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How can I enhance a lecture-style presentation to make it more interesting for my staff?

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Adult learners are autonomous, self-directed, and goal and relevancy oriented. Presentations given in person can meet these needs provided that speakers use sound delivery methods. Aside from a welcome from the CEO or high-level executive, organizations should avoid the all too common format of general orientation: a parade of stars who stand in front of the room, lecture from PowerPoint slides, and do not allow for interaction. This is disrespectful to learners and does not value what they bring to the room. When using content experts, staff development specialists should help them establish objectives for each presentation. Only vital information that is pertinent and relevant to new employees should be included; remove any nonvalue-added information. When developing the presentation, assist speakers to find creative ways to involve the audience. “If the presenter doesn’t take the time to involve the audience at least every 15-20 minutes, he or she will lose them” (Lloyd, 2002)

Here are some of the ways one might choose to enhance a lecture-style presentation:

  • Guided note-taking. Provide handouts with fill-in-the-blank statements. As listeners hear the information, they can jot it down on the worksheet. (Lloyd, 2002)
  • Orientation Bingo. Provide Bingo cards with key words that will be used during orientation (Lawson, 2002). Distribute M&Ms or Smarties to be used as markers. When someone calls out Bingo, award a small prize.
  • Commercial breaks. Give “commercial breaks” throughout a presentation or between speakers (Lott, 2006). Make the information meaningful such as little known facts about the city or state, great places to eat near the facility, and hospital-sponsored activities such as the company picnic, holiday party, and ice cream socials.
  • Poll the audience. Pose questions throughout the presentation and invite the audience to weigh in with their opinion. Use a wireless polling device to increase interactivity and give immediate visual results.
  • Word puzzles, games, quizzes. Create pre-and posttests using various game formats such as crossword puzzles, matching, and word search (Lloyd, 2002).
  • Policies and procedures worksheet. After a brief presentation on benefits and an overview of organization policies, supply participants with a worksheet. The worksheet should contain the key items that the participant needs to know. Working in pairs, allow the participants to use the employee handbook or intranet to locate answers to the questions (Lawson, 2002; Lloyd, 2002).

Lawson, K. (2002). New Employee Orientation Training. Alexandria: Virginia: American Society for Training and Development.

Lloyd, J. (2002). “Liven up new employee orientation with games, quizzes and Q&A.” Minneapolis: St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved November 28, 2009, from

Debbie Buchwach, MSN, RN-BC

(November 2010)