Why Presentation Expertise Is Still The ‘Must- Have’ Skill For Senior Leaders

Reading time: 2 minutes

Your heart is hammering, your palms are sweaty. You’re reading off your notes, and you’ve accidentally skipped an important PowerPoint slide and the audio won’t play. ‘Just a minute, sorry, stupid technology, I’ll have to call IT. Now, what was I saying?’ You look across the darkened meeting room, and notice that someone’s texting on their phone, two people are whispering, and one in the corner appears to be drowsing.

You have lost the room.

93% of how people assess us is not in what we say, but in how we say it. The delivery of information is so important as it determines how we’re perceived, and that simple fact strikes fear into the hearts of many people who fear public speaking in any form, even if it’s just addressing the Monday morning meeting.

Team performance suffers through poor communication, time is wasted, and business is lost. No wonder businesses are looking to hire, promote and reward individuals who really know how to control a room! Leaders need to know not only how to communicate their vision and directives, but also how to face tough audiences, whether that’s their own team, the big boss, a client, or external stakeholders.

For leaders, how you present information is crucial in getting that information across in a professional, engaging, and compelling manner. Presentation skills are still the number one leadership ability that companies (and your teams) are looking for, yet many of you rely too much on the content, and not enough on the delivery.

What goes wrong?

Nerves, a lack of confidence, difficulty addressing questions, and fumbling with presentation technology can transform what should be a powerful and persuasive talk into an abject failure. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve prepared the content, if your presentation style is wooden, nervy, confusing, or fumbling.

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Just like any other skill in life, public speaking brilliance can be learnt. Your presentation can easily be prepared, practiced, and honed. And this goes just as much for those of you who don’t fear public speaking, but don’t get the great results you’re looking for from your presentations either.

In order to nail your presentations, you need to:

-Be able to translate technical information into a format that a non-technical audience will understand.

-Be adept at visual media. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be a whizz at PowerPoint, or flipcharts etc. This is all stuff that can be learnt and practiced beforehand!

-Have all the information cohesively prepared, for example, avoid too many bullet points on a slide. Know your content so that you are not over reliant on looking at your visual aids.

-Understand how to use your body language and personal presentation to engage your audience and hold their attention throughout the presentation.

-Be able to run ‘question-time’ assertively and charismatically.

-Know how to bring the audience into the presentation, creating interaction and dialogue that’s helpful and respectful.

-Be authentic. Your ability to convey a sense of who you are and your belief in the topic is what sets great presenters apart. Don’t be afraid to put a little of yourself in the presentation, people want to make human connections.

-Know how to wrap things up by clarifying what you want, gaining commitment, and setting goals for moving forward.

At Excel Communications we specialise in training people in the art of public speaking, equipping you with the skills needed to make professional and compelling presentations that impress colleagues, senior management, clients and stakeholders (not to mention yourself!). To find out more about how we can help your organisation call us on +44 (0) 1628 488 854