Why Presentation Training Is Your Key to Success
As a new business owner, your business will succeed or fail, based on the strength of your presentations. How you present yourself and your businesses may be
Why Presentation Training Is So Important
So why is presentation training so important in the first place? What can it possibly teach you?
Understanding what makes a presentation “work.”
In training, you’re going to start at the ground level, and that means figuring out what makes presentations “work.” There are some general hallmarks here, including a strong high-level concept with lots of specific examples, but each type of presentation you give is going to require a slightly different angle. For example, what makes a great TED Talk won’t include all the same elements that make a great pitch deck for a prospective startup. For almost any application, knowing your audience is crucial, and knowing what your main goal is—whether that’s demonstrating profitability or evoking a specific emotion—should be your top priority when assembling an outline.
Learning how to write for a slide deck
You may be able to write fantastic whitepapers, and you may be a sparkling conversationalist in day-to-day life. However, neither of those skills means that you’ll be successful in writing a slide deck presentation. In a slideshow, you’ll need to spend extra time on your headlines and sub-headlines, you’ll need to pay attention to the consistency and uniformity of your sentence structures and formatting, and you’ll need to word and truncate your phrasing in a way that’s readable—but not distracting—for the people in the room. This is a distinct writing skill that stands apart from other modes of writing, and needs to be learned independently.
Tone, pace, and gesticulation
Effective presentations are delivered with a voice that’s louder, clearer, and more in control than your typical conversational tone. They’re delivered with a slow, deliberate pace that varies in intensity based on what you’re currently communicating, and reflective of your emotional direction. They also include some limited forms of gesticulation, adding charismatic power to your presentations without the risk of flailing about randomly or with too much energy. Finding balance in these areas is challenging, even for the most experienced speakers, so you need a coach to help guide you in these pursuits.
Becoming more confident
If there’s one quality that lends itself to successful presenting, it’s confidence. The majority of the population is at least somewhat afraid or nervous about the idea of public speaking, so demonstrating absolute confidence will imbue your presentation with power and control. Presentation training will help you understand the flaws in your presenting style, and give you mastery over them. It will also give you more formalized practice, so with every rehearsal, you’ll become a little more naturally confident in your abilities.
Tips for Presentation Training
If you’re a prospective entrepreneur, or if you currently own a business and know you need to improve your presentation skills, here are some fast tips that can help you in your journey:
Find the right training course
First, you need to decide how you want to train yourself. There are many options here, including online classes and in-person training seminars. You can also work one-on-one with a business mentor who has firsthand experience in delivering presentations, or attempt to do some studying on your own. If you go the latter route, make sure you at least consult some outside authorities so you’re able to gather feedback from multiple perspectives.
If you want to become a better presenter, you have to refine your skills consistently. You can’t attend one workshop and expect to be magically better; you have to set aside time every week to hone your skills. Remember the basketball analogy? If you want to get better at shooting, you have to practice those skills consistently.
Practice in a live environment
In addition to practicing on your own, you’ll need to practice in a live environment. Working on your presentation’s wording and going over your tone in your head might help, but nowhere near as much as giving a mock presentation to a room full of your peers. Practice for game day conditions by having a full audience, and record yourself so you’ll know what to work on in the future.
Diversify your exposure
If you can, try to get feedback and learn new things from multiple sources. Talk to several different mentors in your industry, practice in front of different audiences in different settings, and watch presentations from multiple types of “great” presenters. The more diverse your learning channels are, the more you’ll be able to learn and incorporate into your own presentation style.
Avoid the risk of overpreparing
However, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t run the risk of overpreparing. Practice seems like a good thing, even in infinite amounts, but practicing too much can make you sound robotic and cold. Vary your wording and experiment with different styles so you never end up sounding stale when it counts.
Presentation training isn’t a one-time process. You can’t finish a training seminar and suddenly be a better performer. Instead, you’re going to get out of presentation training what you’re willing to put into it. Investing in professional training, and spending time refining your own approach are going to pay off for you and your brand. Keep practicing, and strive to get better with every presentation you give.
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedInRead Full Bio