I am really into workplace transfer.  In other words, transferring what was learnt on a training course and into the workplace.  To me, this is what training is all about. I was recently training a manager on a presentation skills course, and she had learnt loads and was looking forward to putting the skills and techniques into practice.

She was keen on the fact that on the course she learnt skills to engage individuals to a very high standard.  She felt she could now start to reduce the number of PowerPoint slides she was using.  She said to me she had been told that she used too much PowerPoint in presentations but didn't know what else to do.  Of course, we have all been to presentations or possibly delivered them ourselves when we just read slide after slide.  As I always tell delegates, this isn’t effective presenting, it is reading out loud, and anyone can do that.

A few days later she emailed me to say she had cut down her slide deck from 37 to 5 and was looking forward to hearing what staff thought after she delivered the training.

The feedback she received was very positive; one delegate said: "For once I enjoyed the presentation" which is a fantastic compliment to get.

When I spoke to Sarah, she said she realised that many of the slides were just not needed; she had used them as safety blankets for herself as the facilitator.  Many presenters create slides for themselves, however, we should be creating slides for visual reinforcement and not for us as the presenter.

This is a real admission from a brilliant presenter.  Using practical skills such as engagement skills is what effective presentations is all about.  When you use these skills, your confidence grows, and your audience engages with your delivery.

Cutting your slideshow down from 37 to 5 is an empowering thing to do as a presenter.  Make it your first instinct to ask where you could cut your slides down.  Fewer slides and more engagement equals enjoyable presentations and training.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.  To see courses where Ralph delivers see our website here.