What You Will Learn at a Public Speaking Course

 

For the majority of people, the thought of speaking in front of a group of people is accompanied by terror. Fortunately, there are public speaking courses that can assist individuals with their public speaking fears.

public speaking courseA good public speaking course will help individuals overcome their fears through addressing the aspects of  speaking in public that make it intimidating. As many careers require individuals to be able to express themselves confidently, a public speaking course can be an excellent investment.

While specific courses may differ in their exact content, in general, a class in public speaking should teach the following:

Feel Comfortable In Front of an Audience

If you have any  anxiety at all about talking in public, the fear of getting up and addressing a group of people is most likely your biggest hurdle to overcome.

You may be a persuasive, articulate, and confident speaker, but getting in front of a crowd makes you freeze. Thankfully, a good course will teach you the tools you need to overcome your anxiety.

Thought organization under pressure

If speaking in public makes you nervous, chances are you also have a hard time organizing your thoughts while speaking in front of groups.

Effective courses should  help you learn how to organize your thoughts in an instant, even when under pressure. Being able to do so can prove immensely helpful when giving presentations.

Presentation training

If you’ve ever had to create a presentation, you know that the process can sometimes be a difficult one. Fortunately, public speaking courses usually offer training on how best to design presentations for a wide array of scenarios.

Knowing that you’ve designed the best presentation possible can increase confidence and make you feel more confident while improve the image you portray to others.


The use of your voice and body language

If you’ve ever witnessed a fantastic speech or presentation, you may have noticed that the speaker oozed confidence through not only their voice, but also their body language.

A good public speaking course can help you understand how to effectively use both your voice and body language to give a fantastic presentation.

Practice makes perfect

A key element of communication training included providing the perfect environment for you to practice speaking in front of groups of people.

In this way, classes should offer an excellent opportunity for you to work out your anxieties under the professional eye of a qualified instructor.

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses

Perhaps one of the most useful things you’ll learn in these classes is to recognize your individual strengths and weaknesses while speaking in front of a group of people. This can be immensely helpful because we may not be able to observe these characteristics ourselves. It is helpful to have other peers and a trained instructor help you identify them. Not only that, but once you understand your weaknesses, you can then take steps to improve them.

Moreover, having a grasp on your strengths and knowing how to utilize them effective will also improve your confidence.

 

If trying to determine whether or not a public speaking course is the right fit for you, make sure during your classes you will be able to cover the elements just mentioned and to inquire about the instructions qualifications.


How You Can Benefit from a Business Communication Course

Effective business communication starts with finding your voice and the right tone for a specific audience.

Business memos, letters and reports can benefit from an authoritative, expert style. When you can write and communicate well within your industry and with your clients, your professional peers will take notice, and you may begin to rise through the ranks.

business communications

Speak Effectively, Accomplish More

Effective communications can increase workplace productivity. Time is money when it comes to explaining details to others, and your communication skills can pay off when you speak clearly and communicate well with peers either in your office or with a global team.

One call or video chat to deliver instructions, sometimes across language barriers, can save everyone time later and avoid follow-up calls or misunderstood communications that could jeopardize work or deadline.

Improve Your Writing, Boost Your Opportunities

A command of grammar and basic language skills in writing can produce crisp, concise written communications.

Your coworkers may appreciate memos that offer clear explanation or instructions, and your customers can benefit from targeted messages designed to increase sales. Everyone can benefit from a well-written email.

As you develop your writing talent, your supervisors may see your skill as something that can help motivate, sell a product or inspire others in the office, creating more career opportunities for you.


Other Aspects of Business Communication

To gain a level of confidence in oral and written communications, courses focusing on these skills can be beneficial. If you are shy or withdrawn and feel uncomfortable communicating to a large audience, taking a course can help in the following ways:

  • Gain basic writing skills: With these courses, you can improve your writing and develop your skills in writing informational, persuasive communications. The more you practice, the faster and easier this task may become.
  • Find your voice: You can learn the distinctions of a writing voice for an internal or external audience including nuances that resonate whether you are speaking to coworkers or clients.
  • Become more comfortable engaging others: Having a relaxed attitude is valuable when you are meeting with peers at conferences or taking a lead role in meetings. Your abilities and poise under pressure can help set the tone for the rest of the room.

