16 Jan 2020, 10:30 — 5 min read
“You are the presentation. Be the presentation,” says Monette Iturralde-Hamlin, founder and president of TeamAsia, an award-winning strategic marketing communications firm. “Don’t just rely on a PowerPoint presentation to make your point.”
Whether selling something, making a marketing presentation, explaining a technical process, asking for additional resources for a project, or reporting financial performance to the executive committee, business professionals need to deliver the message in a way that captures attention and gets the information across clearly and succinctly. In today’s fast-paced business world, the ability to present ideas effectively is a necessary skill. And yet, many professionals fail miserably or balk at the prospect of having to make the presentation at all.
Sloppy or boring visual aids in the form of poorly prepared PowerPoint presentations can make or break a presentation. Slides with too many words crammed into them are a natural turn-off, Monette says. Presenters, who just read what is written on their slides word for word and have nothing more to add, waste the time of their audience. The audience might just as well read the slides themselves.
Glossophobia or speech anxiety has long been recognized by psychologists as one of the greatest fears of men. Nervousness is one of the most-often cited reasons by participants as their greatest challenge when making presentations. This presents itself in the form of an increase in heart rate, perspiration, clammy hands, a quivering voice, stammering, nonfluencies or the “ahhms” when speaking, or even downright black outs.
Other common challenges cited by participants are difficulties in attracting the attention of the participants and keeping their attention, organizing information into a presentation, explaining technical matters in a way that their non-technical audience will understand, and answering questions posed by hostile audience, among others.
You are the presentation. Be the presentation. Don’t just rely on a PowerPoint presentation to make your point.
All these issues are addressed by the Effective Presentation Skills Workshop delivered by Monette under the TeamAsia Training Institute. Citing her own fears of presenting as a young child, Monette shares how she was able to overcome them, and now, even teach professionals how to make presentations with impact.
Recently, Monette facilitated in-house training programs on Effective Presentation Skills for technical consultants from Indra Company Philippines. The workshop helped the participants identify their strengths and points for improvement, and encouraged them to step out of their comfort zone through hands-on training and peer-to-peer evaluations.
Preparation is key to an effective presentation, Hamlin stresses. At the workshop, Monette teaches participants how to put together a powerful presentation, and then how to deliver it effectively. By preparing the presentation themselves and going through the process outlined in the workshop, Monette assures her participants that they can overcome their fears, present with confidence and respond to any question thrown at them with ease and conviction.
Reading body language is another important aspect of presentations. The audience, without saying anything verbally, is communicating with the presenter at all times. By looking at the audience presenters can see who is following what is being said, who disagrees and who agrees with what is being presented, who has turned off mentally. In short, who is friend and who is foe. This prepares the presenter for the inevitable open forum at the end of the presentation. Monette reminds participants to keep their cool under duress, and gives them tips on how to handle difficult questions.
For the past decade, Monette has helped professionals, and even coached CEOs, to overcome their stage fright and go on to create and deliver great presentations. Her clients include Coca-Cola, Indra Philippines, Pilipinas Shell, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Smart Telecommunications, Verizon Communications, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Thomson Reuters, Hewlett-Packard, and Toshiba.
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Also read: Foot forward 2020 with new skills
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