Success Story – Sandra Gallagher

Sandra works in the Financial Industry and has a background in Learning & Development. Sandra commenced her career as a Claims Consultant and over the years held a variety of roles before moving into Leadership, where she now leads a team of specialists who provide skilling to the Claims Leaders building their coaching capabilities. In addition, her team plan and manage change across the broader Claims Business.

What prompted you to attend Michelle’s Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass?

“I attended Michelle’s masterclass a number of years back when I moved into Leadership. I am fortunate enough to work for an organisation that supports individual development and I wanted to build my confidence in preparing and delivering presentations. Particularly because my audience varies, I saw this as an opportunity to build my confidence and also to learn how to better engage and relate to my audiences.”

What kind of presenting do you do at work?

The presentations I conduct range from workshop facilitation to Senior Management presentations. The duration varies depending on the topic, but generally facilitation can be 1 hour to 1 day and the presentations are 30 minutes to 1 hour. In addition I have MC’d work events for up to 70 people.

How did Michelle’s masterclass change your attitude to presenting in business?

Michelle’s masterclass helped me to consider my audience and the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM?) aspect. Everyone is busy and time is precious so I want to make sure whatever message I am presenting is clear and concise. Michelle’s masterclass gives great insight into how to really get into your audience’s shoes and give them what they need, with her ‘It’s not about me, it’s about the audience’ and this is something I continuously remind myself when building and delivering presentations.

In general, what positive outcomes have you achieved from improving your presentation skills?

The most positive outcome is my confidence level. Michelle’s masterclass does talk about managing stress and nerves and there are practical exercises that you get to participate in to help you practice while you are with her in the room. I definitely took the lessons seriously and I believe it has helped build my confidence, particularly when presenting to Senior Leaders.

Another positive outcome is preparation. I take the time to prepare for the presentation, not just content delivery, but also the room set up and environment. I even think now about the audience seating, and small things like stationary (pens, post it note, highlighters etc.), then things that will either enhance or distract the audience from listening and understanding the message. Michelle says, “God is in the detail”.

In what specific ways have your presentation skills improved since completing Michelle’s training?

I facilitated a workshop on the theory side of ‘Coaching’ with 14 attendees. I had not facilitated a learning program for some time and felt some nerves. At the end of the 2 hour session, two of the attendees approached me and thanked me for being an engaging facilitator and sharing examples that they could relate to back in the workplace.

The next day, I opened the session by asking what key takeouts they remembered from Day 1 of the program, the responses were overwhelming as they remembered so much. It made me feel great that I had delivered a worthwhile session that the audience could related to.

What were your top three take aways from Michelle’s program?

  1. Prepare – use the tools provided to structure your presentation. Know your content and if possible your audience. Make sure you have some contingencies in the event something does not work.
  2. Practice – Do not underestimate the importance of practicing. Do so in front of a ‘pilot’ group or at home in front of the mirror if that helps! Make sure you use body language and tone of your voice to emphasis key points.
  3. Resources – Use a variety of resources to keep your audience engaged. Flip chart, PowerPoint, handouts, activities, post it notes, props… it’s vital to use whatever you can think of to keep the audience interested and get your message.

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