If your presentation skills at work are shakier than the economy, you can't pass up a single opportunity to make them better. Fortunately, the skills you learn on the job can serve as a great foundation for the speaking and presenting skills you need to hit a home run on a dream project or make a great impression on your bosses. Here are some of the responsibilities you can grab hold of at work that will pay off when you are in front of a room full of your friends, your peers or the people who can help make your dreams come true. Photo by lewro.
Work in sales. I grew up selling; my dad was a retail executive, my mum owned a restaurant. Whatever I was selling, I realised ways to encourage—using just my voice in some cases—people to buy or try something new. When you present and speak to a group you are selling them on you and your ideas.
Work in telemarketing. It doesn't sound glamorous, but this really puts your skills to the test. On the phone, you have 30 words or less on the initial pick-up to make something happen. When it comes down to that level, you get real careful with the extraneous ums, uhs, and how are yous?!
Write an article. What a way to promote your business, yourself and your ideas. The rush is huge because seeing your name and byline is exciting and inspiring.
Attend a seminar or workshop. Be open to these opportunities not just because of what you can learn about your own profession, but by also looking at the presentation skills that work, and the ones that do not. Take notes, observe, meet people, go out of your way to find something you can use in your next presentation.
Attend a networking event. If you go to a conference or series of workshops, attend the extra evening events. You will be tired, but so will everyone else! Don't go just to look for a job, go to see how other people present, persuade and engage in conversation. You will most likely walk away with one or two ideas to try.
Make a presentation. That's the ultimate goal, right? Start with a team presentation. With that, you learn when to step up, when to back out, when to interrupt (without it looking like we were interrupting each other). I find slighter nuances of presenting to be quite fascinating.
Update your resume. You probably will not send it out any time soon, but the updating is great reminder of how far you have come. Take the opportunity to acknowledge all you do, and all you have done to get to where you are.
How do you use opportunities at work to become a better presenter? Let us know in the comments.