Trainer Resources – 4 Actions To Help You Avoid A Training Day from Hell – Protecting Yourself In The Classroom – by Matthew Hill

How can you prevent horrible feedback, crazy conflict and difficult delegate behaviour?

We have all been there. It starts with a funny feeling in your stomach and then a look or comment from one of the alphas in the room. What is happening? you ask. Am I loosing the room? Lunch is tense and then, there comes an excuse why a few people don’t give in their paper feedback forms at the end of the day. You leave feeling that you put in plenty of effort but that, somewhere along the way, you and the room parted company and were travelling along different roads.

Group Of Businesspeople Gossiping

Horrible Feedback is Horrible

The next day you receive a troubled E Mail from your L&D contact within the company or the provider who supplied you with the subcontract day. And it is all bad news from then on in.

There follows a list of your “crimes” and how negative and upset the room were. Etc. etc. etc.

STOP

It does not have to end like this. Let us make the classroom safe for you again with 4 simple actions…

  1. Rules of Engagement

I always offer up an agreement at the beginning of a training day, coaching or even a speaking engagement. It shows professionalism and represents a light negotiation with the audience where they have a chance to shape the experience they expect and sign up to some rules emotionally. Ultimately, they will get more from you and your session.

My favourite one is, “Be Teachable”. It sounds simple and is profound. Do they think they know this stuff already? Will they have strong opinions about your content? Have they been brainwashed with stereotypes and are poised to attack?

By asking them to take a fresh look and let the material in, you are setting up a space that will allow for maximum exchange with minimum conflict. (Civilised challenge is allowed and even encouraged – Not disruptive conflict.)

And, when we add, “Respect Each Other”, you are sending a deep message about honour and civilised behaviour that will sink into the unconscious minds of the tricky participants and so protect yourself by raising THEIR self- awareness.

  1. Facilitate more than Tell

In these modern times, spraying theory at bored pupils will no longer be accepted. The room now want their share of the microphone and to tell their story.

Interrupt less, correct less and listen more.

Listen at a deeper level and add constructive input at the end. No more death by detail, 75 word slides and learning by rote. Now we are flipping the classroom with interactive exercises and intelligent debriefing. The less you say the more the class will enjoy your session.

  1. Less Essentialist and More Co – Constructed.

I still meet Interculturalists who can’t wait to put flags all over bi-polar dimensions, talk about China and India as if they were homogenous monocultures and peddle sophisticated stereotype as if it where going to help a remote team or diverse group dealing with the stresses and strains of an urgent and important project.

Let us take some responsibility upon ourselves to keep up with the modern world.

  1. Your Authentic Story

Your delegate’s exposure to Social Media and Netflix box sets has whetted their appetite for compelling narrative (and it better be as real as possible.)

Converting your personal experience into useful stories that carry a transferrable wisdom is a great way to engage your audience, build rapport with the group and get them on your side.

Dig to find a relevant story and share it at the right moment. Not too long and told from a humble or witty perspective. Keep the story light, though the meaning may be deeper.

So, with these 4 tools, we can avoid the alpha challenge that signals the end of learning for the day and the start of an awkward defence of your training style and content.

Go save a life – Yours.

Good luck with your next group session…

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural trainer, coach and author.

Contact him at hillmatthew100@mac.com

 

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Leading Across Cultures in Practice – by Fernando Lanzer Book Review

How resolving our differences shapes our culture

This book represents an overview of the differences between national cultures, and how those differences influence people’s behaviour in business, management, and, in work situations in general. The book manages to develop beyond simple work etiquette and a list of “do’s and don’ts.” Rather, it looks at the underlying values that determine how managers deal with their direct reports, how people communicate at work, what is considered a priority and what tends to be put on the back burner according to each country culture. All of this is communicated in an easy style that is not too academic or technical.

Lanzer Book Cover

Lanzer starts with a panoramic description of the basic concepts describing culture and how interest in the topic has grown due to globalization. He focuses on five of Hofstede’s dimensions and explains why he stops there and leaves out the others.

The book contains a valuable resource for trainers and intercultural enthusiasts – 150 pages describing real-life practical examples gathered from six countries that represent different types of cultures: the US and UK (Anglo Saxon cultures), Germany (Germanic cultures), the Netherlands (Dutch-Scandinavian cultures), China (Asian cultures) and Brazil (African and Latin American cultures).

These sections contain relevant stories that are directly transferable, though they could be better balanced: the section on the United States is more extensive than the part covering the UK for example.

No book is perfect and another book on dimensions and essentialism is not on the top of anyone’s list for urgent reading. And this book does not present new research, new data, or anything moving beyond culture value dimensions as an approach to understanding culture.

Near the end of the book, the author addresses some of the critical issues often raised in discussions with workshop participants: the relationship between culture values and religion and the dilemmas that each culture seeks to resolve. Lanzer has some slick and functional answers and concludes that these dilemmas are universal: what differentiates one culture from another is the way they find to resolve their main, contrasting issues.

Who should read this book?

The book will be of special interest to those getting acquainted with the topic of culture and diversity, and who seek a plain speaking and clear approach to the culture dimensions model as introduced by Professor Geert Hofstede.

Amazon link to buy the book;

https://www.amazon.com/Leading-Across-Cultures-Practice-Fernando/dp/1977620574/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509106338&sr=8-1&keywords=Leading+Across+Cultures+in+Practice

About the Author

Author Lanzer

Fernando Lanzer Pereira de Souza is a Dutch Brazilian psychologist and consultant who worked in AMRO Banco Real in HR & L&D in Brazil.

