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Two years into my college teaching career, the governing board of that college decided to consolidate the fine arts departments of its three main campuses. Since I had been teaching theatre and directing drama productions for one campus, all indications were that I was about to be out of a job.

Before making its final decision, the board held a public meeting and allowed individuals to speak for or against its proposal. I took advantage of this opportunity and presented an impassioned plea to leave the fine arts departments near the communities they served. But it was not to be. The vote to consolidate passed.

At the end of the meeting, the president of the college came up to me and said, "Young woman, do you teach public speaking for me?" "No, sir," I replied, "I teach theatre." And he said, "Well, now you teach speech."

So there I was. I had a job, but I wasn't sure how to do it. I had degrees in theatre and broadcasting but not in speech. Most of my work experience was in radio; I had only been teaching for two years. I had just delivered a persuasive speech, but I was just acting on my instincts. And, more importantly, I had no clue how to teach others how to do so. I didn't know where to start.

That was twenty years ago. This book is a result of twenty years of research and application, education and practice, successes and mistakes. I have made the journey to success in the corporate training arena the hard way: by wading through and experimenting with way too much textbook information written by self-proclaimed experts, many of whom had never taught adults in the corporate environment. With this book, I'll save you that trouble.


If The Presentation Skills Workshop grabbed your attention, you are probably a skills trainer or coach looking for tools to make your people more effective. No doubt you have developed skills and earned credibility as a presenter and trainer. But you may not have the entire skill set or a well-organized package of materials that will translate into success for your trainees.

This book can be a perfect complement to the skills you already have. With it, you can prepare a dynamic and powerful presentation skills course. The Presentation Skills Workshop is your complete guide to success.


The Presentation Skills Workshop is a practical guide that gives you all the tools you'll need without forcing you to wade through a mountain of verbiage. The book is designed to be a manual and a guide—not a typical textbook.

The process you will learn works. I can say that with complete confidence, because I have tested and proven it with thousands of trainees from a wide range of organizations. Here are some reasons why this approach is unique:

  • The process is designed around and consistently follows an easy-toremember model.

  • The guidelines that apply the model are specific and simple to use.

  • The discussion material includes enough theory to support your own personal experience and enhance your credibility, but it avoids academic rhetoric.

  • The coaching instructions are easy to personalize for maximum impact on all trainees of any experience level.

  • The real-world examples support your own professional experiences as you facilitate the course.

  • The worksheets and visual aids are ready to photocopy, thus saving you from reinventing the wheel.

  • The program is turn-key yet remains flexible enough for easy adaptation to your training situation.

  • The book is packed with stories of real training successes and failures and stuff only learned by doing this a zillion times.

  • The style is personal; it is written trainer-to-trainer by someone who has been there, done that.

In short, The Presentation Skills Workshop is not the biggest, longest, heaviest book containing everything there is to know about presentation skills training. It is simply all you really want and need to know.


Part One shows you how to prepare to teach the course. It introduces the foundation model that is used throughout the entire process.

  • Chapter One presents the Strategic Communication Model. You will teach the course by applying this model. This chapter sets the stage for everything else that follows.

  • Chapter Two covers the logistics of course design, including class size, time requirements, and what you can expect to accomplish.

  • Chapter Three gets you ready to walk into your training room and launch a dynamic session. It includes checklists and handouts of your slides and worksheets.

Part Two walks you through teaching the course, step by step.

  • Chapter Four covers those first critical minutes when you have your only chance to make that first impression.

  • Chapters Five, Six, and Seven apply the communication model to the preparation of a speech: doing the "homework" to analyze the situation and audience, selecting and organizing content material, and then creating dynamic visual aids.

  • Chapter Eight details speech delivery, including verbal and nonverbal skills, tips for overcoming anxiety, rehearsal techniques, and Q&A pointers.

  • Chapter Nine describes giving, soliciting, receiving, and evaluating feedback for continued growth and success.

  • Chapter Ten revisits the model looking at male-female communication differences. This can give you an additional edge in managing gender tendencies that may affect both your expectations and evaluations.

Part Three is your follow-up for the course.

  • Chapter Eleven includes a sample course feedback form and shows how to interpret your findings to management.

Part Four is the Strategic Communication Course handout packet, complete with ready-to-copy pages and optional examples.

Part Five contains a set of ready-to-copy transparency masters to accompany your lectures and class discussions.

The Appendices provide support material.

  • Appendix A is a succinct, generic version of the Strategic Communication Model.

  • Appendix B is an application of the model—a detailed procedure for selling your course.


A great presenter has two unique qualities: appropriate skills and personal confidence. The confidence derives from selecting excellent information and being comfortable with one's communication skills.

The trainer's challenge is to determine exactly which skills will give speakers the confidence they need. The trainer's confidence comes from the knowledge that the training materials were designed by an experienced, successful, professional trainer and that they do indeed work.

Based on my experiences, I wrote this book as if I were talking to you (and sometimes as if I were talking to your class). I know your questions and concerns because I've heard just about every one imaginable. I learned most of what I share the hard way—from the real-world workplace. With this book, I show you how to master the skills that will make you a better speaker and trainer. The result: You will boost your organization's success and your own by training great presenters.

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