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Business Presentation Skills: Lessons From Public Speaking Contestants - PresentatioN Skills Course Hong Kong HK

Business Presentation Skills: Lessons From Public Speaking Contestants - PresentatioN Skills Course Hong Kong HK
Helen Wilkie
It was a public speaking contest for high school kids. It was held in a big room, in a big hotel, in a big city. The judges were professional speakers who make their living at this. The audience was full of parents, each thinking nobody could touch their child for speaking prowess. Lots of pressure on these young shoulders, but they rose to the occasion.
Presentation skills are vital to career success today, no matter what field you are in. No longer are presentations restricted to senior level people - today anybody could be asked to present at any time. But too many folks have just not developed the level of presentation skills they need to be successful.
The young people in this contest have already built competence in a skillset that will give them career advantages over their peers no matter what they do. Here's why.
- They were highly articulate. The ability to express a thought clearly and concisely so that listeners understand it immediately will give them an advantage in a workplace world where this skill is not nearly as widespread as one might think.
- They were confident without being arrogant. When you speak confidently, people are more likely to buy into your message, but arrogance will turn your audience off. This fact seems to have escaped many adults as they make their presentations to management.
- They were enthusiastic. Whether the subject was funny or serious - and there were some of each type - they showed just the right degree of enthusiasm or intensity. Too many business presentations are boring, because the presenters deliver them in the same tone no matter the subject or whether the news is good or bad.
- Finally, they spoke clearly - they didn't mumble! There seems to be a mumbling virus out there in the workplace today. People run their words together and drop the endings, so that what comes out is a meaningless jumble of sound. If your prospects are struggling to understand what you are saying, how likely are they to buy what you're selling? Not very.
These kids were outstanding. They were judged on subject matter and delivery, and given points for tone of voice, volume, pitch and pace, humour and even audience response. It was hard to pick a winner.
I just hope these great kids don't lose the skills and enthusiasm they have now, or they'll sink to the level of way too many business presentations. And that would be a shame.
Helen Wilkie is a professional speaker specializing in presentation skills and other forms of
workplace communication. For more business presentation skills tips, visit
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Clear Communication Brings Enhanced Career Performance - HK Presentation Skills Training Courses in Hong Kong

Clear Communication Brings Enhanced Career Performance - HK Presentation Skills Training Courses in Hong Kong

Ken Schmitt
The term "label" carries with it a slew of images - both positive and negative. For those wounded veterans who proudly display the words "War Vet" on their license plate, the label brings respect and admiration. For those suffering from intense peanut allergies, a warning label on products produced without any peanut oil, can be life saving. The term "ADHD" (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or "IEP" (independent education plan) on a student's school file allows the teacher to work more effectively with the student. In each case the goal remains the same: to provide information that allows others to better understand the person or item with which they are interacting in hopes of providing a more positive experience.
So what does this have to do with career management, recruiting or job search? Consider this email we've all received at some point in our professional lives: "I'm not interested in your services at this time." Or how about this one: "Got your message. Give me a call." Or one of my favorites: "I don't understand what you're asking."
While there are a number of ways to interpret these messages - rude, succinct, dismissive, respectful, blunt or inquisitive - wouldn't our jobs be easier if we had some insights about the person sending the message to help us interpret her words more accurately? Or put another way, wouldn't life be easier if we all had "labels" identifying our style of communication?
"Hello, my name is Ken - don't bore me with details"
Let's use TurningPoint as an example. Keep in mind we are a small, boutique firm with a virtual model and a combined 40+ years of experience in recruiting, HR and career coaching, so we are not new to communicating. However, even in our small firm, we each have our unique style of communicating. I am very honest with my team, letting them know that I speak and move very quickly, I tend to work on multiple things at a time - hence the typing in the background while I am talking to them on the phone - I have high expectations and I am a perfectionist when it comes to written communication. While details are important to me, my mind operates - and therefore I communicate - with a focus on ideas, vision, long term strategy, connectedness and the need to create solutions.
My team is comprised of a former teacher, a certified coach with a sociology degree and an HR/recruiter who grew up overseas and earned a degree in anthropology. Do you think we all communicate in the same manner - think again! Do you think it took some time to get accustomed to each other's styles - you'd better believe it!
While I'm not advocating that everyone walk around with an actual label on their shirt that reads "Hello, my name is Ken. I'm a visionary guy so don't bore me with details", it's imperative that we spend time in the workplace talking openly about our approach, our goals and our perspective. Absent this commitment to understanding each other's communication style, issues are bound to arise ranging from an inadvertent insult to an inaccurate financial arrangement.
About five years ago, I sat on a local board and the interaction between the various personalities was quite invigorating. I felt it was my responsibility as a board member and President to take advantage of our large cash reserve - which had been in place for many years - to provide some new services to our members. Being an "idea guy", I was not worried about decreasing our cash reserves by 15%-20% because these new programs were going to benefit the membership. Our Treasurer, however, had a different perspective and as an accomplished financial professional and fellow board member, was focused on the dollars. On one occasion, I sent an email outlining my expectations and plans to deploy this capital. Although I had no intention of insulting anyone, my seemingly benign message was met with the following: "Ken, I really don't understand what you want from me. If you want me to resign from the board, just say so!"
"Where did that come from?" I asked myself and several colleagues. I realized later - and this was a great learning experience for me - that my failure wasn't in the message. Rather, I had failed earlier on by not talking to the Treasurer 1-on-1 about my thoughts and the reasons behind my so-called "spending spree". I never took the time to recognize that this individual was a numbers person and as such, the primary goal was to preserve cash! Perhaps the Treasurer's label would read something like "Hello, I'm a CPA, CMA, Controller and Treasurer. My commitment is to producing accurate numbers & managing cash. New ideas are fine, so long as they're paid for."
It's easy to forget that each one of us brings different life experiences, biases, education and perspectives to every encounter. While you cannot be held responsible for interpreting the communication style of every person you come into contact with, it's up to
you to open the dialogue, providing those around you with a glimpse into your style.
"Hi, my name is Ken Schmitt and I'm a native of San Diego. I've been working since I was 14 years old, my dad was a Jack in the Box franchisee and my mom is an accountant turned real estate agent. From the age of 13 I knew I wanted to run my own business some day and as soon as I got into recruiting and started networking in 1998, I knew I had found my home."
These 75+ words, though short and to the point, provide a great deal of insight into who I am, what my priorities are, where I spend my time and most likely, how I communicate with those around me.
The more others learn about you, your preferences, your personality type and your style of interaction - both listening and speaking - the greater the chances that your interaction will be productive at work and home. Don't hesitate to share your "label" with your friends, colleagues, superiors, staff and family, and encourage them to do the same. I guarantee you will be impressed by the results.
What's your label and how will you use it to enhance your career?
Ken C. Schmitt is an Executive Recruiter, Career Coach, Expert Resume-Writer and Master networker. He has been coaching and placing mid-senior level professionals for 13 years. Having presented to nearly 1000 professionals and written more than 50 career-related articles, Ken is well positioned to provide valuable information about recruiting and career management. For more career management advice visit
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