Why Effective Presentation Skills Are An Absolute MUST.
You may be thinking, ”I don’t need presentation skills”. And you may also be thinking, “Thank goodness!”. Because, understandably, many people don’t like having to speak in public and most of those actually dread it.
But you would be wrong. You see – EVERYBODY –needs presentation skills. It really breaks down to the following 4 kinds of people – and you will find yourself in one or more of these headings.
The Expert Needs Effective Presentation Skills
If you are an expert in something (and most people are an expert in at least one area of their job or business) then the chances are that you will, at some point, have to present what you know. In fact, it is almost impossible to be seen as an expert in something, without presentations being involved.
How does anyone know that you are an expert unless you have shown someone what you do? And what are you doing when you are showing someone what you do? Well, you are presenting it.
Remember last weeks blog? The definition of a presentation is “a speech or talk in which a new product, idea, or piece of work is shown and explained to an audience”. Click here to read the full article if you missed it
So, it doesn’t matter if you are ‘presenting’ that idea or that knowledge to 2 people or 200 or 20,000. You are still presenting it. And if you do it well, then it builds or enhances your reputation as ‘The Expert’. If you want to be a success in your career or your business, you better be an expert in something.
Which brings us to the next category.
The Entrepreneur Must Have Good Presentation Skills
As an entrepreneur – you will be presenting all the time, unless you have a partner who is the ‘frontman’. But even then – at some point you are going to have to do it, so you might as well get good at it quickly. Steve Jobs was the expert until he sadly passed away and then Steve Wozniak had to step up.
As an Entrepreneur you have to be able to present you ideas to many different groups of people. You might have to present to the bank, your board of directors, your clients, your staff. You might be asked to speak at a networking event or a conference You may have to present to camera for your marketing, or be interviewed on the radio, a podcast or TV.
Being able to present effectively in an interesting manner which will motivate people to want to know more about you, or try out your products and services is not a ‘nice to have’. As an Entrepreneur it is an essential component of what it means to run your own business and be a Leader.
There are exceptions to every rule, but generally, the entrepreneurs who have a tight grasp of this particular skill, are the ones more likely to succeed.
Why Does an Employee Need Effective Presentation Skills?
Well, here’s the thing. You might be thinking, “but I’m only a (insert your own job title here). Why do I need good presentation skills?”. Well first I would refer you to the first category above. If you want to be seen as not just “OK” at what you do, but as an expert, you better be able to talk to people about it. And that’s all really good presentation skills are.
They are a way of talking to people to get new information over in the best way possible.
More than that – if you ever want to progress in a company – you will probably need to go through either internal (or external) interviews – or at least an assessment or appraisal process. In that process you will have to let people know why you are the right person to progress. And that means presenting. Presenting YOURSELF as the answer to their problems.
Of course, depending on your role, you may well have presenting as part of your official job requirement. That would apply to anyone in sales and marketing, but also to heads of departments or team leaders who have to present upwards to management / boards or downwards to their teams.
Everyday People Need Effective Presentation Skills
So, that’s like, everybody! Yes everybody needs presentation skills in their daily lives. Presentation skills are not just about the information and how it is organised.
People listening to any sort of presentation will take in and judge the quality of the information based on the things that aren’t “in” the presentation.
The things that make a presentation and a presenter credible are often the “subliminals”. They are things like voice tone, pace, eye contact, physical presence and “ticks”.
Children instinctively know when they are ‘in trouble’ from the voice tone of their parent.
Find yourself not believing what someone says? It’s probably poor eye contact.
There are all sorts of visual ‘give-aways’ that might indicate someone is uncertain, nervous, not confident or just plain lying. But they can be misinterpreted. Someone who is timidly asking for some help, might be de-prioritised in respect to someone else who is confidently demanding attention.
How Effective Presentation Skills Overlap Into Everyday Situations.
There are many everyday situations where your ability to get and hold the attention of your “audience” could be helpful or even live saving. Maybe you need to persuade your whole family to go to Aunty Emma’s for Christmas lunch this year, or to go to a particular destination for a holiday. Perhaps you need to ask for a refund in a shop. Potentially you need to negotiate with your child’s school.
Or maybe you need to get everyone out of a restaurant quickly in the case of a fire. I know – pretty random the last one – but it is actually a great example.
A friend of mine and her husband were out for dinner one night in a Japanese restaurant – you know one of those where they cook some of the food at your table. My friends husband is a really nice man – the type who would never normally say Boo to a goose. On this evening what he saw and she didn’t as she was sitting with her back to the incident was this.
As the waiter came out from behind the counter and went past the pin board with all the paper orders on it, the small lit burners were momentarily flared by the wind from someone opening the front door.
The papers on the pin board caught fire, and the fire quickly took hold of the decorations hanging from the ceiling and the wallpaper. My friends husband stood up, grabbed his wife’s hand and in a booming voice said, “Everybody get up now and come with me”. He quickly led them to the back door, which was next to the stairs. He told his wife and the other diners to go outside and he swiftly ran up the stairs and repeated the instructions to the diners up there.
The building was cleared of people within 30 seconds to one minute. My friend was amazed at her husband taking charge in this manner and the way in which everyone followed him, and how he knew what to do.
Well, the fact is that he used to work in restaurants and hotels and had been through this very scenario in training many times. When he entered the restaurant – he went to find the toilets and as he did every time – he scouted out the back door. The toilets were upstairs, so he had seen there were diners up there and no other way out. The first was near the front door, so he already knew what needed to happen.
Because he was confident and self-assured in what he was saying and HOW he was saying it – he became ‘the leader’ momentarily and everyone followed him. The situation, of everyone safely exiting the building, could have been very different if he had not reacted as he did. If he had his normal daily persona of nice guy, but perhaps not a natural leader, he would almost certainly have been ignored.
How many times in your life do you need to get things done, or get people to co-operate with you or do what you ask? If you struggle with this, it could be your ‘presentation skills’. There are simple techniques, that can be learned and practised so that they become instinctive and natural, so that you can get your message across in any situation.
If you would like to know more about that, and how I can help you be heard, then please feel free to contact me.