He founded the leadership and OD consulting firm LCO Partners 10 years ago with his wife Jussara who is also a psychologist and consultant.

He travels the world servicing his clients and visiting his four daughters who live on different Continents. Fernando is a former member and Chair of AIESEC International’s Supervisory Group. He now sits on the Board of Trustees of ISA – the International School of Amsterdam.

Are You Just Too Busy? And is it Good Busy or Bad Busy?

When would NOW be a good time to start your personal Trainer / Coach / Academic / Student – Time / Work Quality revolution?

  1. The Good Busy test. How much of the following (honestly) applies to you?

“I am Good Busy. My schedule is packed with exciting trips and assignments taking place in desirable locations, working with and for kind, progressive and generous clients who seem to understand me, appreciate me and, specifically, understand my worth to them.

Effective Time Management

They provide a stimulating brief that I am excited to get my teeth into. The work has plenty of variety, suits my strengths and allows me to be fully expressed, in the zone and at my best as I execute the work that I love.”

Have we described your life perfectly? Or, the one that you wish to have in 2018?

  1. The Bad Busy test. When I am not filling in or scanning endless administrative forms, I seem to be trapped in other unpaid, repetitive and unrewarding chores. Either that or I feel duty bound to travel and fulfil my Mephistophelean contract of vast acres of underpaid, boiler plate assignments in grubby locations with cheap accommodation for an unappreciative audience that would far rather be anywhere else than there. My clients are Monolith factory sweatshops that deploy above average people to perform stressful, complicated and disjointed work for little result beyond task completion, urgency and the avoidance of an escalation that sparks the harsh tongue of a similarly stressed supervisor hovering above them, micromanaging the process.

Both 1. & 2. are, of course, an exaggeration. The point of showing you the above two paragraphs is to get you to feel something and recognise elements of WHAT YOU WANT and what you are stuck with and wish to ESCAPE.

The Symptoms –

*Does your heart race or sink when a new work order comes in?

*Do you ever feel ill or experience a mild panic attack on the way to work?

*Do you feel low on Sunday and drink too much on a Friday evening alongside your equally disenchanted colleagues?

*Has your description of what you do become more cynical when are asked about it socially?

What needs to change in 2018?

  1. Audit. I am often asked what is the key to happiness when in the middle of the upheaval of changing country and one thing I learnt years ago is that externally enforced relocation, reassignment or revolution is the perfect time to take stock of your situation and ask some profound questions of yourself…

*Who were you when you set out in the world of work?

*Are you still that person?

*What do you want your day job to be in 5 year’s time?

*What do you want your legacy / eulogy to be?

*What do you enjoy most in your work?

*What activity fills you with dread?

*Are you healthy / happy / fulfilled?

*Are you EARNING what you are worth?

*Is the output of your work good, neutral or evil?

And

*Are you giving out something via your job that is adding value to the broader human experience?

What can you Do?

  • Say “No!” – The breakthrough moment came for me working as a freelance trainer and coach many years ago when I started saying no to discounted work, unfulfilling assignments, crappy locations, unprepared clients and work that was meaningless, harmful or just a tick box exercise for a corporate customer.

    Better fees

    “No!”

Instantly my life improved. I felt rebellious, free and more in control of my content, my audience and my outcomes. My income went up, my spare time went up, my boredom, stress and frustration levels went down.

My question became, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

Upgrade Everything – If you increase the quality of every little thing you work on and create something whole that is exceptional, people will notice, your brand will become REMARKABLE and your place in the world will change.

+How can you turbo charge your product?

+What will take your service levels to a place that commands a premium price?

+How can you find the courage to ask for an OUTRAGEOUS fee and keep a straight face?

+How can you create a niche that you will own, dominate and FILL with value?

+How can you spend your time being Fully Expressed, utilising your value and being totally connected to your client, their objectives and your transformational talents?

Excited woman working at desk in office. Using antistress ball.

Conclusion – You get the life you tolerate, so maybe it is time to take action and raise your standards.

Action

If you have been affected by this blog post and want to start your year with a bang – Do feel free to drop me a line and we can have a 5-minute conversation. I would like to hear your story.

Matthew Hill culture trainer 07540659995

Call Matthew

Thanks and “bon chance” for 2018.

 

How do Chinese millennials travel differently? – By Felicia Schwartz

The world is changing

Chinese Millenials are defining travel as they account for nearly 60% of all outbound travelers and 93% of them consider traveling an important part of their identity. Millenials’ travel patterns are a reflection of who they are as a specific demographic group, different to their more conservative and thrifty elders ; They are more ‘hedonistic’ in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves and slightly less price sensitive. They are looking for meaningful, adventurous and exciting experiences. (GFK)

Chinese Millenials

International trips are predicted to rise by 25% over the next three years, while adventure trip, polar expeditions, and road trip travels are predicted to increase by 52%, 38%, and 75%, respectively. At present one in eight tourists to Antarctica is Chinese while Finland’s Lapland region last year recorded a record 92 % rise in overnight stays by Chinese visitors. Meanwhile Chinese demand for adventure travel is causing a shortage of skydiving instructors in New Zealand. Other adventures that Millenial independent travellers are interested in include zip-lining over Volcanos, riding in a hot air balloon, abseiling or caving, and tubing, water sledging or river surfing are top on the aquatic wish list (designhotpot.com)

 They are increasingly independent in their travels ; the 25-35 years olds tend to be semi independent ; traveling several times a year and planning some organized programs while keeping overall independent, 20 – 25 years olds travel by themselves and are open-minded about staying in hotels that might not cater for their specific cultural needs. The youngest contingent (18-20 years old) are willing to stay at hostels and backpacker-type accommodations. There is a growing search in this age group for “authenticity” and local experiences as they travel and discover the world.

