Call us on: +44 (0)1271 337 110

Nigel Walpole Are presentation skills truly important?

I wish I had a pound for every job description I’ve seen which stated that the person filling the role must have “excellent presentation skills”.

Perhaps it’s not surprising because we’re talking about skills that are important not only in formal settings but in many other workplace situations, and that is especially true in today’s agile working environments.

Let’s just consider 10 of those situations:Are presentation skills truly important?

  1. Meetings: so many roles require people to ‘present’ information to colleagues in meetings and knowing how to present will help you structure your thoughts, choose your words for impact and be persuasive.

  2. Conferences: if you have great speaking skills you will feel confident about putting yourself forward to speak at internal (and external) conferences.

  3. Influencing: key parts of influencing are ‘maintaining your listeners’ attention’ and then ‘having a well-structured argument’ – both similarly fundamental to successful presentations.

  4. Sales: even if you're not in an official sales role, it is likely you’ll have to ‘present’ information about your organisation to a new contact, a colleague, a prospect, a supplier, your manager, a client, a procurement team and more, and the impact you make will depend how effectively you present.

  5. Staff events: maybe it’s only a birthday or someone going on extended leave, but some people just seem able to choose just the right words to say and they’re always the ones who are asked to speak. These are people who naturally seem to have a high profile.

  6. Project teams: particularly in modern agile working environments, people often work with new people on project teams. Great presentation skills enable people to make an impression that will impact their role on the project team - a opening for big things ahead.

  7. Interviews: the ability to give clear, concise answers whilst appearing unflustered is all part of presentation.

  8. Conference calls: your organisational skills in managing an audience will be crucial here - asking and answering questions, keeping people engaged – it’s all part of the presentation.

  9. Networking: a key skill in some many roles. Your presentation may be reduced to an ‘elevator’ pitch but your skills will stand you in good stead.

  10. Writing: it may seem odd that presentation skills help in this area but successful writers think about their ‘audience’, they choose their words for impact, they plan ahead and work to a structure and then they summarise.

Anyone who is highly effective in all of these situations will be, and be widely recognised as, a high performer.

I have always wanted to run a training course called something like “Getting Yourself Promoted”. I’m sure it would be very popular and there is no doubt that a key part of the content would be presentation skills - not just in formal settings but also in the many situations described above.

If you’d like to know how we help people develop these key soft skills, please get in touch or visit our soft skills page for more information.

Nigel Walpole

Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning

In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.

Other posts you may be interested in

/Stephanie Morgan Is the soft skills demand L&D’s biggest challenge for 2019?

Wednesday November 28, 2018

Soft skills are an imperative part of business success, and with the demand for soft skills set to rise drastically by 2020, they’ve never been more important. Now we’re nearing the end of 2018, it only leaves one whole year before we see a significant increase in soft skills demand. All this has got me wondering, is the soft skills demand L&D’s biggest challenge for 2019?

Read More

/Stephanie Morgan 7 critical soft skills for leaders

Wednesday November 14, 2018

Recent reports are rating the soft skills demand and leadership development as two of the top priorities for businesses for 2019. But what about the soft skills of our leaders? We explore some recent insights on the 7 most important soft skills for leaders.

Read More

/Teresa Lovell 4 reasons why soft skills are in demand

Wednesday October 10, 2018

Soft skills are set to rise by up to 36% by 2020. These predictions have shaken the business community, who are struggling to build a workforce with the necessary skills. Our short-animated video explores 4 key reasons why soft skills are demand.

Read More