“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland
It’s a cliché, but every one of us is unique. We each have our own individual view of the world, of our place in it and how we can contribute. We each want to make an impact in our own way, on our own terms. But for most of us, the difficulty comes in when we want to make this impact a reality. We’re held back by entrenched ways of doing things, of our own fear of failure, and even just the busy reality of our daily lives. This is something we feel especially sharply in the workplace and in our careers, where most of us struggle not only to put ourselves forward and take a risk, but to also turn that moment into one in which we communicate our vision clearly and accurately. Judy Garland got it right – the best way to be effective is to be a top-rate version of ourselves – but how do we get there?
We do it by facing an almost universal fear: public speaking.
Public speaking skills – whatever your career, whatever your level, this is what you need
Whether you’re taking the leap from specialised expert to team leader, are climbing the management ladder and running a team or simply want to make your voice heard in the workplace, strong communication skills are the only way to get there – and that means learning to master presentations, whether they are formal or informal in nature. Why should you put yourself through this, you ask? Here are the most important reasons.
- You’re too stressed already: Just say the word “presentation” to someone and you can watch their fight-or-flight adrenaline rush kick in. It’s a common fear that explains the dread we feel for everything from going for a new job interview or taking a new idea to the boss to hosting a professional seminar. Stress in the workplace is already too high, you simply don’t need to add to it. Great presentation skills work to reduce this stress in two ways – firstly, by making people more willing and able to take on these essential communication roles and use them to positively impact on their own careers and the business itself, and secondly, by helping to ensure that information is passed on clearly and accurately, preventing stressful miscommunications.
- Your time management needs work: For too long we’ve all been focussed on how long we have to present for, as if communication improves the longer we stand up and talk in front of others. I blame school speeches! The reality is that what you’re saying and how you’re saying it is far more important than the amount of words and slides you use to do it. Good presentation skills help you communicate your message faster in a more focussed and effective manner – and you’ll spend less time preparing because you’ll have better knowledge of what you need to communicate and how to do it. And I think we can all agree that increasing the quality of a presentation while spending less time in front of everyone is a win for both presenters and attendees.
- You can’t lead if you can’t communicate: Got something to say? It’s not helping anyone if you’re sitting there stewing on a great idea. It’s also not going to make an impact if you quietly email it out – we’re all just too busy to notice. If you want to be heard, you need to build up your confidence to stand up and speak – and when you speak, you need to be able to communicate your idea with authenticity, strength and clarity.
There’s nothing cookie-cutter about learning presentation skills the right way
If you look up information about developing your presentation skills or why presentation skills are important, you’ll get almost 3 million results in 0.4 seconds from Google. There are hundreds of e-learning courses from dozens of training companies in your city. There are gurus galore telling you what 5-step plan you can follow to help you present just like them. But the truth is that there’s no one-size-fits-all presentation style that will guarantee your success. Learning to present is only effective when it brings out your own, unique presentation style – when it helps you access your inner leader and unique qualities instead of teaching you to copy someone else. It’s only in this way that you can truly demonstrate how you personally add value as a part of the team – building the trust of those around you and your own brand.
Presentation skills training from the right specialists will help you focus on bringing out your own voice, to help you build a career that carries your unique touch – a first-rate version of yourself for the workplace.
One-on-one presentation skills training – make your voice heard
Move your career forward your way, banish those stage-fright fears and learn to communicate with confidence through training from experienced business coaches. Book your seat at our upcoming Effective Speaking & Presentation skills training course on or visit click here to find out about our other communication skills and authentic leadership training courses. Each course is tailored to your specific needs, including your industry and position.
Click here to look at Maurice Kerrigan Africa’s public course training schedule.