They are hyper connected ; Young Chinese travelers are digitally savvy and highly involved in sharing experiences on social media platforms. 50% use travel booking sites (the three most popular being Ctrip, Qunar, and Tuniu) and they rely on review sites when planning their travels. When at their destination, WiFi is a key amenity for 63% of Chinese millennials surveyed and for 70% of 18 to 20-year-olds.

However, with all their differences. Millenials still need to be seen through the wider lense of the Chinese traveller. First of all, Chinese do travel more often than others in groups of 2 or even 3 generations. Cruise liners, for example, typically have to contend with Chinese guests that span several generations. This is when it becomes handy to focus on communalities such as food predilection and other dining habits as well as the ubiquitous love of shopping,

While nature and hiking as well as culture are on the rise as a travel motivation, amongst millenials, “good shopping experience “ still comes in third place as an overall reason to choose a destination.

It is also worth noting that the Eastern concept of service and hospitality is more hierarchical and service focused than it is in our Western egalitarian societies. In general, Chinese travellers do not really like to rough it. According to tour operators in Africa, while some Chinese travellers clamour for walking and canoeing safaris and request sleep-outs under the stars, mostly Chinese clients prioritize staying in comfortable accommodations, having the flexibility to choose if and when to go on an activity.

And just as Chinese millenials conform to certain wider Chinese cultural norms at the macro level, they also divide into specific sub groups when taken under the micro loop.

Author Profile – Felicia Schwartz

Felicia Schwartz

Felicia has pursued an international career in branding working for global communication agencies such as Ogilvy and Dentsu. Her work took her from her native Austria to France, the U.S. and eventually to China, where she spent 13 years and specialized in strategic planning and consumer insights.

Currently based in London, Felicia helps brands and companies understand the Chinese consumer through cultural insight research and achieve effective business objectives through cross-cultural intelligence training. She has worked extensively with HR teams, delivered business skills courses as well as global mobility workshops including to youth. She has experience across a number of sectors such as automobile, luxury, cosmetics, retail and fast moving consumer goods.

She counts the UKTI, EDF Energy, OpenJaw technologies, Jaguar-LandRover, Renault-Nissan, Valeo, Bayer, GSK, Bicester village, Publicis Advertising, AURA and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners for Advertising) amongst her clients.

 Felicia is a graduate with Dean’s list merits, from Duke University in North Carolina, USA. Felicia then obtained her Master’s degree from Sciences Po, the prestigious Institute of Political Science in Paris, France.

She speaks fluent German, English, French and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Your automatic pilot, an intercultural minefield – An opinion piece by Yvonne van der Pol

It’s the psychology, stupid!

– you could say after reading the World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society and Behavior, in which great attention was paid to the psychological and social aspects of human behaviour. One revealing response to it was: “Experts, policy makers and professionals should be fully aware that they, too, form part of social and cultural influences. Their way of thinking is, in fact, automatic”.

Who is pushing the buttons?

That is a reaction with a far-reaching impact. The real issue is that we, given the nature of that automatic character, seldom stop to think about it. Do we not all think of ourselves as being rational, genuine and analytical professionals? For part of the time, that is definitely the case, but we are running much more on auto-pilot than we realise or would care to admit. Our brains have been programmed so that we, in our daily lives, quickly and automatically react to familiar patterns: our intuitive mind. The other part, the reflective mind, just hobbles along somewhere behind. Hence, small things suddenly seem to be of intercultural importance, which can lead to some particularly surprising interpretations and maybe even a few interesting twists and turns along the way.

Reflections on Intercultural Craftmanship Yvonne’s new book

Insignificant actions

Now, I randomly take a look at a typical day in the life of a German professional on a business trip to Ghana, who completely automatically:

  • gets in to the front seat beside the taxi driver, chit-chats with him and, in doing so, asks a lot of questions
  • waves to an old acquaintance, but tells the driver to keep going, because he is, after all, on the way to his next appointment
  • informally addresses his older, Ghanian friend and colleague by his first name in the presence of others
  • vents his opinions freely during a meeting
  • after dinner with his new business partners in the evening, wants to return to the hotel early so he can check his e-mail.

And here is the intercultural harvest of the day:

  • the driver asks himself, with fear and trepidation, what the underlying message was from this senior German representative, but it almost certainly will not be a positive one. “He does not sit in the back as he should, but instead, he sits beside me (causing me embarrassment, my status as a driver is at risk). He asks me too many questions (what does he want from me?)”.
  • the acquaintance, who was only briefly waved at, wonders to himself what is happening: “We have not seen each other for ages, yet he just drives on! What have I done wrong? There must be something seriously wrong, or else he would have stopped”.
  • the older, Ghanian compatriot, with whom he indeed has a good bond, takes offence at the fact that he was not addressed more respectfully, whilst in the company of his colleagues.
  • the members of his new partner-organisation is somewhat shocked by his open and frank opinions, as they are only trying their best to successfully work together towards a better future, thus suddenly getting an emotional knock-back in their confidence, in him, and in their working relationship as a whole. “Ownership and collaboration were the starting points? His strong opinions probably represent the wider vision of the organisation back in Germany. How do we proceed now, if there is no room left for us, if the harmony between us has been so disrupted? Do they even trust us?”
  • the aforementioned partners are unpleasantly surprised after their successful business dinner has finished, when they suddenly see he is already standing up to leave the table, as he clearly has no time to spare to stick around and work on their mutual relationship on a more sociable level. They get the feeling, “E-mails are more important than we are”, and so, their confidence takes another hit.

