Strategies for Presenting Information

As the trainer, it is critical that you have taken adequate time to review the publication Achieving Equal Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities through Legislation: Guidelines. Throughout this curriculum the Guidelines are referred to as the "Primer" and you should make sure that copies are available to all course participants, as they are referenced repeatedly throughout the programme.The Guidelines, an accompanying document to this Guide, can be accessed at:

Your familiarity with this publication, coupled with your own knowledge and experiences of the current equal employment opportunity environment in your country and locally-relevant examples, will provide the foundation for your training. This technical foundation is critical to your credibility as an instructor. Equally important is the effectiveness of your communication as an instructor.

While communication is a combination of both expressive and receptive factors, about 70 per cent of effective communication is receptive (listening) and only about 30 per cent is expressive (what you "send"). Within the expressive portion of communication, over half of what people "hear" from you is what you send with your body language. The second largest piece is your voice tone or inflection, while only a small part of effective communication is actually the words you speak. Expressive communication constitutes approximately 30 per cent of good conversation. The following is a list of effective body language that facilitates open and honest conversation.

  • Maintain a comfortable posture, not too relaxed and not tight. This implies interest. A posture that is too intense may be threatening or may signal that you are in a hurry.
  • Maintain good eye contact. This signals that you are interested, paying attention, and it enhances development of trust and rapport; however, be sensitive to cultural or disability-related exceptions, as some people consider too much direct eye contact to be a "power-play" or an invasion of their personal boundaries. Watch for indications of discomfort with your eye contact and adjust your style accordingly.
  • A facial expression that is natural, shows interest, and which is free of shock, dismay, irritation, or disagreement encourages open communication. If you feel comfortable in your role as a trainer, this will be relatively easy to accomplish. However, if you are new to this role and somewhat nervous, be aware of your facial expressions, as they may reflect your nervousness. You may appear very intense as you focus on doing a good job, and your expressions may be misinterpreted as meaning one of the abovementioned reactions.
  • Distracting body movements can also detract from effective communication, such as fiddling excessively with some object such as a pen or piece of paper. Remember to watch the course participants for signs that your body movements are distracting or annoying them.

The sincerity reflected in your voice is even more powerful than the words you speak in letting a person know what you think. If your voice tone is too severe, too playful, or too authoritarian, the listener may interpret this as being frightening, patronizing, or that you feel superior to them, which hampers open communication. Voice tone should match the intent of the words you are speaking and should be adjusted to the needs of the individual.

Words are the final piece of expressive communication, and the cautions regarding this part can be easily summed up. Eliminate jargon and hard-to-understand language from your discussions with the learner. Therefore, make sure the course participant understands any specific language you must use that is not commonly understood, and remind them often that it is alright to ask for clarification at any time. In addition, when explaining complicated concepts and when talking through examples, possibilities, and options, it may be helpful to use audio-visual tools to clarify the concepts being discussed.