What do you want your audience to think?
How do you want your listeners to feel?
What do you want them to do differently after listening to you?
These are the three questions Melanie Hussell – Business Communication Coach – ask her clients before they begin to present to her. Their answers will shape the communication goal. From there they can start to work on their presentation.
In this current period of deep disruption, you may find yourself having to present your ideas more often than ever before as businesses race to adapt. You may be suggesting a new concept or change to an existing procedure, to just one person or to a handful of people. At the other end of the scale, you could be called upon to make more formal presentations to a larger audience.
For many people, presenting does not come easily or naturally. Such an obligation imposed on our workforce, with little tuition from our academic education and some missing elements from our business schools, can result in real anxiety. The challenge is dramatically amplified when presenting in your second, or even third or fourth, language. This is then made worse when interacting online, where our energy levels drop by as much as a third, and engaging with someone remotely is extremely tough. The fear of failure (or at least, lack of impact) is high and can lead to stress and exhaustion.
The good news is that, over time, good presentation skills can be learnt and mastered.
For Melanie Hussell, presentation skills are a key soft skill to persuade and convince colleagues, suppliers, and customers, particularly in a global setting. Unfortunately, these are not always included in an organisation’s HR/Talent Development Plan or Communication Strategy, although they are often an essential tool as a driver of change. Moreover, employees who feel empowered and equipped, will feel inspired and motivated so prioritising presentation skills, helps you retain the best talent and increase productivity.
Presentation skills are not just about what you say and how. They are also about the spaces in between. The best presenters pause a lot so make sure you do too – after every point, key statement, rhetorical question and memorable story. A short silence makes your listener lean forward and listen more attentively as they anticipate what is coming next. After all, isn’t that the best reaction possible and dream of every presenter? That is number 3 of 17 in her ‘Top tips to Empower You to Present with Confidence’. A copy of this can be requested through her website.
You will discover that, as a non-native speaker of English there are many simple things you can do to improve your skills that aren’t about having a better level of English but involve exploiting your current language level to maximum advantage. Selective mastery of certain aspects of grammar and using simple, memorable vocabulary will take you where you want to go. So, what are you waiting for?
★ Offer for everybody
If you would like to discuss your company’s communication needs in English, Melanie Hussell offer a free 30-minute consultation. Book it through her contact page.
★ Offer for Beci members only
In addition, she offers Beci members a free ‘Lunch and Learn session’ either on Zoom or at your offices where she can share with you some practical takeaways for immediate implementation. Book it through her contact page. Not a Beci member yet? Become one now!