Stand Up and Be Counted: Enhance Your Career with Effective Presentations
If you were to conduct a survey of your colleagues asking them if presentation skills are important, then chances are that everyone would answer, “yes”.
In fact, whether you’re looking to get promoted or to change jobs, then effective presentation skills can be the difference between success or failure. It’s not an accident that employers are looking to hire people with excellent communication skills.
You might think that the need for presentations is limited to just a few scenarios, such as presenting a proposal, or speaking at a seminar, but nothing could be further from the truth. Presentation skills can be useful every single day, for example, when you’re in a meeting trying to get an idea across, when you’re on the phone with a client, and even when you’re giving a status update to your boss.
Now that we’ve established the importance of good presentation skills, what are some of the ways you can go about honing your skills? Below you’ll find 5 strategies that can help take your presentations to the next level.
If, for example, you regularly attending meetings where you have to introduce yourself, then it can be really helpful to have prepared a short elevator pitch describing who you are and what you do. This short script is a great way to introduce yourself to new people, and has the secondary benefit of helping you relax more quickly around unfamiliar people.
But this idea doesn’t just apply to an introductory elevator speech, it can also be applied to any topics you have to cover regularly as part of your job.
If you’re not yet confident enough in your skills to give a presentation at work, then the easiest place to start is within a safe environment outside of the office.
This could simply mean practicing your presentation skills in front of your partner or spouse, or it could mean joining a club, such as Toastmasters, where you won’t be judged and will be given lots of encouragement.
If you’re looking to increase your persuasive speaking skills then this is great news, as it means there are literally thousands who have gone before you that have passed what they have learned.
Some of the more popular techniques include Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, agitate and solve, prognosticate, and storytelling.
The second is more time consuming but very effective where you need to get approval for an idea, and that is to speak with each person who will be attending your presentation on a one-to-one basis, before the presentation takes place.
This way you get the chance to ensure that their success criteria are met, and if not, there’s still time before the meeting to adjust your presentation so that their success criteria are met.
In doing this you hugely increase the chances of your presentation going smoothly and your ideas being accepted.
To stand out from your peers think about what you can change up. Maybe you could start with the really big picture, or perhaps it might be interesting to start with the detailed facts and figures. Perhaps there is a personal story you could share. Maybe you could open with a question and then not answer that question until the end of your presentation.
Whatever it is, try to make your presentation stand out from the 99% of presentations that all follow an identical format.
We all know when we’ve seen a good presenter, and when we’ve seen a poor one. Most of us also know that building a reputation as someone who gives great presentations can enhance our careers. However, despite knowing that presentations are important, most of us don’t know how to improve our skills.
In this article, we’ve presented five tips to enhance your presentations, namely, be prepared, practice, learn how to construct a compelling argument, think about the objections people might have in advance, and structure your presentation to make it stand out from the crowd.
Denis Geoghegan @epmgmt, is the founder of Expert Program Management, a site dedicated to helping people improve their leadership, management, and personal development skills.
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