Effective presentation skills are vital for an engineer throughout their career.
Engineers present to many different audiences in many different formats, from briefing their project team to presenting bids to potential clients.
Becoming a confident presenter can help engineers communicate with clarity, strengthen their credibility, influence stakeholders and win work.
Business and communication training expert, Jarrod Benson believes mastering this skill early on in their career will help engineers gain a competitive edge and get noticed by management. He shares his top three tops to improving presentation skills:
1. Know your audience
The audience is the most important part of your presentation.
Before you plan your presentation, identify your audience, then develop the presentation with their needs in mind.
Take the time to research who you are talking with; are they engineers or managers, technical or non-technical, internal or external stakeholders? Find out what information they are after and what engages them. For example, a non-technical audience may get bored and disengage from your presentation if you go into the technical detail of how an engineering process works.
2. Understand the importance of your voice
Your voice is a powerful communication tool.
Learn how to speak clearly and project your voice. This will display confidence and competency, selling you and your message to your audience. Practice your presentation out loud and to a trusted audience.
A common risk associated with presentations is relying on a microphone. A microphone will only amplify what is already there. If your speech is not clear it will only intensify this, however if you are speaking with clarity and energy it will help deliver this to your audience.
3. Learn how to effectively use slideware
Slideware software for example, PowerPoint is a visual tool to support and add value to your presentation. To become a confident and successful presenter, do not rely on this tool alone.
When planning and designing your slides, have the audience in mind.
Lastly, keep the slides clean and simple. Always try to keep the number of slides and the amount of text on each one to a minimum. If displaying graphs, ensure the audience at the back of the room can read them.
Jarrod Benson facilitates the introductory Presentation Skills short course for early career professionals. Visit the website for more information.