Have Your Audience Sit Up, Take Notice, and Learn at Your Next Presentation

Some presentations are designed to simply motivate your audience. Some are designed to educate them. It’s this second batch that is tricky to do. It’s probably not that your presentations are lacking in educational material, but rather it’s the way that you are delivering it that really matters. You need to find a way to deliver the information in the way that adults learn…

So here’s the answer to this question right off the bat: research shows that adults learn best when information is presented interactively, using role-playing, and peer-to-peer dialog. The lectures that most presenters use are really only good for passing information along to an audience.

The last thing in the world that you want is for your next presentation to remind your audience of a high school or college class. Having you stand at the front of the room and drone on with no chance for interaction is not what today’s audiences are looking for.

The secret to making your presentation “stick” with your audience is to realize that the more active your adult audience is during your presentation, the more they will learn because they will be tapping into the knowledge and experience of their peers.

At different times during your presentation your role as the presenter should really be to be a “guide on a side” who facilitates discussions among audience members and offering feedback as needed.

We’ve all heard about left-brain / right-brain stuff. Our left-brain is set up for the way most presentations are delivered – logical, analytical, and subjective. It’s our right-brain, our visual & creative side, that is not being fed during most presentations.

Much of what it takes to make sure that a presentation appeals to how your adult audience learns has to do with how the presentation event is set up. Here are some key suggestions on how you can make your next presentation a powerful adult learning experience:

  • Use Round Tables: having your audience sit at round (or half round) tables that seat 8 or 10 people helps your audience to interact easily.
  • Schedule Break Time: make sure that your audience has time both before and after your presentation to meet and discuss what they are going to learn and what they have learned.  
  • Use Comfortable Seats: Rarely do we have control over this, but if possible the more comfortable the seats are, the more learning will happen.
  • Lose The Lectern: This can be done as simply as making sure that you have a wireless microphone so that you are not tied to one spot and can move around and interact with your audience.
  • Handouts & Downloads Are Good: You audience is hungry for information that they can take back to the office. Giving them something that they can touch and hold is one way to do this.
  • More Brian Food: This is my favorite. Most food that is served during a presentation can be sugar or carb-heavy. If possible, provide healthful food options.

At the end of the day, you go to a lot of effort to get ready to deliver a presentation. You want your audience to be impacted by your words and you want them to be able to absorb and learn from the information that you are presenting. If you follow these tips, your audience will have a better chance of learning and retaining what you have to say.

Southern Chicago Hospital Presents the Art Institute

Patients and visitors to a southern Chicago hospital who are lovers of art are in luck! Chicago’s famous Art Institute is a world-class museum which brings visitors from throughout the world. Founded in 1866 under the name Chicago Academy of Design, it is one of the oldest art schools in the U.S., and it is carrying on the teaching of art and design to this day. Additionally, the Art Institute’s collection presently contains over three hundred thousand works of art distributed among ten departments. The Institute’s objet d’art include paintings, sculpture, photographs, architectural drawings, prints, and textiles from all over the world and thousands of years of history.

The principle building features beaux arts architecture and was constructed for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Over the years other buildings have been constructed, and the museum presently contains over four hundred thousand square feet of space. The collection of European Painting includes 950 paintings from medieaval times to the early twentieth century, with special emphasis on French painting in the nineteenth century. The most famous exhibit at the Art Institute is the Impressionist and Post Impressionist collection, which includes A Sunday Afternoon on La Grand Jatte by Georges Seurat, Acrobats at the Circus Fernando by Jean Renoir, and thirty-three of Claude Monet’s landscapes. The Modern and Contemporary Art Department contains over 1500 sculptures and paintings from America and Europe made during the twentieth century. The world-renowned African and Amerindian collection features an exhibit of African masks, wood sculpture, ceramics, textiles, beadwork, and furniture from Central, Western and Southern Africa; and also a collection of Mesoamerican and Andes Mountains ceramics, textiles, sculpture, and metal work. South American Indian figurative art and ceramics are also well represented in this collection.

Another world-famous collection which south Chicago hospital visitors might enjoy is European Decorative Arts with over twenty-five thousand objects including ceramics, glass, furniture, metalwork, and ivory dating from the year 1100 to modern times; as well as sculpture from the middle ages to the present. The Textile Department includes over thirteen thousand examples (including over sixty-six thousand swatch samples) from 300 BCE to contemporary designs, representing Asia, Africa, Europe, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Indonesia. There are special collections of pre-Colombian textiles, tapestries, European vestments, woven silk, printed fabric, lace and needlework.

Visitors from a south Chicago Illinois hospital should not miss the fabulous Thorne Miniature Rooms which feature 68 doll’s house rooms on a one-to-twelve scale showing a range of architecture from peasant dwellings to palaces. Another famous Art Institute collection is the distinguished Ernest Graham Study Center with over 130,000 architectural drawings and sketches. Families will especially appreciate the Children’s Museum and the many rotating presentations at Goodman Theater and the Institute’s Film Center. Children are also fascinated with the Institute’s extensive Arms and Armor collection, as well as the collections of costumes from all over the world. The Art Institute has several pleasant restaurants including the Garden Restaurant and the Court Cafe. There is also a great gift shop on the main floor.

How to Stay in the Present Moment

Many people live in the future. Why? Most people have a future that doesn’t mirror their present so they’d rather be in the future. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Law of Attraction states, “…that which you give your attention to will manifest in your life.” However, staying in the future means your present is passing you by.

Staying present is easy. All it takes is for you to stop, look, and listen. Stop and look at the environment that surrounds you. Where are you at? What are you doing? Be present even when you’re washing the dishes. Listen to the sound of the water whooshing down the drain. Washing the dishes can be quite meditative if you let it.

Tips to stay present

1. Stop and pause. Take a couple of deep breaths and notice everything around you from the trees to other people to cars. This will keep you grounded in the present.

2. Stay out of the future by focusing on today which is all you have. No one knows for sure if tomorrow will ever come. You may as well enjoy today because tomorrow may not show up.

3. Be grateful for today. If today you can walk, run, and speak without assistance from medical devices, be grateful for that. Many people would give anything to breathe on their own without the assistance of an oxygen machine.

4. Go for a walk and notice everything in nature. Feel the sun on your skin, notice the howling of the wind, and listen to the birds chirp. This is great way to become grounded and centered.

Being present is all you have. Remember the saying, “…live for today because tomorrow may never come.” This could happen. If you’re caught up in the future you’ll miss out on opportunities today that could help you tomorrow.

Today, many people are stressing about their jobs and finances. In fact, most marriages break up over finances. If you step back and assess the situation, perhaps it’s not that bad. Maybe it’s a good lesson for you to go through a “cleansing” of some sort. This could mean staying at home and cooking with the family versus going out to eat all of the time. Perhaps the family that begins to cook together will grow closer. Cutting back can actually bring you closer together if you let it.

Don’t take today for granted because tomorrow may never come. Enjoy the music of life and focus on the positive and what’s working in your life such as your great health. Without your health, you couldn’t do what you wanted to do such as travel, run, or whatever it is that you desire to do. Be present, be grateful, and just be!