Mediate, Motivate

Learning more about how to effectively discuss issues with others can be important in areas such as mediation. You may draw from all of your communication knowledge that you acquire in a basic course to inspire, manage conflicts in an office setting and keep everyone on task.

Business Communication Training Can Help You Update Your Job Skills

Business communication is more than just speaking and writing. Adopting new communication skills can put you on the leading edge of industry public relations and could help you build a new career with advanced skill sets.

Other elements that a basic course could introduce you to may include:

  • Desktop publishing and managing websites and blogs: Not only can you learn more about Web technology but also learn different ways to create effective content for a company website or blog.
  • Video conferencing using Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime: Verbal skills can shine in these arenas once you learn the fundamentals of presentation and delivering a clear message.
  • Social media cultivation and management: This growing field is becoming more important for businesses in terms of marketing, promotion and reputation management.

Business leaders are those who can rise to the challenge and present a charismatic version of themselves to the public through their verbal skills and ability to write effectively.

Your journey on this path could begin with what you learn initially in a basic business communication course. Your first lessons could be the foundation for future growth in your career.


How Improving Communication Skills Can Make a Difference in Your Negotiations

 
Negotiation is the art of reaching a compromise or agreement through discussions with others.

The dialogue is intended to reach an understanding, resolve a point of difference or to gain an advantage in the outcome.

The goal of negotiating anything is to influence the other side to concede to your way of thinking or wishes while allowing the opposition to feel as if they won something, as well.Winning Negotiations

Good communication skills are the cornerstone and the life blood of negotiations, and that includes listening, as well as speaking. Positive negotiations are directly proportional to the level of communication, both verbal and non verbal. The most articulate argument will usually win in the long run, and it will be based on compromise and trust. (Learn more about effective communication skills)

Organize your Thoughts Before The Negotiation

Before negotiations begin, draw up an outline of what it is you want to include in your negotiations and the overall result. This will help you get your message across in a clear and concise manner. Being organized in thought will prevent sending unclear or mixed messages.

Keep in mind negotiations may change based on discussions with the other side, and it is essential to have a game plan in place. It is also beneficial to have a Plan B to bring negotiations back to where you want them in the event they veer off course. When that happens, take a few minutes to regroup and restate your purpose.

Compromise is a key aspect of negotiation, and it is necessary to know what you are willing to give up in exchange for what you want. Always include the negotiable items in your outline. The exchange should be fair and equitable to both sides.

Always Listen to the Other Side (Key to Effective Communication!)

Listening is an essential component when communicating with others. You have to make your message understood as well as understand what the other side is offering.

Recognize communication is a two way street and the outcome of any negotiations are subject to discussion, whether it works or does not work for one or both sides of the table.

Being a good listener with an open mind will allow you to hear the details being offered and key information to use as you search for solutions to your negotiations. Keep notes, if necessary, to make sure you are tracking the necessary information.

Trust is an Important Element (Crucial for Win-Win Negotiations)

Building trust with the other side is the key component in negotiations.

Being clear and concise with words and action, and action being body language, will build trust with your opposition and bring negotiations to a new level and a positive conclusion.

When you come across as trustworthy and not manipulative or cutting, negotiations will reach a positive level and the opposition will return the favor. If you have a hidden agenda, that agenda will be as transparent as a ghost and negotiations will never get to a level where anything will be accomplished.

 

The ability to exchange ideas is part of negotiating, and the ability to listen and understand is complimentary to the exchange. To be successful at both requires a clear and concise plan spoken in a clear and concise manner. Communication is the vehicle that delivers your message and improving your communication skills will upgrade your vehicle. Performance will improve, and negotiations will be successful.


Become a Better Leader with Improved Communication Skills

Communication is the key to life and communication skills are especially critical for leaders of industry, organizations and business.

Without effective communication, the important aspects of the chain of command will be lost. Since as much as 80% of waking life is spent communicating, It is essential to be on top of your communication skills and make improvement a continuing effort (Learn more about What is Effective Communication here).

Value lies within the Loop of Communication

become a better leader with communication skills

Being a good leader means communicating effectively with each member of the team, not only as a group, but individually.

It is not enough to make basic assumptions when speaking, but it is necessary to communicate with others in the same way they view the world. Not everyone has the same concept of the words accuracy, urgency, necessity and quantity as you and explaining in terms relatable to everyone is beneficial to all.

In fact, the meaning of each word varies quite differently from person to person. This is not to say each person should receive an individual communication from you, but it does mean using clear and concise language to make your message understood.


