How to Teach a Bunch of Steps and Not Bore the Heck Out of Your Audience

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Last month, I helped a client re-design their medical training sessions so that they were more interesting and more interactive. As with many training sessions in medicine, it was important for the presenters to cover all of the steps because the safety of the patient was involved. However, when we deliver many, many steps in a single class, participants are likely to forget important parts or become confused. So, we helped this client develop training sessions that increased attendee retention and made it easier for the presenter to deliver as well. So, this podcast covers what we did. In addition, we have a new Techfind that is a great playlist of TedTalks that can help you design and deliver better presentations as well.

TechFind! Before Public Speaking Playlist from TedTalks

Creating TED TalksIf you’ve been listening to our podcasts a while, you know that we often try to have our TechFinds cover gadgets or equipment that can make presenting easier. However, this week, we found a really helpful video playlist from TedTalks. Obviously, TedTalks is a great place to go to learn new skills or to find new ideas. However, if you are like me, it is easy to get get lost in all of the different pieces of content and “rabbit chase” from one video to another. So, TedTalks have created specific playlists that all revolve around a certain concept, idea, or skill. This playlist is about how to organize your presentations better. Have fun exploring!

How to Teach a Process that Has a Bunch of Steps

How to Teach a Process that has a Bunch of StepsAs a review, if yu want people to enjoy and retain the content of your presentation, focus on just a few key points and cover them well. You can use stories, examples, analogies and other Impact Ideas to reinforce your key points. However, what happens when you are legally required to cover a lot of steps in a process? Although some steps may be more important than others, if you skip even minor steps, the whole process breaks down. Well, we know that if you just cover a bunch of steps in a single sitting, most of your audience will forget what you have said. In addition, others will likely be confused once you leave. Below are a few things that you can do to increase retention and make the delivery much easier.

Break the Steps Down into Bite-Sized Pieces

Instead of trying to cover 36 steps in one hour, you’ll get better results if you can cover 12 steps per hour over a three-hour period. Just take a short break in between each session. That is still a lot of content in a short time, so you will get even better retention if you break the 12 steps into three sessions with four steps covered in each session. Sure, it will take two days to cover all of the content, but the retention will increase dramatically. This process allows the participants to master each part of the process before moving to the next step.

Alternatively, if some of the steps are simple to follow but important to the process, just combine them into a single teaching point. For instance if the steps to refueling my car are (1) press the fuel cover button next to the driver’s seat, (2) remove the gas cap, (3) insert your credit card into the station pump, (4) input your zip code, (5) select the grade of gas, (6) insert gas nozzle into gas tank, (7) begin fueling, (8) wait for pump to automatically shut off, (9) remove nozzle and replace on pump, (10) replace gas cap, (11) shut fuel cover, I could sum all of those simple steps up by creating a bullet point called “Refuel Your Car”. I could then use images or an in-person demonstration to explain each step. I wouldn’t need to make a separate bullet point or slide for each of the steps.

Use “Impact Ideas” to Reinforce Content

Whichever way that you decide to deliver the key concepts, it is important to reinforce them to increase retention. Examples and stories are a great way to reinforce your key points. Remember that you don’t need a separate example for each of the 36 steps in the process. A single story can often reinforce a number of these steps at the same time. Analogies, demonstrations, videos, posters, and the like can also help.

Follow these Tips to Create a Great Eulogy

What happens if you have to deliver all 36 steps, though, and you only have one short class to deliver all of the steps? In that case, it may be important to cover the entire process in a quick, and cursory way, but then go back and cover a few of the steps in a little more detail. I’d suggest covering the three steps that are most important to the success of the audience.

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