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Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

Blog Posts to Boost Your Skills

Focus on the Uncommitted in Your Audience

Presenters, do you fear waves of animosity coming from your audience? Or have you ever believed your audience to be friendly and accepting, only to receive a terrible shock? One of the best “Presenter Tricks” I know is to present as if everyone in your audience is “uncommitted”. Doing so allows you to effectively deal…
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How to Get People Involved in Training?

What’s the best way to assure your training participants groan inwardly and “turn off” the first second you open your mouth? Simply by following conventional wisdom about how to open a training session: introduce yourself and provide your credentials. Instead, generate curiosity, interest and motivation from the outset. Use a “Hook” before introducing yourself. Three…
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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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Presenters, Love Your Struggles

If you’re like me, sometimes it’s hardest to love and accept yourself when you make a mistake. I was shocked when, years ago, a Presentation Skills client started an “anti-self” diatribe with the words “I condemn myself for…” I had never heard someone treat themselves with such harshness…at least out loud. WHY do we presenters,…
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Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Annoying Cliche or Truth?

I occasionally surprise myself by uttering the cliché above while encouraging a shy person to improve their presentation skills and confidence. I used to secretly kick myself for using such a hackneyed phrase—until I read Richard Wiseman’s great book, “As If.” In it, he cites dozens of studies showing that if we act a certain…
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Using The “Six Limbs” of Facilitation to Make Meetings Work

Understanding the “six limbs” of facilitation will help you juggle meeting dynamics better. What Are the “Six Limbs?” A facilitator needs to keep six avenues of awareness open to facilitate effectively. Awareness of the “six limbs” is a kind of hyper-awareness that we don’t tend to need during other parts of our lives. This hyper-awareness…
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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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