Up the Ante

The ability to communicate effectively is directly proportional to productivity, revenue and the positive impact on the share price, as well as an impact on you.

Ineffective communication could result in your loss of credibility, damaged reputation and loss of position or employment all together.

Always improving communication and polishing those skills bring you a better sense of self confidence, greater respect and a vessel of trust.

The most effective communicators always seek feedback from others and strengthen the areas of weakness. Communication skills training programs are a helpful vehicle to identify communication weakness and areas where effective communication may be non-existent.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Those in a leadership role are looked up to for inspiration. The leaders are typically the go getters, the first to volunteer and ones that make sure all points are, and details are in order.

Communication with precision includes speaking and writing effectively, but also listening and comprehending information offered by others. Listening to others not only means hearing the words, but listening to the pace, emotion, tone and inflection that accompanies those words (Learn about the Keys to Effective Communication here).

Not jumping to conclusions before the speaker is finished speaking will allow you to assess the situation completely, and then begin to formulate a response that will be complete and encompass all the speakers thoughts and concerns.

This sends the message to the speaker that what they have to say is valuable, and you are interested. This puts you in a better position to relate with others, promote cooperation and enthusiasm and increase productivity.

Positive connections with others mean speaking or writing in a clear and concise manner that is logical and understandable and easy for others to comprehend.

For those that may not grasp the understanding of the subject at hand will be better equipped to ask for clarification and in effect elicit two way conversation, which is what effective communication is all about.

Conclusion

Being a good leader means being able to communicate with others at all times. Communication skills are always up for improvement, and being able to convey your thoughts and understand others will give your leadership skills and you respect.

Communication skill improvement will take place with every interaction no matter if it is the workplace, or everyday life and communication becomes easier with every encounter (Learn more about improving your communication skills here).

Using Communication Skills Training to Attain Your Business Goals

Effective communication is a necessary tool in any business today (see What is Effective Communication?). Being a skilled communicator takes practice and in most cases, education.

Communication is the foundation on which companies and careers are built and maintained. It is also an essential component to continuing success.

The Importance of Effective Communication

training-crossword-puzzle-made-with-sticky-notes-on-white-background

Communication skills not only include the spoken word, but include writing an effective note, letter or email.

Effective communication means establishing a connection with an individual or group of people that leaves a powerful and lasting impression.

Developing good communication skills also means incorporating the latest technology to reach greater audiences on different levels and to be better at getting your message across.

In any organization, it is necessary to communicate within different groups of people including employees, business associates and customers who may be from different backgrounds and skill levels. It is essential to communicate with each group to meet the goals and mission of the organization.

Communication skills training assist candidates to develop the ability to perceive how individuals and groups relate to each other and to the subject matter. This allows the candidate to make the necessary adjustments to reach the target audience.

Learn more about applying communication skills at the workplace and with customers.

Effective Communication Skills Training: Benefits

Communication skills training will give the candidates the ability to evolve and develop a strategy for improved communications that integrates the business plan and the mission and goals of the company. Skills training are necessary to achieve effective communication, enhance productivity, deal with difficult customers, improve customer satisfaction and motivate employees.

An important benefit skills training will bring is the motivation of employees to achieve goals, build successful teams and work within a teamwork structure and cultivate the necessary performance standards.

Training on a regular basis offers candidates the ability to maintain functioning communications while receiving the necessary feedback to update techniques and change in an ever changing business environment. Periodic assessment of the candidate’s communication skills will identify the areas that need to be strengthened, realigned, reestablished, as well as new areas of communication that should be introduced.

Polishing communication skills will allow the candidate to always deliver the appropriate message to the appropriate individual or group and manage and develop better assertive skills.

Communication is the foundation to being a competent and consistent manager, maintain business relationships over the long term, and even form new alliances when meeting new people.s candidates the ability to maintain functioning communications while receiving the necessary feedback to update techniques and change in an ever changing business environment.

Periodic assessment of the candidate’s communication skills will identify the areas that need to be strengthened, realigned, reestablished, as well as new areas of communication that should be introduced.

Communication skills training will help the candidate to conduct meetings with better focus, as well as keeping the discussion on track. With communication skills come facilitation skills and the ability to open, maintain and end a meeting while achieving the goals of the agenda and delegating duties to individuals and teams.

