Presenting to All Learning Types

Before presenting information, you must consider your audience – who they are, what they know and what they need and/or want to know. But just as you plan your presentation content, you also need to plan your presentation approach. People receive messages differently based on how they learn. Therefore, it’s important to communicate core messages to reach different types of learners for maximum effect.

Learning styles and strategies

A quick Google search will reveal a gazillion learning styles. These originate from theories and strategies that, through widely publicized studies, generated awareness in the 1970s and 80s. From multiple intelligences to learning styles inventories, there are plenty of tools you can use to discover your best learning mode. As you learn more, you can use that awareness to improve the chances of your messages being received. Consider three basic ways people typically learn: by listening, by seeing and by doing.

Same message, different medium

When presenting in front of a group, increase message receptivity by supporting your most important points with strategic repetition. As you lead listeners through your logic, vary your language use. You’ll avoid redundancy and promote comprehension at the same time.

Present your core messages visually to reinforce your big ideas. Use a slide deck or handout to showcase mission critical messages. Visual learners will be more stimulated if they can see what you’re talking about.

Reinforce core messages by engaging kinetic learners (those of us who learn by doing or moving) with questions, activities, discussion, and other prompts that immediately engage your audience. This technique doesn’t have to overtake your presentation or overwhelm other learning styles. When you involve your audience more directly, you’re taking steps to insure your message will be received.

Dive into three modes

In your next presentation, craft the same message three different ways.

Listen. Auditory learners will hear you state:
Let’s define some core values that build the foundation of savvy business leadership practices.

See. Visual learners will see you showcase (on a slide or handout):
Smart business leadership begins with core values.

Do. Kinetic learners will act upon your message (a message that you say out loud and present in writing): Now at your table, create a list of core values that you each share in your professional roles.

Reinforcing main messages via different delivery systems helps us all remember your main points. Mission accomplished!

ABOUT Eve Connell

Eve spends most billable hours writing, editing and helping professionals of all stripes with communication skills and leadership development. With degrees in French literature, philosophy, and linguistics, she also enjoys helping businesses and entrepreneurs develop their brands. Fancying herself a successful worm rancher, singer and flower arranger, Eve also lends her talent and expertise to several non-profit arts and educational organizations.