22 Jan Why don’t more people leaders try to become better at presenting?

A case for including high level presentation skills in your leadership development program.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been reflecting on why it is that more people-leaders don’t try to develop their presentation skills. Surely being a leader of people means you need the BEST presentation skills?

In fact, why isn’t a high-level presentation skills course MANDATORY in every private and public sector organisation for leaders and emerging leaders in this country?

I’m not talking about something run by your internal trainers (who are expected to be jacks of all trades). I mean a professionally facilitated, advanced presentation skills program that is run by an expert – someone who SPECIALISES in just this skill – in fact, they excel at making people AWESOME at presenting in business.

I wondered,
  • is it because some leaders don’t think they present? Perhaps they think ‘presenting’ is for conference speakers and the like?
  • is it because leaders don’t think they need training to be a strong presenter? Perhaps they believe it’s innate? Or,
  • is it because leaders already feel they are competent in this important skill? Maybe for some it comes naturally so they don’t need a course?

I went out on social media and posed the question,

“why don’t more organisations ensure all their leaders become excellent presenters”

and the responses both shocked and saddened me. Unfortunately, this is what people said…..

  • Human Resources think they hire properly in the first place so don’t need to develop presentation skills in their people.
  • Too busy for personal development.
  • Other bigger priorities than communication skills (OMG! Are you serious? Is there any skill more important than the skill to inspire through clear communication in business?)
  • We do want to do it, just not yet, we’ll get around to it later in the year.
  • We only have $1000 + GST per employee and great training costs more than this per head. (Sad face)

As a presentation skills authority, with clients across the who’s who of corporate Australia these responses make me shiver!

Why is it that people feel this way? Perhaps people don’t realise what presenting is, and further, perhaps people don’t realise what developed presentation skills can actually do for you.

Many people see presenting as something where there’s a stage, a lectern and a microphone, something that happens once or twice a year.

And most people see presenting as the act of communicating content, so people are updated and across the issues.

If you have this common, jaundiced view of presenting you’re missing out on an opportunity to get into the hearts and minds of your people and move them in a powerful way for good.

What is presenting?

I define presenting as any form of communication one to one, one to few and one to many where your objective is to change your audience’s thinking and/or behaviour.

I think we present every day, all day.

Why do leaders need developed presentation skills?

Transformational leaders can articulate a message so their team members want to step outside their current mindset and create, manage and embrace change.

Transformation leaders can get into the minds of their people and take them on a journey to achieve organisational outcomes. You simply can’t do this without highly-developed presentation skills.

What can highly developed presentation skills do for you?

Leaders with well-developed presentation skills can use the medium of ‘presenting’ to inspire their people to take initiative, seize opportunities and manage the change process. When you can present effectively as a leader you’ll articulate your perspective clearly and confidently, bring people together, bring out the best in your team and business.

Leaders with well-developed presentation skills can ‘present’ to reduce the silos in their organisation, to increase knowledge-sharing and reduce the backward/forwards activity that often accompanies inefficient decision-making. When you can present well you encourage people to pitch in and help, to respond when necessary and to just get it done: on time and on budget. Sounds good right?

I’ve been teaching persuasive presentation skills in big business for over two decades. Some of my clients have developed ALL their people in presentation skills from the top down. They have seen exciting results because excellent presentation skills result in a more positive in the workplace with energised people who are driven to achieve results, people who are keen to be part of the collective solution, not the problem. When you can present well you help shape the cultural norms in your organisation.  You ensure that everyone knows, ‘that’s how things should be done around here’.

If you could make the decision to invest the time, effort and money into developing your presentation skills you’d develop even better rapport with your people, you’d articulate your message in a way your team can understand and act on, and you’d have way more opportunities in life.

I don’t think there’s any other skill that gives you quite the same the ability to have yourself heard so you can accelerate your career and achieve your dreams, and the dreams of your people, your bosses, your board, and your various stakeholders.

Maybe it’s time to take everyone’s presentation skills (including yours) more seriously in 2018?

Happy Presenting!