One area of Project Management that I feel is often overlooked is the presentation of information. This applies to both presenting to your immediate project team members as well as the project stakeholders. The value of providing good presentations to your audience reinforces their confidence in you as the Project Manager, and it also builds credibility within the Project Team.
I recently attended a class on Presentation Skills provided by Dr. James Brown. He stressed a number of points that I believe are the key to the successful delivery of a presentation, and here are my top takeaways:
- Proper preparation is required
- Know the topic that you are presenting
- Practice the presentation until comfortable with the timing and delivery
- Having a well structured message is key to meeting the objectives
- Understand your audience
- Knowledge of the topic
- Any bias towards you, the information, or your company
- Have confidence and be yourself
From my own experience, at ImageSource we created a speech club that met on a monthly basis to help our team members with their presentation skills. The format was modeled after Toastmasters, and the improvements in presentation skills were evident immediately. Each team member, no matter how reluctant they were to participate, expressed enjoyment in the speech club and accomplishment with their growth in confidence with presenting.
I recommend Project Managers to analyze how they are currently handling their communications and presentations with their project team and determine if improvements can be made. Toastmasters is a great organization to join and their process is a great way to build confidence and fine tune your presentation skills. Also, I have found that the more presentations I have given has made me more comfortable in those situations. Looking for opportunities and building your presentation skills can lead to great career growth.