Social automatic pilot

The problem with our intuitive mind is that it is very rapid. Before you know it, you have already put your foot in it. Why? Because from a young age, you have primarily learned this behaviour subconsciously. It is a social automatic pilot that works on the basis of recognising patterns you have previously encountered. But take note: cultural patterns from your context, and not per definition from more unusual environments. And therein lies the issue: in a different cultural context, you actually have to think first before you act. Moreover, precisely about those minute details, because they can have totally unexpected and far-reaching consequences. Consequences including those like the perception of other people with regards to your intentions, what you think, what you want, how you view the situation and if you can be trusted. And not only you as an individual, but also, especially, if you are representing your organisation and even your country.

Your routines under a magnifying glass

Reflecting on your own auto-pilot is the only way to avoid the intercultural minefield. And that requires a ‘mindful’ approach: being in touch with yourself, and with the world around you. Carefully observing signals and actively listening are crucial to this process. Only then will you be able to respond quickly and adequately, possibly completely differently to how you otherwise may have reacted automatically. You will quickly see how interesting that becomes!

Blog © Yvonne van der Pol (2017) Reflections on Intercultural Craftsmanship

Her book Reflections on Intercultural Craftsmanship is available on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Intercultural-Craftsmanship-Yvonne-van/dp/9402168419/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510829993&sr=8-1&keywords=yvonne+van+der+pol&dpID=51txOkfWOLL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

 

 

Yvonne van der Pol

Book Review – The Reentry Relaunch Roadmap. Author – Cate Brubaker

Review written by Interculturalist, Julie L. Parenteau

C.S. Lewis once stated that “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” I can’t think of a more positive way to start a book on re-entering your native culture after being gone for an extended period of time.

Home, however you might define it, is never the same. Many people struggle with going back, longing for what they had abroad, but Lewis’s words remind us that looking ahead is far better than dwelling on the past.

ReEntry-Relaunch-Roadmap-V1-Cover-01

 

 

To read the whole review – go to; http://smallplanetstudio.com/three-awesome-strategies-supporting-study-abroad-students-re-entry/

Reviewer Profile – Julie Parenteau is an interculturalist teaching and training expatriates and local employees to thrive culturally and linguistically in Puerto Rico,

Julie Parenteau

With more than a decade of experience spanning intercultural training and education, teaching English and Spanish, and helping dozens of expatriates adjust to living in Puerto Rico, Dr. Parenteau knows what it takes to build communication bridges between cultures and engage students and faculty in critical discourse surrounding social justice and diversity and inclusion issues. As Director of Global Perceptions, Dr. Parenteau is committed to designing curriculum and training programs that foster cultural awareness and global citizenship in Puerto Rico and beyond. When she is not hard at work, you can find her working in her garden, playing with her rescue dogs or doing some beachfront reading. Connect with her via Twitter @relocationpr or @drjparenteau.

Nervous Speakers – 5 Tips for Stage Fright and Presentation Nerves by Matthew Hill

Your nerves are a positive and essential part of presenting well and staying grounded.

presentation confidence matthew hill

“I feel so good speaking in public”

  1. Reframe Your Nerves as EXCITEMENT

When you think about it, our body does weird and amazing things and we can choose to be un-empowered by them or we can use them constructively. Let me tell you a story about pre-show jitters and dramatic stage fright.

There were two men going up on stage as volunteers. The first, as he leaves the security of his theatre seat feels sweat, constricted breathing, rolling stomach, muscle tremors and a terrifying adrenaline rush that almost makes him loose balance and stumble. When he is up on stage he can hardly interact with the show master, mumbles his name and is a useless helper in the game he is being asked to contribute to. At the end, to add to his humiliation, he his handed a cheap tee shirt. As he walks back to his seat he makes a promise to himself, “I will never come to the theatre EVER again!”

After the interval another man is chosen to “volunteer”. He gets up and feels an exciting rush of adrenaline and thinks that this could be one of those defining moments in his life. He speeds up and rushes towards the stage with a glow of excitement, the panting breathe of anticipation and a feeling of butterflies that reminds him of his tenth birthday. Is this really happening? Has he won the lottery? He leaps on stage, smiles at the performer and adds a joke into his first reply. The crowd go wild with laughter and one or two even clap. He is enjoying himself. The trick runs smoothly and generates more applause. He has never felt so alive and connected to so many people. At the end he enjoys the thanks of the performer, the admiration of the crowd, AND is handed a tee shirt to remember this night for the rest of his life. As he returns to his seat there is a big smile on his face and he says to himself, “I am going to quit my job as an auditor and get BACK on that stage.”

BOTH men had the same physical reaction to the situation. They chose to frame their experiences in different ways. How will you label your body’s reactions when next called to the stage?

  1. The Audience Want You to Succeed

It is easy to think of yourself entering the lion’s den when speaking on stage. What you may not know is that gladiators were the TV celebrities of their time. The audience would come back week after week to see their favourite fighters… WIN. Your audience have paid money, given up their time and sacrificed the chance to do other, easier things. They are invested in you and want you to WIN. They would love you to be comfortable, to get your patter out and complete you mission without mishap. They are rooting for you. In there minds is something simple – If you WIN then they get a chance to benefit. If you perform well, they get the chance to use your wise words, your experience and your life learning. That is, in fact, why they are there. So, remember, the audience is, very much, on your side.

