Death by Power Point!
Anyway - I've just completed a two day training course ran by profesional presentation specialists You Never Can Tell
The course covered many aspects of presentational and communication techniques and I'd highly recommend it to anyone! I honestly feel this is a skill sadly lacking in many parts of society today and especially if I dare say.... without upsetting too many of my colleagues.... the IT community.
I've been meaning to enrol upon such a course for a very long time to brush up on my technique and explore some new ideas especially as although perhaps not popular to say... I have a real hatred of Power Point!!
<rant>This revelation might shock some of you (especially with myself being a member of the IT fraternity) but honestly Power Point is responsible for some absolutely shocking, terrible and mundane excuses of a presentation..... and I really am being kind with that statement, lets be honest how many of you reading this have had to endure slide after corporately branded slide with some poor presenter standing there reading the text out to you? why bother with the presenter? we could all just sit there read the sides for ourselves and be off in the half the time!
Why do companies insist on Power Point? I honestly dont know - perhaps it's because it allows senior managers to assert censorship - perhaps it's a genuine lack of imagination by those in charge? but I do suspect a change in thinking is overdue.</rant>
Now that I've got that off my chest.... When I was studying at University I'd supplement my Student grant (Yes I'm old enough to have received a grant) with teaching part time for my local college. I remember being absolutely terrified before my very first lesson - which I think was a couse teaching Windows 3.1 to 'Mature' students' (all women if I remember correctly and one interesting proposition! ) at Bedworth college.... well who wouldn't be terrified visiting Bedworth???? (Apologies that joke probably won't travel too well around the globe!)
Anyway, back to the story.... I taught for several years until I left university and entered the world of 'real' work! This is where I found the skills I'd acquired as a lecturer gave me a leading edge in many of the more 'softer' areas of the job... I was able to communicate with management and very importantly customers with more ease than the average developer... I was a natural in training sessions being able to emphasise and communicate well and I also found I was able to mentor other members of staff very successfully.
Early on in my career I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to mix within my business, to talk to different levels of management and mingle with the various users. I am forever grateful of that wonderful experience - today too many people are pigeon boxed and only 'allowed' to use a very small subset of the skills they could offer an organisation.
Being in IT and software development like so many fields being an expert is usually enough to ensure your in demand - but if like myself you want to really set yourself apart from the masses and be able to offer additional services to your client than perhaps just for once rather than looking for the next technical subject master to study why not consider working on those softer skills that make you a more rounded individual? honestly you'll be amazed at the doors it opens!