Train the Trainer: Don’t play PowerPoint karaoke

In one of my Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclasses we were talking about how (contrary to popular belief) the slides are not ‘the presentation’. In fact, the slides are just one of your visual aids to reinforce your key messages for your audience.


We were lamenting about how in some presentations it’s just all about the slides – particularly in staff training. The presenter just clicks through the slides one and time and says things like, “this slide is about ….” “and this is a slide to show you ….” “and on this slide, you can see….”


One of the participants in the training said, “Yes, that’s what ALL our staff training is like.” What he meant is that the trainer just clicks through one slide after the other and says nothing other than exactly what is written on each and every slide.” He then said, “Whenever I’m invited to participate in staff training, I make myself unavailable so I can do it on-line in my own time. I’m not interested in PowerPoint karaoke!” What he was saying, is that there is no difference between attending the live event and just watching the slides in your own time.

Let’s be clear. When a trainer just clicks you through one slide after the other: THIS IS NOT STAFF TRAINING. THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME! What a shame. Opportunity lost to engage and shift the hearts and minds of trainees. Such a shame. Opportunity lost.


Your trainers need to learn how to do do three essential things:


1. Analysis. Great trainers analyse their upcoming trainings using what is known as the 5 Step Analysis. In this process you work out: who is in the audience? What is their current state i.e. are they thinking, feeling and doing? And they also ascertain what they want their audience to be thinking, feeling and doing once the training is over.


2. Design. An effective training is structured in a way that addresses all of the intrinsic questions the audience is asking. Excellent trainers know that they must build rapport with their audience and motivate them to pay attention at the start. They must also manage any objections to the training or the trainer and build credibility as a subject matter expert. Further they need to deliver appropriate facts and data to prove the information is trustworthy. It’s important to include plenty of experiential learning such as role plays, discussion, not taking, brainstorming (anything that helps practice and embed the learning). Importantly, master trainers know that they must know their content. They don’t read it out of a book on the day. They have learnt and rehearsed their material so they can do the best possible job of engaging, entertaining and changing their audience.


3. Delivery. Finally, because they have done the work (they have analysed and designed their presentation) amazing trainers deliver the message in an engaging way that compels their audience to pay attention, practice, and ultimately change their behaviour long-term. Master trainers know how to use their voice and their body to their advantage. They know how to incorporate activity, visual aids and the ‘theatre’ of the classroom into their training so they achieve the best possible outcomes for their participants and their organisation.


Please don’t play PowerPoint karaoke. It’s not a winning approach for you, your participants or the organisations you represent.


Why not do yourself a favour and gift your corporate trainers some Train-the-Trainer development? Please reach out to me and let’s talk about what your people need and how we can make that happen. You could gift your trainers some world-class presentation skills training so they can engage their audience, hook attention and truly change trainees’ behaviour through stimulating, generative, adult learning initiatives. How exciting!

Happy Presenting!



© Michelle Bowden 2020.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.

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