Presentation Skills That You Have to Master

Competence in presentation skills is a definite asset. Not only will these skills help you advance as an employee (great presentations help win deals!) they’re also a reliable source of steady income as a freelancer. Indeed, many today who need something extra aside from their regular 9 to 5 job, find moonlighting as a speaker a great way to make ends meet.

If you want to be a great presenter, and consequently get that speaking career off the ground, what are the presentation skills that you should master?

Content Design

Delivering a talk begins with designing a great program or speech. If you’re presenting a learning workshop, you would need to ground your presentation on the learning objectives of the course or training program. If you’re delivering short keynote speeches, you would need to anchor your speech on an overarching theme or central message. A speaker able to structure their speeches strategically are more effective in reaching their audience.

Designing great content relies on two sub skills: research and critical thinking. If you want your audience to leave the auditorium feeling like they spent their time well, make sure you share something useful in your talk. You can prepare quality content by researching books, academic journals and formal company literature; or you may draw from your experience or ability to dissect ideas. Critical thinking helps you lay your ideas with logical flow in mind.

Public Speaking Skills

Content design is for behind the scenes, but what about presentation skills for the day of the talk itself? To deliver a talk effectively, you would need to be a good communicator. Start with the clarity of your verbal communication; make sure you know how to project your voice well, enunciate properly, and vary the inflection in your voice so that you don’t sound monotonous. Non-verbal presentation skills are also critical; you must be able to exude confidence as you talk.

Public Speaking presentation skills also involve effective use of presentation aids, such as audio-visual aids, hand-outs and even actual samples for the audience’s review. These aids should enhance a presentation, and illustrate concepts and ideas that can’t be effectively described by merely using words. Care must be given so that they don’t distract your audience from what you are saying.

Facilitation Skills

If you have the opportunity, it’s great to make your presentation interactive. You can ask the audience some guide questions, solicit their ideas, or constantly verify understanding of what you are discussing. All these require facilitation skills. Facilitation skills include, but is not limited to, encouraging audience involvement, linking similar responses, brainstorming techniques, and throwing back questions to the group. A speaker who can not just deliver talks, but actually facilitate a group-centered discussion is a more dynamic speaker.

Evaluation Skills

Lastly, if you want to hone your presentation skills, you must know how to gather and use feedback. Evaluation is usually a neglected aspect of the presentation giving process, but it’s critical to not just a program’s growth, but the speakers’ as well. Handing out evaluation questionnaires, soliciting the opinion of randomly selected audience members, and getting peers to critique a presentation are just some of the ways speakers can evaluate their work.

Sales Development Training – Three Keys to a Great Presentation

No sales development training program would be complete without talking about how to do a great presentation. You can do everything else correctly, but if you fail on the presentation, the chances of making the sale reduce dramatically. If you examine all of the best sales presentations, you will discover that they all have three keys in common. They use audience participation. They tell stories throughout the presentation. They also handle the objections within the presentation itself.

The first key to a great sales presentation is to use audience participation. People have short attention spans. No one wants to sit through a full presentation and just listen to a sales person talk. They want to feel like they are a part of the presentation. When creating your presentation, make sure you find ways to incorporate the audience into the presentation.

One way you can have audience participation is to survey the audience. First, identify some of the most common situations that people who do not have your product or service experience. Then, ask the audience if they have ever found themselves in one of these situations. Doing this provides two benefits. It allows the audience to participate, which increases the effectiveness of your sales presentation. It also shows the prospect the need for your product or service.

The second key to a great sales presentation is to tell stories throughout the presentation. There is a saying “‘facts tell but stories sell.”‘ This is very true in sales. You can explain the features and benefits in your presentation. However, you will do a more effective job if you share stories that explain how the features and benefits relate to the client. Telling a story allows your audience to picture themselves in the story and identify the benefits that are important to them. In addition, people easily forget facts and figures, but they remember stories.

For example, if you sell truck leasing, instead of just explaining the differences between you and your competitors, tell a story. You can say “‘I have a customer with needs very similar to yours and they were able to use our truck maintenance service when they had a problem in Omaha. We were able to make a service call and get them back on the road quickly and they met their deliveries on time.”‘ Incorporating simple stories in your sales presentation is a great way to convey ideas and concepts.

The third key is to handle objections within the presentation. Many sales professionals encounter a number of objections at the end of the presentation. Often, this is because those objections were not handled at the beginning of the presentation. If the objections were covered as a part of the sales presentation, they would not come up because the presentation itself would handle them.

If you know you constantly get an objection to price because your product cost more than similar products, you should handle that objection as part of your presentation. You can have a point in your presentation where you illustrate what similar products cost and what your products cost. This way the prospect can appreciate the difference in price and you can create value. Because you brought up a common objective, you appear more reasonable and authentic to your buyer.

Your presentation is one of the keys to selling business. If you follow the principles here you will have success in keeping your audience engaged in your presentation. You will also be able to transition smoothly into the next step of the sales process which is to gain agreement.

Presentation Skills: Do You Know Your Audience?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea of public speaking – be it from nervousness or excitement – that we often do not have a clear idea about those to whom we will be addressing. In truth, you cannot even begin to create your presentation until you know about your audience. And, the best way to gain that information is to ask.

Someone is going to email you, phone you, or send you an actual letter with an invitation to speak to their group or at their conference. Your job is to then ask questions. Speak directly to the individual inviting you. If the person inviting you is calling you on behalf of someone else, ask the questions anyway. Make a list of the questions for which you need answers; refer to them throughout your conversation; and, if the individual inviting you does not know the answer, make sure he or she gets back to you.

If a company is hiring you to speak to their employees, find out the level of the employees. Will it be just the managers and/or the top level administrative staff or will it be a particular department within the company?

If you are speaking at a convention, find out who is invited to attend. Is it a real estate convention in which your audience will consist of realtors who have paid hundreds of dollars for a Vegas weekend or is it a flower show in which your audience will pay at the door to browse the displays?

Should you be invited to speak to a local club or organization which meets monthly, for example, ask the same questions. The more information you can gain about your audience, the better prepared you will be.

After you have gotten your answers, go to their website and do more research. Whether it is a convention, a business, or a local club, read all the literature you can about that organization or company especially press material. You may find something in your research that could be very advantageous to know before addressing that group.

Even if you are speaking to a local chapter of a club, search the internet for any press coverage they may have had recently. Businesses and clubs will be impressed if you are familiar with their firm or organization. Being on top of current events makes you more knowledgeable and thus increases your level of credibility.

No matter how much money you are being paid, or whether you are doing it for free, no matter where and when your presentation, no matter if it is 10 minutes in length or 40, no matter what your topic, no matter why you are speaking, the most important question you must answer is: to whom are you speaking?