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Conclusion: The Power of Lifelong Learning

The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.

- Newton Diehl Baker

Talented presenters are defined by their deft use of the seven strategies examined in this resource. They also have one additional overriding attribute in common: highly effective presenters are dedicated lifelong learners. In fact, it is a dedication to lifelong learning that helps them become elite presenters in the first place. We can define a lifelong learner as someone who first has the passion and dedication to learn from every source available. It doesn't matter if that source is personal experience, learning through the experience of others, or from books or courses. Second, everything that the presenter knows is integrated with everything else they learn, which leads to growth. Third, becoming open to learning, in all its various forms and functions, makes growth possible and when you make room for growth, you make room for success.

In excerpts from an article titled "From Training to Education," presenter Nido Qubein describes one of the essential differences between masterful presenters and their less proficient counterparts.

Let me make a suggestion that at first may sound strange, coming from a management consultant. If your company has a training department, do away with it. Replace it with a Department of Education and Development. The reason: The new business environment needs fewer people who are trained to do things a specific way and more people who are educated to find new ways of doing things. As Stanley Marcus once said, "You don't train people; you train dogs and elephants; you educate people." What's the difference?

The word education comes from the Latin educo, which means to change from within. Training provides an external skill. Education changes the inner person. Training deals only with the doing level. Education teaches people how to think. Let me give you an example: I once ordered an apple pie and a milk shake at a fast-food restaurant. The server smiled and asked, "Would you like a dessert with that?" This young woman had been trained to act. She had been conditioned to smile and try to upgrade the sale by reciting her memorized lines. And she rehearsed them to perfection. But she had not been educated in customer interaction. She hadn't been taught to listen to the customer, to think about what the customer ordered and to acquire a feeling for what might appeal to the customer under the circumstances.

Training attempts to add on the qualities needed for success. Education builds them in. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you should never train people. Training is essential when a specific skill must be learned, or a specific procedure must be followed consistently in a manufacturing process. Training should be part of a broader educational process. One of my favorite proverbs conveys the wisdom that when you give people fish, they'll be hungry tomorrow; if you teach them to fish, they'll never go hungry. Training gives your employees a fish - a specific skill applicable to a specific task. Education teaches them to fish.

Corporations have no choice but to invest substantial resources in developing people. So it's best to invest in ways that let people grow; that teach them to think for themselves; that create a pool of solid candidates for promotion to higher positions.

In the same vein, the very good presenters don't just train people; they educate their audience and themselves - for today and tomorrow. In fact, Nido Qubein got it just right in describing this critical difference between the top notch presenters and their less masterful counterparts.

To help you capitalize on the power of lifelong education, we will present seven critical methods that can help you become a lifelong learner:

  1. Learn from experience.

  2. Learn from mentors.

  3. Learn from coaches.

  4. Join a mastermind group.

  5. Learn how to think like the experts.

  6. Interview the best presenters you can find.

  7. Learn from the best books to read, movies to watch, and courses to take.

There is an extraordinary book from the Centre of Creative Leadership titled The Lessons of Experience. In doing their research for the book, the authors documented that 50 percent of what we learn, we learn from experience. We learn 20 percent from mentors and coaches, 20 percent from failures, and 10 percent from formal education. We have adapted and expanded this approach specifically for people who want to become more like the presenters interviewed in the development of this resource.

1. Learn From Experience

Darren LaCroix, a Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking, has a six-word mantra that helped him win this prestigious title. Darren's mantra is "Stage Time, Stage Time, Stage Time." In preparing for the World Championship, Darren spent as much time as he possibly could presenting before an audience. In addition to being a presenter, Darren performs stand-up comedy. He said one of his comedy mentors asked him, "How can you expect to be funny in front of an audience until you are comfortable in front of an audience?" Darren says the only way you can be comfortable in front of an audience is by spending time in front of one. Experience comes from familiarity, persistence, and practice - in short - stage time. All of the presenters interviewed took advantage of every possible opportunity to speak. Where none existed, they created them. If you need more stage time, consider joining a Toastmasters club, speaking for local volunteer organizations, or your local Rotary or Lions club. Darren LaCroix said when he was just getting started in comedy he searched for more opportunities to practice in front of a live audience. He said that because comedy clubs were only open at night, he had a limited window of opportunity. Then he found out about Toastmasters and the fact that many of them met in the day. So he immediately went out and joined four clubs so he could quadruple his stage time.

