Why You Should Schedule Presentation Training For Your Team

As of this year, millennials make up more than 1/3 of the American workforce, surpassing Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

If millennials are not currently a majority of your team, that might change in the near future as more millennials take professional positions. However, whether you are currently managing a team of millennials, or you are preparing to do so in the future, you should know millennials rank professional training as one of the top incentives they desire from their employer. In addition, 52% of millennials said career progression is their top priority when assessing job opportunities. As you know, continuing education and developing new skills are two of the best ways to expedite career progression.

Are you prepared to offer professional training to your employees? If not, now is the perfect time to start planning for this incentive in the coming year.

As you’re reviewing your budget for the new year, strategizing ways to incentivize your current employees, and also planning ways to attract new recruits, be sure to add training to your calendar. Presentation training is a great option for you to consider; here’s why:

1. Compelling Communication

Crafting professional presentation content is not a skill most employees have when they join the workforce. Most recent college graduates are accustomed to the presentation styles they saw frequently while enrolled in college courses. However presentations delivered by college professors differ dramatically from the presentation styles that are effective in business. Therefore, young professionals need to be trained to write presentations for their new professional positions, otherwise they will deliver presentations that resemble a collegiate lecture – and this is a bad thing.

College professors tend to create presentations that are longwinded, pedantic, and chocked full of $10 words. If your staff is creating presentations in this style, their results will be lackluster, and this can have a seriously negative impact on your business, as well as their job satisfaction. 

Unlike college students, most audiences in a professional setting are not taking scrupulous notes that they will study for hours. Most professionals might jot down a few notes during a presentation, however, for the most part, they expect the presenter to deliver an easy-to-remember presentation that does not require hours of studying to understand and retain.

To create a memorable presentation for a professional setting, presenters should refine their presentation content so it is focused on one main idea with no more than three supporting points. Presenters should also simplify complex ideas for the audience instead of asking attendees to work through the problems for themselves.

In addition, effectively structuring presentation content is a critical step to developing a memorable presentation. According to research, structured presentations are 40% easier to retain than freeform presentations.

Also, $10 words are not impressive in a professional setting. Quite the contrary, the ability to communicate big ideas using basic vocabulary is a sign of confidence and intelligence.

Daniel M. Oppenheimer, professor of psychology at the UCLA Anderson School of Management conducted a series of experiments to test how language can make one appear more or less intelligent. The general gist of the results of the studies is the ease of processing information is strongly associated with positive qualities such as confidence, intelligence, and capability, according to Fast Company.

Lastly, presenters need to know how to integrate relevant stories into their presentation content. Storytelling is one of the most difficult parts of presentations, and it is even harder to teach unless you have experience coaching storytelling techniques. While we all know how to share a story with our friends and families, effectively weaving a story into a business presentation is, well, a different story. With presentation training, your team can refine their storytelling skills so they can leverage the power of storytelling to get a better returns from their presentations.

If you want to try to tackle presentation training on your own, here are some blog posts to help you prepare to coach your team on presentation content:

How To Prepare A Story For A Business Presentation

The Complete Guide to Editing Presentation Content

Outlining Your Presentation Content

The Most Important Word For Public Speakers To Use During Presentations

2. Stylish Slides

If your staff is creating slides that resemble the slides they saw during college, their presentations will likely put the audience to sleep immediately. 

I recently took Anatomy and Physiology I and II as well a Microbiology course, so even though I graduated from college more than a decade ago, I can still attest to the ugliness of most collegiate presentations. Some of the slides used by my professors were so packed with text that students were forced to squint to read the words. In addition, the visuals on the slides were often pixelated or ineffective for a long list of reasons. Needless to say, professional presentations need to exceed the design standards of presentations created by college professors. 

For example, professional presentations should never include bullet points. In 2014, the International Journal of Business Communication published the results from The Use of Visualization in the Communication of Business Strategies, an experiment conducted to gather empirical evidence regarding whether the use of visualization is better than text in the communication of a business strategy; the study concluded:

Subjects who were exposed to a graphic representation of the strategy paid significantly more attention to, agreed more with, and better recalled the strategy than did subjects who saw a (textually identical) bulleted list version.