Overcoming Difficulties with Communication

Skills training will help candidates to deal with emergencies and difficult situations that may arise from business relationships and employment conflicts. It is essential to keep the lines of communication open to all involved and be effective when formulating solutions to bring a difficult situation to a peaceful solution.

One of the most difficult means of communication for most people is public speaking. It does not matter if the candidate is speaking before a small team, a division of the company or delivering the corporate message to the masses, optimum communication skills will give the candidate the ability to speak with confidence.

Skills training will help the candidate develop the best possible means of public speaking and the ability to express the word of the business in the best possible way.

Learn more about improving your Public Speaking skills.

The overall benefit of communication training skills is to make sure the message is delivered in a clear and concise manner, and it is and embraced by all. After communication, understanding is a necessary component whether in business, school or life in general. If understanding is not reached or maintained, communication is not effective.


Effective Communication Games and Exercises

EffectiveCommunication Games_The TelephoneMany people often struggle to express themselves in an effective way. While there are some individuals who communicate quite easily with others, there are also some people who have no idea as to how to begin engaging conversations. However, instead of becoming frustrated, consider trying the following games and exercises to sharpen your communication skills.

Ongoing Telephone

This game is designed to improve people’s skills in both listening and speaking. It is a somewhat old game that is still quite effective today. Many people may remember playing this game as a young child in school, as teachers often use it to show how gossiping and not listening can be harmful.

However, this game can be very effective for families and employees as well. The first person in the game must simply choose a phrase and quietly whisper it in the next person’s ear. That person will then whisper the phrase to the next person and so on until they reach the last person in the group.

Once the last person has listened to the phrase, each person must write down what they thought they heard. The group will then be able to see how much the phrase changed as it was passed down the line. This game shows people the importance of getting information from the initial source rather than from other people.

Fill in the Blanks

This game is especially helpful in building effective communication skills between you and your child, spouse or other close persons. One of the people in the group will make up a sentence, leaving out certain words such as “When you ___, I feel ___.” This game is extremely effective in building communication skills and strengthening relationships.

However, when playing this game, it is essential to focus on the answers people offer, without trying to change behaviors or place blame on someone. Additionally, you should steer away from becoming controlling, angry or negative. This exercise is meant to help you understand other’s emotions.

Four at a Time

This exercise is best when conducted with a large group of people. It is designed to strengthen nonverbal communication and the ability to cooperate as a team. Each participant will need a chair, and four people at a time must stand for no longer than 10 seconds. They will then sit back down, and four more people will stand up and so on.

There is no talking allowed during this exercise, so nobody knows who will be standing up next. While most people perform this exercise for about 10 minutes total, some people may perform it longer if they wish. The goal of this exercise is to find a way that only four people will stand at a time, maintaining proper levels of nonverbal communication and teamwork.

Good communication skills are essential for people to interact with others. There are many ways to strengthen your communication skills, and some ways are through games and exercises. The above exercises and games will not only help you strengthen your skills in communicating, but they will help you build strong relationships as well.

Looking for More Games? There are lots of great ideas here: 104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills

Here’s another exercise you can try when you or someone you know has trouble accepting constructive criticism:



Communicating Effectively with Children

Effective communication happens when each party involved in a conversation hears and understands the other’s perspective. This tends to get lost in translation when parents or teachers try to communicate with children.

Because the conversation is usually centered on guidance and instruction, the adults do most of the talking. Children often do not know when to speak their own perspectives, or they are afraid to speak because they do not want to challenge an authority figure.

True communication does not begin to happen with children until parents or teachers are sure the child understands what is being said. One way adults can know is by monitoring the child’s behavior for changes based on what was said and see if the child applies what was discussed.

Communicating with children

Real communication also starts when the child is able to feed the conversation back in a way that shows that the message was understood. Listening is a two-way street. It is important that both adult and child are able to repeat back what has been said in order to ensure there are no misunderstandings.

To start an effective communication ritual, parents and teachers should focus first on creating a safe environment. Besides using an encouraging and supportive tone of voice, also care should be placed on making gestures that help the child feel the adults are engaged in what the child has to say. Keeping eye contact and nodding to acknowledge what the child is saying are good ways to start leveling the playing field.

Many times, when a conversation needs to happen, parents and teachers kneel or ask the child to sit on a high chair so that they can be on the same physical level with the adults when talking.

