For most people, public speaking is akin to visiting the dentist: it’s unavoidable, though avoidance is preferable. But, though you may feel your heartbeat quicken at the mere idea of giving a presentation, it’s important that you acquire and hone these speaking skills.
Delivering presentations is no longer reserved for CEOs and high-level managers. These days, no matter your department or position, you are required and expected to communicate effectively to deliver information for internal and external audiences.
According to a Prezi survey, 70% of employed Americans believe presentation skills are critical to their career path. Yet 20% of respondents said they would do just about anything to avoid having to give a presentation, including pretending to be sick or asking a coworker to speak in their place.
This is problematic because the survey revealed that persuasive stories through presentations is a fundamental job requirement these days.
How Presentation Skills Impact the Workplace
Excellent presentation skills are what help leaders inspire teams and entrepreneurs attract funding. Communication is at the heart of all business transactions. When that communication is effective, careers and bottom lines can both soar.
Here are some other ways presentation skills positively impact the workplace:
Both interviewer and interviewee must communicate well for the best outcome. Building teams is essential to organizational growth and sales.
Whether it’s a conference call, sales call, or face-to-face chat, meetings are where critical decisions are made and careers flourish.
Meeting new people and making new connections is vital to professional success. Presentation skills help individuals make a great first impression.
Speaking with Clients
If you want your business to succeed, you’ve got to form true relationships with clients, and this entails having a knack for talking with them. Customer trust and loyalty are bred from sharing your brand story and vision.
Presenting at Conferences
To be seen as a thought leader you must be able educate and inspire audiences. Good presentation skills help businesses reach potential customers and move them to action.
How to Hone Your Presentation Skills
Now that you know just how important presenting is to your business or personal career path, here are some ways you can begin to hone your skills:
Always be Prepared
Whether it’s standing in front of a large crowd at an industry event or speaking with one single employee, it’s important to be prepared. Is your mind ready to deliver whatever message you have? Can you envision your preferred outcome?
Who is your audience and what do they need from you? How can you best deliver the information? What questions might they have that you need to be able to answer? The more prepared you are, the more confident and able you’ll be to share.
If you have a sales meeting or a local Chamber of Commerce event, it’s important you are organized so you can make the best impression. Have any supplemental materials ready and organized so you can avoid hiccups and distractions.
Relieve Your Nerves
It’s okay and very normal to be nervous before any type of presentation. It simply means you “have skin in the game” and want to do your best. But you can hardly do your best when your nerves have you on edge.
Though you may get nervous, it is possible for you to walk up on that stage or into that boardroom calm and confident. Preparation is a big part of inspiring this calm confidence, as is physically removing nervous energy from your body.
Taking slow deep breaths has been scientifically proven to help calm your mind and body. Try it next time and don’t be surprised if you feel a whole lot better.
Aim for Interesting Not Perfect
At the end of the day, audiences big or small want to be engaged and moved. They are not looking for you to be perfect but rather interesting.
If you’re presenting to a large group, be sure to include some interesting points in your speech. If you are being interviewed for a promotion, tell a personal story that is relevant to the position.
Striving for perfection is a futile endeavour. But being interesting is something most determined people can achieve.
The importance of presentation skills in the workplace cannot be overstated. If you are letting fear hold you back, try to implement these tips so you can begin to make connections and good impressions that will propel your business or career forward.