What is a qualified presenter?

If you decide to have a live presentation, such as for Security Awareness Training, how do you identify a qualified presenter?

Many ways:

  • First of all, they’ve either qualified as a “Competent Toastmaster” (Competent Communicator) or have similar skills.
  • Do you make the mistake of thinking the best person to present is the person who created a process? Or the person who is responsible for attendees to take action? You’d better make sure that person has excellent presentation skills if you expect for them to hold an audience’s attention.
  • In my experience, 9 out of 10 presenters, especially from IT, use verbal crutches such as fillers constantly.
    • Sometimes 25% of their presentation is made up of “uh” fillers.
    • Qualified presenters know that using a pause is far better than using fillers such as: “Uh”, “Um,” “You know,” “ And,” “Well,” “ah,” “er,” “like,” “actually,” “basically,” “exactly,” etc.
    • Do you know what’s interesting? The presenter will often have no idea they are using fillers.
  • Attendees generally gain more from a presentation when the presenter knows how to make regular eye contact—with everyone in the room—that is not too long or too brief.
  • Qualified presenters—if they are using PowerPoint, Keynote, or some other presentation tool —know to never read, and preferably, not even use bullet points during a presentation. The bullet points can be on handouts before, during, or after the presentation.
  • Qualified presenters know to speak in the affirmative so they avoid saying, “do not think of a green popsicle.”
    • What did you think of? Right… a green popsicle.
    • That’s why when a presenter says, “Do not use USB drives,” some of the attendees will swear they heard the presenter say to use USB drives.

There are many books on the basics of presentation. Just make sure your presenter is qualified via the presentation skills, has already presented at least 100 successful presentations, is able to take questions on the fly, knows how to end on time, and—perhaps most important of all—is intimately familiar with the topic on which they present.

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2 Comments

  • Jered Koslowski November 3, 2011 at 7:25 am - Reply

    You hit this right on the head. So many presentations/meetings are so boring because of the presenter. The worst is like you said, reading a powerpoint that is up on the screen. I have taken the Dale Carengie courses and highly recommend them to anyone who does public speaking. They teach eye contact and how to engage an audience. Most people rank the fear of public speaking right along side the fear of dying. Great job Mike!

    • Mike Foster November 3, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

      Thank you Jered! Then I’d enjoy being in one of your presentations any day

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