I remember one sociology professor from my college years who was so smart he had achieved his PhD before he was 20 years old. On top of that, he looked very young. He used to complain he kept getting pulled over by the highway patrol for driving without a license and being under 16 years old. He would take out his ID and inform them of their error.

I have met many professors who are as brilliant as he and yet, sadly, they don’t have the communication and presentation skills to share knowledge with others. Even their writing is such that only a small few can understand them.

My young-looking PhD was not one of these.

He had the ability to teach all of us in an amazingly short time. He used the skills of an effective communicator to make his lessons interesting and easy to remember. Even though this was an introductory class in sociology and most of us were just there to meet the graduation requirements, it was a class I am glad I attended.

Presentations must be effective

The questions I ask safety team members and safety professionals are: “Are your safety presentations effective?” “Are they interesting and understandable?” If they aren’t it doesn’t matter how good your content is because they just aren’t getting it.

One great way to check out your presentation skills is to record them. You can do it with several devices. A small consumer video camera works great if you want to be able to see and hear how you are doing. I always record my presentations using a small digital voice recorder. You can also use the voice memo app on your smartphone or the video camera on the same device. A quick search on Amazon.com will give you a source for iPhone or other phone tripod mounts.

Once you have a recording, take the time to look and listen to it. Take notes. Ask yourself what you did right. Take note of the points you did get across very effectively. Next, ask yourself what you could improve on. (Note: I said improve on as opposed to saying what wasn’t good.)

Take your notes and make your next presentation even better. Always think about your audience and their needs. Remember, they don’t know everything you do so you may have to explain some concepts that for you are taken for granted.

I am confident of your safety knowledge and I want to make sure everyone you come in contact with benefits from what you have learned over the years. Many of you are certified or have a degree in safety and I know you have life-saving information.

Other ways of improving your skills

I have recommended Toastmasters International for years to people who want to become excellent presenters. You can do a search on the Internet and find them. Their website is: http://www.toastmasters.org

Virtually every community has its own Toastmasters Club. Visit them and find the one that fits your personality and needs.

My favorite way of helping safety people improve their skills is an event I call the “Dynamic Presentations Institute.” I will be doing an Institute on April 25th and 26th in McPherson, Kansas (You fly into Wichita). It is for a private company and they have given me permission to allow other people to register. If you are interested please give my Institute Director Sandie Gilbert a call at 209.747.2770 or email her at sandie@drebinger.com. The price for the Institute is only $1297 and I guarantee you will be pleased with all you will learn.