Most of the men and women at the top levels of business and government share a common skill. In addition to the specialised experience in a particular business or function, they have developed the ability to effectively present their ideas to a group.
In a recent survey 1500 executives, who had been promoted to the position of Chairman of the Board, President, or Vice President of leading American corporations, were asked to identify which course they considered most important in preparing them for their management careers. Seventy-two percent responded with communications.
In a broader survey three thousand people were asked to name their greatest fear. What was the most frequent answer? Speaking before a group.
A sound understanding of finance, law or marketing will make you effective on the job, but the ability to present your conclusions, insights and recommendations to your colleagues will set you apart, give you an advantage.
Faced with the need to make an effective presentation, we often become our own worst enemies. Instead of directing our attention where it can provide great benefit, too often we focus on the uncertainties of the speaking situation:
- How will I come across?
- Will my message be accepted?
- Will I forget something important?
- Will I achieve my purpose?
The first critical step on the road to Presentation Excellence is placing the spotlight on the source of your anxiety: the audience.
An audience is not a faceless entity. It is comprised of individuals who have a variety of characteristics. Understanding their particular needs, interests and attitudes relieves much of the anxiety you've come to expect when giving a presentation.
Your purpose is not only what you want to accomplish, but what you can reasonably expect the listener to think about or do, after your presentation.
This addresses the first two steps on the rewarding journey to Presentation excellence:
- ANALYZING YOUR AUDIENCE
- DEFINING YOUR PURPOSE