Whatever field you are in, today most employers seek not only work skills and a degree, but also well-presented individuals who will be able to deliver a confident well-constructed presentation at a workplace. Therefore possessing good presentation skills will give you an added advantage at an interview. Confidently articulating knowledge and expertise will give you extra kudos even if you are not as highly skilled as your opponent. Why? Simple: you will be able to demonstrate your skills.
Being able to present your ideas and knowledge at a workplace will most certainly give you an added advantage. Articulating your thoughts in a confident manner be it a conversation, a meeting or an interview, will boost your self-esteem and make your opinion important to your colleagues. ‘But I am a really skilled engineer, why do I need the presentation skills?’. Well, engineers must be able to deliver both technical and non-technical ideas and engage their audience at client and team meetings, seminars and so on. So whatever profession you are in, most of us will find ourselves in a situation where we need to present something:
The bottomline is, no matter what is your area of expertise, having polished presentation skills will not only land you a dream job, but will help you in daily social settings. The good news is, even if you are an introverted shy person, there are plenty of examples of people ‘learning’ good presentation abilities, you just need to find your voice.
There are a lot of people who fear public speaking. Does this have an impact on their career? Of course, yes. Think about it. Here you are at a large internal meeting and your head is full of ideas. However, you choose to rather keep these useful and important thoughts to yourself, rather than stand up and speak in front of a large crowd of people. And there goes your big promotion out the window. The same goes for large social gatherings. In fact, many people avoid these events or sit quietly in the corner for the fear of being the center of everyone’s attention. So what do you need to do to stop fearing and start shining?
Getting grip of your nervousness and stress is the first step at becoming a good public speaker. After all, it is hard to gather your thoughts and get your message across if all you can think of is how nervous you feel. Take a step at a time. Next time you are at a family gathering or having dinner with close people you trust, propose a toast or grab everyone’s attention with some interesting story. The most important thing is to overcome your fear and realize that there is nothing scary about having everyone’s gazes directed at you. Once you get confident enough around close people, try this out at work: perhaps in a conversation with your colleagues or at a smaller department meeting.
Understanding your audience is what will make or break your presentation. Analyze what your audience wants to get out of this presentation and find the right voice to give it to them. Every setting will be different, on some occasions you need to seem really knowledgeable and professional, while in others throwing in a few jokes here and there and making your presentation fun and interactive will do the trick. That way you will grab the attention and will be able to get your message across in the most efficient way.
If you think that your clothes and haircut are not important - think again. The right choice of clothes, haircut and shoes works twofold. Firstly, regardless of what you tell yourself, people DO notice how you are dressed and form an opinion based on your choice of wardrobe. For example, wearing neat shirt and clean shoes will make people subconsciously perceive you as being more knowledgeable and professional than if you are wearing wrinkled t-shirt and shoes with last year’s dirt on. Secondly, it is no secret that clothes has impact not only on how we are perceived by others, but also on how we feel about ourselves. Having a formal shirt on might not be your first choice, however it will not make you feel like you do not belong thus reducing your stress and increasing your confidence. Although self-expression is important, on certain occasions it can rather be a stress factor. Therefore, analyze your audience and setting and dress the part.
If you just mumble the speech you learnt by heart, your audience will surely notice this and quickly get disinterested. When speaking, sound enthusiastic and confident. Don’t make it sound as if you just want to get through your speech as fast as possible. Instead, use various intonations and gestures. To do this, you not only have to know your speech, but also deliver it in an engaging interesting manner. Just some food for thought. You surely loved stories as a kid. Imagine if someone just read them to you in a monotonous tone just to get it over and done with as soon as possible. You’d surely hate it and stop listening eventually. This is how you put a kid to sleep, rather than excite and grab attention. Well, your adult audience is no different.
There is nothing better, than visually supporting your thoughts and ideas. Having a supportive presentation pre-made with one of the numerous softwares available today will keep both your speech and audience organized. For example, if you are talking about the figures, have a slide that demonstrates these figures with a graph or chart. Also, you can have some bullet points of your major thoughts highlighted with a presentation. However remember that you should not add too much text to your slides. This will keep your audience focused on reading it rather than listening to your speech. Another thing to remember is that the presentations should be really professional and well-made. It is better to do without a presentation than to have one that looks like a school kid made it. The most popular softwares for making presentation are Prezi Next and PowerPoint. If you are due to have a really important presentation and do not yet have the skills to create a really well-designed presentation, it makes sense to hire a corporate presentation designer. Another good thins is that you can share your presentation with your audience or on your corporate blog, website and social media.
If you experience some kind of an issue or there is a technical problem - simply talk about it with your audience. No matter what, do not start stressing or getting nervous. Keep positive, enthusiastic attitude and simply communicate with your audience in a confident light-hearted manner. After all, they are people just like you, and instead of withdrawing, stumbling and creating an awkward silence, apologize for delay keeping everyone engaged in an interesting discussion related or not to your presentation topic.