were going to race? The choice is a no-brainer. Yet when speaking publicly, many of us want to take a minivan when we should be gearing up to drive a Ferrari. The Role of Adrenaline in Peak Performance Driving a Ferrari takes…
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Be Honest! Are You a Facilitator or Trainer?

Be honest! You can really confuse your participants if YOU aren’t clear which role you are playing…trainer or facilitator?

“Information Only” Presentations Don’t Exist

Do you think your data should speak for itself? Guess what, it doesn’t. These two presentation tips ensure that your audience cares about your message.

Elevate Your Training! Assessing Training Skills in Your Organization

I have been fascinated with the question “What makes a great trainer (or adult educator)”? for years. Through exploring research, examining my own practice, and evaluating hundreds of other trainers, I formulated a set of effective training behaviors. I used these behaviors as the basis for an assessment tool called Elevate Your Training! Assessing Training…
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Great Presenting: Enthusiasm or Entertainment?

Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. —Douglas MacArthur Teacher enthusiasm has long been identified as a behavior that positively effects student learning (Carlise & Phillips, 1984). However, with electronic devices competing for participants’ attention, should trainers and presenters strive not for enthusiasm, but instead to be more entertaining? It…
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Presentation Disaster Zone: A True Story

Who wants to feel exposed and inept in front of an audience? No one! Yet recently, I observed a presenter obviously wish she could disappear…all for the lack of a sound check. This speaker had plenty of important content to deliver. The press was buzzing and there was excitement in the room. She was introduced,…
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The Myth of the Facilitator

Here’s a pet peeve of mine: Adult educators who call themselves “Facilitators”…and then go on to give a traditional, one-sided, PowerPoint-heavy training session. I estimate that 87.5% of trainers who call themselves “facilitators” are lying. Why? Because they model few skills of facilitation. Well Then, What is a Facilitator? A facilitator is content-neutral. Because of…
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Not Just Your Grandmother’s Pun!

My grandma was “word-clever” almost until the day she died. I especially remember her corny puns and plays on words, which made me both laugh and groan. Researchers Alan Seidman, of Johnson and Wales University, and Stephen C. Brown, of the University of Alaska, say “Puns are a humorous way to get adult learners to…
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Get ‘Em Moving!

Anyone who jogs regularly will tell you that they feel sharper both emotionally and mentally after a run. But did you know that when you exercise also “pumps up” learning? The science is clear. Not only can exercise work at least as well as antidepressants to improve moods, it improves people’s learning ability. One recent…
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The “I Don’t Feel Like Me” Blues

Have you taken a presentation skills course with me (Guila) and found yourself feeling strange, even “fake” as you practice unfamiliar behaviors? You may remember hearing my prompts during the session. They include: Use the Magic Circle! Own the Real Estate! Drop the Figleaf! Sternum Up, Shoulders Down! and even Show Your Body! Sometimes, my…
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Sabotaging Yourself as a Speaker

Recently, I had the honor to be an audience member instead of a presenter. By watching instead of doing, I got the opportunity to re-assess my beliefs about what makes speakers effective. Here’s what I noticed: 5 Ways Speakers Sabotage Themselves Mechanistic Movement I’ll be honest here. I’ve only noticed a case of “robot-arms” this…
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When a Trainer Is a Presenter: Five Top Platform Skills

Great trainers must be great presenters as well. I believe that participants learn most from highly active classes that imbed great design and content. However, I also know that the trainer’s presentation skills can help or hinder learning. What are Platform Skills? Platform skills are presentation behaviors that a trainer uses to transmit content effectively.…
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FEAR, Revisited: Manage Your Presentation Nerves!

Do your hands sweat at the mere idea of public speaking? Does your stomach flip-flop, your mind go blank? Four guidelines from professional speaking coaches will help. 1. Don’t hate your nerves. Remember that your goal is NOT to overcome fear. Your goal is to deliver an effective message. When you invest yourself fully in…
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Which Is More Important? How You Design or How You Present?

After observing trainers for years, I realized one counter-intuitive, yet powerful, truth. Design (the way you organize your training session or presentation) often trumps “how” you present it in terms of effectiveness. That is, the rational, linear, and creative planning you used to develop your session may ensure your success MORE than the way you…
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Embracing “Figleaf”

Oh, if only I could advocate Figleaf, since it’s the favorite position of many of my clients. In my fantasy scenario, after giving Figleaf the thumbs up, I could also wholeheartedly endorse holding hands in pockets. locking hands in an “I’m handcuffed” position behind the body. fiddling with hair and clothing. I can only imagine…
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