Whether you are a big executive, middle-level manager, founder, or an entry-level professional. I bet there’s been a time when a big “presentation opportunity” came your way.
Doesn’t matter if you enjoy it or dread it, you can’t escape this integral part of the business.
Presentations are used to engage audiences, influence tough minds, attract attention & convert them into your customers. Hence, everybody is so obsessed with presentation skills.
You might think this is all just a hoax. But it really isn’t.
Look at what’s happening around you,
The learning & development departments want to train employees in presentation skills.
Top executives are registering for one-on-one presentation skills training.
Founders stay obsessed with how to create their pitch decks & craft stories.
Considering these examples, it’s safe to say that presentations & presentation skills are vital. Not just for top executives & founders, but for everybody.
Note: When I say presentation skills, I don’t mean you should be able to create dazzling presentations like a presentation design agency. Let’s face it, if you’re not a presentation designer by trade, you shouldn’t work so hard in perfecting the art. You should absolutely focus on your actual job. So, in this article, we’re referring to basic skills & not advanced ones.
Before we get into why presentation skills are important, let’s look at the formal definition.
What are presentation skills?
Presentation skills are the abilities one needs in order to deliver compelling, engaging, informative, transformative, educational, enlightening, and/or instructive presentations. Central to effective presentation skills are public speaking, tone of voice, body language, creativity, and delivery.
What are the types of presentation skills?
In our opinion, great presentations have 3 things — a good design, a brilliant narrative & a confident presenter.
So we can categorize presentation skills into 3 types as well.
(a) Presentation Design Skills
The ability to design decent & presentable PowerPoint slides.
If you can design PowerPoint slides that are properly aligned, on-brand & consistent-looking, you have basic presentation design skills.
(b) Storytelling Skills
The ability to craft a storyline & presentation narrative.
If you can put together how to start a presentation, what to say in between & end it like a pro, you have basic storytelling skills.
(c) Public Speaking skills
The ability to speak confidently in front of friendly or tough audiences.
If you can manage your anxiety, body language & tonal variation, you have basic public speaking skills.
Why are presentation skills important?
1. Good presentations elevate brand image
It’s no secret that well-designed & well-delivered presentations win over audiences. They bring you influence & engagement. When done well, great presentations uplift your brand.
If you think that presentations have no brand association, think again.
Let’s take Airbnb for an example, their pitch deck is one of the most talked about presentations in the entire world. It became so famous that every day people search for its template on Google. Presentation design agencies are making videos & articles talking about its breakdown.
The point is, if you’re a founder, presentation skills help a lot with how you get your points across. It helps you become a known face with investors, potential partners, and stakeholders.
2. Polished presentation skills save time
A recent study showed that professionals spend 5 hours a week designing presentations. Even with design guidelines, there’s no denying the fact that presentation design is frustrating.
Now imagine if your team was well trained in designing slides, how much time they would save? Of course, there are other alternatives to this problem, like outsourcing your presentation design. But, if you’ve decided to keep it in-house, presentation design skills help. It saves time & avoids design burnout as well.
How can you save time with storytelling?
You can keep yourself acquainted with some famous narrative structures like “The Hero’s Journey” or “The Three Act Structure”. With this knowledge, you can put together last-minute stories without professional help.
3. There’s always a presentation emergency
I’m sure you’ve faced an emergency where you’ve had to prepare & deliver within 24 hours or 48 hours. What would you do? Even if you have a go-to presentation design agency, they can’t deliver slide content + slide design on such short notice.
Hence, presentation skills are important. Even if you can’t design like a professional agency, you should at least be able to design presentable slides.
4. Bare minimum skills are essential
Have you met people who are the absolute worst when it comes to presentations? Their slide design is creepy. When they talk, the audience appears confused & loses focus. After a while, everybody prays to god that they never have to sit through their presentations again.
I’m sure you know this person. Or is that you? These are the symptoms of bad presentation skills.
Why should professionals work on their presentation skills?
Even though there’s a lot of debate around this topic, presentation skills are business skills. A professional should know the bare minimum about presentations.
What’s the bare minimum? Under worst situations, you should know how to align slide elements, change themes in PowerPoint, put together a story that’s clear if not compelling, and speak anxiety free.
These things may not bring the most dazzling results. But they do produce a decent output. Sometimes the average output is better than embarrassment.
5. Practice helps with anxiety
The more you work on your presentation skills, the less anxious you’ll be. With every presentation, you’ll become better, and you’ll speak with a better tone.
There are only a few people who can hold the audience with just the tone of their voice. That doesn’t work for everybody. Hence, presentation skills are helpful. You can train yourself with a slide deck as a visual friend. If you add good visuals to support your narrative, the audience will love you.
I never met a person who doesn’t get stressed by the idea of public speaking. So presentation skills help you calm your nerves and boost your confidence. But this happens over time.
All in all!
We’re a presentation design agency and come across many “deck emergencies”. Even though we can help with design, it’s impossible to craft a story within critical deadlines.
Hence, in our opinion, every professional should work on basic presentation skills. If not advanced skills, then basic skills will save you from extreme embarrassment. Hope this article was helpful!