I was reminded this week about the importance of presentation skills in the workplace. Three participants in my presentation skills class in Detroit taught job placement skills. I noticed a couple of interesting things as the class went on. First, these participants offered tips in their class presentations similar to what I teach. These three class members also developed their presentation skills very quickly. Basically, they had well-developed communication skills that helped them be more successful in business. They developed presentation skills quickly because they already had great communication skills. The opposite is true as well. Presentation skills help you communicate better in the business world. (That is the importance of presentation skills in the workplace!)
Five Ways that Presentation Skills Can Help You in the Workplace
- Leaders Always have Great Presentation Skills
- To Be a Part of the Team, You Have to Speak Up
- Set Yourself Apart from the Crowd
- You Can Create a Team Atmosphere
- Open Doors of Opportunity
Think of any person who you consider to be a great leader. The moment that you think of this person, an image of that person will often appear in your head. There is a really good chance that the image will be the person speaking in front of a group. If you thought of a President like JFK or Ronald Reagan, you probably thought of a famous speech. "Ask not what your country could do for you.." or "Tear down this wall..." might have actually entered your mind as well. Also, when I think of General Patton, I have an image of George C. Scott standing in front of an American Flag. (He was giving a speech.)
Inspirational Pep Talk from Friday Night Lights
When I played football in college, my position coach was Gary Gaines. If you have seen the movie or read the book Friday Night Lights, you may recognize the name. Coach Gaines is a fantastic leader. He is also a fantastic communicator. Interestingly, when I think of him today, I don't remember the coaching and reprimands. Instead, I remember the way he used to make us feel during team meetings. Just as an FYI, Billy Bob Thornton did an amazing job portraying him. Although there was a scene in the movie where he yelled at a kid. I never once saw Coach lose his temper or yell at anyone. That's why we all loved him.
When I first graduated from college, I had a job working at a huge oil company. Since I was a junior employee and just starting out, I was excited the first time I was invited into the staff meeting. I was nervous too. About twenty minutes into the meeting, my boss identified a challenge. He was looking for advice. I had encountered a similar situation when I was an intern the previous year. The solution seemed obvious. I wanted to tell the group my idea. However, I hesitated. A few of my coworkers shared an idea. Finally, the woman sitting to my left, Mary Beth, said the same thing that I had been thinking.
I was angry at myself. "Why didn't I say something?" I had an opportunity to help the team and help myself at the same time. The opportunity had passed though. I missed it. So one importance of presentation skills in the workplace is that we gain confidence. When we do, we are more likely to contribute to the team.
One major importance of presentation skills in the workplace is the ability to stand out from the crowd. Let's face it. Most people stink at giving presentations. I sometimes jokingly say in class that you don't have to be an excellent presenter. You just have to be a little better than the last person that spoke. And in most cases, the bar is set pretty low.
I taught a team-building activity to a department of the Federal Government a couple of weeks ago. As I was teaching, I felt like the energy was a little lower than usual. As I was packing up my stuff, though, one of the participants came up to me. He said, "I've been coming to these 'team meetings' for almost 25 years. This one was, by far, the best that I've ever been to." He was comparing me to past speakers. Compared to them, it was fantastic. My presentation skills helped me set myself apart from the crowd.
Whether you are the leader of your team or just an important part of the team, presentation skills build teamwork. The opposite is also true, though. When I first left the petroleum industry and got a sales job, the position I got was a starter job. My first manager, Scott Yancey, was a pretty good leader, though. (In fact, he has a TV show on cable called Flipping Vegas.) The team meetings were fun. Unfortunately, a couple of months after I started, Scott quit his job and moved to Las Vegas to start his own company.
The manager who took over was very disorganized. There were about 10 of us who were sales reps for the company. We each had to drive almost an hour to each weekly "team meeting." The new manager droned on and on about irrelevant stuff. His meetings were an absolute chore. Within a few months, the owner had to "transition" him to a new position. That left an opening, and I got the job. When I took over, I just began to copy Scott. It worked really well, and sales and morale improved immediately.
The last (but certainly not least) importance of presentation skills in the workplace is the opportunities created. We have over 1000 people attend our presentation classes each year. I'm still amazed at the number of times our participants send us emails and texts reporting life-changing results.
For instance, I got a random call out of the blue a couple of weeks ago from a police officer who took my class. After taking Fearless Presentations ®, he volunteered for a community outreach position. He has spent the last few years teaching college students how to improve security on their campus. He told me that he has received two promotions as well.
An entrepreneur from a recent class sent me an email saying that she auditioned for Shark Tank. She said that she would have never done something like that before the class.
The Importance of Presentation Skills in the Workplace
These are just a few of the intangible benefits of good presentation skills. In many positions, these skills are vital. For instance, if you are in sales, the better your skills, the more sales you will create. If you are a trainer, your presentation skills will allow you to teach others more easily and effectively. Also, managers and supervisors can lead to more productive meetings. Folks who work with customers are less likely to have miscommunication. The benefits are endless. So, if you want to get ahead in the business world, work on your presentation skills!