Getting Started With Brain Friendly Presentations

Greatest Show (on Earth)

Ideas that the brain thinks about and accepts usually lead to some type of action.

That seed of a concept, thought or insight can transform you life.

Ultimately, learning involves change. When you learn something new, your brain changes and then our attitude or behaviors also change. When you refuse to adapt to change, you are actually refusing to learn!

Ready, Set….Oh Wait, Are You Ready?

Putting brain friendly principles to work is really much easier than you think. The biggest challenge you will face is giving up control and trusting the scientific evidence of how the brain processes information that can lead to learning.

If you aren’t sure that you’re are ready to leverage learner-centric education, then test just one or two principles and watch what happens. Then you can gradually decrease the time you spend using traditional ways of delivering information.

The biggest thing to remember about using brain friendly strategies is that it is a process, not an end to itself!

Six Strategies To Implement Brain Friendly Education

Here are six strategies to apply as you start your journey to implementing brain friendly presentations.

1. Give Up Control

Many presenters think that they are controlling learning because they control the information flow. That’s wrong and backwards. Just because you controlled the amount of information that you shared in your traditional lecture, does not mean that you controlled your audience’s learning. You didn’t! Content covered does not mean content learned.

2. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It is time for you to step out of your comfort zone and the way you’ve always presented information. Experiment with some of the learning principles and audience engagement. You’ll watch something magical happen when you allow your audience to respond to these principles. Their positive feedback will reinforce the changes you make.

3. Engagement In, Perfection Out

Your job as a presenter is to get your audience engaged. You want mental engagement where they are thinking about your content. It’s not about an audience exercise or activity going perfectly as you planned. There’s your control issues again! Any exercises that seem to fail can be powerful learning activities.

4. Try It Twice

Use an activity or exercise at least two times before you evaluate if it was effective or not. Then decide whether to keep it, tweak it or dump it. After your presentation, ask a couple of a audience members about what worked and what didn’t with each activity.

5. Create A Cue

Tell your audience that you will be using a specific cue or signal to get their attention and let them know that time for the discussion or activity is done. Consider a countdown clock that can be displayed via your slides as another option.

6. Chunk It So You Don’t Flunk It

Divide your presentation into ten-minute segments. Evidence shows that our attention span today is about ten minutes. In between those ten-minute chunks, try an exercise or discussion. Keep those activities and discussions short for two, three or even five minutes. This will help your audience increase retention.

Go ahead and give those learning principles a try. Shake your nerves and rattle your learners’ brains!

What other tips do you have for presenters that are applying the brain friendly principles? How did you overcome your feelings of fear and concern when you transitioned from the traditional didactic lecture to a more integrated brain-friendly presentation?

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  1. Excellent post. I would add one thing, not only being cognizant as a presenter but also challenge your audience to think about their own perspectives of who is in control of the learning. I completed my MBA using case study method so I’m a big believer in the value of the class dictating most of the learning but I also taught a business course in Russia, and one of my biggest challenges was to get the group to accept control of the dialogue. They had a preconceived believes that it was my job to teach and theirs to just listen and learn instead of being actively involved in the information being presented.


  2. As cheesy as it sounds, all of our participants arrive with their brains – let’s embrace them! Great reminders and good principles to apply, as always, thank you.

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