In our work we give a lot of presentations, we see a lot of presentations, we help prepare a lot of presentations, and we train people on how to give presentations.
Some people believe that to be a good presenter or public speaker, you have to be charismatic and outgoing, but this simply isn’t true. Having these traits may mean you aren’t as concerned about public speaking, but they don’t necessarily translate to good presenting.
For many, presenting is an essential part of our working lives. For some it’s on a small scale, like presenting a project update to a steering committee, or team meeting. For others it’s on a much larger scale, like announcing significant policy or program or delivering a conference key note.
The skills needed to do the little stuff well, are basically the same as those for the larger scale. Forget personality traits, and focus on acquiring the techniques of good presentation skills and they will serve you well as your career progresses.
The great thing about presenting is there are really simple practical things everyone can do to improve their presentation skills immediately. For many, if they learn a few simple techniques, their presentations can go from snooze worthy to attention grabbing.
The core techniques surround content, verbal delivery and non-verbal delivery. If you want to quickly improve your presentation skills, I recommend:
- Use a presentation structure – this helps the audience follow the presentation.
- Choose appropriate language – I see technical experts stumble on this all the time, if your audience are not all from the same technical background it is essential you think about terminology.
- Think about your body – You most likely will have heard the breakdown, that 55% of what people take in when communicating is body language (38% is tone, 7% spoken words). Your body and your face can back up what you are saying, or undermine it.
If you are going to be a master presenter, and influencer, you will start with understanding your audience, and what’s in it for them – why are they even listening to you?
If you think your team’s presentation skills could do with improvement we’d love to help. Whether they are big and brassy types, or quiet thoughtful types, we can help them draw on their natural traits, to deliver compelling presentations.