Verschiedene Portraits einer blonden Frau

They want me to WIN!

  1. Even the Greatest Speakers Experience Stage Fright

It is true. There are many live performers that vomit backstage, have moments of terror and have those self-challenging-thoughts, “What if they find out I am a sham?”, “What if I don’t know the answer to a question?”, “What if someone in the audience is clever and hostile and they want to humiliate me? My professional life will be over.”

This is referred to as Imposter Syndrome and EVERBODY gets it. The truth is that the public speaker possesses a co-constructed identity that is temporary and happens when you are on the stage, red mic light on, in front of a live audience. It is not ALL that you are and you probably don’t do this every day. It is a part of who you are. For the rest of the time you are a much more ordinary figure. And that is OK. Linked to the last point, no one actually expects you to be a superhero (except maybe yourself.) Having doubt keeps you at your best. Hearing those “What if” questions maintains your hunger for perfection and improvement. Doubt keeps you present and grounded. Do not wish away the fear – that is the path to complacency, drift and autopilot delivery.

  1. Build Your Expert Status From the Inside

The quickest way to get your personal power surging is to write down your “numbers.” By this I mean the figures for what you have achieved so far. Everybody had accomplished more than they are conscious of and this exercise really helps. How many years have you been doing the thing that you are speaking about? How many customers have you helped? Reports have you written? Deals have you negotiated? When you look at your track record and put down the numbers they will always impress…you.

As great coaches say you can achieve less in a day than you wish but more in a month than you expect. Over the years you have achieved an enormous amount in a wide number of areas. Take a moment to write down your life and career highlights and to really, deeply acknowledge just how far you have come, just how much experience you have accumulated and just how much you actually know.

  1. Affirmations Affirm Your Greatness.

A way of countering the self doubt and unhelpful chatter running through your mind is to build some self affirming mantras that help lay some new mental pathways that, with repetition, will magically turn into self-affirming beliefs. They will be your public speaker truths. The easiest is the ANV – Adjective Noun that Verbs. Take a moment to write down 10 to 30 describing words that are positive, bright and give energy (these are the adjectives). Next you may use positive words to describe your multiple life and professional roles (these are the nouns.) Then form sentences that include who you help, what they achieve and how you help them (this is the verb bit.) And put it all together – “ I, Name Name, am an Adjective, Adjective, Adjective Noun, Noun, Noun & Noun that Verbs, Verbs and Verbs! And I am… AAAWWWEEESSSOOOMMMEEE.

Super businessman flying over a city

AAWWEESSSOOMMEE

When you learn this formula, fill in the spaces, make it your mantra, and repeat it, you will release the helpful chemicals in your body that support you, the public and professional presenter, speaker and subject matter expert. This allows you to help many more people to overcome their pain and achieve so much more for themselves.

How does that feel?

I have good news for you – You are now Ready!

I hope that these 5 ideas have helped you to reverse your doubts, calm your jitters, and to reframe stage fright as a necessary and useful part of delivering a high impact presentation and an effective public speech.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a Presentation Coach and Group Trainer – If you wish to contact and engage Matthew to improve your professional presentation performance, then do call him on 07540 65 9995 or send an E Mail to matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com .

10 Presentation Crimes That Your Audience Will Not Forgive – and What YOU can do to stay F-R-R-E-E-E by Matthew Hill

Be Arresting. Don’t Get Arrested!

Having sat through 20+ presentations and talked to fellow audience members at a Congress the other week, I thought I would turn the sometimes tortuous challenge of staying calm sitting in the audience into a What Not To Do List and provide better ways of catering for your audience’s basic Human Rights.

Presentation Skills Course Matthew Hill

Sorry, Urh, hang on a minute…

Normally – More than 65% of the presenters are good and about 10% are excellent – However (always a warning word) however, some seem to be living in the ‘90’s before TED and all those great YouTube videos that clearly spell out how to get audience engagement and knowledge transfer RIGHT.

10 Crimes – The Charge Sheet

1, The Presenter Panics and Runs – Whether thrown off balance by technical issues, a late start of not having rehearsed against the clock, many presenters, including Key Note Speakers manage to get into a sweaty nervous panic during their talks. When you speed up at the end of your slot, your audience know something is amiss. When you admit that time has got away from you and then do not adjust, the audience become anxious on your behalf and when you say, “I will stop now!” 4 times without finishing, the audience will condemn you to presenter hell in your presence. The cost to you of presenter panic is having an audience close their minds with a slamming sound as the barriers drop preventing any further transfer of value. What a pity. What a waste. What a misspending of all that preparation time.

ANSWER

If you rehearse against the clock you can measure your content against the allocated time and therefore regain control. Additionally you may have a section that you can jettison if you experience a time scare. Not right at the end but 50 or 60% of the way through. Also, keep your piece simple enough for the time allocated. A 90 minute monologue simply doesn’t work in 2018 and 20 minutes is not enough time to outline splitting the atom or finding a cure for world hunger.

When you feel scarcity – SLOW DOWN – This will give you time to think, look cool in front of your audience and present the appearance of being in control. We will repeat this later – Your Audience wants you to SUCCEED.

