Effective Presentation Techniques for the Board Room

Creating Killer Presentations @ Intellisoft

After years of slogging, you are finally getting a chance to do a presentation in the board room. Do not take this lightly. And do not blow this chance to impress senior management about your skills.

Many a career have been contained when engineers, who are domain experts, completely knowledgeable, are called to the board room, and because of fear, or in-experience, are tongue tied, mutter, splutter, and mumble something incomprehensible.board-presentations

It is true, Fear of Public Speaking is the worst fear in the world. It is the highest fear, even ranking higher than the fear of death.

Do you want to stifle your career too soon, all because you are un-prepared for the big boardroom presentation?

Practice now. Get ready. Be prepared for your big chance. And play it safe, play it well, and present to win, present to wow, present to amaze your audience!

Effective presentation techniques for the boardroom can be easily acquired.

1. Prepare a Solid Presentation
This should not be a problem as you have the content, and you have the domain expertise. But it is an art to prepare a presentation. Do not present a 100 slide presentation full of bullet points. This leads to Death by PowerPoint.

The Secrets of a Great Presentation are:

A.  Tell ’em what you are going to tell ’em.
B.  Tell ’em.
C.  Tell ’em what you have just told them.

What this means is that a. Have a clear and thought about Agenda. State it in the beginning, so there is no mystery. Stick to the agenda.

boardroom-presentation

Secondly, have only 3-5 points to cover in the presentation. Keep slides simple. And stay away from amateurish PowerPoint Animation effects. Fly in objects, slow animation, corny graphics or too much use of clip art is sadly lost on the boardroom. Do a slick presentation with corporate like graphics, simple round or square bullets. Keep to only 2-3 bullets on a slide.

Show less information, and talk more from these bullet points. So that people are not reading your PowerPoint, but rather they are listening to you.

Thirdly, summarize the information. Tell them the key points, your own justification/stand, and the final outcome.

2. Rehearse it well.

You must rehearse your presentation a few time in front of the mirror, or in an empty room. Time it, so that you know you will not overshoot the allocated time. And practice how to open the speech. How to close the speech. Some speakers start with a joke. But this must be done with care. What if no one laughs on the joke? It can back fire on you. So choose your opening carefully. You can go to YouTube to watch some good presentations at Ted.com.

Another good way is to record your presentation using a Video recorder, or a audio recorder on your phone. Listening to your own voice can seem odd, but you will catch many mis-pronunciations, and many pauses which you were not aware of.

3. Maintain Eye Contact & Good Body Posture

Many people are so afraid of the audience that they try to hide behind the podium, or they look at some remote corner of the room while speaking. In one of my earlier presentations, someone from the audience congratulated me on observing their new curtains. When I told them I didn’t find anything new about their curtains, she told me that I was staring at the curtains all entire time I was speaking. What a polite way to tell me that I lacked eye contact. I was so naive… but then I realized the mistake and thanked her for being so thoughtful. I then worked upon improving my eye contact, and learnt how to work a room.

You can look at their foreheads and continue for a few seconds, then move to another forehead and so on… It will seem to the people that you are talking to them, and not staring at some remote corner.

Similarly, it is important to maintain a good body posture. Stand straight. Do not slump. Keep your hands in the front. Not in the pockets, not dangling like a pendulum. And do not keep jingling the key chain or loose change in your pockets to avoid any nervousness. Nothing is more distracting than jingling change or key noise in a presentation. Do not pace the room from left to right. Stand firm in one place. You can move to different areas to illustrate the points, but do not dangle like a pendulum. It should look natural movement, not deliberate, for the sake of moving.

4. Have Enough Time for Questions & Answers

Anticipate some questions. In fact, you can have a Frequently Asked Questions section, and show standard, canned responses to some standard questions.

Keep some time for audience questions. Once the question is asked, repeat the question, so that everyone can hear it, and thank the Enquirer about the thoughtful question. Do not ridicule the question if it is a simple or silly question. Then answer the question completely. And get a confirmation from the enquirer about whether you have answered their question completely or not.

empty_boardroom

Finally, once everything is said and done, thank the audience for giving you a chance to listen to you, and for their time and patience.

These are simple tips. Easy to master if you at least take notice, and practice on improving them. And once you apply them, you will be amazed at how powerful your presentations will begin to be.

If you would like to learn more practical tips, you can always attend a training program at Intellisoft, and learn from the gurus on how to improve your soft skills.

This article is written by Vinai Prakash, Founder, CEO and Principal Trainer of Intellisoft Systems. Vinai is a sought after trainer in the area of soft skills, project management skills, data analysis, business intelligence and IT courses. Vinai’s articles are published in the Straits Times, and many other books and magazines all over the world. Contact us to book Vinai for your next training or seminar.

Related Training: Presentation Skills: Speaking to Impress in our 1 day workshop. Full of exercises and practical examples, it is a totally immersive workshop that will work wonders to your Presentation Skills. Do check it out here: Presentation Skills: Speaking to Impress

How Good Are Your Soft Skills?

valuable_employee_cartoon

Most people learn the hard skills in college, and be a good engineer, architect, doctor, or a specialist based on the skills learnt in the academia. This is fine, and it helps in the initial years. However, as time goes by, you use less and less of these specialist, hard skills, and you need more of other soft skills. This is because as time goes by, you rise in your career, and have bigger and larger responsibilities. You will also have bigger teams to manage, and bigger amounts will be at stake.

