Presentations are an essential aspect of modern professional life. Poor presentation skills can hamper your growth and cause you to fall behind in your career. Contrastingly, honing these skills and overcoming the fear of presenting in front of an audience will help advance your career regardless of the field you choose. These skills make a positive impact on employers, clients, and target audience, which can help you stay ahead of fellow employees or competitors.
Underestimating the power of presentation skills is easy. Most professionals believe that knowledge and skills relevant to their field are more than enough to stay ahead in their career. But presentation skills are equally appropriate to all areas and shouldn’t be ignored. For example, a website designer might not consider presentations relevant to their field, but they need these skills to showcase their design idea to the client. Here are some ways in which good presentation skills can have a positive impact on your career:
- Interviews – Most modern employers expect applicants to prepare a presentation and actively highlight their skills, employment history, education, etc. Candidates with superior presentation and communication skills will have a higher chance of standing out and getting hired.
- Sales – Presentations are part-and-parcel of the sales process. You need to convince the prospect to invest in your product or service, and that isn’t easy. A presentation provides a chance to showcase the features and advantages of your product or service. Exceptional presentation skills can go a long way in convincing prospects to make a purchase. On the other hand, poor presentation skills can alienate them and make them lose confidence in your company.
- Promotion and job recognition – Employees with good presentation skills are more likely to succeed and get ahead in their career. These skills are essential to convince employers that you’re worthy of a promotion. A well-planned presentation can highlight your success rate, skills, education, level of experience, and assure employers they are making the right choice by promoting you.
- Communicating ideas – Presentation skills have a significant impact on communication skills and how team leaders sell their plans to their team. Expert presenters are better able to communicate their vision and explain how they want to execute it. This reduces the chances of errors and miscommunication and has an impact on the overall efficiency of the team.
These are just some of the many advantages of having good presentation skills. Spending some time and effort on developing this capability will benefit your career significantly.
How to improve your presentation skills
There are some organizations and educational institutions that provide training in presentation skills. Formal training will help master those skills more quickly and help beginners with where to start. But professionals can also invest some of their time and effort into developing this skill and here are tips that can help:
Observe experts and take notes
Listening and observing other successful presenters can have a significant impact on personal presentation skills. There are some videos available online that showcase the style, technique, approach, and interactions of successful presenters from across the world. New presenters can also attend conferences and industry leaders’ presentations to see how they engage their audience and build interest in their content. Some key speeches you may only be able to find audio copies rather than video, but listening only can help you focus on specific essential characteristics such as images used, more easily than if you were watching a video.
Observing other speakers allows you to identify common mistakes and learn how to avoid them as well. It’s also easy to identify flaws based on audience reaction to the speakers and determine what can be done differently.
Practice makes perfect, so it’s important to take the leap and start presenting in front of an audience. Most new presenters hesitate to speak in public, which can hamper their skills, delay progress, and have a negative impact on their career. Take every opportunity to practice presentation skills as that allows you to become comfortable and eventually develop confidence. The first presentation is always the most difficult one. No matter how well-trained and accomplished a presenter is, it’s natural to feel a little anxious. Practice can help eliminate that. You may be able to find opportunities to present or speak publicly in a protected environment, such as a rotary club, or doing some charity work. Explore whatever chances you can in your surrounding area. Public noticeboards are often a right place for you to look at what may be available near to you.
Keep giving presentations even if you stumble and make mistakes along the way; identify a public platform where these mistakes can be made safely without them having a negative impact on your career. Most employers give employees room to grow and develop their presentation skills, but it’s a good idea to find other avenues as well.
Research your audience
It’s not enough to just research the content of the presentation. It is only as important to research the target audience. For example, a younger audience with fresh graduates will require a different kind of presentation and content to an older audience of high-level executives. Understanding this difference will help you develop better content and ensure you’re more comfortable in front of their audience.
Research into the target audience will also help you connect better with the audience and establish a good rapport during the question and answer session at the end of the presentation. This contributes towards the success of the effort.
Conducting some research on the target audience will help you develop a better understanding of different kinds of people in the industry and how people respond to your content. This can help refine your skill in the long-run as well.
In summary, being able to present well will help both obtain employment and further careers once work has been gained. To improve those presentation skills of yours, you can receive training, observe others, research your audience so that it is always aimed directly at them, and most crucial of all, find as many opportunities as you can. Practice makes perfect after all.