2, Voice Crime. There is nothing worse for the speaker or the audience than someone sat at the back shouting, “We can’t hear you”, ”Please speak up” or, “We can’t hear you at the back.” Beside thinking that they should have turned up earlier and found a better seat, this will distract you from your delivery, dilute your message and divide the audience into those who join in the bullying and those that start to pity you. Both groups are not doing you any favours. Add to the crime sheet the monotone presenter, the mutterer or the huddled script reader and you have a case ready for prosecution.

ANSWER

Singing lessons – Yes, I am serious. If you wish to project your voice, if you wish to raise your volume, if you wish never to loose your voice again during a presentation, join a choir or take individual singing lessons. It will do wonders for your voice quality, your confidence and your connection with the audience.

3, Technical Failure To Appear – In today’s halls and venues, we were treated to the latest and the best equipment but – the presenters with older computers will not always have an HDMI slot, not all corporate trainers have worked with touch screens before and  new Prezi users do not all have enough practice with the application (presumably because they had spent all of their allocated tech time figuring out how to MAKE their first Prezi presentation and had not left enough to practice their show in realistic conditions.) The results were PREDICTABLE. Embarrassing faffing, asking the tech crew for help, delaying the start of the show and demonstrating the presenter’s flaws to the audience before they had managed to accumulate enough credit to afford to appear vulnerable.

ANSWER

Keep your technical level of presentation one level below your technical level of competence. Have a Plan B and back up your data. And don’t expect your venue to have usable WiFi, don’t expect to run YouTube clips live – record them and load them as MP4’s. That way they will run on just about anything. It is the most inexperienced presenters that tend to be the most technically ambitious. Those that have given a few webinars know to expect the unexpected and are able to manage the disruption in technical service with a cool head, an even voice and a smooth transition to the next section of the show.

presentation skills coach matthew hill

Too many words… take him away.

  1. Murder by Slides. The Geneva Convention states that PowerPoint slides must not have more than 20 words on them. Despite this, we see endlessly wordy, small font decks with no visuals, no colour and no useful transfer potential to them. The audience can either ignore the slides or ignore the presenter and start reading the slides for themselves. A lose-lose.

ANSWER

Separate out the desire to present and the need to transfer data and make some tough decisions before you get to the venue – What will you project with your voice and what data will you MAKE AVAILABLE AFTERWARDS in the form of a hand-out / appendix or further reference materials? Understand that slides can be pretty placeholders, a mechanism to reinforce your message with visual people and a good place for graphics, a pie charge or a simple model. However…nobody wants to multi-task during the show so STOP torturing them and plan your information flow more considerately.

  1. Methodology Overdose – Closely related to the point above, in a non- academic context there is ZERO need to reveal the statistical significance of your raw research. The audience have one question for you; WIIFT? What is in it for THEM? How can they apply your experience for their benefit? END of.

ANSWER

As above – offer an appendix, a data hand out or a lab session demonstrating your methods, approach, analysis and technical findings. AND – in your short presentation tell them the interesting bits. How it worked, what the conclusions are and how it can be applied for gain.

  1. The Presenter Got High – Audience Altitude – Finding their Level. There are two crimes here – going too high or staying too low. Both ways will crash your presentation vehicle. If you pitch it too low for too long, you will build up an irritation in your audience that will result in people leaving your talk with a noisy banging of doors or firing sarcastic questions at you that interrupt you and undermine your credibility.

It you pitch it too high the crowd will turn into a Zombie Apocalypse before your very eyes. Take this as natural feedback telling you that you failed to do your homework, identify your audience segment and that you omitted to refine your message enough to hit the target.

ANSWER

Do your homework, speak to some people, interview the organisers and don’t take general answers for the truth. Your job is to engage, inform and entertain. Your job is to tell a story. Your job is to move people intellectually and emotionally. Your job is to prevent suicidal thoughts rippling through the front row.

  1. If It Pleases Your Honour – Time Management – We have dealt with the panic of starting late, not checking the length of your presentation and of lying about when it will end. This aspect is more about the cultural differences in the perception of the flow of time and gaining explicit permission to tell your story. At the beginning of your talk you have 30 seconds to win the hearts and minds of your audience! If you fail, then the rest of your talk can only do damage – to the hopes and dreams of your audience and to your REPUTATION. When you win their support quickly, you will be given 5 minutes grace … to win their enthusiasm for the next 15 minutes! Do you see how it works?

ANSWER

Hit them hard at the beginning – fire a big gun – a moral question, a challenging fact or a brutal prediction – engage your audience and ask, “Do you want to hear more?” They will then award you explicit permission to continue. Really. This psychological contract will become stronger the more they engage with you – the great presenter.

  1. Straying From The Straight And Narrow – There are two ways to leave the path here – audience drift and speaker drift. The former consists of being caught out or taking a side bar because of an audience intervention – through being nice and respecting the audience or the influence of a strong personality sat in the second row, you drift off and ANNOY everyone else. Pleasing a strong personality is not a winning strategy for the whole audience. OR, you get on to your pet subject, leave your own path and start busking (the phrase for making it up as you go along) much to the irritation of the linear focussed listeners in front of you. When you start entertaining yourself, you automatically disrespect the sensibilities of your audience.

ANSWER

Learn to assert yourself and police your audience – Putting a hand up and saying, “Let’s get back on track” is normally enough. If you are likely to wander away from your presentation pathway, build in milestones to remind yourself of the key points that you must make. If you find yourself drifting too wide of those marks, apologise and return to the point.

 

presentation crimes matthew hill

Out of Date Material – Arrest that presenter!

