Developing your presentation skills is a productive and efficient way to help build a successful and rewarding career. The inability to speak well can be incredibly costly, both to you and to your organization.
Every time you make a presentation you’re being judged; and in this case perception truly is reality. If your audience doesn’t perceive you as an effective person you’re going to fail in your main purpose, which is to persuade.
It’s a regrettable fact that most presentations are too long, poorly delivered and, as a result, completely forgettable and ineffective. This is because the people who prepare and deliver them don’t have the skills required to make them interesting and effective.
If you have something worthwhile to say, and you say it well, the whole world will listen. Properly-prepared and professionally-delivered presentations are effective and remain memorable.
Many well-educated, talented people find their career paths blocked because they can’t adequately communicate their ideas. How well people communicate determines whether they’re memorable or forgettable, boring or interesting, and whether others will ignore or listen to them. People are attracted to articulate, well-organized, forceful speakers. Communicate well and compete; communicate best and win.
People with exceptional presentation skills will become today’s leadership elite.
Business and professional leaders can no longer maintain low profiles; these days they have to function effectively in a communications environment similar to that which politicians have had to endure for decades. They must be able to relate effectively to people both within and outside their organizations. They will have to gain the support of a number of different constituencies, such as peers, employees, clients, suppliers, shareholders, regulators, consumer activists and, most important of all, the media.
And it isn’t just business and professional people for whom strong presentation skills are important. Concerned citizens who want to make a difference in their communities also need to develop their presentation skills. Taking the time to properly prepare and deliver an effective presentation might result in persuading your local council to install a set of traffic lights that could save lives. Or you might successfully raise the money to build a much-needed recreation facility. Perhaps you simply want to do a good job of welcoming your new daughter-in-law into your family.
No one can be a real leader without the power of persuasion. There’s no point in knowing the solution to a problem if you can’t effectively communicate it in a way that will move people to act. If you can’t communicate effectively you will have great difficulty making things happen; and you certainly won’t be able to make them happen when and how you want them to.
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, an upcoming professional in a thriving practice, a struggling young entrepreneur, or that citizen who simply wants to make a difference, you will find that standing in front of a group of people and bringing them around to your point of view is one of the most rewarding experiences in life.
Perhaps most importantly of all, nothing builds a person’s overall self-confidence as much as acquiring the skills necessary to make an effective presentation. Once you become an effective presenter the resulting self-confidence will spill over into every aspect of your life, with the result that you will become a more successful and effective person in everything you do.
There are only four ways by which we are judged: what we do; how we do it; what we say; and, how we say it. Too many people don’t pay enough attention to the latter two.
My book The Elements of Great Public Speaking is available in book stores.