Our client is an international consultancy, which regularly runs events where the team deliver presentations, workshops and webinars on the latest developments and trends in their sector. These events are attended by clients and contacts across the globe.
The company’s events coordinator – Manchester-based Abbie Venables – wanted to improve the experience for delegates. Abbie coordinates the organisation’s internal and external events (including conferences, workshops, webinars and exhibitions) across Europe, North America and the APAC region.
Presenters at the events are from among her colleagues. While they are of course subject matter experts, Abbie identified that training in presentation and public speaking would enhance their message delivery.
Abbie also had opportunities to present but found her nerves were hampering her own performance.
As an aspiring actress, Abbie was confident in performing on stage but her confidence fell away when asked to present in a work situation. She puts these nerves down to a particular event, that happened when she was at university while studying for her politics and human geography degree.
“I had a huge opportunity to go to a summer camp in the States with 300 other young people interested in sustainable development. At the end, we got to go to the United Nations to present our idea for a project. I was among four who had to present before a panel of experts and we had 30 minutes to come up with a pitch on a new project they’d briefed us on. I got up on stage and just forgot everything, even the name of the charity I was supposed to be pitching about.
“Until then I had never thought of myself as a nervous person, but I dried up and that experience has stayed with me. I found that the ability to perform in musical theatre did not translate at all to a presentation. It’s a very different type of pressure.”
Our Managing Director, Chris Dawes, created two training modules for Abbie, which focused on improving her own public speaking and presentations skills and also how to pass these skills on to her colleagues.
As always, we videoed Abbie before and after the training, so she could see how much her performance and confidence had improved.
We addressed elements including:
We were able to support Abbie in learning how to cascade her knowledge to her colleagues. We covered how she could help them put together a presentation, run practical training exercises, and cope with nerves.
Our sessions with Abbie were delivered face-to-face before lockdown, and then remotely via Zoom once the restrictions came in, and she successfully achieved her CPD accreditation in executive communication, public speaking and presentation training.
Ahead of a conference, Abbie coached four of their graduate recruits in presentation and public speaking, taking them through the process.
The results were remarkable. The training made a significant difference to their performance. They found having someone they could bounce ideas off, and who could help guide their presentation and delivery, made the impact on the audience much more effective.
Abbie has just started working with her second cohort of graduates and will conduct a third wave of training in January.
The consultancy has also seen the difference in Abbie’s performance and is asking her to step up to new opportunities, which she feels confident to tackle.
“Ever since I had the training with Chris I am totally up for any new opportunities – before I would have said ‘no thank you’!” said Abbie.
“The experience also taught me that there is a difference between simply practising and having an actual process to go through from start to finish. It made me realise there is so much more to public speaking than simply standing there and speaking. It’s all about the relationship with the audience, and it’s a two-way process.”
If you want to empower your team with CPD accredited presentation and public speaking skills, we can help by offering training which can be cascaded down, via our ‘train the trainer’ scheme. To talk to us about presentation and public speaking skills, please get in touch with the team here at Open Dawes Training.
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