Death by PowerPoint? You can learn how to improve your presentation skills and to create compelling content when speaking in front of others.
Studies in the US have shown that amongst adults fear of public speaking ranks higher than the fear of dying. Of course, for most people death is an abstract idea, whereas speaking in front of an audience is a harsh reality for many leaders – a dread necessity they would rather be without. But when it is done well, a presentation can be both fun and an informative learning experience for the speaker and the audience. It is just a matter of working on two things: your mental preparation and a few simple rules about content.
Michael Clark, management consultant at Mannaz, remembers his first experience of presenting:
“It was awful, I think I stared at my shoes the whole time while speaking in a dull monotone, not really being sure what my key message was. I had the right idea of using a story to illustrate my point, but I failed to grab the audience’s attention because my presentation style wasn’t engaging. Studies show that what people remember about a presentation isn’t just the words, it’s as much to do with how the presenter engages with the audience, eye contact, tone of voice, the variation in gestures and movement – all of these together are what creates meaningful contact and a memorable experience” says Michael Clark.
According to Michael Clark, a poor presentation is a mere transmission of facts where the speaker relies only on a projector and a screen to carry the message. A good presentation, on the other hand, takes the audience on a journey and invites them to engage in the flow, to relax and as a result, to think.
“Your presentation skills are such a key part of how people remember you and if that memory is positive. For anyone who has had the experience of standing in front of an audience expecting too many elaborate slides to create interest, I would recommend rethinking this approach, seeking out coaching and building their storytelling confidence. There are so many quick fixes available, so many dos and don’ts and so many easy steps to quickly become better at this,” says Michael Clark.
Having Presence and Impact is one of a few critical success factor for mid to senior level leaders. For many, possessing what is often referred to as executive presence, helps to engender competence and trustworthiness in the eyes of others.