For any presentation to be meaningful - and memorable - it needs to resonate with the attendees. I start off any presentation planning with WHY. WHY should these people care about what you have to say.
Just yesterday, I sat in a meeting with some clinical leaders at a site as they outlined their upcoming Skills Day. This is actually a week of learning for our front line staff (e.g., nurses, personal support workers, and therapists). They are learning (or re-learning) some basic clinical skills - everything from properly charting/documentation to diabetic foot care to medical technology found in homes and so on. It's a pretty intensive time - held over one week, but staff come in for only one day.
The clinical team ran through everything, turned to me with smiles on their faces and asked "Well, did we miss anything?"
"Why?" I challenged them. "Why should our staff come in and learn all this stuff that they hopefully learned back in school?"
"Because it will refresh their knowledge." Was the response.
"So?" I persisted. "If I supposedly know something already, why should I bother coming in for this?"
I was greeted with blank stares.
"You're telling them WHAT to do and HOW to do it, but not WHY. Make me give a [email protected]
"Well, it's part of their job requirement."
"I can get a job somewhere else, if I'm a nurse or personal support worker. There's a shortage. Anyone will hire me. Try again."
"To stay current on your training?"
"Has it really changed? And if it has, why are we waiting so long to get the information out there? Shame on us. I still don't want to come."
At this point, the site leader spoke up, "Okay, I know what Roxane is getting at. It's technical, but we need to find an emotional connection. How do we do that?"
Silence. Then 5 sets of eyes turned to me.
"Tell a story." I said simply. "We spoke before this meeting about a little boy who was given the incorrect dosage of medication because the nurse didn't read the pump properly. You have a station for that particular pump. Why not post of picture of 'little Timmy' (not his real name) and what happened to him when his insulin dosage was wrong? Say how little Timmy felt...and his Mom...and the fear during the trip to the hospital. I presume the majority of our staff went into healthcare because they wanted to help people like little Timmy. Have them think about *him* while they learn about the pump. Make them care. That's your why."
So, you want to make quality and environmental training more interesting? Tell a story. Talk about an environmental disaster - not necessarily your own if you prefer - and how an EMS could have helped address it, manage it, learn from it, and reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
Stories are a powerful tool and an excellent way to help provide the WHY. They are grossly underused in business, maybe because we associate them with children.