Many presenters get some of their best stories from realworld experience as the following example illustrates.

Sean: I was offered the opportunity to consult with and facilitate a meeting with all of the stakeholders at the Sydney Nova Scotia Tar Ponds Toxic Dump Waste Site, which is the worst environmental toxic dumpsite in Canada. The stakeholders were the combined three levels of government - federal, provincial, and municipal; homeowners whose homes bordered the toxic waste site and were therefore worthless; environmentalists who maintained that this area was the cancer capital of Canada; and the soon-to-be unemployed steel workers who were adamant that the toxic substance be incinerated at the steel mill.

I hired a colleague who was very strong - both mentally and physically - to work with me. The steering committee had arranged for a two-hour meeting complete with Royal Canadian Mounted Police protection. We were told that it would be prudent for us to facilitate the meeting right in front of the exit doors, in case it became necessary for us to make a quick exit.

Eighty of the most angry people I had every met attended the meeting. The citizens of the area felt massively betrayed by a succession of governments over the last 20 years. Millions and millions of dollars had been spent and not one speck of soil had been remediated.

Although we had started the meeting by getting the participants to agree on ground rules, the first half of the meeting bordered on anarchy. After an hour of venting, the participants started following the ground rules and a great deal of progress was made in formulating criteria with which to assess the options, and a modicum of trust began to slowly develop.

I have been trained in negotiation, mediation, and facilitation skills at the Harvard Program on Negotiation. As invaluable as that training has been to my learning and to my credibility, there is no way that I could have learned as much at Harvard as I learned in preparing for and acting as a cofacilitator in that meeting. As part of my preparation, I read every newspaper article that was written about the tar ponds and conducted a number of in-depth interviews. I then wrote up this case from each group of participants' point of view. In so doing, I attempted to understand each participant group's point of view. I researched each participant's platform with the same depth and detail as an FBI profiler would use to try to understand their suspect. I firmly believe that you cannot attempt to change someone's mind if you do not know where their mind is.

Several months later, I modified and wrote up this case and I now have an absolutely terrific case study whereby the participants in one of my courses have to work in groups to decide how they would prepare for this same meeting. After the participants give their ideas on how they would prepare for the meeting, I debrief the session with how we set up the meeting in reality. Comparing their results with what actually happened is edifying both for the participants and for me.

Now that I have developed the case, tried it out, and know it inside out, I also have a terrific story that I can use in my presentations on how we can build our future with creative rather than wasteful solutions.

It was documented above that leaders and executives learn 50 percent of what they have learned about being a leader from experience. It seems reasonable then that presenters would also learn 50 percent of what they learn from experience. By judicially enhancing the types of experiences we have, we can enliven both our training and our keynotes while enhancing our credibility.

2. Learn From Mentors

If you have never experienced a mentoring relationship, we suggest you give it a try because whether you are the mentor or the "mentee," you will learn and grow from the experience. If you want to accomplish a task, learn from others who have gone before. They can help you farther down the road, faster, just by sharing their successes and their mistakes.

Aaron: As a longtime Toastmaster, I have enjoyed a many mentoring relationships. At least once a week someone phones me to ask questions about speaking. I answer every one, because to teach is to learn twice. I find as I explain to others, sometimes the answer becomes clearer to me. I also always caution those who seek my help: "Just because I say it's so, doesn't mean it's so." And I encourage mentees to think for themselves after having picked through the advice I've offered.

How do you find a mentor? Look for someone whose skills or experiences correspond to your needs. For example, if you need assistance in developing a great opening, seek a mentor who begins presentations with dynamic beginnings. Then ask that person if they will be willing to help. Not everyone will say yes, but most will, because most people are honored that you thought enough of them to ask for their advice.

Aaron: I am proud of the fact that I coached Mark Brown as he prepared for the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Mark was the quintessential student. He was eager to learn and a good listener, but more importantly, he was a good questioner. I watched with pride as he went from a good questioner to a good thinker. By the end of our mentoring sessions, he was a well-reasoned decision-maker and had learned to teach himself. So as he stood on the stage holding the World Championship trophy, I was every bit as proud of him as I was when I won the title. The story doesn't stop there. Six years later, Mark mentored Darren LaCroix as he prepared for his successful run at the World Championship. When Darren stood on the stage as World Champion, I felt that same sense of pride all over again, for the student had become the teacher.

