The universal GP Training website for everyone, not just Bradford.   Created in 2002 by Dr Ramesh Mehay

Bradford VTS Online Resources:

Teaching & Learning

Presentations & Workshops


Optimise presentations to aid learning

5 steps to a killer opener

Great openings and closings

The primacy-recency effect

Dealing with difficult people

Why trainees should do presentations...


  • To enable GP trainees develop and demonstrate presentation skills essential when joining a practice these days (e.g. when you’re asked to run a session on x, y or z)
  • To enable GP trainees develop an in-depth understanding of the chosen topic in a way that hopefully promotes a greater understanding of its impact on people’s lives
  • To enable GP trainees to look at new ways of approaching a topic and thereby learning “outside the box”
  • To promote learner-centred group learning
  • To promote a teamwork approach to learning


  • Builds confidence (talking to groups of people)
  • Time management (keeping to time)
  • Avoiding information overload
  • Encourages learners to own and be responsible for their and their colleagues’ learning

The first steps to a great presentation is the HOOK

Develop your hook to “hook” people into your presentation.    If you don’t have a powerful enough hook then why would your audience listen?   It’s your job to get them invested.    Otherwise, they will tune out.  So try and think…

  • Whats In It For Them – WIIFM  (pronounced Why Fum)
  • What wonderful stuff are they going to get out of your session?
  • What’s so unique about your session compared to sessions that have gone on before?
  • Focusing on life changing transformative skills is the best!
  • The stuff you’re presenting should just be interesting on an educational level.  It should be stuff they can take home and start implementing into their lives.   Practical stuff.  Real stuff.  Keep it real.

Quick little tip on the start and pre-start to your session

When you meet an audience for the first time, especially ones that don’t know you, there will be people in the audience that will make varying opinions about you straight away.  We all do it.  We “judge a book by its cover”.   But the problem is, if that judgement is a negative one, it’s difficult to shift and members of an audience can simply subconciously set their mindsets to dislike you and take anything you say with an overly critical eye.  

Can we change that?   We yes, we believe you can.  Here are 3 quick neat tricks.

  1. First of all, before your sessions start, rather than setting up your equipment etc (which you should have done in advance), why not get out their, get a coffee and mingle with people as they chat and natter on arrival and registration.    Chat to as many as you can.  
  2. Then greet them as they walk through to the main presenting hall.  These two things along help individuals (hopefully) think “Oh, what  a nice person, I like him”.    But be genuine when you greet them.    It doesn’t even have to be words.   A smile or a kind raising of the eyebrows is good enough. 
  3. And also consider this.     Often presenters introduce themselves and then do an ice-breaker.    How about doing it the other way round.   Just get straight in and go about doing your icebreaker game BEFORE you introduce yourself. Even before you have introduced what the session is all about.  In this way, you get the energy of the audience going and you form quick positive connections.   For this to work, make that ice-breaker fun and hilarious.  If you struggle with games, why not see our section on Games in Education.  

Some advice on planning

You can organise it any way you like, provided you are ready with a presentation on the day!   But don’t be afraid to ask the Programme Directors, your GP Trainer or other educators for advice.    Remember, they’ve done a few and may have some good suggestions for you especially if all of this is new to you.  Think of presentations you’ve found enjoyable/informative/lively and try to emulate some of those methods.

Ram’s ACME method for planning ANY educational session

  1. The Aims and Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
    The most important thing to do is get your hook right.     Figure out what it is you are trying to do.   Think about what will whet the appetites of your audience.    Think about directly asking them – what do they struggle with.   Focus on the struggles rather than the areas everyone finds easy.  
  2. The Content:
    Once you have figured out what it is that you are trying to do, then work on the content.  This should be pretty easy once you have properly defined your Aims and ILOs.   For example, if in a Sexual Health session trainees say they find it difficult and embarrassing to take a good sexual history from a person they have not met before, then focus on this: the sexual history.
  3. The Method:
    Now that you have your content, how do you plan to deliver this?   What methods will you use.   Always try and use more than one method as different learners are suited to different methods.  Some like hearing, some like visuals and some like doing.  Mix up your methods to make it exciting and choose methods with help the learners learn efficiently.  For example, for the sexual health session above, I break the larger group into groups of 6 and ask them to map out on a flip chart what are the components of a good sexual history.  Then I would ask each group to present what they have put down to generate a comprehensive collaborative list.      Then I would set them a scenario with patient briefing instructions.  Again in groups, they could play out these scenarios and practise doing a sexual history to further embed the components of a good sexual history BUT ALSO help overcome their fear or embarrassment of asking such sensitive questions.   No doubt this will build their communication skills. 
    Other methods include:  OSCE style stations, ISCEEs, quizzes, interactive lectures, video diaries/interviews, small group work like working on cases
  4. Evaluation:
    And finally, evaluate your session.  Ask them what they liked and didn’t like about your session.  This will help you to build your presentation skills further.  
  5. Use a Presentation/Teaching Lesson Plan to help you with all of this.   Click this link to read more…
    Here are some for you to look at:

