Most of us have had a business meeting that goes wrong, where the presenter either didn’t grab your attention from the start or where they lost control of the presentation. The real question is have YOU ever been the presenter who delivered a less than successful business presentation?
What role do presentation skills play in your career success?
Have you ever facilitated a meeting that ended in your client or colleagues walking out at the end, bursting to get back to work, with no intention whatsoever of implementing anything you have just talked to them about? Have you ever pitched in business and afterwards felt terrible because you know deep down that there is no way your potential client feels compelled to engage in a business partnership with you in any way, shape or form? At the time it feels like the meeting was a huge waste of time for you, for them and for your business.
Interestingly, most people think of presenting as something separate from life. As something we only do when there’s a lectern, some slides and an audience. But just because you don’t have to make big pitches to a board or represent your company at an industry conference doesn’t mean you don’t present to people. We present to people with the intention to influence them every single day. We present to our colleagues, our staff or managers, our suppliers and potential clients. You are presenting yourself every day at work whether you realise it or not and presentation skills are critical when you are trying to get ahead in business.
The more successful entrepreneurs I meet, the more I realise that regardless of their intelligence and business acumen, regardless of their excellent products or service and regardless of their commitment to their business, these successful people have one thing in common. They know how to present their ideas in a compelling, influential and memorable way. They know how to structure their thoughts, how to connect with people, and they say what they want to say in a way that resonates with their audience. They inspire and compel their audiences to take action!
I believe presenting is any form of communication with another person (including face to face, over the phone, by email or through the internet), from one-on-one, to small and large groups. And I believe we present both formally and informally. In short, most people in business present regularly every day single of their life.
Presenting provides a unique opportunity for you to showcase your professional expertise and accelerate your career.
It’s conclusive! If you are not good at presenting in business you need to learn how to do it right now! Improving your presentation skills will help you in the following ways:
Credibility and expertise. In business it’s important to be seen as the go-to person. People who speak well are thought of as more expert, intelligent and believable. When you can speak well you’ll command attention and gain respect. With improved public speaking skills you can showcase your professional expertise on a daily basis. It’s an opportunity to step up and be noticed for what you can offer. If you avoid public speaking and delegate it to others, you’ll miss the chance to be appreciated for your own ideas and opinions.
Save time. Presenting to one person at a time takes a lot longer than presenting to all 10 people in a meeting room! Bring your potential clients together and pitch to them at once. You’ll have the added bonus of the law of social proof, which states that people often copy what others are doing. If one or two clients in the room are buying what you’re selling, maybe the other 9 will too!
Networking. Let’s face it, most of us find it difficult to turn up to a meeting with strangers and turn it into a lead generation event! Good public speaking involves as much listening as it does talking. When you can listen to someone’s needs and interests and then articulate your business proposition in a fast and conversational way that fascinates your stakeholder you’ll be remembered for all the right reasons.
Improved relationships. Accomplished public speakers connect with people through the words they choose to say and the way you choose to say them. People with advance public speaking skills can articulate their perspective in a way that serves their audience, whilst maintaining their sense of themselves and feeling good about the interaction.
Make more appointments and close more deals. A persuasive message in business has three phases: analysis, design and delivery. When you can follow the formulas that allow you to go through these three phases effortlessly you’ll be able to write better emails, speak more confidently on the phone and the result is more meetings and appointments and a higher close rate in the actual meeting. When you present well you show people who you are and how you can help them.
The point of today’s article? Keep learning and growing when it comes to presenting and you’ll reap the benefits in your career. Happy Presenting!
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE How to Present ezine TODAY on her website