Choosing A Presentation Skills Training Course
I run presentation skills training courses and therefore I am hardly impartial, but with that caveat here is my experience...
Maximum 8 delegates on the course
This is the most important point to look out for. In our experience, 6 is best. Anything over 8 and the delegates spends most of the time listening and not enough time doing.
Think about the numbers. Once you take out time for lunch, tea breaks, discussion, briefing and the trainer's advice you are left with practice time. Divide practice time by the number of delegates and you have YOU time. Six delegates should give 45 - 50 minutes for you, 10 delegates gives you about 30 minutes. More than 10 and you may as well buy a book from the library.
Two tutors is good
One tutor is ok, but two definitely improves the quality of feedback and personal attention. This is particularly true if the tutors bring a different professional experience to the course.
Video playback please
Most of our groups squeal in protest when they see the video camera. Yet in the feedback, video playback is regularly mentioned as being really worthwhile.
Taking part is more useful than listening
We overcome confidence issues by receiving advice, practising, getting honest, supportive feedback and then practising again.
Ask how many presentations that you can personally expect to make across the course. Generally more is better.
Can I contact past customers for a reference?
You may not choose to do so, but it is reassuring to know that you can.
Inevitably, the course will reflect the tutors' own experience. If the tutor has a formal business background then expect the accent to be on formal business presentations. If the tutor is an ex-actor then expect it to be more theatrical. It doesn't have to be this way but it usually is.
It is important that the tutor is teaching from experience. If you have to make a business presentation to a difficult audience or speak in a conference hall - have they done it themselves?
Similar experience groups are better
Mixed groups can be ok, but mostly it is better to be sharing a group with others who are at a similar level. It creates a camaraderie in getting better together.
Similar group objectives improve focus?
The course will be more relevant if everyone has similar goals. For example, if everyone wants to get improve their skills in delivering PowerPoint presentations to a small group of colleagues or customers then there is a shared agenda. However, if individuals' objectives include making a wedding speech, one-to-one sales technique and becoming an authoritative presenter, then the course agenda is going to lack focus.
I imagine everyone gives course notes but it is worth double-checking. You certainly do not want to have to spend time writing stuff down.
Can I contact the tutor afterwards?
A few months later, can you contact the course tutor to discuss a presentation you have to make? The answer should be yes.