Most people speak in public every day. When we’re out and about chatting at the market or when we visit neighbors, or conduct business with colleagues and clients, we’re fairly comfortable communicating. But when it comes to presenting in a more formal context, we often forget that we possess skills that help us tell stories, impart knowledge, and share expertise.
Whether you feel like a pro or not, it’s important to hone presentation skills so you can communicate with impact. Aside from the basics (i.e., using your authentic voice, maintaining direct eye contact, and connecting with your audience), it’s mission critical to organize core content so your messages resonate.
Get your story straight
Once you know what you want to say, you’ve got to effectively package that message. Consider this organization pattern: situation, action, result. When you describe situations in this way, your audience will gain important context for comprehension.
For example, last year, my main client sought out strategic planning assistance for a large initiative (situation). I planned and facilitated their board meeting, guiding the executive team to prioritize options (action). The team discovered new solutions through our process (result).
Embrace business opportunities
You probably come across a variety of professional scenarios regularly – grounds for practice and packaging key messages! Consider these common contexts:
At a sales or elevator pitch at a networking event present concise, organized messages in an authentic, vibrant voice, using language to energize and engage listeners to ask questions.
With your report summary at a team meeting offer the most important information in a brief overview first; then present the details that matter most to your team.
In a conference presentation (or other formal event), connect with your audience early on to gauge their attention. Ask direct questions, allowing people to share their own ideas and you’ll garner extra buy-in.
Take every opportunity to speak in public – yes, informal conversations at the market and with the neighbors count! When you practice at every turn, you’ll strengthen skills and rack up great experiences that fuel your next speaking event – and all the ones that follow.