There is no avoiding presentations throughout your career. Whether you need to present your skills to a hiring manager or present a project you’ve been working on to your boss, being able to perform well is critical. No matter how qualified you are, poorly presented information can cloud judgement and remove the focus from your content.
Being able to communicate well and confidently to our audiences can create a positive perspective. During the job interview process, we must present our resumes to recruiters and hiring managers and more importantly; speak to how we are the right candidate for the job.
Not only will presentation skills help you for a job search or work-related assignments, but improving these skills will assist you through all phases of your career. Take a look at the following six ways that you can improve your presentation skills and use them to your full advantage.
1. Smile and make eye contact
When you are in front of your audience, regardless of who it is, you want to make sure you don’t come across as intimidating or unapproachable. Make an effort to smile throughout your presentation. It is also important to maintain eye contact with your audience, as it is directed toward them. Keeping eye contact and a pleasant demeanor will ensure that your audience is engaged and satisfied.
2. Be clear and confident
Speaking too quickly will make you rush through your presentation and make it difficult for people to understand what you’re trying to say. Be sure to speak clearly, expressively, and in a tone that ensures people can hear you when you’re talking. Presentations for interviews or work projects are important meetings, so you want to be clear and concise, as you’ve most likely been preparing for a while.
3. Use proper visualization
If you are presenting yourself or a project, visuals can be a very important asset to your presentation. For example, your resume is one item that can act as a visual during the hiring process. An organized and visually-pleasing resume will only assist you in attracting recruiters and lead you to an interview. You also may need to provide a portfolio of work when applying to jobs, which will contribute in demonstrating your expertise.
When presenting an idea or project for your job, you want to be thinking about how you can utilize visual aids as well. Visuals are a great addition to your presentation, as long as they're used correctly. You only want to use visual aids in your presentation that directly support what you're speaking to and not have them distract your audience.
4. Focus on your audience, not yourself
Your audience is key, because they are the ones who your presentation should be targeted toward. While interviewing with a potential employer, the audience you want to focus on will consist of hiring managers, recruiters, and anyone else you meet during the hiring process. Each group will have different points to address, so you need to be cognizant of which information will work best when presenting to each one.
During your career, you may also need to present to your fellow employees, upper management, new clients, or your boss. How will your coworkers respond to a training you give? When proposing a pitch for a potential client, have you done your research on that organization and who you’re speaking with? If you have a meeting with your boss, which presentation style does he or she like best? Be sure to focus on how each group will remain engaged.
5. Plan and organize your materials
It’s easy to tell if someone is not prepared or organized for a presentation. If you’re going on an interview, have extra copies of your resume, references, or any notes you may need. For a project presentation, double check that your visuals look pleasing and if you have a handout, that it is printed beforehand. If you’re attending a networking event, make sure you bring business cards and have small talking points ready. When you’re scheduled to have a video interview, test your computer and Skype login so you have no technical difficulties. Each situation will require different materials to have ready, so be sure to give yourself enough time to have each one prepared.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
We all know the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” Giving a presentation, especially if you’re not typically comfortable with speaking in front of others or talking about yourself, is the best example of “practice makes perfect”. Being prepared for your presentation will help calm your nerves. No matter which type of presentation you have, it’s essential to review your talking points so you can easily reference them at any moment. The best way to gain more confidence in your presentation skills is to keep practicing.
We will be required to utilize our presentation skills in many ways throughout our careers. They’ll come into play when we are discussing our experiences to a potential employer or describing our new ideas for work. Having strong presentation skills is just as important as the information you’re presenting, so be sure to keep improving any way you can.
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