I announced a class that was to be given by Andy Warren of End to End Training earlier this week. I just got home from it. I must say that I was very impressed and found several areas that I need to improve in my own presentations. The attendees ranged from those who have never spoken in front of an audience before, to people like me who have a decent background speaking. However, I would suggest that speakers of ANY level take this class, or another like it.
Even though I am already presenting various topics fairly regularly, and speaking to members of the ODUG on a monthly basis, I still thought there was plenty that I could learn. I subscribe to the belief that no one knows everything on any given topic. I also have learned through leadership training that in order to achieve your goals as a leader, one of the most important leadership principles are, “know yourself and seek self improvement.” This class is an example of one of the many ways that I seek to accomplish my goal of self improvement.
As it turns out, there is plenty I don’t know. While I am not a professionally paid speaker, I am certainly not a novice one. Andy’s class opened my eyes to many things that are easy things to do, but I had either forgotten about, didn’t think about, or didn’t know to begin with. For example, I am not currently remarketing myself at the end of my slide deck. I am also not putting enough time into backup plans for my demos. Another thing I don’t do is something I am simply not good at. I don’t rehearse properly, and all speakers should.
There was another reason though. Andy does an outstanding job during his presentations, so I really wanted to feed off of his brain to approach his level of expertise. Andy was clearly the deciding factor for my attendance.
Andy does a great job of focusing the class on the most important parts of speaking: the preparation, slide deck, and the demonstrations. He keeps us focused on worrying about the little things that we can control to avoid useless stress going into the presentation, and how to handle ourselves during and after the presentation. Things of this nature include outlining, bouncing ideas off of peers, addressing hecklers or presentation hijackers, maintaining confidence levels, and keeping the audience engaged.
The class began at 8:30 AM, and went on until just after 1:00 PM. We ended the class with preparing mock presentations, and speaking in front of our peers. We then would critique each other on the mini-presentation. It was a great exercise, as we were able to get people who haven’t felt the pressure from a presentation or heckler to do so. At the end of it all, it was clear that several of the attendees had undergone an extreme experience and felt some kind of kinship to one another. I was very surprised by this.
Overall, the class was a really great experience, and I would recommend that anyone who wants to speak or already does speak to attend one of Andy’s speaker training classes. They are FREE. Yes, I said FREE. Even if he began charging for this class, it would be worth it.