A presentation workshop of a different kind in Mauritius

For the last 3 years, we at Strategy Compass have been supporting EAST, a non-profit organisation dedicated to developing education, health and entrepreneurship in Africa. At the heart of its activities is the annual “eLearning Africa” conference, which brings together people from all over Africa (and beyond) who can and want to bring about change. And while we, as a company, had previously only made donations, the organisers this year invited us to actively participate in the conference.

And so it was that, two weeks ago, I went to Mauritius to hold a workshop with an exciting group of teachers, trainers, professors, ministry workers, business owners and other dedicated participants who all wanted to know how to achieve even more impact with their presentations. Normally, our training courses are aimed more at managers, specialists or consultants from the business world. Which meant that I had to spend quite a bit of time preparing relevant content on this occasion.
The workshop was well worth it, both for the participants and for me myself. Below is a brief list of what I learnt from my preparation and discussion with the participants:

  1. Everyone is battling the same problems.
    The challenges we face when creating presentations in a business context are largely the same as those in an education context. And the situation in Africa is no different to Europe or the USA.
  2. Relevance is king.
    No matter whom I’m creating a presentation for – unless my content and messages are of interest and fit with my audience’s situation and environment, they will have no impact at all.
  3. Messages are often hidden.
    Once again it has been proven: What you initially consider a presentation’s message to be is rarely what the message actually should be when properly thought through.
  4. Pyramids are great.
    Regardless of whether I’m substantiating a core message with arguments or logically breaking down learning objectives and content, Barbara Minto’s pyramid principle is extremely useful. While providing structure up front is also crucial in learning-based situations, summaries typically come at the end.
  5. Design principles are universal.
    Anyone can design good slides using a few relatively simple principles. Perhaps not on their first attempt, but at least during the correction cycle. And these same basic principles apply all over the world (at least based on my experiences).
Afrika Workshop 1Africa Workshop 2Africe Workshop 3

Apart from the workshop itself, it was great to spend three whole days engaging in discussion with over 700 interested participants as to how learning and technology can change the lives of people in Africa. Thank you to the organisers for this fantastic conference!

Achim Sztuka

 

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