Article Category: Communication Skills

10 Ways Your Presentation Skills Generate Career Promotions

Presentation Skills Lead to Career BenefitsRegardless of industry or job title, all companies seek employees with superior communication skills.

Reading comprehension and writing skills are taught heavily in school. You and your peers may not be equally skilled, but the differences are relatively minor.

Presentation skills, on the other hand, are largely neglected in schools, and few people put effort into developing them. Thus, presentation skills are a primary differentiator among you and your peers. Master your presentation skills, and become the master of your career options.

This article highlights 10 ways your career will improve if you have superior presentation skills.

The Best Career Move You’ll Ever Make: Developing Superior Presentation Skills

Presentation skills (and oral communication skills in general) can be learned by anyone. It’s not hard, but it takes dedication and time. Helping you develop these skills is the focus of this blog, not to mention Toastmasters, speech coaches, and speaking books. By making it a priority for your career, you can learn and master these skills.

The career benefits awaiting you are plentiful, including:

Benefit #1: You are noticed

Poor presenters: Let’s be honest. The presentation skills of most of your colleagues suck. The bad news is that you have to endure thousands of presentations from them over the course of your career. The good news is that the bar for presentation skills is low. You can vault above it with minimal effort.

You: With superior presentation skills, you’ll get noticed every time you make a presentation. Further, you’ll be more confident, and will find yourself volunteering to present more often. This results in more opportunities to deliver your message with the eyeballs of those in your organization on you.

Benefit #2: You are memorable

Poor presenters: They regularly commit “Death by PowerPoint”: bullet after bullet, reading from the slides, few meaningful images (clip art does not count), and otherwise doing things that audiences hate. The best part of their presentation is when it ends, and everyone is free to return to their offices. Soon after, they are forgotten.

You: You understand how to connect with an audience. You use highly visual slides, and few bullets. You structure your presentation to aid in its understandability. You finish strong. Your presentation is memorable = You are memorable.

Benefit #3: Your ideas win because you communicate them clearly

Poor presenters: Your colleagues are smart. They have good ideas, and they know how to implement them. But they never get the chance, because they can’t communicate their ideas in a way that is clear to the stakeholders who decide which path to take.

You: Your ideas win more often because you know how to convey them. You utilize analogies and metaphors. You know how to deliver a message that emphasizes benefits, not features. You know how to customize your message depending which stakeholder you are speaking with. Career advancement comes to those whose ideas direct activity.

Benefit #4: You become the go-to employee for customer presentations

Poor presenters: Because their internal presentations are poor, managers hesitate to let them lead the show before customers. Their role in customer presentations is a spectator.

You: After demonstrating your presentation skills internally, you’ll be the one called on to give customer presentations too. Presentations for proposals influence whether you get the customer contract. Final presentations influence whether you receive repeat business. The closer to the customer you get, the more integral you are to the customer relationship, and the more valuable you become to your employer.

Benefit #5: You are a leader

Poor presenters: Lack of presentation skills leads to lack of confidence. Attempts to lead are thwarted because nobody follows.

You: Great leaders are great communicators. Great communicators are great leaders. Persuasiveness and charisma convince people to view you as a leader. This perception is translated into reality as you inspire those around you to greater achievements.

Benefit #6: You are a better listener

Poor presenters: They are too concerned about their own presentation mishaps to listen attentively to the audience.

You: Presentation skills are not only about what you say; it’s about how you listen. With a heightened sense of how to convey a message to your audience, you have also developed keen listening skills. Listening effectively to your audience makes you a better listener at all times. This, in turn, makes you more approachable…

Benefit #7: You are more approachable

Poor presenters: They may welcome the idea of interacting with others, but they are not seen as approachable because their presentations are always always one-sided information dumps, not conversations.

You: You are more approachable because you “put yourself out there” more often. You design your presentations to be interactive conversations. You encourage Q&A during and after your presentations. Colleagues will come to you first with ideas and opportunities because they know you are receptive to listening to them.