3. Learn From Coaches

In the development phase, it was probably the additional training that I had taken along the way, theatre school, modeling, voice coaching, Toastmasters, and I had done a fair amount of professional theatre. It all helped in stage blocking and movement, in learning to fill a room, of creating a more powerful presence. The various coaches I have used for speaking have been tremendously helpful, at least when I could accept their feedback! Speaking is a performing art, where one constantly needs to improve, clarify, and enhance.

- Janet Laap

Developing your own unique style through coaching is much like watching a master sculptor in action. By chipping away at the stone that shouldn't be there, a sculptor creates his or her own unique design. Almost all of the presenters we interviewed had worked, either formally or informally, with one or more coaches or mentors who helped them chip away at the extraneous, irrelevant, and superfluous to unleash their own unique potential. Excellent coaches use all of their expertise to help you develop your own style; egocentric coaches work to develop clones of themselves. Excellent coaches can accelerate your learning and your career; egocentric coaches, ironically, can hold you back. Excellent coaches help to raise your self-confidence; egocentric coaches cause you to doubt yourself and your abilities. Excellent coaches give you options and the confidence to try them; egocentric coaches demand that you do your presentation their way and only their way.

In relation to her own coaching and the development of her style, Janet Laap says:

I got rid of everything I copied from other people - it is a process of becoming more and more of who you are, of deciding and making choices of who you are. It is like the story of Ghandi and sugar. A woman came to Ghandi and asked him how she should treat her son who was becoming obese. Ghandi asked her to come back in two weeks. At their second meeting, he suggested the boy stop eating sugar. The woman asked Ghandi why he didn't tell her that at their first meeting. Ghandi replied, "Because at that time I was still eating sugar." We need to use the same process in regard to the development of our style. We need to decide at a very fundamental level what to keep and what to eliminate or let go.

Almost every great athlete will tell you about the coaches who helped him or her develop his or her talents. Finding coaches who can help you move to the next level is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your career.

There are two ways to find a coach: on purpose or by accident. The first way is to look for someone who has the skills and abilities to be an excellent coach and then ask him or her to coach you. Sean was going to give a showcase presentation in front of his peers at the annual convention of CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers).

Sean: I practiced and practiced; worked over the content and delivery, in addition to audio and videotaping the presentation. It was good, but not the excellent presentation that I wanted. I had the foresight to hire one of Canada's best speaking coaches, Frazier McAllen, to coach me. We spent two hours together. I was surprised that Fraser suggested very few changes to the content. The main focus of his suggestions was to increase the frequency of my dramatic use of hand gestures to help me tell the stories that I used to illustrate my points. My first reaction was that I wasn't comfortable with his suggestions and that I couldn't do them. Fraser suggested that I try them and eliminate them if I didn't like them. I had also brought along my video camera so we could see what they looked like. Although this was way out of my comfort zone, I agreed to give it a try. I had to admit that the gestures increased drama and poignancy of the story and made the point I was trying to make much more impactful and memorable. I would also like to point out that Fraser, unlike some of the other coaches I have had, puts equal emphasis on telling me the things that I do well in addition to targets for improvement.

The result was that the added hand gestures and more dramatic body language increased the effectiveness of my presentation by 100 percent. Not only that, but I learned to use gestures more effectively in all of my presentations and the coaching I had continues to help me teach my presentations course. All in all, it produced a huge payoff.

Whenever I am coached, I ask if I can video the session. There is simply too much feedback and this feedback is too valuable to risk not being able to remember it all. I also like to compare the "before coaching" version with the "after coaching" version.

The second way to find a coach is by chance. You may not be looking for a coach when you accidentally discover someone whose talents match your needs. The key to this approach is being alert to opportunities when they present themselves. Chris Beckett is the manager of a television studio at a local university. Sean hired Chris to produce his first video and audio demos, and subsequently, a two-hour DVD program.

Sean: While I hired Chris to produce my audio programs, what I didn't plan on was finding a voice coach at the same time. Chris has a naturally deep baritone voice, the kind of person who sounds like they were born to be on radio. What I didn't realize was how much voice training Chris had had, and he was willing to pass this knowledge on to us. I also learned a great deal about audio and video production, all of which will be immeasurably helpful to me in further developing my platform skills.

