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Presentations are an everyday occurrence in today’s workplace. From the interview process to interactions with coworkers, to positioning ideas, and to sales pitches, Presentation Skills are paramount to success in the workplace.
Presentation Skills are sometimes sidestepped because of dread public speaking. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked, “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”
By developing and practicing Presentation Skills, employees become more confident and can help move past the anxiety of speaking to an audience.
According to Forbes, there are predominantly three levels of Presentation Skills that are most commonly used in the workplace. The three levels are:
Communication is simply the act of transferring information from one place to another, whether it’s vocally, in writing, visually, or by use of gestures or even posture. General communication skills are used daily by almost everyone in the workplace. General communication happens when an individual interacts with a colleague or manager.
Public presentation skills are used when communicating with an audience that has gathered for learning or discussion purposes. Finally, business presentation skills are used when using persuasive communication, typically trying to influence a listener to do something.
There are many advantages to developing Presentation Skills in the workplace. A major advantage that is often overlooked is that when individuals are taught how to properly present, and those skills are developed, they build the confidence and ability to share their ideas and opinions. Gallup’s data revealed that “just 3 in 10 U.S. workers strongly agree that at work, their opinions seem to count. However, by moving that ratio to 6 in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 27% reduction in turnover, a 40% reduction in safety incidents, and a 12% increase in productivity”. This shows that empowering employees to present their opinions will lead to positive outcomes.
Another advantage of developing Presentation Skills includes sharpening both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Words and speech are as important as body language when communicating. Body Language takes into consideration the gestures, postures, expressions, and movements of the body and face. Crossed arms and legs may indicate a closed or non-participative personality. Not making eye contact may indicate disinterest. The tone is equally as important as body language. The tone of voice can express an emotion. What may be said lightheartedly may come off as offensive, and could cause a negative reaction from the audience. Allocating time to practice both verbal and non-verbal communication skills ultimately allows employees to showcase their talent.
The best way to develop Presentation Skills in the workplace is by practicing. Some Soft Skills trainers even suggest practicing in various positions. From standing up, sitting down, holding something in your hands, adding props, and finding a position that will make the presenter feel most comfortable.
It is also important to develop individual employees’ communication skills. By reinforcing the fundamentals of clear communication, active listening skills, and body language awareness, these behaviors become ingrained and eventually become part of the employees’ communication style.
[i] Seinfield, Jerry. “Public Speaking Quotes: Funny, Inspiring Presentation Insights.” Spark Presentations, 13 Nov. 2015
[ii] Khare, Shweta. “Improve Your Presentation Skills.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 19 June 2013
[iii] “General Communication Skills.” Home, ethandaviesq.weebly.com/general-communication-skills.html.
[iv] Gallup, Inc. “How to Create a Culture of Psychological Safety.” Gallup.com, 7 Dec. 2017
[v] Shethna, Jesal. “How to Sharpen Employee Communication Skills | Edu CBA.” EDUCBA, 26 Mar. 2018
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