5 Strategies to Improve Your Presentation Skills
Few of us are comfortable speaking in front of an audience, but having the skill to present information effectively in the workplace is a valuable one to have; even more so in a modern workplace where we have come to rely less on written forms of communication (pointing the finger, here, at shorter attention spans and the concomitant reliance on straight-to-the-point messaging). And, to quote a colleague – “How an idea is packaged is just as important as the idea itself,” and in some cases, perhaps even more important.
In 2016, Forbes discussed results from a Prezi survey that revealed that 70% of employed Americans who give presentations believe that presentation skills are critical to their success at work. The article ventures a guess that the other 30% of survey respondents are perhaps just late in realizing this. If it’s such an important skill, how can employees improve, short of imagining their co-workers naked? The experts have this to say:
1. Know your audience and keep them interested – What is your audience expecting to get from your presentation? Try to meet, or even exceed, these expectations by staying on-message and including an effective and relevant accompanying slide deck to supplement, rather than imitate the verbal component.
2. Plan your presentation and structure your thoughts/ideas/arguments – People will soon lose interest or disregard what you have to say if it’s clear that you don’t even know what you’re trying to say.
3. Manage your ‘stage-fright’ – Everyone handles anxiety differently, so it’s important to identify your presentation stress triggers and to implement strategies to cope with them – whether it is to wear something you feel confident in, or doing breathing exercises beforehand.
4. Work on your delivery – A good presentation involves more than just a confident delivery. It requires of the presenter to know when to pause to give the audience a chance to digest new information or when to ask for engagement to stimulate critical thinking. Excellent delivery comes with practice, and perhaps some guidance from other good presenters (e.g. watching Ted talks or participating in Toastmasters).
5. Keep it short and relevant – There is always room for footnotes and follow-ups in the Q&A, so keep it concise and impactful.
Coggno offers the following online training courses to assist employees in becoming better presenters and more effective communicators:
Here are some of the top presentation skills courses:
Course 3: Powerful Presentations
Course 6: Communication Skills for Employees
*Discounts applicable: 20% OFF, valid thru Feb. 5th, 2018!