Building a secure environment for parents and teachers to talk to children also involves removing all other distractions. Children who do not have an adult’s undivided attention tend to give their own attention to other things or people nearby. It is important for the child’s self esteem to use both verbal and nonverbal language to make sure the child knows nothing is as important in that moment as the conversation you are having.

The process of building a closer connection with the child can involve the use of questions to spark a conversation or to get the child to open up and share thoughts. If the conversation involves grades of school activities, ask the child’s opinion about the decisions that are being made on his behalf.

Often, the key to keeping a unified front to guarantee the best learning and growth for a child requires keeping the child’s positive input as a key motivator.

Also, in order for children to feel secure communicating, a strong positive relationship between their parents and teachers must also exist. There should be some regular communication system that allows both educators and parents to stay informed about the progress of a child. If you are a teacher or another professional involved in the child’s development, this can be done through regular progress reports, scheduled conferences, email updates or casual phone calls. If you are a parent or another influential family member, make sure to include informal chats that help you keep up with what is going on in the child’s life and see if anything is bothering them.
Children must know their parents and teachers are on the same team. If they ever suspect this isn’t true, a breakdown in communication has already begun.

The most important thing to remember when communicating with children is that even though they are young, they are individuals who deserve your respect, care and attention. You will, after all, play a key role in the adult that they will come to be.

Useful Resources
Listening to your children – The Health Channel 
Developing your child’s self esteem – KidsHealth.org

Effective Communication Skills for Nurses and Healthcare Professionals

Nurses smilingCommunication skills include both verbal and non-verbal messages that people use when interacting with others. These messages can include such things as words, phrases, facial expressions, sign language, body language, gestures and voice tones.

Communication Skills for Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals

Effective communication skills are extremely important in the healthcare field. This is because they help to build and maintain strong relationships between both healthcare professionals and patients, and healthcare professionals and their associates. There are many reasons that healthcare professionals must have effective communication skills, such as:

  • Explaining a diagnosis, condition or treatment
  • Discussing treatments, conditions and diagnosis with patients
  • Speaking with family members
  • Speaking with other healthcare professionals
  • Communicating bad news


  • Obtaining consent for various procedures
  • Calming down upset patients or relatives
  • Explaining medications
  • Educating people on proper diet and exercise

Difficult Patients

Nobody likes to be sick, and when some people are, they can be quite difficult to deal with since it becomes a barrier to communication. Difficult patients often seek treatment because they have to, not because they want to. Some of them are even unwillingly brought to healthcare facilities by their family or friends.

Healthcare professionals need excellent communication skills when dealing with difficult patients. These skills will help them to calm patients down and put them at ease. When medical personnel know how to communicate well with patients, they can better achieve their goal of treating and helping them.

Using effective communication skills makes it much easier to accomplish such tasks as obtaining medical histories, performing physical examinations and administering treatments.

Tips for Improving Communication Skills: Healthcare Professionals 

Nurses healthcare professionals, Nurse
Nurses healthcare professionals, Nurse—Walt Stoneburner (Flickr.com)
  • Always be honest with your patient. If you tell your patient you are going to do something, do it. If you were unable to do as you had promised, then give them an explanation why it was not possible or ideal for their situation.
  • Be available and responsive to your patients. Nobody likes to feel ignored and patients and their families can become quite upset if they feel they are not being heard or attended. This is especially so if a patient’s diagnosis is more complicated and harder to understand.
  • Take into account your patient’s cultural background when communicating with them, whenever possible. Make sure that if you hold a patient’s hand in sympathy, for example, that it is not considered an inappropriate gesture in his or her culture.

In the end, as healthcare professionals, we must put ourselves in the other person’s place when communicating with them and try to understand why they are behaving the way they are and what we can do to help them feel a little better.

Finally, continue to look around this website for other ways to learn to improve your communication skills and the keys for effective communication.