A good coach's talent can best be described as being like a highly focused laser. He or she will hone in on the first part of your presentation and help you develop a "hook" to grab your audience's attention. An excellent coach should also have the ability to help you gain crystal clear clarity on what they are saying and on how to say it, in addition to focusing on vocal variety and projecting one's voice, when to stand still and when and how to move. Lastly, some coaches will gladly give you some time at no charge, but others who do this professionally will charge for their services. Coaching is worth paying for if you want to become an expert presenter. If your coach is able to bring you from average to good, or from good to great, the cost for his or her advice is worth every penny.

Don't expect a coach, no matter how good he or she is, to transform you. The coach is not supposed to be a Henry Higgins, taking an Eliza Doolittle and molding her into something she was not. A good coach will help you identify the strengths you have and enhance them incrementally. But most importantly, a good coach will show you how to teach yourself.

In addition to using live coaches, consider getting podcasts and videos of some of the best presentations. One of our favorites is Gene Griessman's presentation, Lincoln on Communication. Gene Griessman is probably the best character speaker in the business and his video Lincoln on Communication is perfectly organized by topic. When we play parts of the video to our audiences, they usual want to see all of it. Another jewel are the videos of Les Brown from a National Speakers Association's Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. We don't think we ever heard a speaker speak with more intentionality. Mr. Brown told us exactly what he was doing as well as why he was doing it.

4. Join a Mastermind Group

The purpose of a mastermind group is to assist in and support its members in accomplishing those activities that would serve as escalators to move the group members to the next level of success in their careers. Mastermind groups are groups of like-minded individuals who collectively help each other develop their abilities through peer mentoring and by holding each other responsible for achieving specific goals by specific dates. To be effective, the group should meet at least once a month. The group that Sean belongs to is occupationally diverse. It is made up of six individuals: three professional speakers, two CEOs, and a vice president of a successful company. Conversely, the mastermind support group that Aaron belongs to is occupationally similar. His group is composed of six world-champion speakers.

Sean: One of the things that I wanted to develop were audio CDs. I had written four books, but only had one CD program. I had been talking about developing more DVD programs, and it was well past time for action. Therefore, one of the goals I set with my mastermind group was to complete an additional DVD program by a certain date. Because I set this as an important goal in front of people who are important to me, I would lose face if I didn't complete it, plus they would hound me - I mean, inquire - about the progress of the DVD program. Likewise, one of my counterparts in the group is a very talented and eloquent professional speaker. Because he is the CEO of his company and is very active with his church and his family, he has not put pen to paper to develop written descriptions for his presentations. These are absolutely necessary to secure speaking engagements. This is something that two of us in the group do quite well, so when he set his goal to develop three first-rate seminar/keynote descriptions, the other members in the group acted as coaches and mentors. Another member most needs to work on writing a book. Her goal is to write a series of newsletters and then turn these newsletters into a book. Yet another member wants to specialize in keynotes on leadership and the goal of the rest of the group is to make sure that he does everything in his power to achieve that goal.

Aaron: The mastermind group I participate in operates similarly to Brad's in that we ask the others to help keep us accountable for our individual goals. Our group is different, though, in that all six of us are professional speakers and we all share a common achievement: We are all world champions of public speaking. Once a month, Mark Brown, Craig Valentine, Ed Tate, Darren LaCroix, Jim Key, all Toastmasters World Champions of Speaking, and I meet via conference call. Because of the similarity of our businesses, we use our group meetings to exchange information that is of equal benefit to us all. When one of us finds a product, service, or service provider that we like, we share it with the others in our group, saving everyone else the time it would take to research the same information individually. We share tips on product development and resource sales and we collaborate on projects that make us more effective collectively. To an outsider it may seem odd that we would give away information to others who could be perceived as "the competition." However, it's just the opposite. We know that all of us together know more than any one of us individually, so if we collaborate and cooperate with people who hold similar standards and goals, we all grow faster. It's just like the adage says, "A rising tide lifts all boats."

All of the members of our mastermind groups, each of whom is a highly motivated individual, stated that membership in the group has made them 20- to 30-percent more effective in those areas where they needed to grow. Warning! Other people will observe the effect of being in a mastermind group and will want to join, but you have to be incredibly selective. This is not a group to mentor people who are at a different stage in development than you are. That can be done in other venues. All of the people in your mastermind group need to be at approximately the same level of development. Of course, you will have different areas of strengths, and this is important because you can help each other develop those skills, and/or those skills can be applied to help each other achieve their goals. The easiest way to say this is that mastermind groups work best when made up of equally skilled peers.