  1. Criminal Exhibit A – Old Material – The older your material, the greater the chance that the audience will have encountered it before or, and worse still, they will have encountered you before, saying the same thing. There is a famous Dutch expert who basically has one keynote speech. Whatever you engage him to speak about, out he will come with his one keynote speech – And it is difficult to get a refund sometimes.

ANSWER

Read, listen and watch. Be present to developments. Watch out for shifts in the direction of your specialist subject and keep your presentation approach fresh, present and alive. It is not a crime to renew your perspective, challenge YOUR OWN beliefs and treat your audience to something EXCITING and challenging.

  1. Old Lag – You Are Not Enjoying It. The voice in your head starts to unsettle you, “Are they really listening to me?”, “ Do they believe a word I am saying?”, “Do they think I look pretty / handsome?” We can develop all sorts of complexes or simply become bored with our own style or topic when we have been presenting too long and need an upgrade – even the best can suffer from imposter syndrome, delusions of paranoia or become completely immune to the charm of their own material and begin to doubt its power to impress.

And. If you are not enjoying the show as a presenter, you can GUARANTEE that the audience are suffering too. Is it time to hand yourself in to the authorities?

ANSWER

At the beginning of any performance it is a safe bet to assume that the audience want you to DO WELL. They are actively looking for signs that you are relaxed, comfortable and up for this. They want to you to win. At the beginning you can assume that most of them LOVE you. All you have to do is not let them down (too badly.)

It is time to work on your material, work out who your ideal and appreciative audience will be and to work on your delivery, presence and voice so that YOU enjoy the show and THEY benefit from listening to you? Is this the time to seek professional help – a presentation advocate to defend your actions and get you off the charge of being a criminal presenter so that you can walk into your next speech a Free Person?

presenting

I sentence you…

The Judge’s Summation

With a little planning, anticipation and rehearsal, you can avoid cabbages and rotten eggs flying through the air, the tarnishing of your reputation as a speaker or hearing negative mumblings as you leave the building.

Remember, presenting represents the single most powerful opportunity to engage with and impress people that you have never met before. Please respect the audience’s patience, attention span, their need for structure, their appreciation of a good story AND their desire for a confident performance from you – THE SPEAKER (defendant.)

I wish you well with you next presentation…

I sentence you to 10 hours Community Presentation Practice – You are free to go…

 

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a Presentation Skills Coach (amongst other things) He works with ambitious professionals who need to impress and desire to be better. Feel free to contact Matthew on; 07540 65 9996.

 

Presentation Disasters and 5 tips to help YOU not make them by Matthew Hill

 

Plug into the audience and let the electricity flow

The gap between a person’s brain, intellect and expertise and their ability to communicate even a small part of this wisdom to an audience can be wider than the Grand Canyon. I remember meeting one of the deepest thinkers on educating people that the UK has ever produced. He was also one of the worst public speakers an audience has ever had to endure. This irony continues to buzz around my mind.

Below are 5 ideas that you can apply to make sure no one says about YOU, “They seem to really know their stuff. It’s a pity their attempt to convey it to the audience is a total failure!”

Smiling newscaster during broadcasting. And here is the news…

  1. It’s not about you – whilst you are the star, standing under the light, mic in hand and dressed to kill, the point of the presentation is to align your information and message to the desired outcomes of the majority of your audience.

Useful questions before you present might be, “What is their level of knowledge?” “What do they expect today?” “What do they want from this session?” And, finally, “What do they really need?”

Before you write a word of your presentation, ask these questions and be mindful of the answers. Also implied in their response is bonus information – What they absolutely DON’T want you to speak about.

Verschiedene Portraits einer blonden Frau

  1. First impressions last – I once tripped over on a stage in Milan in the style of Charlie Chaplin and raised an embarrassingly large laugh from the audience. Unfortunately that was not my intention and things did not flow smoothly from that point on.

An audience will have read your profile and possibly check you out on LinkedIn. They are making an active and tough judgment of you based on your physical appearance. If you are scruffy, ill-prepared to deal with technology, hesitant and showing non-verbal signs of stress, anxiety and fear it is no wonder that the audience will disengage from your private greatness and let their minds wonder to other topics (probably sex and shopping.)

What does it take to make a fantastic first impression?

Dressing one level smarter than your audience, dry cleaning your dark suit, investing in a decent haircut, considering replacing your glasses with contact lenses, practicing Amy Cuddy’s power poses and firing your BIG GUNS first. All of these represent a good start.

Seat on fire

  1. Pleasure or pain? Related to 2. The audience will amalgamate all of the information you are consciously and unconsciously broadcasting and rank you on two exclusive scales.

Power and dominance – your tone, stern look, square shoulders, booming voice and content of doom laden scenarios and facts may give you an impressively high dominance score. Is that what you want?

Likable and trustworthy – A high score on the opposite scale is achieved by displaying charisma, charm, humour, self-deprecation, honesty, integrity and demonstrating your ethical values to the audiences.

Only you can decide which scale is more appropriate your next presentation – Is it time to practice non-verbal charm in the mirror or to rev up your sergeant major impression?

bubble of communication

  1. Words Words Words With everything you say you are either engaging more with the audience or distancing them. You may think that filling your presentation with intellectual complexity, esoteric jargon and obfuscating argot will do the job. Wrong – The simpler you are the more you will connect with the audience and the more they will buy what you are selling.

Speed trumps caution

Many presentation coaches warn that excessive speed of presentation will be perceived negatively. This is not the case (with the caveat that you need an audience speaking the same language as you.) As long as you are clear and loud enough your audience will be taken away by the speed at which you deliver your wisdom. Unlike complexity, speed is perceived as a sign of intelligence.