Benefit #8: Your network will grow

Poor presenters: Their presentations are either boring or confusing. Boring presentations lead others to see them as boring co-workers. Confusing presentations fail to be clear about what they offer. In either case, nobody leaps at the opportunity to work more with them.

You: You get noticed, you are memorable, and you are more approachable. Other people become your PR machine, spreading the news about how great your presentations are and how strong your ideas are. Your network naturally grows as people want to interact with you more often.

Benefit #9: You are a better negotiator

Poor presenters: They go into a presentation without doing audience analysis. Likewise, they go into a negotiation without analyzing the interests of the other side, or considering the delicate language needed.

You: Of course, negotiation is about strategy — analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. But, it’s also communication — communication of your ideas, your proposals, and your interests using a language more palatable to the other side. This applies to negotiating with customers and suppliers as well as internal negotiations for a better job, or increased compensation and benefits.

Benefit #10: Your interviewing skills will get you the job

Poor presenters: They have difficulty demonstrating that they actually have the skills listed on their resume. Poor communication skills in an interview leads to a failing grade from the interviewer.

You: Interviews are high-pressure presentations. There may not be slides, but your presentation content is you! Superior speaking skills will earn you top marks in the “communication skills” box on the interviewer’s form. With your superior speaking skills, you will also find it easier to demonstrate that you possess the other necessary qualities for the job.

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Comments icon6 Comments

  1. Steven says:

    At high tech firms in particular, it is extremely difficult to find people who can present their ideas well. I can think of several cases where the better speaker was given the promotion and respect over the better programmer.
    For us introverts we need to constantly push ourselves to just step outside our office and speak to people face to face instead of by email. Let alone trying to present something to a customer.
    Great article.

  2. Joel Heffner says:

    It all boils down to #11: You can do something valuable that others can’t do.

  3. Jason Black says:

    There is an interesting dichotomy contained in the beginning of this article. Name, the observation that presentation skills yield success, and yet such skills are almost completely ignored in school curricula.

    While those observations are themselves unarguable, it is perhaps ironic to consider what happens when a school DOES try to teach presentation skills. My high school, Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, AZ, did just that. They had a mandatory 1 semester public speaking course that was taught during freshman year.

    It was an unmitigated disaster.

    I hated that class. Everyone I knew hated that class. I don’t think any of us really learned anything about public speaking except to fear it. 25 years later, I joined Toastmasters and am now getting past the disasterous start that class gave me. But it took until I was interviewed recently for the March issue of Toastmasters magazine to understand why that class could never have given us the same positive public speaking experiences as Toastmasters does.

    It’s because Toastmasters is an environment of SELF SELECTED participants, who themselves want to succeed and who want to see the other participants succeed. A speech class in high school, set amid the backdrop of teen angst, social pressure, and the inability to NOT worry about what other people think, results in a class where the particpants are not willing and the audience in fact DOES NOT WANT TO SEE YOU SUCCEED.

    That last is the salient point. I can’t even count how many times, since joining Toastmasters, I’ve encountered the advice to not worry so much about public speaking because the audience is already on my side. They want to see me succeed, for their own selfish reasons. And I do believe that is true. It’s just not a truth that applies in a school-based public speaking class. It can’t. There’s too much else going on between the student presenters and the student audience, stuff that’s wholly outside the confines of the classroom, which sabotages any hope of creating a positive, supportive environment for learning public speaking skills.

  4. Dan McCarthy says:

    Andrew –
    Found your blog on the latest HR Carnival. What a great resource! I’ve seen way too many aspiring leaders never fulfill their potential because of a lack of presentation skills.

  5. Raj Lalvani says:

    Quite informative.

  6. Eugene Honor says:

    i am thankful to read this article,, i am having a presentation in my company and it really helps a lot.

    thank you.

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