Have you found a work-around for a common issue in your field? Are you just back from an industry conference, with some insights on the latest trends? Whatever it is, sharing what you’ve learned can benefit your co-workers and your organization. Do it well, and it can also turbo-charge your career or your business.
Sharing links to content on social media, a LinkedIn update or an item in your staff newsletter are all good options – but decide to present in person and you create the opportunity make a much bigger impression.
Laura Bruce of Toastmasters International offers a step-by-step approach to turning what you learned into a presentation that will impress:
- Decide what was most news-worthy. Look for things that may not be on everyone’s radar, but should be!
- Decide who would be the best audience for your news. Identifying the most appropriate audience for your information will help you create a successful and worthwhile presentation.
- Before you begin to decide what to communicate, consider how your audience will benefit from what you propose to tell them. Understanding how your audience is motivated will help you craft a message that appeals to them. Unless your news seems relevant to them, they are unlikely to listen closely.
- Find a forum to share your news. Is there an opportunity to piggy-back onto an event that is already in the diary, or do you need to create a forum to share your news? Speaking to your HR team, or local industry or professional development organization may reveal an upcoming event that is a good fit.
- Once you have a slot to speak at, it’s time to create your presentation. It’s important to tailor what you say to the amount of time you have been allocated. A good way to structure your presentation is to allocate a minute to your introduction, and a minute to your conclusion, six minutes for body and 1-2 minutes for a Q&A
- Open by answering the question everyone will be thinking. Your audience may not say it aloud, but everyone there will be wondering, “What’s in it for me?” Aim to answer this unspoken question early in your presentation.
- Decide the three most important things your audience should learn from your presentation. Alternately, you could make your main point, and then support it with three examples or case studies. Make sure at least one point will be relevant to 100% of the attendees.
- Develop your conclusion, and then, lastly, write your introduction. It may seem backward, but it’s only once you have decided on the main points of your presentation and what you will end on, that you can write the introduction to tell your audience what you are going to tell them.
- Write up your presentation, and speak it aloud. You will find that simply saying your presentation out loud will reveal parts that are too wordy, or don’t flow well. Edit it and say it again until it flows smoothly.
- Time your presentation to ensure it is the right length, and practice it.
Sharing news with your colleagues in-house or in the wider arena of your industry is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about a topic that interests you. By making a presentation, you also develop skills that will stand you in good stead regardless of your industry or level of seniority. If you are nervous about speaking in public, Toastmasters is a great way to develop your skills in a safe and welcoming environment. Some clubs will even allow you to do a test-run of your presentation, which is a super opportunity to get feedback ahead of “the real thing”!
ABOUT LAURA BRUCE
Laura Bruce is a business communications professional, and a member of Toastmasters International – a non-profit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 332,000 in more than 15,400 clubs in 135 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are more than 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7,500 members. To find your local club: www.toastmasters.org Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
For Toastmasters in the UK: www.toastmasters.org.uk
For Toastmasters in Ireland: www.toastmasters.ie