Getting your ideas across at work can be a challenging process. Aside from the basic anxiety nearly everyone has about public speaking, there are many requirements for good presentation skills that the average person is either unaware of, or has not learned as part of their professional training. Here are four ways you can improve your presentation skills.
Keep it Simple
The average member of your workplace audience will leave your presentation with one solid idea from what you presented. Unless you want everyone to have their own version of that idea, you need to be sure the point you are trying to make is as simple as possible. You don’t want to overdo it or you will lose your audience quickly. This is important in a variety of disciplines but public speaking is where it really makes or breaks the work you do. You have to remember your audience is likely sitting politely in a chair and is neither taking notes, nor are they usually provided with some record of what you say. So keep it simple and it will register better with your audience.
Think Like a Politician
A good work presentation isn’t all that much different from a political campaign. You need to package your message in a way that gets your audience to want to vote for you and your idea the next time they have a choice. So do what political campaigns do. Pick a snappy slogan, distill your message to a call to action and then relentlessly hammer away at the task of connecting that message and that call to action for your audience. To get your point across you have to get your audience to want to do something, not just listen politely and go back to their desk.
When company executives go on the road to try and drum up investment support for a new product or even a new company, there are two kinds of people they send into the room. One is a details guy who goes over rows and columns of numbers. The other guy is the one that does what executives call the "schmaltz." If you are the schmaltz guy, you have to get your audience wound up. Get them excited about your idea. Paint a big wide blue sky for them and tell them about the possibilities. Make your idea the most interesting thing they’ve heard all day and they’ll remember it.
Black Ink on White Paper
This is a style suggestion more than anything else, but remember the power in your presentation doesn’t mean you have to spend unnecessary time on it. Using a service like pptXTREME will help you concentrate more on “the what” of your presentation rather than the how. People respond to simplicity. Getting past the technical tasks and concentrating on the subject matter will improve your presentation.
Public speaking is still one of the toughest challenges anyone faces. The good news is you don’t have to allow your inexperience or your anxiety limit what your presentation accomplishes. Keep it simple and full of energy and you will be happy with the results.