Liverpool’s Pauline Fleming, who played Mike Baldwin’s girlfriend Penny King on Coronation Street, is using her acting prowess to launch a parallel career in presentation skills training.
The successful actress has joined CPD – one of the North West’s leading business improvement organisations based on Mathew Street in Liverpool – to give nervous or reluctant presenters the benefit of her acting knowhow.
In the last two years Pauline has returned to live stage work and toured with the Vagina Monologues, The Naked Truth and Mums the Word, appearing with Maureen & Bernie Nolan.
She most recently starred as Paulina in A Winters Tale at Birkenhead Park. “Working with live audiences really helps me with the training work and it’s great to be doing something which uses my skills in-between touring,” said Pauline. “I also get chance to stay home for a change and do something else I enjoy and really believe in.”
Pauline has actually spent the last 12 years training in communication skills, working with medical students and GPs, but the new remit with CPD will broaden the opportunities and take it up a gear.
She explained what acting brings to the training job. “When you are on stage you are constantly ‘presenting’, and are totally focused on engaging the audience in a memorable way, making them laugh or moving them, and being very aware of the power of what you doing.
“Of course as an actor you are delivering a prepared script in character, but good presenting follows exactly the same principles. You need to have great lines, work with your audience and know what will engage them.
“I found – especially in the touring productions – that certain lines worked well in one part of the country but not in another. We gave exactly the same delivery but got a different reaction. You have to adapt material if you want to get the same response with a different audience – and that’s a key principle of effective presentation delivery.”
“We also encourage presenters to become more aware of their whole body language during a presentation and learn how to use it to their advantage.”
CPD MD Rebekah Ayres said that Pauline was a valuable addition to the CPD team. “We want to make our training courses as valuable as possible for our delegates, and using presenters of Pauline’s skill, experience and enthusiasm really helps that process.”
Pauline says she gets the most satisfaction from seeing a group all ‘dreading’ the presentation experience, transformed into people who can’t wait to get up and have a go.
“It’s so rewarding to see our course delegates gaining in skills and confidence. If they remember only one thing about presenting it is the need to ‘engage the audience’.
Pauline’s next two-day training course is 21st and 22nd May at CPD’s Mathew Street gallery in Liverpool. Anyone interested in booking on the course should contact Liz McEleney on 0151 236 0006 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.