It is time for resolutions; the start of a new year is a natural time to think about new goals and priorities. Even people who “don’t do resolutions” often become reflective as this time of year rolls around.
The most common resolutions won’t come as a surprise. Number 1 on the list is apparently getting healthy. Number 2 is getting organized, followed closely by living life to the fullest.
I would like to propose a different resolution for 2019: this year you should become a better presenter. Make 2019 the year when you take steps to optimize your presentations.
This is a great resolution for three reasons.
Presenting is an important skill for any leader. The ability to stand up in front of a group and communicate a recommendation is almost essential if you want to be a successful business leader. If you deliver logical, convincing presentations, your recommendations will tend to go forward. Most important, people will think you are smart and strategic and a rising leader. As Warren Buffet observed, “If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up you potential.”
Everyone can embrace this resolution. If you are strong presenter, you can become even better. There is always room to improve. If you aren’t a gifted presenter, there are big opportunities to have an impact. Getting just the basics right will help.
There are clear steps you can take. Start by reading some books on it. You can begin with TED Talks and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and my new book, How to Wash a Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation.
Then do more presentations. When there is an opportunity, volunteer. When you are giving a recommendation, create a presentation.
And get some help. It is easy to hire a presenting coach to give you suggestions. An editor can check your work and spelling. Ask your mentor to go through your presentation and give you feedback on it.
I’ve posted a series of videos on presentation skills. You can see them here.
Becoming a better presenter isn’t complicated. It doesn’t take enormous skill. It simply requires you to make it a priority and follow some basic rules.
If you become a better presenter, you will have bigger impact at work. You will get a bigger bonus. You will get promoted. And ultimately, you will have a better life.
Happy New Year.