When presenting yourself to another within an organisation – whether it's on the phone, face-to-face or through Skype etc – you are transmitting vibes that automatically translate to the workplace. They portray signals about your company culture, ethos and how you present yourself outside work.
For any individual within a company who has a customer-facing role, or has to report back to their team; for anyone in management or above, or anyone who wants to progress to management, good presentation skills are invaluable.
Learning to present your ideas in a structured and logical fashion is a skill that can be translated to everyday working life. It is useful during meetings, on the phone and when convincing your director to purchase a particular product or service. You’ll also see your confidence gradually increase, you'll save time putting your projects into a structured fashion and you'll see faster results.
The key to effective presentations is to practice – get used to the sound of your own voice. Rehearse in front of friends or colleagues, and gain as much feedback as possible.
Preparing your presentation
The planning, preparation and delivery of a presentation can be likened to an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg – the actual delivery – is all that can be seen. Underneath the surface is the bulk of the iceberg: in this case, the planning and preparation.
The most important part of a presentation is the planning and preparation. If it is not structured – with background information and relevant content – it does not appear credible to the listener. Therefore, all attempts to educate or inform, are overshadowed by the negative aspects of the presentation.
During the presentation
Preparing your presentation
Find out who you are going to be presenting to. This will give you a better understanding of what you say and how you pitch your presentation. Find out how many people will be on the panel, their role in the organisation and their expertise. Once you know this the next step is the structure of the presentation.
Getting the right structure
You should always have one clear message that runs through your presentation and focus on three sections: Introduction, development of your findings and summary. Don’t let the presentation go on for too long – allocate 10-15% to your introduction and conclusion with the focus on the details of the presentation.
Using PowerPoint or Prezi incorporates visuals to help maintain interest throughout the presentation. Normally, we suggest not giving out notes as it will take the focus from you, however, if the subject is more of a technical nature, a copy of the slides can be useful for those wanting to take notes. It's often best to distribute them before the presentation begins.
Always prepare and run through the presentation several times before the interview. If you fail to prepare for your speech, you will mumble the words and have no intonation in their voice. Look out for nervous habits, such as saying ‘like’ and ‘um’, this will contribute to losing your audiences attention does not respect the speaker's views; therefore they do not listen.
TIP: Ask your recruiter what systems are used and if they are compatible with your laptop. Your presentation may be perfect but if it can’t be accessed you need to be prepared – always bring it on a USB key and save on the cloud as a back-up.
So, what's the golden rule to making a great presentation? Preparation. A sound structure can automatically set the ground rules for allowing you to tell the audience what you want to say. If you use these simple steps, you'll feel more confident before you present, and the after-effects will be amazing!