Does the idea of giving a presentation or making a speech strike fear in your heart? You are not alone. Most people fear public speaking. Fortunately though, it is easy to develop high-quality presentation skills despite any fear you may have.
You may not realize it, but you’re already a presenter. You use presentation skills every day in both your professional and personal life.
In fact, in order to persuade anyone in your immediate circle–your spouse, your children, your co-workers, your boss, fellow church members, or new potential customers–you need to be able to articulate what you need clearly and effectively to ensure they will be open to your ideas.
Thus, developing strong presentation skills can benefit you in both your personal AND your professional life.
Why Are Presentation Skills Valuable?
Every presentation has high stakes. You only get one chance to make a first impression. No matter what your title is, whether you’re working in a corporation or own your own company, you’re a salesperson.
If you don’t hit the target the first time to get the next meeting, to close the sale, or to make the connection and begin a dialogue, your competitor will be quick to step up and grab that business.
The good news is, that with practice and guidance, you can improve your presentation skills and gain the self-confidence you need to become a great presenter.
What Can I Do to Improve My Presentations?
A successful presentation has four important characteristics. The speaker has:
- Strong stage presence and is self-confident.
- Appropriate body language and engaging vocal delivery to reinforce the presentation.
- Quality content, both words and images, to keep people interested throughout the presentation.
- Effective visual aids to support the presentation.
You ARE the Presentation
Many people believe that their Powerpoint slides are the presentation, but this would be the same as saying a brochure is a salesperson. You ARE the presentation. The content and visual aids you select are merely support tools to help you get your message across.
Think about the last time you met someone new. Before that person opened his or her mouth, you had already made some judgments about their qualities. Our brains look at body language first. We read body language at a subconscious level in a split second.
The same is true for your presentations. Your audience will judge your content by what they see in you. You may have wonderful content but if you don’t have a commanding executive presence your message will not be heard.
Jiwei Ng, from PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, attended an Experiential presentation skills course and learned how to put together all of these elements.
Here’s what he had to say: “Following the course, I’ve had the opportunity to practice what I’ve learned. The day after I got back to office, I was asked to give a short presentation of 5 minutes to my bosses on some keynote R&D project updates. Those pointers really came in VERY handy and I managed to employ what you taught me.”
Keep in mind that your body language and stage presence are 55% of your message. Your use of your voice is 38% and your words are only 7%. It’s better to have an excellent stage presence and a mediocre speech than a mediocre stage presence and an excellent speech. If you can be excellent in both areas, you will have a very high success rate in ensuring your message is heard and your goals are met.
To learn more about upcoming Experiential public workshops to improve your presentation skills, check out the Experiential calendar found on the left hand side of our home page. Click the corresponding training to receive the full course outline.