10 Tips to make your presentation skills training REALLY stick

Year in, year out I get asked about presentation training. We’ve all heard that the prospect of pubic speaking is reckoned to be scarier for most of us than death. When we run our Zoomly workshops on ‘How to write presentations’ and ‘How to deliver presentations’ we always encourage participants to get some real-world practice lined up asap. Nothing’s more frustrating for us than seeing people answer the question on feedback forms about ‘what other training do you need? ’ with ‘a presentation skills refresher’ – and they haven’t yet left the training room! So how to make your new presentation skills REALLY stick? Simple: get on your feet and get presenting – NOW.

  1. Whatever else you do, agree a date with your manager when you will deliver a presentation at work. Ideally you’ll have had this conversation before the training. And be sure you book in 20 minutes with them after your presentation to get feedback.
  2. Prepare and give a presentation on ‘How to be a brilliant presenter’ to your team, or as a ‘lunch + learn’ in-house session. You refresh the learning and get some practice; your audience picks up useful tips. Win:win.
  3. Deliver a presentation at your next departmental or company-wide meeting. This could be an update on a project you’re doing, a case study or a ‘10 things you didn’t know about…’ your particular specialism.
  4. Offer a talk to your university/college/school on the work you currently do, how you got your job and tips for the audience when they take to the job market.
  5. Help out with induction training for new employees with a presentation about ‘inside knowledge’, ‘10 things I wish I’d known when I started work here’ or your specialist area of the organisation.
  6. Keep in touch with your fellow training course participants and meet up regularly, taking it in turns to deliver a presentation and give/get feedback. If meeting face-to-face isn’t practical, use video. Record your presentation and upload it to a channel for your group, where you can give and get feedback.
  7. Video yourself anyway. Remember how the training kept talking about the importance of rehearsal? For every presentation you prepare, video yourself on your smartphone and cast a critical eye over what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. You should be the first person to see an important presentation, not your audience.
  8. Form a presentation club at work where you and a bunch of colleagues regularly meet up and practise a particular aspect of presentation skills, such as body language or voice projection.
  9. Join an established speakers’ club such as Toastmasters International, which has branches all over the world and charges low fees. Click here for branches.
  10. Make it competitive: host a Pecha Kucha where the audience votes for the best presentation. What’s Pecha Kucha? Originally from Tokyo, the format is simple yet challenging: 20 x images x 20 seconds. Take a look at how it works here.

Dawn is the author of ‘How to be Zoomly at work’, available on Amazon


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