Want to further your learning? Check out these useful books:

Communication for Nurses: Talking with Patients Communication for Nurses: How to Prevent Harmful Events and Promote Patient Safety Therapeutic Communications for Health Care Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other

 

Watch this video on Effective Healthcare Communications:

PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iYXB2aWQiPjxjZW50ZXI+IDxpZnJhbWUgd2lkdGg9IjY0MCIgaGVpZ2h0PSIzNjAiIHNyYz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbS9lbWJlZC8zQVM4bEdOOS1LVSIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT48L2NlbnRlcj48L2Rpdj4=

 

Other Useful Resources
Management of the Difficult Patient – AAFP
Registered Nurses – Bureau of Labor Statistics

Effective Communication Tips for Managers

“Just being available and attentive is a great way to use listening as a management tool. Some employees will come in, talk for twenty minutes, and leave having solved their problems entirely by themselves.”                     — Nicholas V. Luppa (author of “Management by Guilt and Other Uncensored Tactics”)

Effective Communication for Managers

Being a good leader is about building trust with your team. When you are the manager or leader of a team, knowing effective communication skills can make the difference between reaching your team goals with ease or barely getting there – if at all! – and struggling all the way through.

If you are a supervisor or in a position of leadership, learn these effective communication tips and make sure your team makes it all the way to the top!

  • Take the “Open Door Policy” to a whole new level: practicing openness in the workplace really elevates the level of engagement and teamwork and makes it much easier to solve problems as a group. Make sure you offer spaces for open discussion each week where employees can voice their concerns.
  • Expectations must be crystal clear. It is easier for employees to get the job done, if they know exactly what job they are expected to do! Making your employees guess about what they are supposed to do is ineffective and just wastes company time (and money!). Give them a big-picture idea of how their efforts will fit into the company’s overall strategy. That way, employees can become more involved and can even come up with some great ideas on their own.
  • It helps to be visual: if you lay out specific activities, timelines, responsibilities etc. then you give the team a common ground that everyone can build upon. If everyone speaks “the same language”, so to speak they can move more confidently towards the same expected goal. This is called employee buy-in.
  • Be proactive in your communications. Don’t just sit back and wait for your team to come to you. Go out there and ask them how they’re doing with their goals, if they are finding anything difficult, if they have any ideas that might help the team move closer towards set goals.
  • Keep communications positive. Give credit where it is due. If someone does a good job make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed. A lot of times, positive reinforcements, acknowledgements, and recognition can go a long way in boosting employee morale. Finding a way to reward achievements, even if it means just inviting the whole team out for a drink, can help turn a simple group into a TEAM.Effective Communication for Leaders
  • Don’t forget to LISTEN. A good manager is always a good listener. Despite what it can seem like, this is not the easiest skill to master but it is one of the most important. Really listen to what your employees are saying and see how you can help meet their concerns at least on some level.
  • Smile, be friendly, be empathetic. A genuine smile lets people know you have positive intentions and a friendly work environment just makes it easier to get up in the morning to go to work. Who doesn’t want that?
  • Say my name! Did you know that one a person hears their name it’s like music to their ears? When you meet someone and they say their name, look them in the eye and repeat their name: “Nice to meet you, Steve.” You will find it easier to remember their name this way AND you made a good first impression.
  • Remember you are dealing with people, not machines. Be cordial, keep things light by mixing in some tasteful humor and remember to be considerate and patient with those around you.

Where else can I learn communication skills for managers?

Besides learning and applying these tips, there are also lots of business courses and management degrees online that can teach you effective communication skills for managers.

Learn how a Masters in Management from Catholic University online can help you become a more effective leader with the necessary tools to succeed.

Think Communication Skills are not that important if you are a Manager? Listen to what Warren Buffet has to say:

PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iYXB2aWQiPjxjZW50ZXI+IDxpZnJhbWUgd2lkdGg9IjU2MCIgaGVpZ2h0PSIzMTUiIHNyYz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbS9lbWJlZC90cGdjRVlwTHpQMCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4gPC9jZW50ZXI+PC9kaXY+

Resources:

How to Become a Manager — 13 Skills You’ll Need

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

“Most people would prefer to be lying in the casket rather than giving the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld (actor)

improving presentation skillsMost people are nervous when it comes to giving a presentation in front of a group. However, learning a few public speaking skills will make you a better presenter and will help you make sure your audience walks away (hopefully, after the presentation is over!) with a good understanding of the message you were trying to deliver.