Some Other Thoughts

  1. You can use as much or as little technology as you like. Beware of PowerPoint mania. Try to use as many different teaching techniques as possible.  
  3. If you use slides or overheads, it is important not to put too much information on them; overheads full of text are very boring, especially if the presenter then simply reads them out.
  4. Consider getting the audience to do some of the work. This approach adds dynamism to the session and engages your audience (stops them from falling asleep).
  6. Thinking of doing a handout?  Well, keep it small.  Don’t just print off the PowerPoint slides.   Try and bear in mind that the majority of handouts never get read. This is even more likely if your handout is longer two sides of A4. It might be better to email the handout to try and save a few trees.
  7. Over estimate your time than underestimate.   So, if you think you will finish by 4.30pm, say 5pm.   People love it when they finish earlier than expected.  But they tend not to forgive if you over run!
  9. Leave some time at the end to evaluate your session. You can only improve the next time if you know how things went this time and what bits the audience felt could have been done differently.

6 Incredibly important things BEFORE your presentation/workshop

  1. Ask the host what the venue is like.  Will there be a laptop, or do you need to bring your own.   Flip chart and working pens?  Projector?   Tell them how you want the room to be laid out – chairs in circles or rows or around tables.   Tables to remove or remain etc.
  2. If you have any photocopying requirements, please email them to the administrator well in advance of the session (at least 2 weeks before).  And ask them how you want it printed and the number of copies.  For example, 35 copies, double sided, in colour please.
  3. Bringing a presentation on a USB stick?    Well, check it works on your own laptop/PC.   As a back up, email it to yourself and the administrator in case things go pear shaped.
  4. Do you need to bring other gadgets – presentation pointer/remote, speakers?  Your own laptop?
  5. Get to the presentation venue well in advance to set up laptops, projectors and stuff.  There are ALWAYS I.T. glitches – trust us, we know from lots and lots of experience!
  6. Better to a bit too cold than too hot.  If the environment is too hot, the audience will fall asleep.  Open the windows!

A little bit of Educational Theory for doing presentations & workshops

The following guiding principles may help you with constructing your session.

    1. Knowledge is imparted in constructivist way: that is, building on what they already know rather than just ‘vomiting’ information all over them. To be able to do this, one needs to figure out the trainees’ starting point.
      [Vico (1700s), Dewey (1938), Piaget (1950) and Vygotsky (1978)]
    2. The focus is on the application (to real cases for instance), analysis or evaluation of knowledge rather than a regurgitation of facts, figures, guidelines or what is written in books
      [Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives (1956)]
    3. The trainees’ experience is used: encouraging trainees to bring their experience and reflect on it
      [Kolb’s Learning Cycle (1984)]
    4. Learning  with ideas, feelings and actions (Bloom’s Taxonomy): encouraging trainees, where possible, to reflect in all three areas of knowledge, skills and attitudes
      [Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives (1956)]
    5. Encouraging a collaborative approach to learning: where trainees learn from each other, as well as from you
      [principles of Constructivism]
    6. Tying in the evidence where appropriate and how this evidence may be applied in practice
      [Evidence Based Medicine, Eddy (1990)]
    7. Promoting Self-Concept: to help trainees identify other resources to further deepen their knowledge, skills and/or attitudes and thus help with their daily practise aswell as the AKT and CSA.
      [‘self-concept’, Knowles (1984)

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Bradford VTS was created by Dr. Ramesh Mehay, a Programme Director for Bradford GP Training Scheme back in 2001. Over the years, it has seen many permutations.  At the time, there were very few resources for GP trainees and their trainers so Bradford decided to create one FOR EVERYONE. 

So, we see Bradford VTS as  the INDEPENDENT vocational training scheme website providing a wealth of free medical resources for GP trainees, their trainers and TPDs everywhere and anywhere.  We also welcome other health professionals – as we know the site is used by both those qualified and in training – such as Associate Physicians, ANPs, Medical & Nursing Students. 

Our fundamental belief is to openly and freely share knowledge to help learn and develop with each other.  Feel free to use the information – as long as it is not for a commercial purpose.   

We have a wealth of downloadable resources and we also welcome copyright-free educational material from all our users to help build our rich resource (send to

Our sections on (medical) COMMUNICATION SKILLS and (medical) TEACHING & LEARNING are perhaps the best and most comprehensive on the world wide web (see white-on-black menu header section on the homepage).