Fluent slick and smooth

Unsurprisingly, a smooth radio delivery will impress an audience. On occasions it will increase your ratings even when you are having an off day, your brain is addled with tiredness or your mind can only manage to operate at half power.

Listening. “Tell me more”

  1. Everyone loves a story – Every presentation coach is asked what is the best structure for delivering a presentation. It can be a best man speech, a professor’s keynote address at a conference or thanking people at your retirement do. The best way to package information is to give it a familiar dramatic structure – beginning, middle and end, a “V” structure – unleashing tragic chapters that shock your audience followed by an inspiring twist and uplifting ending, or a WW structure like a Dr. Martin Luther King speech that repeatedly takes the audience from the difficult present to a better envisioned future.

Men don’t like emotion.

Whilst there are some coal mining villages where men can only cry if they are one kilometer underground, most humans, irrespective of gender, enjoy having their feelings taken for a spin. It is diverting and stimulating and always will be.

Human Rights

Please respect the human right of your audience not to be bored within an inch of their life. Practice practice practice until you are fluent and can lose yourself in a story that entertains even you, the speaker.

And if you are not a natural comedian, a presentation is not the place to begin your new stand-up career.

Good luck with the next presentation. I hope you WOW the audience and they give you a standing ovation.

Senior Sales and Culture Trainer Matthew Hill

Matthew Hill

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural Trainer, Author, Speaker and Coach working with international audiences to help them uncover their deeper potential and shine in public.

Cultural Risk Management – Part I of a new series by Glen Burridge

This is the first of a series of articles where Interculturalist and Earth Scientist Glen Burridge be looking to highlight a topic that confronts us every day in all aspects of our lives and yet is frequently neglected by both organisations and individuals: Cultural Risk Management

Crowd. A large group of people of a white background.

If we have one characteristic as humans that represents both our greatest capability and our greatest weapon it is our ability to self-organise.

In other words, to create cultures.

In these groupings, we become actors in the world, through our organisations, societies, tribes, networks and communities. Through them, we trade and we exchange, we engage in conflict and war and we create things of beauty and value. In doing so, they form the basis of our identities and influence our behaviour at every moment. Some stem back to the origin of our species, while others are bubbling up as we speak.

Culture as Lifeform

We may do our best to romanticise them, especially those identities to whom we belong and find the most meaningful, yet a culture is – at best – no more than a meta-stable life-form. As ambient conditions vary, vulnerable cultures die, a few coalesce, whilst others are born. They are susceptible to changes in the environment, undergoing perpetual fashioning by external challenge and interaction – an analogy with viral behaviour would not be unfair – and our increasing connectivity with each other accelerates this process.

History tells us that cultural ‘entropy’ has operated since our earliest times: As human populations have expanded and come in closer proximity, there is a tendency for any extensive culture to produce homogenisation of society in their image. In order to survive the onslaught, any target community will require strong traits – either of adaptability, invincibility, suitability or to defy the threat by virtue of distance or size. There are moral and practical consequences to what is lost and gained by such an organic course, but it could be argued that this is simply the to-and-fro of natural selection at play; a culture is no more than an elegant ecological solution to a problem at a given time.

Whatever their origins and health, what the human story makes abundantly clear is that the simultaneous greatest threat to our future wellbeing and opportunity for positive development comes from the interaction between cultural groups. This is where interculturalists operate and (ought to) have a capital role to play in our future.

Yes, it really is as important as that.

Limited Space

The Earth, at present our sole home, has a surface area of 510 million square km. That might sound like a lot to you and me, used to possessing only an infinitesimal morsel of that terrain, but of that immense expanse only roughly 20% is habitable. In terms of the volume of our planet, only a fraction of 1% is a survivable biosphere. We are currently adding over 200,000 extra people per day to that space.

It pays for us to get along well with each other.

The Other

Cultures, with their attendant values, motivations and artefacts will come and go, but the perennial question that matters is whether these groupings – and their representatives – are able to find a common basis in which the existence of the Other is not a accompanied by fear. No group is ever going to fire a nuclear warhead deliberately at itself, it will always be at an Other. ‘Civil’ Wars are anything but civil. They entail the disintegration of the façade of a collective identity under exterior pressure or internal reckoning.

Equally, all valuable endeavours we embark on culminate, in some form, in a collective effort. At all scales of our lives, this entails an association of existing bodies, whether they are political, commercial, humanitarian or social. We therefore know we are going to face a myriad of interfaces in much of what we do. We ought to be prepared. Any organisation that neglects the multiple dimensions and effects of culture is ignoring not only its own DNA, but that of the environment it operates in.

Yet, despite a whole field of solutions that now stretch back more than half a century, the risk associated with cultural interactions remains the one we are collectively most reluctant to address in business and in the world at large.

The worst kind of success

The worst kind of failure is when we ignore a critical factor that was staring us in the face all along. The worst kind of success is one achieved without the capacity to repeat it, carrying threats into the very next situation we find ourselves, but now with a perilous confidence, until the moment of drama when we realise we have made a serious misjudgement, when it becomes no longer a risk, but history.

In the following articles, Glen will open up the discussion to explore further dimensions of cultural risk, how deeply it reaches into our lives, society and business, which go far beyond the familiar cultural realm of national identities.

For a discussion of the topics raised in this article and associated blogs, please feel free to get in touch with Glen at; glen@glenburridge.com or via LinkedIn or leave a comment below.

glenEarth Scientist and Interculturalist, Glen Burridge