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First Impressions In Training

Author : Vincent Stevenson

Submitted : 2007-06-17 00:00:00    Word Count : 672    Popularity:   120

Tags:   College of Public Speaking, Presentation & Communication Skills Training Courses, Vince Stevenson, Public Speaking, Body Language Awareness

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Was it Oscar Wilde that once said? "You only get one opportunity to create a good first impression."

How true that is in the business world. As a person who gives a couple of hundred workshops a year, it took me a while to recognise this. And I don't mean that moment you stand up and welcome the class to your session, I'm talking about that moment you walk in to your client company's offices.

Being involved in training and the development of others is a wonderful occupation, but because of the amount of equipment a trainer often carries (laptop, data projector, speakers, video camera, batteries etc) one can often arrive looking rather drained of energy, especially when you've lugged your gear across town on London's tube system.

So you're there at your client's offices and your contact has been delayed and nobody knows what room you're in. At this point, I leave my bags at reception, ask where the nearest bathroom is and head straight for it.

Here I take a deep breath, compose myself - wash my face, comb my hair and straighten my tie. After a cup of coffee, I'm ready for my class, but there's still an hour before we start.

My contact from HR has arrived. I stand up and we shake hands. I look him in the eye and ask him if he had a difficult journey. He smiles and nods, we've never met before but we have created a supportive bond. We are connected through our common knowledge of public transport.

He shows me to the training room which is in a bit of a mess after yesterday's unrelated class. "No problem," I say positively, "Leave it with me." (I always rearrange the room anyway). "I'll take it from here", I tell him and yes, I have his mobile number should I require assistance.

A confident beginning - yet still no sign of my eight students. I set up the laptop and data projector. I check the tape on the video camera and playback through the speakers to ensure the technological aspects are working fine. They are and it gives me great confidence. My confidence will be conveyed to the class and will form a major factor in the creation of a positive learning environment.

The students begin to arrive in ones and twos. I introduce myself, and my name is always on the board for the first half-hour. I make a note of their names and where they sit. People's names are their most prized possession. I have a simple technique to remember their names immediately, even when the exercises requires them to move around the class.

I chat with them, ask them about their work, how's it going? What problems and challenges are they currently facing? How do they think today's class will help overcome them? The focus is always on them and I make a point of saying very little at this point. Listening is the most forgotten factor in communication. We create a positive first impression with our stance, expressions and actions. The way we sit, stand and walk conveys an enormous subconscious message about our current state.

The class is assembled. They're all comfortable and settled. I stand, smile, look them directly in the eye (well, as much as one can do with a group), and I put faith in one of my many, well rehearsed opening lines.

Now that the hard work is out of the way, the rest of the day will be a breeze.

Vince Stevenson is one of England's greatest speaking enthusiasts, having competed for and won many prestigious competitions. Vince is involved with speaking at many levels and has just finished his year as District President of the South-Eastern District of the Association of Speakers Clubs having been involved in its educational development for many years. Vince is a founder and lead trainer at the College of Public Speaking, a business dedicated to improving effective communication skills in industry. He is also an in demand after-dinner speaker.

Author's Resource Box

The College of Public Speaking assists the Corporate Sector improve its communication skills. Utilising the tried and trusted research of Albert Mehrebian, we use cutting edge business scenarios to develop speakers capable of performing on the international stage.
http://www.collegeofpublicspeaking.co.uk



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