Presenting confidently is the soft skill that packs a hard punch. And its impact can be quantified.
According to the Harvard Business Review, research shows that 8 out of 10 people avoid making presentations (or do them unwillingly). So if your team is more comfortable presenting in front of an audience, you are already ahead of at least 80% of your competition.
In another survey, companies assessed as highly effective communicators showed 47% higher returns to shareholders over a five year period compared with companies that communicated less well.
And staff judged as highly effective communicators were found to be three times better at dealing with resistance to change, compared with less effective communicators.
One final set of stats: Harvard University, Boston College and the University of Michigan got together to assess the impact of so-called soft-skills training. They found:
- Productivity went up by 12%
- Employee retention went up
- The overall return on investment for the training was 256%
One of my clients is a large semi-governmental organization. Their mission is to attract new business to their province and to help the province’s businesses gain a foothold abroad.
The CEO understood that every employee, in every presentation, pitch and encounter, was representing both the company’s and the province’s brand. The difference between a confident presentation and a lacklustre presentation could be the difference between a multi million dollar deal (and jobs, and spin-off benefits over many years) and no deal at all.
So the CEO asked me to put every member of the team through presentation skills training.
Your team is the torch bearer of your company’s reputation each time they open their mouth. If they speak badly it reflects on your reputation, costing you sales, leads, referrals and customer retention.
If they speak well they can reduce sales closing times, increase sales, get more leads, more referrals, and have better customer retention.
Three quarters of the population professes a fear of public speaking. If you manage a team, you probably want to be able to rely on more than one out of four, or two out of eight, to be able to delivery those make-or-break presentations.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.