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 Thiagi’s “1-2-3 Clap”

Thiagi is an exciting educator and a “training guru” to many across the globe, including me. In this short video, he introduces a  simple activity with a profound message. Try it out!

The “I Don’t Feel Like Me” Blues

The “I Don’t Feel Like Me” Blues

that's not me yowlHave you taken a presentation skills course with me (Guila) and found yourself feeling strange, even “fake” as you practice unfamiliar behaviors?

You may remember hearing my prompts during the session. They include:

  • Use the Magic Circle!
  • Own the Real Estate!
  • Drop the Figleaf!
  • Sternum Up, Shoulders Down! and even
  • Show Your Body!

Sometimes, my workshop participants push back. They may tell me “That’s not what I do,” or “This doesn’t feel like me!” While I empathize with their discomfort, I’m also glad they’re feeling it. Behaving in a new way SHOULD feel different, even a little scary.

The Intensified You

Why are you taking a presentation skills course? Presumably, it’s to improve your presentation behaviors. These behaviors can be defined as unique skills that improve your delivery of content. They are not skills to make you better at coding, supervising, engineering, making art, or any of the skills you already excel at doing.

When you feel out of your comfort zone as you practice new presentation behaviors, give yourself a pat on the back. You are expanding your boundaries. You are stepping into your “intensified you” persona.

“Intensified” Or Fake?

Your “intensified you” persona includes:

  • Speaking more deliberately, and probably more loudly.
  • Taking up more physical space through the use of gestures and posture.
  • Demanding attention, and thriving in it for the duration of the presentation.

The “intensified you” persona is 100%, authentically, you. It is simply a stronger, more confident and powerful version of your everyday you.

The New Science

2,000 years ago, Aristotle proclaimed that acting virtuous would make one virtuous. More recently, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy found that we become how we act. The way we use our bodies shapes who we are. We know now that change occurs from the outside in, not only from the inside out.

By acting “as if” you belong in front of an audience, you start belonging in front of an audience. By looking powerful (even if you are quivering inside), you become more powerful.

Embrace It

The move from the “workaday you” to the “intensified you” might feel uncomfortable. Complain if you desire. But if you are serious about being the best presenter you can be, say “hello” to new sensations, postures, and movements. Start to enjoy a new side of yourself—the intensified you.

“Our bodies change our minds. Our minds can change our behavior. Our behavior can change our outcomes.” Amy Cuddy

 Learn about Guila Muir’s Presentation Skills Workshops.

Guila Muir is a premiere trainer of trainers, facilitators, and presenters. Since 1994, she has helped thousands of professionals improve their training, facilitation, and presentation skills. Find out how she can help transform you from a boring expert to a great presenter:


“It’s Showtime!”

Recently, I asked a few excellent public speakers if they employ “self-talk” to boost their energy and confidence right before they take the stage. If so, what do they say?

Approximately 75% of those I surveyed told me they regularly deliver an internal message to self in those few seconds. I do, too. This is it:


  • Relax
  • Breathe
  • Be Yourself.”

Other speakers’ self-talk includes the following:

  • I’m great!
  • Get it ON! (Common variation: Let’s do this thing.)
  • I love doing this, and they love ME.

Hearing your own encouraging, internal voice could help you spring into action with added enthusiasm. Give it a try!

(And the next time you see me muttering to myself seconds before I begin, you will know what I am doing.)

Sabotaging Yourself as a Speaker

Many speakers wear a ball and chain,
of their own making!

What five presenting errors could be dragging you down? How can you break that chain?

Read the article.

Set your organization’s presentation skills free with a workshop from Guila.

How To “Pump Up” What Students Remember

How To “Pump Up” What Students Remember

Group of business people hiding their faces behind a question mark sign at office

As a trainer, have you ever wondered why information you provide often doesn’t “stick?”

Memory is more complicated than most of us think. Take this quiz to find out what you already know.

True Or False?

1. Learners who can perform a new learning task well are likely to retain it. (T/F)
2. Immediate memory will dump input in 30 seconds or less. (T/F)
3. Lifting weights improves memory and cognitive function better than aerobic exercise . (T/F)

How well did you do? Here are the answers. (Citations for these facts are at the end.)

1. FALSE. Even if a learner performs a new learning task well, chances are high it will not be permanently stored in memory.

2. TRUE.

3. FALSE. Although no studies have found a link between weight training and cognitive function, aerobic exercise does improve memory and cognitive function of both adults and children.

How Can I “Pump Up” What My Students Remember?

Students can only process input intently for about 10 minutes before losing focus. To prevent the material from fading, we must quickly use it in a different way. In training, this could involve applying the information through an activity, like solving a case study, building a model, talking about how they’ll use it on the job, etc.

In order for information to encoded into the learner’s long-term memory, it must meet two criteria:

• Does the information make sense? (Does the learner understand it?)
• Is the information relevant? (Can the learner connect it to past learning and current needs?)

Think of the training YOU do. How well does it meet these 2 criteria?

Making Better Training

You can probably guess by now that the odds are stacked against your learners’ remembering everything you teach. Here are 3 helpful, easy techniques to help boost retention:

1. Use humor.
Increased oxygen and the positive feelings that result from laughter improve the probability that students will remember what they learned.