This is the time you realize that the hard skills you learnt are not always of great use. What you really need is expertise, mastery and experience in using the soft skills – which is what really matters. Most of all, you have to realize that as you rise higher, you do less and less work, and you need to get other people to do more and more of the work. How do you push others to do the work? What skills are needed to do this?

What are soft skills really?

Wells, soft skills are communication skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills, general management skills, motivational skills, and leadership. These are really people management skills. To do any project, you need people, and to manage the project well, to get it done on time, cost, scope, quality, you need to work with your team, your people effectively.

These skills are generally not taught in school, as we focus to learn the hard skills. However, if you want to accelerate your career, move far, higher, faster, then you need to master these at a great speed. The thing with soft skills is that it improves with experience. But you must practice them. You can’t learn communication by reading a book on communication… just like you can’t be an expert swimmer just by reading the Advanced Manual of Swimming. You need to get into the water, learn to navigate your way, try, make mistakes, and learn from them. It is OK to make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them, so that you don’t repeat them, and use this experience to get better and better.

Learning soft skills is like learning an art. It takes time, patience, determination, and perseverance. You can do it. Only thing is to become aware about it, take note of your current skills, and the areas where you need to improve. Then work out a plan, and practice to improve your skills in each area.

Today, there are several courses available to improve your soft skills – there are numerous Communication Skills courses, there are several Time Management courses, Stress Management Courses. Most of these courses are short, 1-2 days, and they are good because they tend to teach you a few techniques, a few ways to improve your communication. You will not become an expert in a day or two, but it will be a great start.

Any improvement can only be seen when you first become aware of the short coming, and measure where you are, and where you want to go. Once you know where you are, and what your plan is, then from then onwards, it is easier to take some steps, measure your progress, and see how small steps are shaping up your future, helping you grow, nurture your nature, and improve your skills, improve your life.

It is worthwhile to live a meaningful life, and life rich of experiences, of abundance, of contribution. Do not waste your time. Make the most of this opportunity. Do good, learn, help others grow by applying the principles of self mastery, and self growth. Once you improve, you improve the people around you.

Improve your soft skills. Invest in your future. You do not have to spend a fortune. There are several courses available for free on YouTube, Articles abound on the Internet, and there is a plethora of applications on the mobile phones that can be used to learn new things, grow your knowledge, and grow yourself.

Written by Vinai Prakash,
Master Trainer at Intellisoft

Related Training: Effective Communication Skills, Body Language, Interview Skills – Prepare for An Interview.

Work Matters, Make a Difference!

Work Matters. Period.

We do not work just to get paid, just to finish the 9-5 routine.

We want to make a difference, a contribution, a celebration of life, of living. Therefore, work matters!

But are you doing your best today?

Are you excelling at work?

If not, why not. WHY?

W H Y ?

What are you waiting for?

Today, we are not fighting war with the communists. We may not be working on THE project of a lifetime – The Taj Mahal, The Rocket to Moon, The Scaling of South Pole, or The Everest. So therefore, should we do just a mediocre job… just a job to get by?

Or should we make any job, any crummy job as THE PROJECT of my Life… and really excel at it.

Why Not? Do you need anyone’s permission to do an excellent job? And will you do an excellent job, an Wow job only when someone’s life or job is at stake?

Decide today to do Your Best. Excel at anything. Make it the Project of your lifetime. Do such a wonderful job that people will talk about this work ten years from now. Man… those were the days… We worked on THE project of my life. It was such fun, such camaraderie, such great teamwork, such coordination, so much precision, and we pulled it against all odds. Those were the days!!!

Do not think of any job as just a job. Make it a WOW project. THE project of your life. Even if it is a small, simple job. Do with with dedication, do it with perfection. You will enjoy it more. You will be happy. You are not doing it to show off to anyone.But you are doing it to Show it your YOURSELF. You will feel job satisfaction. You will feel that

you are making a difference.

And you will be surprised. Others will see it. Notice it. They have no choice. A good quality work gets noticed pretty quickly. Because it is a rarity today. People are so used to seeing the mediocre job, the average job, that when you do an Excellent job, everyone notices… Automatically. You do not have to announce it.

And even if no one notices, or no one shows that they have noticed…. it is bound to happen. With it come its own rewards. More recognition, more power, more money, more satisfaction, and more success. You will know it first.

I take pride in my work. I find ways to add more value… provide more value. Find ways to give you new tips, tricks, new ways to add value to your work. When I coach, I try to give practical tips, not just theory, so that you can benefit from it immediately. Learn new skills – hard technical skills like Advanced  Excel Techniques, or Soft Skills like Communication Skills… Train yourself, and your staff. There are several benefits of training. Invest in your knowledge, and spread the word.

Make it a point from today onwards. Find ways to transform your work… every day work, into a project that matters. Because Work Matters. Your Life Matters. What You Do matters, and You Matter Too!

– By Vinai Prakash, Founder & Principal Trainer at Intellisoft Singapore

P.S. – Write your comments. Tell me what you think. Does it ring a bell somewhere? Or you simply do not agree with this philosophy. What ever you feel, post a comment, and I’ll be happy to see what you feel, and where you come from. Thanks.

Join our Practical hands-on training on excel pivot table, vlookups in excel, excel functions, advance excel formula & more… Advanced Excel and improve your soft skills like Communication SkillsPresentation SkillsNegotiation Skills and more..

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