Effective Presentations Guide #1

Importance of Effective Communications

by  Al Valletta

Being an effective communicator is a key part of the sales world - it is important that you get your ideas across clearly and concisely. If you want your ideas to be effective and understood and would like to influence those around you, communication skills are vital. It's the ability to communicate effectively that can make the difference as to whether or not you get the sale and establish a continued working relationship with the customer. These techniques work well for any communication situation whether it is your customer, other team members, or your kids.

In this article we will talk about the several important aspects of creating a successful presentation. This material will only help you if you decide to take action. It isn't enough to read the material. To make this work for you, practice is most important.

Everyone can improve his communication skills. Speech is a learned activity. The problem is that we spend very little time honing this craft. The assumption is that we've always talked this way, what's to improve? Let me repeat, speech is a learned activity; consequently we can learn bad habits which get in the way of our expressing exactly what we want in the most effective way possible.

Lets look at some key factors that can make your presentation more effective:

  1. Know your Objective. This means thinking about it and coming to conclusions, before you get in front of your audience. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want the audience to know? In planning your objective always keep the audience needs in mind.
  2. Know your audience. As a speaker it is vital that you anticipate the audiences' wants and needs. You don't want to alienate the audience or lose them in material that means nothing to them in the first place.
  3. Organize Your Thoughts. Spend the necessary time planning your presentation. Don't wait until the last minute and then try and wing it. By carefully organizing your thoughts and putting in the necessary time in preparation up front, you will avoid many of the mistakes speakers make when not prepared.
  4. Plan your visuals. The visuals should enhance the talk, make it more interesting and supplement what you have to say. Never let the illustrations take over the presentation. Remember that the audience wants to know what your views are, they don't want to look at a bunch of overheads or computer projections. You are the talk - not the visuals.Visual aids improve any presentation, whether one on one or to an audience of many.
  5. Deliver your presentation with conviction. Your strong belief in what you have to say will go a long way in convincing your audience to believe in you and what you have to say. Along with your conviction, your voice should be able to do what you want it to do, e.g., have "vocal variety," which is created by the use of rate, emphasis, and inflection. I will talk about this in detail in one of our articles. You don't want the audience to be bored, so don't be boring!
  6. Be aware of your appearance. Your appearance in front of a group can say a lot about you as a person. Know your audience and present yourself accordingly.
  7. Watch the physical gestures. Stay away from physical gestures that will detract from what you have to say. You want the audience to hear what you have to say and not wonder when the pencil you are fooling with is going to fall to the ground.
  8. Eye Contact. It is very important to look at the audience and not over their heads. Each person in the room wants to feel that you are talking to him/her.
  9. Close with a commitment. Know what you want from your audience and make sure you relay this to them before the talk is over. Many speakers never really get a commitment of action from the audience.
  10. Have a sense of humor. Don't think of the talk as life and death. An audience likes to relate to a human being, not a robot. Have a little fun. This does not mean that you crack a joke every ten minutes. Just lighten up a bit.

Look for a continuation of this guide in the near future.

‹‹ Al Valletta
[About the Author]

Contact Al Valletta at valletta@dslextreme.com