“Saying yes when you really mean no builds resentment to the very person that you are trying to please.”

- Dr D - Dorianne Weil


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The Vertical Presentation - Dorianne Weil "DrD"


Here are some ideas to ‘get to the essence’ and deepen presentations,hence maximising the value for the presenter. 

  • Structured Content.  Very often participants in their enthusiasm, respond to the presenter one after the other often with unrelated ideas or shared experiences.  Even if the moderator gently controls the process and allows and invites each person to have a say, particular content may not be expanded upon and developed.  The moderator needs to encourage expansion around a response before moving on to further input i.e. Milk The Content.  Ask the forum for any other input ideas or experience around the material being discussed.  In this manner each content piece is identified and elaborated upon for the benefit of the presenter before moving on to further input.  Content that might spark interest in the presenter is often lost by forum participants moving on to the next well intended contribution without fully "unpacking" the here and now idea.
  • Presenter Response.  In a similar vain many moderators do not offer the presenter sufficient space to respond.  The presenter appears and often is listening intently, but cannot quickly explore his response or the true value of input received if she is bombarded with material from the next participant.  Even if the content is related it is important to allow "potential presenter resonance".  Sometimes the presenter will "light up" and ask for expansion, but sometimes the essence of the input is missed.  Let the presenter respond.
  • Two Hats Moderator.    Once again, especially in the midst of an absorbing discussion the correct balance between participant, observer and facilitator with is a fine one.  Essentially the moderators primary role is to maintain and maximise positive facilitative processes and is therefore keenly aware of what is going on.  This refers to both intra and inter personal processes.  Obviously the moderator has his own input and is certainly a valuable participant, but first and foremost needs to encourage full participation This entails inviting in the more reticent members gently controlling the more verbose and sharpening the use of the forum protocol.  Therefore in presentations the effective moderator certainly tends mostly to come in once response has been elicited from the rest of the group.  This timing is of course, just the opposite to that of communication starters or other situations where the moderator would initiate and talk first in order to model what it expected.  Finally, if you remember to throw most questions or comments back to the member who asked by saying "well what have you tried up to now or what are your own thoughts / feelings about that", you will usually get valuable input from the member himself.  Whether you do or not.. always refer to the group before responding yourself.
  • Utilising the Group.   Lots of questions like, "what do you think / feel... and you ...etc...?" involve all members and offer invaluable feedback to the presenter.  This can be done more often than most moderators realise and is particularly useful when a presenter feels vulnerable e.g. after an emotional presentation.  The moderator might call for feedback or offer a response herself like "I had no idea that you'd been through such a hard time.  I admire your courage."  Then simply by gesturing or nodding to the next member and then the next, the moderator will elicit responses that will be forthcoming and will serve to join the group harness the collective support and reassure a vulnerable presenter that he is not negatively judged .  This skill can also be used to reinforce an idea or encourage a potential presentation e.g.  "That seems important.  I would like to hear more ... Joe, what about you ... and you Sally ... etc.?"  Certainly no is no, but often reluctance maybe related to a presenter feeling that his issue is not that interesting or important.