17 Aug 2018, 09:30 — 4 min read
Summary: “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” This quote by author and presidential speech writer, James Humes, underscores the importance of communication skills in the journey of every leader and entrepreneur. Raj Khalid shares some tips to make a lasting impression as a business owner.
I believe communication is still the single most important part of any entrepreneur’s skill set. With increasing technology, we seem to have lost our writing skills, so emails tend to be longer versions of text messages or WhatsApp messages. While brevity may be the soul of wit (a famous quote by William Shakespeare), conveying your message in a manner which is both informative and pleasing to the recipient is important.
Presentations at conferences, meetings and client discussions are also important and should not be a mere batch of slides that are flashed to the recipient and read out aloud. In fact, if you look at the audience in most conferences, they are reading their mails or staring at their phone screens while the speaker drones on. Worst are those who have a huge amount of writing displayed on the screen and merely read it out aloud.
My own experience leads me to believe that a good presentation should not rely solely on audio visual aids but should be a platform for the speaker to communicate with his/her intended audience. The slides should remain as audio-visual aids and all attention should be on the speaker.
Never forget the basic steps for making a good impression that lasts. In short order they are:
1. Be presentable. Dress well, soberly but smartly. Men should wear a jacket since it hides the unruly shirt from sticking out. Ladies should also consider their attire, smart, business-like and more formal than casual.
2. Capture the attention of the audience. I once learnt that when you want to get a mule to do what you want you need a 4X2 (a stick) with which you get his attention. Likewise, a small joke, some relevant fact will loosen up your audience and engage them with what you are saying.
3. Maintain eye contact with some people in the audience. This automatically precludes reading from a prepared text or speech or flashing slides at the audience. Speak extempore or rehearse well, take small cue cards to ensure you leave nothing out. Try and deliver the presentation without slides to a colleague or a friend and see if they understand what you intend to convey.
4. Begin by telling the audience what you will tell them.
Then tell them what you came prepared with.
End by encapsulating what you just told them.
These are some of my tips for creating a lasting impression. This will ensure you get customers or funding or whatever was the intended outcome of your presentation.
What do you think? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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