I Almost Fell Into the Trap

The deception that busy business people, like you and I, can easily fall into when we’re up against it.

Let me explain.

I was asked by a client to deliver a five-day sales and customer service programme in Abu Dhabi and at the last moment was given the objectives and direction for the workshop. My first reaction realising I only had one day to prepare was…

“Has anyone got a PowerPoint deck covering the whole five days?”

Thankfully I caught myself falling into the trap of borrowing someone else’s PowerPoint deck and delivering a dull listless session which someone else had done before. Instead I buckled down, and in one day was able to put together a programme that I rolled out over the five days which went very well, even if I say so myself.

Here’s my secret to doing just that:

  • Have your data in the cloud, so you can access it from a laptop anywhere in the world. I wanted to access mindmaps and my running notes from hundreds of programmes I’d written before on the same subject. So fetching these from the cloud was a doddle.
  • Mindmap the content, exercises, stories that you want to include starting with a strategic big picture and then branching off to create detailed lesson plans in mindmap form.
  • Be prepared to change the order and content on the fly once you’ve met the group or talked to the organiser to see what exactly is needed. Never 100% believe the organiser, instead rely on the audience to give you feedback as you deliver and be ready to change as you present.
  • Include lots of exercises and activities if it’s a workshop, after all your daughter coming home from school will never say she received sex training, it’ll always be sex education. That’s what makes a training workshop different – it’s training and needs to be used and practised.
  • Finally, there’s nothing wrong with a PowerPoint deck – it’s useful for key information, pictures, videos and graphs – even bullets but using SmartArt rather than bullets allows a quick graphic based slide with dead easy animation capabilities. I had my 150 slide deck created in no time.
  • Work each evening to create and improve the next days’ sessions. Industry uses “just in time” supplier delivery so why can’t we. The internet is available around the world so you can do everything you need to do in the comfort of your hotel room, or by the pool in 40 degree heat, which I chose.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of borrowing someone else’s PowerPoint deck and winging it. It’s bad for your health and your students.