Communicating clearly at work can be the ticket to getting the promotion you’ve been waiting for, earning opportunities to learn new skills and totally shaping the way your coworkers of all ages and boss see you (especially if you’re a first-time manager!) Since getting your point across is ultra critical, we reached out to Ted Frank, a story strategist and the author of Get to the Heart, to get some tips on how to mingle like a pro and make your presentations shine. Here’s to totally dominating this year!
Take a Presentation to the Next Level
1. Pinpoint three things that matter most. Every good presentation tells a story. According to Frank, the secret behind good storytelling is starting with three key scenes and building the story around them. “This not only keeps writers out of the weeds, but it also helps make it easier for us to remember and share the story with other people,” Frank notes. “Business people can do the same thing. Once you’ve decided which three things are most important, you can design your presentation to emphasize them.” He promises that not only will this make putting your presentation together way easier, but it’ll make it more memorable for your audience too. Bye, information overload!
2. Convey your key points with super solid examples. Frank reminds us that it’s way easier for people to understand and remember something with a great example or visual. “Always look for a way to describe your key points further,” he says. “Put these together so your presentation becomes a story that makes sense — something everyone watching and listening can relate to, understand and use.”
When it comes to visuals, Frank suggests using photos instead of drawings or illustrations. “I say this because photos depict real things, and that makes it even easier for people to relate and believe,” he explains.
3. Tap into emotion. No doubt you know how powerful emotion can be, but for some reason, we tend to forget what a difference it can make when incorporated into a work project or presentation. Frank agrees: “Speaking to the rational side or just informing your audience can only take you so far. If you want people to get behind you, you definitely have to inspire them and make them believe in what you’re sharing. All of that will come from engaging their emotional side.”
Communicate Even Better
The things that make your presentation more impactful will also make you a better communicator, like being concise, using examples and evoking emotion. Here are some additional ones:
4. Be true to yourself. Never underestimate the power of quiet confidence that comes with being yourself. “You’ve probably heard some talk about being vulnerable and not being afraid to show yourself as you truly are,” Frank says. “It’s actually sound advice. Letting your personality and values show helps people bond with you and is much more natural than trying to be perfect or polished.”
He tells us to remember that everyone (including a scary boss!) is simply human and has moments of uncertainty or nervousness. “Ask the kinds of questions that help other people open up, get to the heart of what really matters and foster your relationship with your coworkers, partners and everyone else you meet,” Frank advises.
5. Use your voice as an instrument. “Spoken word performers are so engaging because they concentrate on their words and their voice,” Frank explains. He tells us you can do the same thing at work when you’re trying to make a key point. “Instead of just speaking, feel your words come out and consider your tone and volume.” He suggests channeling your inner stand-up comic or favorite leader as inspiration to thoughtfully pace your words. You can work on building anticipation to create a moment that’s perfect for your point or punchline.
6. Become an expert listener. Speaking confidently is one thing, but truly hearing what people around you are saying is just as important. “Active listening demands your concentration, but the whole experience will soon feel more fulfilling as well,” Frank says. “When people feel heard, two things happen: They share more, which often gives you an opportunity to understand their perspective, AND they put more faith in what you have to say because they feel understood.” Even better? It’ll feel like a real, two-sided conversation. Who doesn’t want that?
What tricks help you rock the office? Spill your communication secrets with us on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)