5. Learn How to Think Like the Experts

Become a student of the world's best presenters. We can study the world's best presenters by listening to their audios, viewing their videotapes, watching them on television, in movies, and, wherever possible, by observing them in person. Winston Churchill became one of the most masterful presenters of the 20th century. However, he was not a "naturally gifted" speaker. In fact, as a child, he stuttered badly. Yet he became one of the world's greatest orators. The stories of how Churchill, Gandhi, John Kennedy, Barbara Jordan, and Barbara Coloroso came to understand and apply skills of other very proficient presenters makes fascinating study and demonstrates that none of the eminent speakers who we might choose to emulate were "born speakers." Each had to work at it, just like master chess players or golf pros. To become a highly competent presenter, we must learn from the experts. You can begin by researching excellent presenters on the Internet, in videos and podcasts, on DVDs, in books, in movies, and through in-person or telephone interviews.

EXERCISE 8-1

As shown below, make three columns. In the first column, list the names of several expert presenters and influencers you would like to know more about. In the second column, list what you would like to learn. For example, how they accomplished what they did and the strategies, skills, and methods they used to achieve their results. In the third column, list the resources you will use to research the expert(s) you have chosen. For example, you might want to learn more about powerful beginnings, storytelling, and the use of vocal variety. Some examples of the resources you could use are: the Internet, library, audiotapes, and/or videotapes of presentations and books of effective presentation skills.

Name of Expert

What I Would Like to Learn

Resources


6. Interview the Best Presenters You Can Find

Another proven method to continue the lifelong learning process of developing and delivering top-notch presentations is to interview the best presenters you know personally or those you do not know but would agree to be interviewed. You can select people who are well-known presenters, such as professional speakers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, community leaders, ministers, or advocates, and simply ask if you can set up a 10- to 15-minute appointment to gain information and insights. You can use both your time and theirs more effectively if you do some pre-interview homework. Find out as much as you can about a specific presenter's style and/or most accomplished presentation by preparing high-yield questions regarding strategies, methods, and techniques that they found effective. Highyield questions invite the person you are interviewing to share information at the most meaningful level possible. Examples of highyield questions are: "What did you learn as you developed and delivered effective presentations that you would have liked to have known before you entered into your profession?" and, "What lessons about developing and delivering effective presentations would you want to pass on to someone who was entering your line of work?"

Alternatively, you can list three aspects of developing and delivering effective presentations about which you want to learn more. We used both approaches in interviewing the excellent presenters who contributed their stories and expertise. We also learned and benefited greatly from their experience, and this increased the breadth and depth of our knowledge.

EXERCISE 8-2

Being very specific, list three aspects of developing and delivering effective presentations about which you want to learn more. Examples of topics are learning how to be more dynamic, more forceful, more creative, or some other aspect you want to develop. List up to three topics. Under each topic, list the names of three people who you could interview to learn more. Complete one set of interviews, learn all you can, document and record all that you have learned, and then apply some of those lessons before going on to the next topic.

Topic(s)

Person to Interview

Resource(s)


7. Learn from the Best Books, Movies, and Courses

After winning the World Championship of Public Speaking in Chicago, I came back to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and the first thing I did was to get another book on the art of public speaking.

- Craig Valentine

Learning effective presentation skills is a lifelong process. In a very real sense, reading this resource is only the beginning of that process. To answer the question, "Where do I go from here," we have listed several suggestions on how to find the best information possible.

Learning From Books and Films: A bibliography of more than 50 of the best books, and audio and videotapes on presentations skills can be found in Appendix B. Each reference is described in enough detail to help you make an informed choice about whether it would be helpful to you in further developing your skills.

Learning From Courses and Speaking Organizations: Excellent courses of study, some programmed and some self-directed, are available through a number of organizations. We list some of them here:

Toastmasters International is the world's largest organization to help develop speaking, listening, and leadership skills. At Toastmasters, members learn by speaking to groups and working with others in a supportive, encouraging environment. A typical Toastmasters club is made up of 20 to 40 people who meet once a week for one to two hours. Each meeting gives participants an opportunity to practice conducting meetings, giving impromptu speeches, presenting prepared speeches, and offering constructive evaluation.

