Presentation Skills for Giraffes?!

On Tuesday 17th October I led a team of IBMers in delivering a Presentation Skills workshop for staff at Marwell Zoological Park, as part of the IBM On Demand CoFeeding Timemmunity Challenge.

Many of the staff at Marwell give presentations as part of their job – this can take the form of less formal ‘meet the keeper’ type sessions, formal presentations for internal education and meetings to staff and trustees, right through to public speaking in front of an auditorium. The staff increasingly have a greater need for presentation skills and help with computer skills to assist them in the creation and delivery of their presentations.

Outside of work I am a volunteer at the zoo, and spend many a weekend educating the visitors on the ‘big cats’ and science and conservation in general, and it was through this relationship that Marwell came to ask me for help.

My team of willing volunteers came from a variety of areas in IBM – with skills ranging from technical, sales, management and user technologies.  It was particularly beneficial to have such a diverse range of skills and backgrounds to bring different aspects to the day, and various people on the team commented that it meant they gained something from the day as well as helping others.


On the day we ran two presentation workshops. We started off with some examples of what not to do, which brought a laugh from the audience along with some agreement from them that they’d seen some bad presentations before! We then moved on to sharing some top tips on getting your message across and got everyone up front having a go at presenting dynamic openings and closings for different scenarios.

Next up we gave them a whistle stop tour of what you could do with a computer to help a slideshow…remembering carefully not to break any of the tips we’d just shared about bad colour schemes, crowded foils and distracting animations! The final part of the workshop was a hands on session where we gave the staff a chance to have a go whilst offering personalised help to meet their needs.

ComputersHands on session

The feedback and response from the staff at Marwell was tremendous.  They were delighted to hear that IBM supported the community in a variety of ways and said that the one-to-one support we provided on this occasion was invaluable: 

 “Excellent! Very useful and easy going people.”

“Thank you. A friendly and easy to learn environment.”

Friendly, helpful and very well organised.”

Feeding TimeDuring our lunch break some of the keepers gave us an insight to their world and took us to feed the giraffes. We took a laptop down with us to introduce IT to the giraffes but they were more interested in the bananas! Many thanks to everyone in my team for the professional and personal support that they provided with the planning, preparation and running of the event. Read the newspaper article from the Hampshire Chronicle.


2 Responses to “Presentation Skills for Giraffes?!”

  1. 50 Years of IBM Hursley « Helena’s Blog Says:

    […] in the community.  Over the last couple of years we’ve run a couple of business workshops on Presentation Skills and Creative Meetings, donated some laptop computers and presented Marwell with a IBM On Demand […]

  2. Effective Relationships « Helena’s Blog Says:

    […] Zoo this year following on from two previous successful workshops. (Creative meetings last year and Presentation Skills in […]

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