Thursday, February 5, 2015

Presentation Skills

I took a class on public speaking in high school.  My teacher told us that this was the most important class we'd ever take.  At the time I thought the teacher was just tooting his horn but now I understand.  I need presentation skills throughout life.  As a freight broker every meeting and every sales call is a presentation.  How I present my services is just as important as the content.  Because no matter how good a freight broker I am, if I don't present my services well to my potential client I most likely will not land the shipping contract.

Here's a blog post from a trainer friend, Honey Shelton of Interaction Training.  Read and enjoy.

When a presentation or speaker amazes you, do you ever stop to think you are seeing only the last 20 minutes of a process that took hours or work? On average presenters devote 20 to 60 minutes of time for each minute of a finished presentation. That means that a 10-minute presentation can take up to 6 hours to prepare. Keep everything organized when you are working on your presentation with these four tips: 
Who is my audience?
What does your audience know about your subject? Why is your audience listening to your presentation? With what attitude do they approach your presentation? Understanding who your audience is will help you in choosing the right words, graphics and length of your presentation.
What is the purpose?
Are you persuading your audience or are you simply informing then? Are you training them on a specific topic? As with the first question, the answer will help you in choosing how to develop your presentation in terms of wording and graphics.
What style?
Once you have determined the audience and purpose of your presentation, you can consider what style is appropriate. Perhaps a problem-method-solution approach is best? Maybe it suffices to only place outlines in your presentation and engage your audience with your stories? Perhaps you want to test your audience and repeat your key points throughout the presentation?
Even the most talented speakers need to rehearse thoroughly. Initially, don’t worry about your posture or tone. Once you feel confident about the content of your presentation you can tweak the flow and make sure your transitions are effective, both in your voice and on your slides. Record your presentation when you are happy with it. Embrace your style, be natural. The payoff from rehearsing is that you will be more relaxed when you do your live presentation. Recording your practice session is beneficial in numerous ways. A recording offers a change in perspective: now you are an attendee and you watch and listen in that role. The recording also helps you fine-tune what you want to say, how you want to say it and tighten up your time line.  People that like to make a difference find that helpful presentations can do just that.  Make a difference.
You will not have to prepare a sales call as extensively as a formal presentation but the time you invest in preparing well will pay off.  With each call your presentation will improve if you are always looking for ways to improve.  I look at every presentation as an opportunity for a new relationship and hopefully some new business as well.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
Still learning Honey
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