How are your speaking and presentation skills?

I think most of us can agree that many problems in the work place can be avoided by simply having clear communication at all levels of the company. Naturally, the willingness to communicate is important, but, so is delivery.

I’ve learned over the years that regardless of your job, nothing promotes your knowledge and persuades more people to your point of view than having the ability to speak well. I’m convinced that people, from a member of the sales team on up to company management, can advance beyond their competition if they have the ability to speak well.

You probably have noticed that most presidents have strong speaking skills. This is vital for their ability to sway people, whether it be the Legislature or voters, to their point of view. You don’t need to be the leader of the free world to develop similar capabilities!

I recently completed a premiere public speaking masterclass with Crush The Stage. My fellow participants and I learned so much; not just how to be better speakers, but also about the power of effective communication.

Practice makes perfect
I started out today’s blog by stating the truth about how workplace problems can be more easily avoided with effective communication skills. Did you know that your promotions up the ladder of success are directly related to how well you communicate?

Here’s the thing: not a single one of us is born with good speaking skills. It’s a learned skill that must be exercised over and over, no matter how old or how experienced you are. In an earlier blog about what can derail a salesperson’s success, I talk about, “The 5 Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Part of prior planning is another “P” word: Practice.

If you are going to present to a buyer, or the management of your own company, you must practice your presentation even if it’s information you’ve shared countless times before. You should practice by yourself (even if you feel foolish!), with your peers, and anyone else who will listen.

When I was at Club Marketing, we strongly encouraged our suppliers to go through their presentations before meeting with a buyer, so everyone involved knew their part and how to interact with each other. Many suppliers seemed offended at the suggestion that they needed to practice, especially those who had been in the business for 25 years or more. Eventually, we succeeded in getting about 90 percent of our suppliers to practice their presentations.

Wouldn’t you know that almost all of those who practiced came away from their presentations thanking us for pushing them to do so.

As we had tried to explain, the buyers don’t have time for any kind of BS. If the supplier is prepared, their chances for success are much, much greater.

A friendly attitude goes a long way
It’s also important to keep in mind that communication isn’t just about words. For example, anyone who works in retail stores knows that a smile on your face when dealing with the public is one of the best nonverbal ways to communicate effectively. Practice greeting customers and different sales scenarios and your customers will appreciate both you and your company.

Whether you’re in retail or a supplier approaching a buyer, the key is to be genuine in all that you do and say. A great smile accompanied by knowledge and a friendly attitude are a fantastic way to start a conversation.

A friendly attitude goes a long way
Verbal and nonverbal communication are key to your success in business. Good speaking skills also enhance your overall life by revealing confidence in all that you do. Good communication will help you be the success you want to be.