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The Shift in Business Presentations: Flipping the Classroom Model

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One of the major revolutions in education and learning has been the shift towards the flipped classroom model. This paradigm shift has not only impacted teaching and learning but has also had significant implications for business leaders who need to adapt to the expectations of the Internet generation.

Traditionally, the norm for teaching involved the ‘sage on the stage’ delivering lectures, while students worked through the material outside of class. Similarly, business presentations followed the ‘death by PowerPoint‘ model, where presenters shared information slide-by-slide in a darkened room. These presentations often left little time for meaningful conversations and contributions.

The accessibility of online videos and technology has transformed the way we learn and teach. The flipped classroom model, where students watch lectures at home and engage in collaborative thinking in the classroom, has become popular. This has influenced the expectations of business presentations, shifting the focus towards sharing information before the meeting to enable more meaningful conversations during the meeting.

In meetings, individuals typically engage in one of four activities: learning, contributing, deciding, or wasting time. The flipped model allows for information absorption outside of meetings, freeing up time for collective digestion, debate, and application during the meeting.

Although learning is crucial, it is essential to acknowledge that people learn in different ways. Presenters must cater to diverse learning styles rather than dismiss them. Robert Heitmeier, the general manager of a teaching and learning technology company, emphasizes the importance of embracing varied learning approaches.

This shift in how we learn and teach is significant, particularly for the younger Generation Z who strive for interactive and engaging experiences. As leaders, it is crucial to adapt our communication methods to connect with this tech-savvy generation.

What’s alarming is that the call to flip the classroom was made over a decade ago, yet very few have fully adopted this approach. Many still rely on monotonous PowerPoint presentations, despite the rapid advancements in technology and the changing expectations of the workforce.

Given the progress we’ve witnessed in the last decade, it is clear that traditional, lengthy presentations are becoming increasingly ineffective. To address this issue:

1. Pre-reads: Provide materials in advance of meetings, including executive summaries and supporting documents. This allows attendees to familiarize themselves with the main points, expectations, and their role in the meeting.

2. Meetings: Instead of presenting, facilitate conversations. Highlight the main points to initiate discussions and encourage attendees to ask questions, share insights, and make informed decisions collectively.

3. Follow-up: Share any additional relevant information and fulfill commitments made during the meeting. Support others in their tasks and responsibilities.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, it is imperative that we adapt our presentation methods to engage and connect with our audience effectively. By embracing the flipped classroom approach, we can create a more dynamic and interactive environment that fosters collaboration, learning, and informed decision making.

Rachel Adams

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