3 Quick Tips to Be More Interactive and Facilitative as a Presenter


Research by the National Speakers’ Association shows that becoming facilitative is one of the most important changes a speaker could make to be more effective. By that they meant the use of interaction, discussion, and method for engaging participants’ ideas. When you are a speaker, please consider the following suggestions, listed in the chronology you would expect during a normal presentation:

  1. Take extra time to precisely articulate your purpose, scope, and objectives.
    • Do not rely on an overly broad and meaningless purpose statement such as to “educate” or “inform”. With instant, on-line access across the world, there are far more effective ways to learn most material than to attend a live presentation. Presentations are normally intended to shape and guide behavior. Which behaviors and what decisions that need to be made will your material impact?
    • Stipulate the scope of your discussion to help manage time and keep your audience focused. What should be included and more importantly, NOT included in your session?
    • Consider your statement of objectives as discrete items that you could package and hand off to somebody. If I was unable to attend your presentation but you could hand me the benefits, what are they?
  2. Consider three discrete audiences perspectives for all commercial, industrial, and government topics. Each perspective requires its own scorecard or method of analyzing and measuring input received during a presentation. Typically you will find a sponsor, a decision-maker, and an operator:

    Organizational Decision-Making

    • Executive sponsors. Individuals who authorize solutions. They really do not want to attend more presentation or view more data, they simply want results. For example, in a hospital setting, this might be the CIO (chief information officer).
    • Agents responsible for the identification of solutions and getting the results sought by the executive sponsors. These people may decide alone or as a steering team. They frequently approve the broad solution, the investments required, and the commitment that will be provided. In a hospital setting this might be the directors of finance and radiology.
    • Individuals who will operate the new solution (eg, a new bio-scanner) and may have a voice in the brand or model selection. In a hospital setting this might be a radiologist or technician, responsible for getting patients in and out as quickly as possible.
  3. During or after your presentation when questions are asked, be more facilitative by repeating the question or comment loud enough so that everyone can hear it.

As part of the FAST technique, we would also recommend using a content-management tool to build consensual understanding around your presentation, but that is a different blog at a different time.

Facilitation Skills

The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember friends, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).

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About Terrence Metz
Biographic Sketch — Terrence Metz Since the end of 1999, Terrence Metz has been a founding principal partner and vice president at Morgan Madison & Company. For over twenty years, through professional and academic endeavors, Terrence has focused on improving group decision-making. His experience has proven that two important components to effective group decision-making are: 1. Higher quality information assures higher quality decisions, 2. Properly managed conflict, generates more “options” to consider—
and groups with more options are proven to make higher quality decisions. Terrence is passionate about using and teaching the FAST Facilitative Leadership Training technique so that people and teams make more informed decisions. Terrence is the lead instructor and primary curriculum developer for MG Rush Performance Learning. He earned his Six Sigma Green Belt® from Motorola University and wrote most of the existing FAST curriculum. Terrence made the FAST technique more robust by adding and enhancing decision-making tools such as PowerBalls and the FAST quantitative SWOT technique that is used worldwide by Fortune 1000 companies. He introduced the concept of holism to the field of structured facilitation as a method for keeping discussions on target and aligning deliverables throughout an organization. Since 1999, Terrence has taught over two hundred classes. With a Baccalaureate in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and a MBA from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on product/ process development and innovation. Terrence has a P&L background in capital goods markets with highly engineered-products and services (eg, Honeywell). He is an expert group facilitator, instructor, and developer of workflow processes and Voice of the Market inputs that accelerate commercial success. His engagements have included strategic development, business planning, problem-solving, continuous improvement, organizational design, process design and improvement, customer cognitivity workshops, and market-based product development and launch. His book "Change or Die: The Business Process Improvement Manual" from CRC Press was published internationally in 2012. Terrence completed additional graduate work in inter-cultural decision-making processes at Marquette University, is a former board member of the Product Development Managers’ Association, and a long-time member of the IAF (International Association of Facilitators), MFNA (Midwest Facilitators Network Association), TMAC (Technology Management Association of Chicago) and WFS (World Future Society). Most importantly, Terrence is an effective listener and equally adept at teaching FAST classes as well as galvanizing consensus around complex issues for organizations and groups.

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