Sharpen Your Presentation Skills With Everyday Interactions
Presenting will become easier and easier when you micro-train in real-time life!
I’m a big fan of integrating my time, energy and effort to serve many objectives at once. This includes practicing my presentation skills.
I don’t mean multitasking.
I mean, for example, that I walk extensively in my neighbourhood. While I walk, I listen to podcasts that enrich the various parts of my brain, and I may also deliver postcards door to door promoting my pet sitting service, not to mention getting outside and changing my scenery. I will almost always come across a neighbour walking their dog. I always carry my cards in case they haven’t received one yet.
Meeting neighbours who could use my service is a spontaneous warm call, in my opinion. I know they will be interested in my offer in some way. I’ll introduce myself and ask if they have seen my lawn sign, or if they’ve received my postcard and summarize what I offer.
I’ll answer their questions and gain insight into their needs. I have that moment to capture their attention and deliver my message as tailored or as broad as it needs to be. And try to overcome objection messages! I have to think on my feet, and fast.
When I’m walking a client’s dog, I wear my branded baseball cap and shirt, and stop to say hi to other dog walkers, make my offer, see if they need my help. Clearly, I’m walking my talk if I’m walking a client’s dog, and their sense of Know, Like and Trust builds.
Now, any neighbour I meet walking their dog now knows me and how I can serve them. And my presentation skills get better and better every time I meet them.
Where am I going with this?
Being a presenter goes beyond the polished meeting and the impressive slide deck.
It isn’t limited to the meeting room, virtual or otherwise.
Every interaction you have in business as well as in day to day life is a form of presentation. See each as a chance to practice and develop your presentation skills.
As my example hopefully expresses, when you do practice, these often unplanned moments become opportunities to shape a strong first impression, build an authentic connection and influence a positive decision.
…which is what you’re aiming for when you’re formally presenting, right?
Think about it — how ARE you presenting yourself in common, day to day scenarios, and how are you USING them as chances to build your presentation, interpersonal & customer service (bonus!) skills? Let’s dive in with these examples but think of your own so you can personalize things within your context.
When you answer the phone…
Are you answering as if the call is a nuisance or welcoming it with curiosity or anticipation of what the caller’s got to say (telemarketers may be the exception)?
What is your voice saying when you say Hello (or however you answer your phone at work)? Go beyond the words. Is there impatience? Annoyance? Or would the caller hear the smile in your voice? And feel that their call is appreciated?
Presentation skill: setting the tone of the presentation and revealing your presentation personality
When you leave a voice message…
Do you leave a message that sounds like it was a bother to do it? Do you leave little in the message to help the person you called to know why you called? Do you leave a rapid-fire message that the person you called has to replay over and over?
Or do you leave a courteous, detailed and well-paced message that they can follow and act on? Do they feel good that you connected with them, and maybe a bit disappointed that they missed your call?
Presentation skill: live speaking with or without notes, serving the audience with complete information, speed and clarity of speech they can follow
When someone’s arrived into your workspace…
Do you keep looking at whatever it is you’re doing, not look up, and mumble a greeting? Do you feel their presence is an interruption or intrusion?
Or do you pause to give the person your attention, greet them, and ask if you can help them or see how they’re doing?
Presentation skills: kicking off a presentation, engaging attendees, providing a welcoming sense of arrival
When you are on a lengthy in-person or phone customer service call …
Do you want to close the call as fast as possible to get on with the next call, because this customer is taking up way too much time and you have a call quota or other tasks to complete?
Or do you figure out the best next steps to get them what they need?
Presentation skills: handling a question from the audience before Q&A time, planning the presentation to include buffer time, use the ‘parking lot’ gracefully and graciously (different from Q&A time)
When you are asked for help…
Do you feel it’s an imposition, your work is more important, and brush them off?
Or do you ask for more details, get a better picture of how your help is needed, and work out a mutually agreeable plan?
Presentation skill: no question left behind — along with including buffer time, if you can’t answer their question in Q&A time, work out how to follow up with the answer
How did you do with your self-assessment? What are your next steps? I’d love to hear from you!
Real-time, real life situations are perfect training grounds to sharpen your presentation skills. Keep the pilot light going with your practice, so when the spotlight comes on, you're ready to go!