Presentations are a natural part of the modern workday. They include everything from sales pitches to financial reporting to requests for raises. Promoting better presentation skills among employees can be encouraged through the following actionable tips.
The first step is to train managers, who will in turn coach supervisors who oversee employees. A one-day workshop on how to improve presentation competency across the organization is best. This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the presentation performance of upper level managers, who will then be able to motivate their teams to improve themselves. Managers must understand the different types of presentations, which include informative, technical or persuasive, and how they are uniquely challenging.
Sharing informative information is best accomplished through graphs and bullet points. Sharing technical information should involve simplistic laymen terms with available background info on advanced concepts. Depending on the purpose, such as a request for funding, persuasive content must be carefully planned and potential questions must be researched and answered. These workshops tend to explore more advanced topics, such as the psychology of persuasion and how to create a shared vision of objectives.
Supervisors need to be trained how to provide hands-on instruction to employees. Most supervisors are responsible to train new employees, so supervisors with poor teaching and presentation skills will hinder staff growth and job competency. For example, supervisors who oversee employees performing manual tasks, such as assembling parts or processing materials, must have a strong technical background in order to properly answer questions and guide employees.
Presentation Training Institute said, “Supervisors should receive formal training on how to teach safety, quality and productivity guidelines.” While a hands-on product demonstration on the manufacturing floor is a good idea, formal classroom training is equally important. Supervisors must know how to properly handle questions in order to encourage engagement and identify learning opportunities. Thus, they must know how to measure audience needs and understand expectations. The presentation competency of these supervisors will be measured through employee proficiency and performance.
Presentation Flow and Structure
Employees who regularly present information to skeptical audiences must understand how to properly structure and pace a presentation to maintain a smooth flow. These include sales reps, financial analysts and marketing professionals. Poorly prepared presentations reflect a lack of understanding of the topic that can increase audience disengagement. A formal introduction to how to plan and structure a presentation for various topics will be very beneficial.
Presenters can become comfortable with their content presentation by regularly practicing and seeking audience feedback. Presenters who are masters of their topic will be able to naturally respond to questions and discussions, which will increase audience participation, and they will be able to guide the group back to key points. When it comes to presentations, rigidly following a chronological structure is counterproductive.
The introduction should be an informal five to 10 minutes that allows the audience to relax and focus their minds on the topic. One of the worst ways to start a presentation is to jump into deep topics without allowing the audience to cognitively adjust to the learning and listening process. During this time, the presenter will outline the purpose and direction that the presentation will take while also encouraging participation.
Depending on the nature of the engagement, it’s usually best to break the ice with an amusing story or quick group activity to capture the interest of the audience. Next, the body of the presentation should represent key chunks of information that can be discussed in any order. However, employees must be trained to avoid being choppy by selectively jumping from topics. Instead, they should actively respond to audience questions and comments.
Finally, the conclusion should finish strong by recapping the purpose and highlighting key points. Employees should leave the audience with a goal and encourage follow-up participation. Employees who have gained strong presentation skills will elevate their credibility and increase their organization’s success.