Presenting to the Fortune 500

Conference Room

This past weekend I did a presentation which was attended by part of the management team of one of the 2006 Fortune 500 companies.

I would like to say that management was so taken by my presentation that I was immediately offered a 6 figure salary to come train for them on a full time basis. Alas, such was not the case. However, I did get some positive feedback and a “feeler” about presenting to more of their staff at a future time.

But, to me, the most valuable portion of the exchange came as an aside comment.

A member of the management team was complimenting me on the quality of my visuals (a PowerPoint presentation) when he suddenly began to vent.

“Why doesn’t my staff understand how much more effective their trainings would be if they would include some visuals?”

He even alluded to an old quote attributed to psychologist William Glasser that quantified how much we learn in connection to how it is presented.

Here is the quote for the sake of posterity.

We Learn…
10%…of What We Read
20%…of What We Hear
30%…of What We See
50%…of What We See and Hear
70%…of What We Discuss With Others
80%…of What We Experience Personally
95%…of What We Teach Others
–William Glasser

This quote is an excellent adage to remember when preparing training for your staff (or evaluating training presented by your staff). Not only is it less work for us to empower others to teach the material and new concepts themselves it is a much more powerful learning tool than standing before a group as a “sage on a stage” delivering a lecture.


When training professionals I often use “jigsaw” techniques in which I split the audience into “expert” groups who take some time to work together to master the content before coming back together with the larger group to present on their specific area. They may not remember what was presented by all the other groups but they definitely master the portions in which they have been made the designated expert.

Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at (

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