“Do you have a passport?” The boss’ question jolted Shivam* out of the prototype he was working on. “I need you to fly to New York next fortnight and make a presentation about our new app to our senior management at the headquarters. It’s difficult for me to attend as our investors are flying in next week and who knows the new app better than you? Pack your bags.”
It was true that this project was Shivam’s brainchild. He had worked relentlessly for over 2 years and this new technology looked promising. Unfortunately, Shivam had no experience in presentation-making! How would he manage?
Just like Shivam, people who have little experience in public speaking or presentation making, always find it scary to speak before a large audience. However, Public speaking and Presentation Making is a must-have skill for everyone who aspires to take on big projects and leadership roles in their career.
You could be asked to raise a toast at your boss’ farewell party or make a motivational speech at a team-bonding event. You could be selected by the management to speak at an office Town Hall gathering or to represent your company at a panel discussion or a seminar. Aspiring leaders and managers, please take note! If you lack the ability to present in public, you can lose out on promotions and opportunities to head large projects.
Lack of experience in Presentation making and Public Speaking can be overcome with Preparation. Here are some tips on how to prepare:
· Focus on your script and delivery, not the PPT: Unlike popular perception, your PPT is NOT the most important part of your presentation. Your PPT is only meant to offer structure to your presentation. Keep the PPT tight, crisp and relevant.
· Practise, Practise, Practise: Look at the world’s best speakers and business leaders. What may seem impromptu, is actually the result of several hours of practice. Practise with an expert coach for best results.
· Engage your audience: Use proven techniques to keep your audience hooked to your presentation. Use anecdotes, case studies and infographics to engage them. A good Public Speaking coach will show you how.
· KISS-Keep It Short and Simple: Stick to your allotted time. If you have been allotted 15 minutes presentation time, time your presentation to under 13 minutes and keep 2 minutes for any questions your audience may have.
While the internet has many tutorials and books on how to develop presentation skills, a good Public Speaking coach is necessary to identify your strengths and gaps, give you structured feedback and to handhold you right through your preparation. This is an investment that is recommended for professionals, if they want to progress in their career. Do you?
*Client names are fictitious and do not refer to anyone in particular.