We live in a fast paced world where opportunities simply do not come knocking twice. In fact, most times the only chance you get is one chance to make a first impression. Obviously then, you need to make that first impression not just good, but brilliant! For in today’s world if the first impression you give of yourself is not better than your competition, then it’s definitely the last impression you leave behind on your way back to square one.
This is where a certain skill-set called “Presentation Skills” come in; this is why ‘Presentation Skills’ are such a must have for all in the present day corporate scenario. But they are even more important in the world of media simply because the media in itself is all about ‘Presenting’. And a first impression made here is also relatively hard to change or forget. So anyone who doesn’t value the finer details of work ethics simply becomes a person who doesn’t belong in this world. Therefore, all media students need to acquire this skill set, and add a little extra to it so as to stand out in a crowd that is, in fact, all set to do just the same.
Then the question arises as to how do we get a step ahead of the competition? Getting and staying a step ahead is never easy. However, there are some ways which can help us accomplish this. I’m here going to speak about the three ways to optimize ones presentation skills that I consider the fundamental, and therefore the most relevant of these.
1. Study those that went before you
Human as we are, it is taken for granted that we all yearn to be unique and original. Yet, we must learn from others as much as we can and add a little bit of ourselves into it so as to give it a flavor of our personality. That will make us truly good, not only where presentations are concerned, but with everything else we do as well.
The reason is simple. If you want to write a sentence, you must learn the ‘ABC’ first. Consider all the great speakers you can think of for instance. There is at least one common trait shared by all great speakers and public figures- they studied those who went before them. For no matter how enamored you we may be by their oratory skills, none of them were born with the ability to impress or persuade or inspire. But what makes them unique is that they mastered the basics, and that is what actually sets them apart!
2. Power Dressing
Often the burdens of professional commitments can make us lose sight of the simplest and most obvious of things. For instance, it would be rather easy to undermine the importance of ‘how we look’ as compared to ‘what facts and figures we give the client’. However, going by the general human psyche, ten times out of twelve we unconsciously form an impression about a person according to the way he appears to be. And this goes way beyond whether he looks ‘good’ or ‘ok’ etc. In fact, we go to the extent of judging his preferences, personality, thinking patterns and even his character simply by the choices he makes while dressing up. Therefore, it is extremely important to dress appropriately for every occasion.
The art of dressing up is like a language. And if one can learn to speak the language of those he seeks to impress, then his success rates automatically increase. Therefore, we should always do our home-work and ‘dress up’ in accordance not only to the occasion but also according to the custom of the place. For that is true ‘Power Dressing’.
While making any presentation, one would realize the need to connect the dots as one goes along. Obviously the more time you spend on the subject of consideration the easier this gets. However, we live in a fast paced world, and often don’t have the luxury of ‘time’ in our hands. But even then we do have other connections to form. And once we start concentrating on the things that are within our reach, other things do fall into place to quite a great extent. For instance, if the presenter can form a connection with his audience by using his body language, hand gestures and by making eye contact etc. he can judge which direction to take, or how to impress his ideas upon this particular audience. Even the subject of discussion can be molded so as to reach the desired conclusion in ways which will be acceptable to his audience. And once we start connecting with the audience, we begin to realize that any good presentation is actually a two way communication process.
Once the fundamentals are in place, all we need to realize is that presentation skills do not need some inborn talent. These are skills that can be acquired. And, these can even mastered if one if willing to practice. Therefore, my dear media students must “practice, practice, practice!”