Aug 29, 2009

8 things you can do to become the best presenter in your office

Real life incident 1: One month back a colleague came to me and said "I have to make an important presentation but I do not how to make 'business' presentations. I have extensively researched the industry and I have all that my boss needs. But I don't know how to show it to him. They should understand within those 30 minutes that I am the man for the job." He knew everything about his work. He is not an MBA but a technical guy. If he is not able to 'present' what he has done, he won't be able to get that coveted job.

Real life incident 2: There was a hardworking marketing manager in a company (sorry I can't reveal his name either). When other colleagues doing similar projects were working 5 days a week, this man was spending the weekends working. His intentions were right and he was committed. But in the fortnightly project presentations to the seniors, he used to falter. He was never able to 'show' what he was actually doing on the field and how much effort he was putting into the work. His superiors gradually became unhappy with his work. They thought he was shirking. One fine day he put in his papers.

Any job you do in life, remember that your superior will never know what you are doing unless you tell him. Your superior is not paid to see what you do. He is not supposed to know everything. It is your job to keep him in the loop and share relevant information from time to time. You not only have to work hard but you have to show it also.

Imagine your CEO or sales head or some big guy comes every quarter to attend your review presentation. How do you tell him that you are good? You get only once chance every 3 months. That chance is the presentation you make to him. If you are unable to 'present' what exactly you have done, all that hard work will get wasted.

It is not enough to work hard. It is equally important to be able to show what exactly you have done. This is why you must master the art of making presentations. You don't need to become Steve Jobs but you can definitely become better. How about becoming the 'Best Presenter in the Office?' Every company, every office always has an 'Excel champion'. "If you have any doubts on excel, go to him. He is great." That excel champion is not anyone special. He is just like you. The only reason he is better than others is that he makes extra efforts to learn more about excel. Anyone willing to do that can master excel.

Why don't you become the most sought after presentation guy/girl in office. It is not very tough. You would need some hours of effort on weekends to hone your presentation skills. Here are some tips you can use:

1. Make presentations at every opportunity that comes by. You can only learn by doing.

2. Help others in making presentations even if that means staying back for an hour after work on some days. They will have many doubts which you guys can solve together.

3. Approach your superior and volunteer to help him on his next presentation. You can always help him by making a few slides for him.

4. Follows blogs and books on presentations as often as you can. Do not be a passive reader. Agree or disagree to what's being said by starting a discussion on the blog.

5. Make presentations on topics you enjoy and upload on websites like SlideShare. It will build immense amount of confidence in you. When you upload on SlideShare you know the world is watching. That makes you work hard.

6. Visit SlideShare and see how others make presentations.Learn from them. If you liked something ask them how they created that stuff.

7. Seek help when you get stuck while creating a presentation. Humility is a necessary precondition for learning.Seek help from colleagues and friends.

8. Start a Presentations Club in your office. Meet every fortnight and give a 15 minute presentation on a topic of your choice. Give a small token of appreciation to 1 good speaker every fortnight. I am sure your company would be most happy to fund it.

Follow these tips and you would definitely become better at presenting. Remember you need to work on your skills regularly. If you would like to add anything to the points above leave a comment. Happy weekend!