Presentations

by Steve Roche

Introduction

Most of us are required to make presentations as part of our job. If we are seen to be reluctant to make them it may limit our career prospects. Assumptions about a manager are often based on their performance in this area.

A key skill for managers and professionals

Building a positive reputation as a competent speaker, who regularly gives excellent presentations, can powerfully assist your career development.

  • It raises your visibility.
  • It is a long-term career asset.
  • It is increasingly required as you gain seniority.

In fact, without the requisite presentations skills, seniority will be harder to come by.

Presenting skills form an important part of many business activities, such as chairing meetings or facilitating workshops. As a manager, you will often be called upon to address your team, to make an impromptu speech or to present to senior management, customers and clients.

Growing confidence

Confidence inevitably increases as you practise and develop your skills. The more you know what you are doing, the better you feel about it.

You will feel better about yourself, too. Presenting offers a great opportunity to build self-esteem. Good presenters are liked, and we all like to be liked.

It’s also a great life skill: if you enjoy speaking in public and do it well, it will stand you in good stead in many situations throughout your life.

The bottom line

Presenting is a complex subject because it incorporates many of the factors involved in communicating with and influencing people.

Presenting is high risk, because it’s often about offering yourself for assessment – rather like going on a date, or for an interview, or on the stage.

You can minimise the risks by paying attention to some simple things and learning the basic skills. And despite the risks, the rewards are high.

Top ten tips for presenting

  1. Know your outcome: why you are speaking and what you want to say.
  2. Find out about the audience: who they are, what they know and what they want and expect.
  3. Research, structure and write the content, limiting the number of ideas.
  4. Turn the presentation into notes and rehearse until you are fluent.
  5. Learn your first and last sentences.
  6. Check out the room and equipment before you start.
  7. Warm up, and open strongly with pacing and rapport.
  8. Speak in everyday language; appeal to all the senses.
  9. Keep your focus on the audience and monitor their reactions.
  10. Be enthusiastic; in fact, be passionate!

And finally... stick to the agreed time.