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Throughout my career in emergency services, I taught numerous fire, hazardous materials, paramedical, and management courses, to large and small groups. Early in my career I realized that one method might work for one group, but not with another. Public speaking is not just getting up and talking in front of a group of people, it is also about reading your audience, preparing, preparing, and preparing. Preparation is reviewing the material, possibly creating handouts or other material, and developing your plan of delivery. Is it lecture, is it PowerPoint, flip charts, etc.? How are you going to engage the audience, what to wear, how to respond to questions or disagreements? I taught for 36 years and evaluated other instructors.
I have 34 years conducting training programs for the fire service, to small and large groups. I conducted basic courses for new students, continuing education programs for experienced students, seminars for a wide range of groups of varying ages and experience levels. I also conducted programs to teach new trainers and instructors how to prepare and deliver various programs, which included evaluation of their performance.
In the years that I conducted training programs, I delivered programs to adult learners. Many of these participants had not taken a course in several years. During the first lesson of a new program, I would review the course outline, the course material, and the testing criteria and expectations. The last hour to hour and a half of the class (these were typically 3 hours sessions) we would discuss study habits and skills. We would discuss a variety of methods because what worked for one may not work for others. We discussed memorizing vs. recognizing, how to determine what is important vs. what is nice to know and how to determine that based on the objectives given. We discussed the various terminology used in objectives and the definitions (example explain vs. describe, discuss vs recognize, demonstrate vs describe, etc.) We discuss environment for studying and preparing to study.
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