This past weekend I enrolled in my first post graduation course, the Selective Functional Movement Screen. There were three things that really stood out for me over the two days. I will discuss these first as I think they are of interest to anyone in the business and teaching world. In the second post I will discuss the structure and process of the SFMA, of more interest to practitioners.

After two degrees and the completion of a research project on effective presentations, I have begun to develop a good sense of what it takes to present well.     What stood out to me about this course was the instructors ability to engage all 80 participants through both a lecture format and a hands on format.  Because physiotherapy is a hands on practical skill it is imperative that we interact and engage during our classes. Like any new skill there has to be some lecture component to the course, but the priority should be the practical component.

To effectively teach a practical course there are three key components.

1. Your lecture must tell a story. It must flow from general to specific and enable a listener to grasp a new skill.  Too often presenters fall back on PowerPoint and ram slides with a million bullet points and read aimlessly through a disjointed story. When you prepare your next presentation think create a story and weave your main message through out.

2. The practical component must organized, timed, and designed in such a manner that the students feel some level of pressure. In a large group it is easy to become distracted and difficult to effectively organize a system. If the instructor lays out a clear plan for everyone to follow the students are less likely to become distracted and will almost always get more hands on repetitions.  Creating a pressure environment will stimulate the competitive side in most students.

3. Real life examples, using students as demos, must be demonstrated by the presenter.  Students have to see what is normal and what is not normal. They must have an appreciation for how things are done at an expert level. As a student you need and want to be impressed by your instructor – examples are their opportunity to “wow” you.

There are other components to creating a good presentation but I believe these three points will get you started in the right direction.

Hope this stimulates some ideas for your next presentation.