2. Make clear what the students will be able to do as a result of the lesson.
State the learning outcomes at the beginning of class, and return to them as you move from one chunk of content to the next.

3. Provide prompt, specific, and corrective feedback.
Frequent, brief quizzes will build retention better than one large test.

Remember: You CAN boost your students’ retention. Just use these simple techniques!

Read more articles to boost your Training Skills. Learn about Guila Muir’s Train the Trainer Workshops.

Guila Muir is the premiere trainer of trainers, facilitators, and presenters on the West Coast of the United States. Since 1994, she has helped thousands of professionals improve their training, facilitation, and presentation skills. Find out how she can help transform you from a boring expert to a great presenter:

© 2015 Guila Muir. All rights reserved.
You may make copies of this article and distribute in any media so long as you change nothing, credit the author, and include this copyright notice and web address.

* Facts from “How the Brain Learns,” by David Sousa. Corwin Press 2006, and Wired Magazine, May 2008

How Do You Know They Know? Evaluating Adult Learning

How can you evaluate training effectiveness? “Happy Sheets” don’t go far. Outcome-based evaluations meet criteria in Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model.

Learn more about evaluating adult learning

Mature students learning computer skills

How Do You Know They Know? Evaluating Adult Learning

by Guila Muir

I con­tinue to be sur­prised at the use of “Happy Sheets” as eval­u­a­tion tools in train­ing. Beyond let­ting the trainer know if he or she was loved and if the room was too cold, what else do they tell us?

In 1959, Don­ald Kirk­patrick devel­oped his famous model of train­ing eval­u­a­tion. Since then, it has pro­vided basic guide­lines to assess learn­ing. Experts have found that 85% or more of all train­ing pro­grams use “Happy Sheets,” which reveal noth­ing about actual learn­ing. And because data is much harder to col­lect and attribute directly to the train­ing the deeper you go, fewer than 10% of train­ing pro­grams use a Level 4 evaluation.



Ques­tion Answered




How Well Did They Like The Course? Rat­ing Sheets



How Much Did They Learn? Tests, Sim­u­la­tions



How Well Did They Apply It To Work? Per­for­mance Measures


                  Results What Return Did The Train­ing Invest­ment Yield? Cost-Benefit Analy­sis (Return on Investment)

Outcome-Based Eval­u­a­tions

By cre­at­ing and using an eval­u­a­tion based on the course’s learn­ing out­comes, you may get closer to an hon­est answer to the ques­tion, How Do You Know They Know? which is eval­u­a­tion at Level 2 of Kirkpatrick’s model. Typ­i­cally, the outcome-based eval­u­a­tion would ask par­tic­i­pants to rate their own abil­ity to per­form the learn­ing out­come, as in the fol­low­ing example:

As a result of this train­ing, please rate your abil­ity to do the fol­low­ing action from 1 (“I can’t do this at all”) to 5 (“I feel totally con­fi­dent doing this”): “I can explain at least five fea­tures of the Get Fit pro­gram with­out using notes.”

In many cases, the outcome-based eval­u­a­tion would also ask the par­tic­i­pant to list or explain those five features–in this way, act­ing as a test.

Keep in mind that unless you ask addi­tional ques­tions, you are still sim­ply col­lect­ing data on your par­tic­i­pants’ per­cep­tions of their own learn­ing. Sadly, those per­cep­tions of learn­ing are usu­ally much higher imme­di­ately after the train­ing ses­sion than a few days or weeks later. This is why follow-up train­ing and rein­force­ment is so important.

Nonethe­less, using an Outcome-Based Eval­u­a­tion can pro­vide infor­ma­tion on:

  • Per­for­mance issues about which the par­tic­i­pants feel less confident.
  • Issues you could improve or clar­ify for the next round of training.

All of this data is valu­able to you as you (1) improve the class itself, and (2) fol­low the par­tic­i­pants into the work­place to observe and sup­port them. We invite you to down­load free exam­ples of Out­come Based Eval­u­a­tions from Guila’s book, Instruc­tional Design That Soars.

Get your participants involved with this tip

A great article about how to get people involved immediately in your training sessions and presentations:  What is a hook?  Keep you presentations exciting, engaging, active with Guila Muir’s Kite Method of Instructional Design. Instructional Design That Soars is the textbook of choice when learning how to develop presentations, webinars, classes that will inspire your students.iStock_000013091322XSmall-256x300

These characteristics can be developed through attitude, habit and discipline

instructional design qualities

If you are an emerging leader, read more about the mind-set of these phrases.

You don’t need a certificate in instructional design to create great classes.

Instructional Design That Soars: Kite Method of Designing Classes

You don’t need a certificate in instructional design to create great classes. The Kite Method makes it easy.

Three Tips for Course Design

Three Tips for Course Design

If you’re serious about designing a state-of-the-art course for adults, keep these simple guidelines in mind.

Design your course so that it is:

Activity-based, not materials-based.
Problem-posing, not answer-giving.
A smorgasbord, not a one-dish meal.


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