You know that improved presentation skills lead to better leadership and greater success. And you do want improved leadership and success, right?
Then, like most people, you probably find the barriers can be forbidding and intimidating. Here are 3 barriers, and strategies to overcome them.
Barrier #1: The amorphous nature of presentation skills. It’s not something that most people are good at, and even if they were, it’s not like sitting down with someone and spending a few hours going over the basics.
Improvement requires a structured, disciplined approach. Mentoring by good public speakers in your organization won’t work. Nor will self-study.
Strategy for Overcoming Barrier #1: Look for a solution that has a smaller number of participants that usual. I suggest something that has a maximum of 7-10 participants, because this allows participants to delve deep into the skills and concepts necessary for rapid improvement.
Barrier #2: The Time Factor. Some solutions are over a time frame that’s too short. Most training firms do this in 2 or 3 continuous days. With today’s fast and furious hectic pace, requiring people to take this much time off at once just isn’t practical or productive.
And, improvement in presentation skills just doesn’t lend itself to such a short time.
Other solutions take too long. Joining Toastmasters is great, but it does take a long time to really learn everything. The same applies to enrolling in a public speaking skills class at your local college.
Strategy for Overcoming Barrier #2: Search for a solution that is provides training/coaching over a shorter period, perhaps 8-10 weeks. The accelerated nature of this solution addresses the too long/too short barrier.
For example, 6 half-days every other week is much more manageable than 3, 2, or even 1 full day away from work.
A more spread out format (bi-weekly or every 3 weeks) allows participants to adequately prepare for the speeches in the next session, and lets them try out newly learned techniques in the real world of their jobs.
Barrier #3: Lack of metrics for success. In a sense, this barrier is related to Barrier #1 (the amorphous nature of presentation skills), but it really is a separate barrier. Most training programs don’t really measure improvement.
In my coaching and consulting, I emphasize the importance of metrics. I often say, “If you’re not measuring this, how will you know if you’re improving?”
Strategy for Overcoming Barrier #3: Two ways. First, participants should take some sort of self-assessment before and after the training or coaching. This gives them a clear understanding of how much they’ve improved.
The other way of overcoming this barrier uses an evaluation form during the training, so that participants use the form to evaluate others’ speeches.
After the training or coaching, you can use this form when doing a presentation; give it to someone in the audience so that person can evaluate your speech. This way you’re continually improving after the training or coaching.
So, yes, the barriers can seem overwhelming, but the right strategies will get you over the top, and on the way to improved public speaking.