As a leader, proficient presentation skills are necessary to encourage the audience to make some kind of change. An effective presentation inspires action. If a presentation is merely delivering information, it probably won’t have the desired effect of eliciting the type of initiative a leader wants to see in a team or in any part of an organization. Brian Tracy talks about how communication is an essential part of your success, not only in your personal life, but in professional settings as well and I couldn’t agree more. Below are a few tips that can help you hone your presentation skills as a leader.
Identify the action you want your audience to take at the end of your presentation (e.g., become a change agent, reach the global market, increase production) and speak to that end. You should include a CTA (call to action) as you conclude your presentation, but answering the whys should be addressed throughout. Knowledge is empowerment, after all, and you not only want to be knowledgeable, you want to impart that knowledge, as well.
To accomplish this, you will need to research what you plan to say, but also so that you’re able to answer any questions that might arise. For example, even if you might not want to include statistics in the actual presentation (some people think they’re too dry and boring), have them handy in case you’re asked something pertinent where having percentages or relevant analytics can help you prove your point.
To further prepare for a successful presentation, you’ll need to spend some time on these key points:
This may hardly seem revelatory, but the chosen topic should relate in some way to the venue (e.g., ribbon cutting for a new business, first shovel of dirt for a new complex being built), industry (e.g., railway vs. flying in the tourism trade), or occasion (e.g., Business Woman of the Year luncheon). Mentioning how the particulars of the event relate to the organization, the community, or other leaders can be the foundation of the presentation, but deciding if humor can be used (if so, how much) or if the message should be more conservative should also be considered.
Knowing your audience can ultimately be even more important than the topic. Ensuring you communicate effectively directly relates to whether you will even be listened to. A room full of Subject Matter Experts will understand information in a completely different way than amateurs will, so adjusting your content – as well as its delivery – to reach as many people as possible will go a lot further than only speaking to one specific person or demographic. If the audience is made up of a diverse group, you want to make sure to take any complex ideas and make them simple enough for everyone to understand, but without being condescending.
Although not every presentation requires the use of slides, some do – or at least they could benefit from them. If you are using PowerPoint during your presentation, do not include every word of your presentation on the slides. Salient points, bulleted lists, a graph, or a specific statistic that is an integral part of your message would be welcome. You just don’t want to have your audience reading what you have to say – you want them to focus on and listen to you.
When presenting, it’s essential to keep in mind that, according to Peter Miller’s research, “up to 90 per cent of the meaning of a communication is captured in the non-verbal clues.” In other words, it’s not just about the words you use, but also in how you use those words. Being assertive when communicating also helps position you as an authority on the subject, so present with confidence.
Communication is Key
Your presentation skills are extremely important because they bring how you communicate to the forefront. Communication is key in so many aspects of life, but as a leader, communicating effectively can have a direct correlation to your company’s bottom line. If you would like to learn how you can improve your presentation skills as a leader, let’s schedule a call.