People are more afraid of public speaking than the possibility of dying. As Jerry Seinfeld once succinctly put it, they would rather be in the casket at a funeral then delivering the eulogy.
However, good public speaking is an essential skill, and attaining it is about more than overcoming fear. The skills involved in public speaking embody many qualities essential to success in life, especially in the business world. Those who avoid public speaking or never take the time to improve their presentation skills miss out on critical opportunities to assert their value to others.
To further encourage people to break out of their shell, here are the five career growth benefits that having great presentation skills can offer:
Learning Problem Solving
Most people’s fear of public speaking presents a concrete challenge. There is a barrier between them and their ultimate goal. How do they cross it? Coping with this fear and learning tricks, strategies or methods to overcome it can be a valuable learning experience that can extend beyond the realm of public speaking
Many use organization to help them get through the challenge. By having notes, helpful prompts like slides and using mental tricks like imagining you are talking to friends, presenters can project a confident image even if they are internally freaking out. Learning to prevent major failure during a presentation can mean having skills that can be applied throughout your career to handle challenging tasks and excel at them.
Also: practice makes perfect! Rehearsing your presentation and developing improvisational skills both enhance your ability to learn down the road.
Being able to assert yourself is crucial to finding opportunity in the business world. Even without being forceful, having confidence in yourself can make others confident — in you, your business and even their own decisions.
The skill of projecting confidence and a relaxed demeanor can be equally useful no matter what side of the desk you are sitting. When talking to customers, it can mean closing a sale or clinching a valuable partnership. When talking to others in your company, it can mean getting a promotion or motivating your team to really push themselves for their next project. Moments like these can mean a higher success rate, even when the odds feel stacked against you.
Learning to Present in Any Environment
Going beyond peripheral benefits, having the ability to present is a necessary skill in business in a variety of settings. Presentations happen all the time, even if we don’t recognize them because we are not standing at a podium.
Consider that pitching new ideas to your superiors or team is essentially a presentation. Following up on the progress of your ongoing projects is a presentation to your boss that you are on the right track. Convincing a lead to opt into a sale is of course a type of one-on-one presentation, too.
Presenting skills can even help you out of an unexpected jam. Imagine if you were put on the defensive by a boss or co-worker, and you had to state your position to avoid getting some major blowback. Defending your position when backed into a corner is a critical skill that can help save you from sticky, potentially career-ending situations!
Learning to Engage People Is Critical
One of the more subtle skills of presenting is going beyond simply stating information in a clear way. Presenters must be convincing, after all. This need means that presenters should have a strong connection with their audience to enhance their persuasive capabilities. People like it when they can share in a vision, so a passionate presenter can get them onboard and feel great about doing so.
Creating subtle emotional context is another deep skill that presenting can help you attain. Audiences can think with both their heads and their hearts to make the right decision with conviction. As mentioned in the last point, such skills easily translate beyond the board room or conference hall and into everyday situations.
Presentations as Test Moments
When asked to present, your superiors are placing a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Since the outcome of your presentation can reflect on their own competency, their giving you the opportunity is a tremendous sign of respect and trust. Stepping up to the plate and knocking the presentation out of the park makes you, your boss, your department and your entire organization look good.
Winning in these instances has huge potential to help your superiors, who could help you in return as recognition for your efforts.
Learning Presentation Skills Can Help You Advance in Life
Even if you never end up having to make a single presentation in your life — as unlikely as that is — learning how to do it could improve your career, your confidence and your quality of life dramatically.
Learn how to take on challenges with both arms swinging and never back down from opportunity. You can get started by looking at our presentation skills training workshops.