There are many advantages to Toastmasters. First, they have been in the business of helping individuals present more effectively since 1924. Second, you can start at a level with which you feel comfortable and gradually and systematically move up to more complex presentations. Third, there is ample opportunity to practice, as most clubs meet two to four times a month. If you miss a meeting, you can attend a meeting on a different night or at another club in your area, or you can visit a club at another location if you are traveling. With more than 8,000 clubs internationally, finding a club is a relatively simple task.

At the National Speakers Association (NSA) Annual Meeting, you can see presentations by some of the best presenters in the business. Breakout and workshop sessions are designed to help you accelerate your skills. You can also attend the "Meet the Pros"' session, which is made up 10 individuals who get to sit down with a professional speaker for 20 minutes to discuss a specific topic on speaking. You can meet with three different pros and learn about three different areas of interest. It is amazing how much material can be covered in such a short period of time. Because the group is small and intimate, you can also get burning questions answered and make contact with an expert with whom you can talk to or correspond in the future. The array of topics presented is impressive. Aaron has been attending NSA meetings since 1991 and Sean since 1997. We both agree that one of the biggest mistakes we made in our careers was not joining sooner.

The NSA Youth Leadership Conference is the best-kept secret at NSA. The program is open to children ages 10 to 16, and because it is set up as a parallel conference and run at the same times as the adult sessions, the children are completely looked after and their parents can take full advantage of the adult conference.

Sean: My children and I first attended together in 2000 in Washington, D.C. I thought the Youth Leadership Conference would be a good experience for them, to help them learn about the speaking profession, to be exposed to some of the best speakers in the world, and for us to have a first-class holiday all at the same time. When I explained what would likely happen at NSA, they said that it sounded too much like summer school, were afraid that we would spend too much time in Washington's museums - and therefore would prefer not to go. The end result, however, was that NSA was the highlight of our summer.

After a morning of sightseeing on the first day of the conference, my children and I attended the orientation session. The speaker for the opening session was the one and only Zig Ziglar. After the session was over, the parents were asked to leave, were told to relax for the rest of the afternoon, attend the opening session, and pick the kids up at 10 p.m. The children heard some of the best presenters in the world, including a visit from Abraham Lincoln, a.k.a. Gene Griessman. The youth counselors and the people who directed the program were, in my children' words, "awesome." Their goal was to have a better conference than the adults, and clearly in my children's eyes, they did. In fact, these same children who originally did not want to go to NSA in Washington had such a good time that they couldn't wait to go to the next NSA Youth Leadership Program.

There are many good reasons for people who want to improve their presentation skills to attend NSA. If you have children, you now have another reason to go, because it is never too early to start learning.

The National Speakers Association of Australia was established in 1987 and its foundation and evolution has been modeled on its U.S. counterpart. The National Speakers Association of New Zealand was formed in 1994. These organizations exist to develop, promote, and uphold the highest possible standards of the profession for the benefit of their members and the public they serve. Any person who has an interest in the speaking industry is eligible to apply for membership.

The Professional Speakers Association (PSA) is a an organization for professional speakers in Europe. PSA supports its members in developing their presentation skills, to share best practices, and to increase the awareness of the importance of professional speaking. There are currently seven chapters in England and one each in Scotland, Ireland, and Paris/Brussels.

The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) is Canada's professional association for speakers, trainers, and facilitators. Just like NSA, CAPS has annual meetings where you can see and learn from the best speakers in Canada. CAPS currently has 11 chapters across Canada. Chapter locations and meeting times can be found on the CAPS Website. Just like the other national associations, CAPS offers tremendous value to it members.

Lastly, most colleges, universities, and local and national training organizations offer courses in presentation skills. Nationally, Dale Carnegie offers a presentations course as does the Christopher Leadership Course As the quality of these courses is directly proportional to the abilities of the person teaching the course, use your research skills to find the right course and the right level of training to best meet your specific needs. Warning! Don't judge a course by its brochure. Use your research and networking skills to find the ones that offer the most value for your needs.

We all know from elementary school arithmetic that 3 + 3 = 6. We also know that 3 3 = 9. Synergy is powerful. Synergy is based on the effects of combining some work in all of the areas listed above. Combining experience, mentoring, coaching, books, and courses results in compounded learning.

At this point it would be easy to congratulate yourself for having read this resource. However, that would be a grave mistake to stop there. For gifted presenters and aspiring presenters, now is the time to take constructive action, and the action plan that follows is designed to help you do just that.

Helen Keller said that "life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing." In your presentation adventures, we wish you Godspeed.


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