Presenting to Large Audiences Case Study
Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are in the process of developing a programme of significant organisational change, to be implemented between 2014 and 2020. A three-phase consultation process has been undertaken to inform staff of current decisions and seek their views on future developments. Each phase includes presentations from the Senior Leadership Team to audiences of 200-400 staff.
Feedback from Phase 1 indicated that the reception of the key messages by the staff depended greatly on the skill of the presenter; Capita in partnership with Civil Service Learning (CSL) were therefore commissioned to design a bespoke course on Presenting to Large Audiences to prepare the SLT for Phase 2, and People Vision were engaged to provide the majority of the trainers.
HMRC’s objective was to enable presenters to bring authenticity and personalisation to their delivery whilst remaining consistent in the communication of the key messages.
Capita’s course placed emphasis on practice in simulated presentation sessions, followed up with group activities, individual feedback and coaching from the trainers.
However, a course with little pre-designed plenary work places great reliance on the skill of the individual trainers; 16 People Vision trainers were therefore selected according to the breadth and depth of their experience and expertise, paired up to offer complementary skillsets, and invited to personalise the course content and feedback according to the learning needs of each delegate.
35 courses were run over a period of 6 weeks, with 2 trainers working with up to 12 delegates per course.
Activities, demonstrations and feedback were customised by the trainers to suit the needs of each group and individual, typically covering:
Organisation of material.
Contextualisation of each presenter’s session.
Personalisation through anecdote and individual experience.
Bringing statistics and data to life.
Creation of rapport with the audience in a large auditorium.
Use of visual aids.
Management of nerves.
Use of voice, posture, movement and gestural language.
Use of the environment: managing the physical space and using props.
Use of microphones.
Use of PowerPoint.
Handling challenging questions and behaviour from the audience.
Catering for the special needs of audience members.
Over three hundred senior leaders (up to Deputy Director level) were trained over a period of 1 month.
Each delegate was provided with:
Up to 1 hour of video of their delivery of different sessions.
Verbal, written and videoed feedback on their performance.
1-2-1 coaching to develop a personalised action plan.
HMRC collected feedback from staff members after each phase of the consultation project. After the Phase 1 presentations (ie, before this training took place), 9 out of 10 pieces of feedback about the presenters’ style were negative. After the Phase 2 presentations (ie, after this training had been rolled out), 9 out of 10 pieces of feedback about the presenters’ style were positive.
People Vision have since been engaged to provide trainers for follow-up 1-2-1 and group coaching sessions with the 300+ delegates who attended, working with them on the feedback from their Phase 2 delivery in preparation for Phase 3.
“Tim and Jill were exemplary – knowledgeable, experienced, motivational and highly supportive.”
Paul Golightly, HMRC SCS
“I worked most closely with Tim and found him very engaging and helpful. His feedback was very insightful and focused.”
Carolyn Parmeter, HMRC SCS (Deputy Director RTI Programme)