Along with a few faded and “cheesy” motivational posters of sweat drenched athletes, arms raised in mock victory, posing alongside the word “COMMITMENT,” the drab training room on the 10th floor contained eight people. It might as well have been a football stadium sized crowd that sat looking back at me. I could’t have been anymore frantic, or frazzled, on that anxious Monday morning. I had just been promoted to Team Leader, and it was the first day the inherited sales team was going to meet the “boss” for the monthly sales meeting.
While I can’t remember if they were spellbound, sitting in awe at the rhetorical eloquence of the masterful presentation I gave that day, or perhaps more likely bored silly by the twenty twirling, expanding and contracting animated bullet points on each powerpoint slide I’d stayed up till midnight creating, what I do remember was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of writing and delivering that first presentation to the team as a new manager. This is exactly where the new book by Lauren Hug, The Manager’s Guide to Presentations, fits in on the shelves of books dedicated to public speaking and giving presentations.
For someone who is new in a management position, or someone that struggles when standing before the team, this focused, practical, and easily accessible book provides all the necessary information needed that if studied and actually applied in the workplace would considerably improve the quality of presentation skills.
Delivering presentations is an ever present reality if the title on your business card says Manager. Given that public speaking is one of biggest fears that most people have, gaining a promotion to a managers role could bring with it the prospect of facing those fears on a regular basis. However, master this skill and become known for delivering presentations that concisely and regularly add value, inform, engage and yes, even entertain your coworkers, team members and boss, and it’s proven to be a skill that will boost your career progress. This book could become a ready resource you will return to from time to time to build and grow that skill.
The book is broken down into four key sections:
- Planning Your Presentation
- Developing Your Presentation
- Practicing Your Presentation
- Giving Your Presentation
Planning Your Presentation
In this section Lauren reminds the reader of a very important point, to be the best presenter that you can be, you need to know the key strengths that make you, you. So often people stand up to speak and metamorphosis takes place before your eyes. I have even watched as people completely change the voice they use when they speak in public. Authenticity in speaking is engaging. Knowing your strengths and playing to those is critical when presenting. Some very helpful checklists are included in this section to guide and focus your thoughts when planning that first important presentation.
Developing Your Presentation
This chapter is mapped out by the use of a Content Development Worksheet that guides the new manager to think through the process of building the actual words and points they will present. Knowing your audience and the various needs of the audience (even your boss) is a very helpful way of making sure the words and ideas that you present will connect and resonate when you speak. Giving practical advice on the types of content and best way to use PowerPoint slides, this chapter finishes with an excellent section on bringing audience interaction into your presentations and the predictability, interactivity, and best use of each method described.
Practicing Your Presentation
So vital and so often overlooked is the primary importance of rehearsal when presenting regardless of the size of the audience. Every time the new manager presents is a time to build and refine skills. Treat each presentation as a learning experience. Lauren reminds, every presentation you make is an opportunity to leave an impression, good or bad, on your team, your boss, and other audience members. Never forget they will be looking to see if the new manager exudes leadership, authority, and communication skills, as well as the ability to motivate and think on their feet.
Giving Your Presentation
In the last section of the book the new manager is walked through the final countdown to the presentation with another helpful checklist. Connecting emotionally with the audience when you speak should be the aim of every presenter. Lauren outlines a simple strategy for creating that vital connection through a seven step process that would be very helpful for the new manager to remember when standing to their feet.
This concise, though informative book, is published and available through Impackt Publishing, it would be a great buy for anyone new to public speaking and presenting. At 44 pages you can read it quickly, but it provides hours of practical exercises to build skills. As the author writes, and I concur, this book guides readers through a practical, stress-free, step-by-step process of planning, developing, practicing, and delivering a masterful presentation.
What I personally liked about this book was the addition of many checklists, tips, and worksheets to fill in. This is a helpful way to translate the knowledge gained into action, a step that is often missing from many public speaking books. One extremely insightful section was the passage on understanding your boss and how every presentation you give in your new role will impact your immediate boss in some way. A valuable reminder for any new manager wanting to get further promoted!
Overall, a short but valuable book that would be a great addition to the leadership library of any new manager.
By Peter Billingham
For more information on Lauren Hug visit her website here