Guila Muir

Developing trainers, presenters and facilitators to make a difference

Which is More Important? How You Design or How You Present?

Businessman dressed like superhero thinking over whiteAfter 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 use your voice, hands, or body language.

Shocking! Isn’t using your charming personality enough? Isn’t it enough to “go with the flow,” enjoying your interactions with the audience (or just the sound of your own voice)?

When I’ve asked audience members how much they learn from flamboyant, charismatic speakers, I often hear “I really enjoyed the speaker. But once I thought about it, I realize I didn’t get anything out of the session.”

Three Magic Elements

So what about the opposite type of presenter? She may be severely introverted. She may even slouch and not make much eye contact. Of course, she, too, can ruin a session. BUT: if this presenter has:

  • Designed her session using a logical flow of information,
  • “Baked” interaction between the participants (not just with the presenter) into her design, and
  • Reduced her dependence on PowerPoint,

The chances are high that her participants will leave her session feeling grateful. They may not remember being “bowled over” by the speaker, but they will have gained practical knowledge or skills they can actually use.

The Role of Speaker Energy

An ounce of energy is worth a pound of technique. Roger Ailes

What is the one thing that would improve that second speaker’s delivery? The simplest ingredient is energy itself. All audiences respond to the level of energy a speaker exudes. That’s why some speakers have come to rely on energy alone.

First, you must build an extremely robust foundation. Do that by integrating the three elements above into your session’s design. Then rehearse your session, exuding a much higher level of energy than you would use in any other professional situation. Rehearse it out loud, several times. Maintain that same energy level each time.

When it’s “Showtime,” you will be amazed at the positive effect that your good design, combined with your high energy, has on your audience. They will remember YOU, and most importantly, they will remember your message.

Want more tips to improve your speaking self? Learn about Guila Muir’s Presentation Skills Workshop.

Guila Muir is a premiere trainer of trainers, facilitators, and presenters. Since 1994, she has helped thousands of professionals improve their training, facilitation, and presentation skills. Find out how she can help transform you from a boring expert to a great presenter:


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