When I’m asked to do a presentation, for corporate training or national conferences, I always try to present in a style that reflects how we practice lean six sigma.

How do you gain buy-in in any change process? By having the group participate in the discussion or decision! So, I add interactive segments into my presentations wherever possible.

At one conference I was caught by surprise -I thought my presentation was scheduled for 40 minutes and made my slides accordingly, but when I arrived and checked the official schedule, my time slot said 75 minutes. Oops! I’d already submitted my slides months before, with timing that allowed for some interactive Q&A during the talk, and the handouts were already published. What could I to a) fill the time slot while b) using the 40-minute slides I’d prepared and c) looking as if it was planned that way all along?

I decided to add interactive segments in addition to the pre-planned Q&A sections. After each part of the presentation, which focused on using6S in the clinical (hospital) laboratory setting, I asked participants to “buddy up” in twos or threes to discuss what issues they had in their labs related to each S. It turned out that almost every lab had a “junk room” (the better to practice sorting), cabinets and drawers that weren’t labeled (the better to practice straightening), etc. After each buddy session, I would ask the group for examples of what had been discussed. These worthwhile conversations had the effect of energizing the group, made the time fly (and I ended right on time), and as an added bonus, my talk received high scores on the evaluation form. I was even invited to give the presentation again at this year’s conference.

Do you use a similar tactic when giving a presentation or training? I’d love to learn about more examples from our expert speakers and trainers out there!

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