In summary, bullet point lists are bad for presentations because audience members will struggle to pay attention to the items on the lists, they will be less likely to agree with items on the lists, and remembering the bulleted list will also be a challenge.

Learning how to present information without relying on bullet points is important for all professional presenters. Students have no option but to pay attention to their professors; clients, prospects, and investors however are not required to pay attention to a presentation – the presenter must work to earn the attention of the audience. If your team is using bullet points in their presentations, their audience will likely not pay attention to the presentation, remember the points made by the presenter, or even care enough to try to recall the presentation. 

In addition, business presentations should feature high-quality visuals and minimal text. Unless your staff is trained in graphic design or presentation design, they probably do not have the skills or knowledge necessary to create slides that display visuals and text in a compelling layout.

Design principles such as the Rule of Thirds, the importance of white space, and how to use typography are important to know when creating a presentation. With the elevated standards most people have for designs of all kinds, understanding design is no longer optional; knowing good design practices is now an essential skill for all professionals.

If your employees are using ugly slides in their presentations, your clients, prospects, or partners will assume that you are also sloppy or outdated in other areas of your business. This is obviously a bad thing for everyone involved.

If you want to try to tackle presentation training on your own, here are some blog posts to help you prepare to coach your team on presentation design:

No Excuse For Poor Presentation Design: 19 Simple Tips

Why Bullet Points Kill Presentations

Create Memorable Presentations With These 2 Psychology Tricks

PowerPoint Presentation Tips For Amazing PPT Designs

3. Dynamic Delivery

Last but not least, presentation training can also help your team improve how they present in front of an audience. Unless you staff has taken public speaking courses, or gained public speaking experience in another way, they are likely unprepared to deliver a presentation in a professional setting. And even if they have experience from a public speaking course, they probably still need to learn how to speak to an audience of professionals, as opposed to speaking to a room of peers in an educational setting where nothing is at risk except for a grade. 

Consider these questions:

–     Can your team memorize a presentation so they can speak without notecards, in a conversational, warm manner?

–     Do they know what to do with their hands when they’re speaking in front a group?

–     Do they know how to use their posture to raise their testosterone and lower their cortisol to boost their confidence?

–     Do they know how to persuade an audience during a pitch?

–    Do they know how to overcome anxiety caused by public speaking?

–    Are they prepared to handle difficult a Q&A?

Some of the skills alluded to in the questions above might not be at the top of your list of skills you want your employees to develop, however, for the most part they are all critical to the success of a presentation. If you cannot answer all of the questions with a resounding yes, your team probably needs to be trained by a professional coach. 

For example, you might think speaking in a warm, conversational tone is not as important as demonstrating credibility through the content of the presentation, however research proves warmth trumps competence during a presentation. As Amy Cuddy explained for the Harvard Business ReviewA growing body of research suggests that the way to influence—and to lead—is to begin with warmth. Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and the communication and absorption of ideas. 

In addition, most people do not know how to deal with their nerves before a presentation. This is a big issues since nervousness can cause a presenter to stutter, sweat, forget their lines, and display an overall lack of skill and confidence. Many people think taking a deep breath and practicing calming techniques is the best way to overcome anxiety, however calming down is not a good idea before a presentation.

With presentation training, your team can elevate their verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and learn to deliver presentations that generate great results for your company.

If you want to try to tackle presentation training on your own, here are some blog posts to help you prepare to coach your team on presentation delivery:

Fight Your Fear of Public Speaking – 4 Proven Methods

How An Improv Class Can Improve Your Public Speaking

What To Do With Your Hands During Presentations

The 3 Best Body Language Tips For Presentations

Conclusion

Training your team to write, design, and deliver captivating presentations will not only bring rewards for you and your business, it will also help your staff reach their own career goals, as well as check off one of the boxes on their list of desired incentives. If you want to teach your team these skills, our blog can give you all of the tips and tricks you need. To start planning your training course, peruse our blog posts and let us know if you have any questions by contacting us via email or phone. You can also tweet us at @Ethos3. If however you want us to come train your team, we would be honored. Learn more about our presentation training here.

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