Presenters Training Team – 2015 in Review

Thomas Ralph L3, United Kingdom

Thomas Ralph L3, United Kingdom

This year we brought you articles on seven different topics to help improve conferences where you, the readers, facilitate seminars. We also delivered a one-day facilitator development workshop in Taunton, UK, a face to face opportunity to learn and practice facilitation skills, with judges being filmed practicing their presentations and getting detailed feedback from the facilitator and the other judges.

You don’t know what we’re talking about? Matteo Callegari has you covered, explaining everything you need to know about Your First Conference.

We’re delighted to share what some of the people who used our resources thought about them and their experience facilitating seminars armed with their new skills.

Amy Tanner, United Kingdom, Ireland & South Africa region, attended a facilitator development workshop in Taunton. She was quite new to judging and to seminar delivery. “I have come away with more confidence”, Amy told us, “to put the conference blog topics into practice”. She is now training to deliver the facilitator development workshop herself in 2016.

Mirko Console, Italy & Malta region, had spent a few years away from the judge program, but this year he organized his first judge conference. “It was really exciting and demanding”, said Mirko, “and having some articles to read has been a useful starting point for me. I used them to refresh my memory and as guide for the presenters who wanted to improve their skills.” As he had around ten facilitators to co-ordinate, he said “it’s been important to have a document ready to give to them to explain what I was expecting from them, and how to create a better presentation”. Mirko was happy that the articles on the judge blog saved him time and allowed him to dedicate more time discussing the actual seminar topics with his judges.

The articles Mirko is talking about are Avoiding Common Mistakes by Patrick Ericsson, Connecting with the Audience by Daniel Sole Garcia, and Getting the Audience on Your Side by yours truly (Thomas Ralph).

Kevin Binswanger, USA – South region, particularly liked Presentation Design Principles by Ivan Petkovic. “I’ve been trying and failing for years to write this topic in a long and detailed article”, he said. “Of course it’s obvious after the fact that the right way to teach this topic is with more pictures and fewer words.”


Jack Doyle, United Kingdom, Ireland & South Africa region, agrees. He was preparing a seminar on Bribery for his regional judge conference in November, and on the subject of Ivan’s articles, he remarked “It was a completely different style to how I used to design computer presentations, but I decided I’d try it out”.

Preparing his presentation took him a bit longer than usual because he had to find the images to use. But Jack found that “whilst I was onstage, I knew what I wanted to say and didn’t have to read the screen or my notes”. He added “the images cued me and I was prepared for the upcoming slides”.

Jack got excellent feedback from other judges about the seminar. “People told me it was very engaging and easy to follow”, he said, “and the best honour of all was getting voted as the best seminar of the conference by my fellow judges”.

Luca Chiassoni, Italy & Malta region, found the articles on the blog an invaluable resource. I’ll let him take up the story.

“To be honest the first thought about trying to present a seminar was to challenge myself. ‘Will I have something to teach other judges?’ The answer to that question was not that hard: once I was involved in the Judge Program I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.”

These concepts are developed in George Gavrilita’s Inspiration article.

Luca continues: “Ok, I knew I wanted to be a presenter, but what could I teach? I need to find something I am good at if I want to actually analyze and teach it. I’ve found the answer to this question thinking what were the things that other Judges ask me the most. And here we go, topic found!

So the last follow up question was: ‘Will I be able to actually teach something?’

Here things started to get tough, but since I like challenges I asked Mirko Console (the Judge in charge of the Italian Judge Conference this autumn) for a chance to present a seminar. Not only did Mirko give me this opportunity, he also linked me all the articles on this blog to help me out with my first seminar.

That collection of articles helped me a lot, since I am a pretty new presenter, and with the new ideas I’ve learned, I managed to put down the sketch of my seminar. I wanted my seminar to be as good as possible, so the next step was to ask the mighty Matteo Callegari for help, whom I am lucky to live close to.”

Luca prepared his seminar using the method’s described in On the Road.

“I came to him with a sketch of my seminar, made a first presentation to him so he helped me to focus on the topic and gave me an idea of the correct use of the pauses, the discussions with the audience during the presentation and so on.”

We’re really pleased we could help these five judges to take their facilitation skills to the next level this year. Have you had the opportunity to put some of our tips to good use? Is there something you’d like to learn more about from an article next year? Or perhaps you’d be interested in attending a future facilitator development workshop? Please comment below or contact any of the authors on this blog!

We have an even richer schedule prepared for 2016, where new and old writers will deal with Body Language, Workshops, Story Telling and much more. Until then, from everyone at the Conference Blog, Happy Holidays!

Is this an interesting read? Do you also have something to say about slides and seminars? We are always looking for feedback, but even more for collaborators! It doesn’t matter if you want to help writing already scheduled articles, or share entirely new ideas. Contact George , and let the Judge Community know what you think.