Final Presentations, or better known in ODI as FISA’s, happen at the end of every training programme for learnerships, normally a month after all activities in their Portfolios of Evidence have been completed.
This is an opportunity for learners to demonstrate integrative understanding and application of concepts learned during the learnership. Learners who have arrived at this point are now better equipped to make contributions to operations excellence.
The mentors of the learners, as well as any other stakeholders in management are invited to attend and in so-doing show their appreciation and support.
The NQF3 Supervisory Learnership, amongst others, in module 6, covers effective presentations in great detail, starting with the 3P’:
Also included are points that you need to think about while preparing, e.g.
- Who am I going to present to?
- What is the purpose of my presentation?
- What am I going to talk about?
- How will I present it?
- How large is my audience?
- How much do they know about the subject of the presentation?
- What is their general attitude likely to be, e.g. will they be interested, indifferent, skeptical, friendly, curious?
The structure of your presentation is also explained, which includes an introduction, body and conclusion. In your introduction you have to get the audience’s attention and stimulate interest. Points to consider for your introduction include welcoming the audience, identifying yourself; name, job, background, and why you are qualified to speak about the topic of your presentations, the agenda with time frames, structure, breaks, etc. and ground rules; when to ask questions, etc.
On a more personal note, I normally tell my learners that they should treat their presentation as an interview, in other words dress for success, prepare thoroughly, pay attention to the cosmetics of their presentations, practice, practice, practice, because you never know who will come and attend and it’s an opportunity for you to show a different side of yourself than the one that people see on a regular day; basically an opportunity to shine!
I think every facilitator will agree that from the moment that you mention the final presentation, usually after a problem-solving module, you can see the stress and anxiety levels increasing. Learners will come up to you and tell you that they’ve never done it before, that they won’t be able to do it, etc. As a facilitator, you have to then put their minds at ease by telling them that it’s part of the learning and that they should take confidence in the fact that they will be discussing elements from their own work areas and that they are the experts thereof.
This moment will always remind me of my own first experience and I would normally share it with them.
I still remember it, as if it happened yesterday. I started working for De Beers Group of Companies in 1999 as an ABET Educator, teaching Math and English to voluntary members of the workforce. It was the first project of its kind and I would be the first facilitator, so basically no-one to show me the ropes. Wanting to do my best, I organised my own awareness campaigns.
Part of the awareness plan, was to do a presentation at the monthly business lunch. My anxiety levels were rising exponentially, but the bottom-line was to pull myself together, put together a few slides with important information on them, and have at least three dry-runs. My manager at the time, Annamie Engelbrecht, and some of my other team-mates in training and development, would listen, give feedback and I would make changes accordingly.
I remember Annemie telling me to take along a container to dish my food in, as a take-away. At the time I didn’t understand why she said that, so I shrugged my shoulders, (in my mind, of course) and didn’t take the container along, obviously to my regret, but which I would only realise when it was too late.
As Murphy’s law would have it; my presentation was directly after lunch. Now, just to give a bit of context, the business lunch was attended by all managers, from the front-line leaders, to the middle-managers, to senior management, including the General Manager, a very big room full of people who were all above my level; my nerves, my nerves…
So there I was, feeling like a lamb on its way to the slaughterhouse, with a massive hole in my stomach, and I couldn’t eat! And then the penny dropped; I should’ve brought the food container, but it was too late and I couldn’t stomach a single piece of food and let me tell you, at these events the tables were laid.
And so, after lunch, they called my name and I took to the podium. I will tell my learners that even your own voice will sound strange to you in that moment, another reason why you should practice. Everyone who has done it before, though, will know that from the minute you finish your first sentence, the nerves will start settling somewhat and before you know it, your presentation will be over. I even answered a few questions from the floor, which, to this day, I can’t remember what they were.
After that, the usual “hey, you’ve done well” or “hey, I didn’t know you could speak so eloquently”, basically washed over me. I was just mad at myself for missing all of that glorious food☺
I know that when you’re in a panicked state, not much sinks in, but you hope nonetheless that what you share with the learners will somehow help to soothe the nerves, but I think that we can all agree that in the end, the learners step up and deliver.
Final presentations are a beautiful and meaningful way of ending off any development programme and what a rewarding moment it is when every learner from A to Z walks up to the “podium” and shine bright like a diamond.
Author: Valery Hansen