 

Read on to find out about effective communication skills that can improve your presentations:

Before the presentation:

  1. Structure: Decide on the structure of your presentation. It should include an introduction, an agenda or a set of goals that will be covered during your speech, and a conclusion.
  2. Keep it simple: Sometimes, it is best to keep things simple. Technology is great but if you are not a skilled user it could turn into a disaster on your presentation day. Employ the best technology you are comfortable using. You do not want to have a problem in the middle of your speech and have that become a distraction. Also, don’t use too many fancy transitions, sounds or animated graphics on your slides. Do you want people to remember your “cool slides” or what you said?presentation skills_effective communication
  3. Rehearse: A prepared presenter is a good presenter. Even extremely skilled public speakers at least go over in their minds what the key points of their presentation are and what the best way to communicate them would be. If you are not so experienced, then you will benefit greatly from going over your entire presentation at least a few times to make sure you have all the major points nailed down. Also, it’s a good idea to rehearse with the tools you plan to use on the presentation day: laptops, laser pointers, microphones, projectors, etc., to decrease the chance of unpleasant “surprises” during your presentation.
  4. Don’t memorize: You should definitely know what the key messages that you want to deliver during your presentation are but that does not mean you should memorize a “script” word for word. In fact, delivering a “robotic” message will only set you up for disaster if you forget a single word and then you start to panic trying to get back on the wagon again, and your audience will notice that.
  5. Create support materials: In order to help your audience to follow your presentation or to make sure they don’t forget the details or the further steps to action, it is a good idea to prepare handouts or other documentation.

During the presentation:

  1. Dress appropriately: You want people concentrating on what your message is, not what you are wearing. There are already a ton of things that can potentially distract your audience, try not to add to that.
  2. Explain the agenda to your audience: audiences appreciate it when they have an idea of what the main objective and structure of the presentation will be. Give it to them.
  3. Don’t lean on your notes: It is OK to occasionally glance over at your notes if you want to check to see if you haven’t missed any important points before moving on. However, remember you are there to present, not to read. Nothing is more boring than listening to someone read through their entire notes with only an occasional glance towards the audience. That’s why you prepared and rehearsed in the first place, remember? Relax, trust yourself, use your own words, and your message will flow.
  4. Look at your audience: Remember how you felt when you were at a concert and the musician looked straight at you? Ok, maybe you are not a rock star, but making eye contact makes people feel imporaudience sleeping_improve presentation skillstant and respected. So don’t hide behind your notes or computer…look ‘em in the eye! Also, it helps to perform an occasional “audience check” to make sure people are not dozing off, have puzzled looks or are showing other signs of boredom or confusion.
  5. Imagine a naked audience: We know, it sounds weird, but it does work for a lot of people. If you feel nervous just take a moment to imagine your audience in their birthday suit and it will put you in a lighter mood and less intimidated.
  6. Watch your body language: It’s a good idea to move around a bit or at least move your hands, shoulders and eyes, like you would during a normal conversation. It will seem more natural and will relax you a little. But if you’re running around the room and swatting your hands like a crazy person it will be distracting and you run the risk of making your audience dizzy!
  7. Speak with passion: Remember you are selling. Maybe it’s not a product (or maybe it is) but you are selling an idea and if you speak with enthusiasm you will get people excited about what you are talking about and will “buy” your story and take the action steps you would like them to take.
  8. Humor: Funny little comments (as long as they are tasteful and not disrespectful) here and there weaved into your speech will keep the presentation light and engaging. You’re not doing a comedy act though, so don’t over do it.
  9. Leave time for questions: Make sure you leave time at the end of your presentation to answer any questions that your audience may have. Don’t worry if you get a question you honestly do not have the answer for. You can perfectly say “I don’t know, but I can find out and get back to you on that”, and then keep your word by sending your answer later to that person or to the person who organized the meeting.
  10. Summarize: The last part of the presentation should sum up the main points (maximum 5) of your presentation. This is your chance to remind your audience of the message that you want to ensure is understood and the action steps you would like them to take.

After the presentation:

  1. Thank your audience for their time and attention.audience applauding_presentation skills
  2. Handout any materials or documents you want the attendees to walk away with.
  3. Make yourself available for further questions or discussions by offering a way to reach you at a later time (an email address, a phone number, your instant messenger information, etc)

 

Learn from the best. Make a Presentation like Steve Jobs:

PGRpdiBjbGFzcz0iYXB2aWQiPjxjZW50ZXI+IDxpZnJhbWUgd2lkdGg9IjQyMCIgaGVpZ2h0PSIzMTUiIHNyYz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbS9lbWJlZC8yLW50TEdPeUh3NCIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj48L2lmcmFtZT4gPC9jZW50ZXI+PC9kaXY+

 

Resources:

Presentation Skills – University of Edinburgh