Promotion Killers: Poor Presentation Skills

Want that promotion? Presentations are opportunities to shine. Just like with conversations, careers have been made - or broken - by one presentation. You need to treat every presentation as a career enhancing or detracting event. Refining your presentation skills will make your promotion pitch that much more effective to your boss. A lot of people suffer from presentation anxiety. Public speaking can be frightening, although it doesn’t have to be. Presenting is like any other process, there is a series of logical steps to follow. Years ago, I learned a simple five step process for effective presentations. Below, I’ll share the material I cover in a three-day workshop on presentations skills. Breaking the presentation process down into these five easily manageable steps is the best way I know to get over presentation anxiety.
  1. Determine your message.
  2. Analyze your audience.
  3. Organize your information for impact.
  4. Design supporting visuals.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.
Ask yourself these questions to help you determine your message:
  • What do you want or need to communicate?
  • What information does the audience need?
  • Why do they need it?
  • At the end of the presentation, what should the audience: Understand? Remember? Do?
Determine the best way to communicate your message by analyzing your audience. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Who is the audience for this presentation?
  • Why are they attending?
  • What is their general attitude toward you and the topic?
  • What is their knowledge level on this topic?
Use the golden rule of journalism to organize your information: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.”
  • Begin at the end. Prepare your presentation ending first. This is helpful, because it keeps you focused on where you’re going.
  • Prepare your presentation beginning. A good beginning has two things: a hook, and an outline of your talk.
  • Fill in the blanks with your content.
Design visuals to support and enhance what you are saying. Good visuals support the points you are making, create audience interest, improve audience understanding, save you time – a picture is worth a thousand words, and they are memory aids. Practice, Practice, Practice. There is an old saying, “practice makes up for a lack of talent." Prior to getting in front of an audience, say your presentation out loud – several times. Listen to yourself. Consider videotaping yourself. If you don’t have the equipment, practice in front of a mirror, or your spouse, or your dog or cat – just practice.

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