How many times have you walked out of a meeting saying, “Well, that’s an hour of my life that I will never get back!” We seem to tolerate poor presentations in the workplace assuming that’s just the way it is, not thinking about or recognizing the negative impact poor communications has on business. Let’s face it; the quality of a presentation can make the difference between:

  • Winning that next big job or a pointless pitch
  • Team collaboration or needless conflict
  • Profitability or money down the drain

In a world where the bottom line rules, how we communicate has a direct correlation to success and profitability.

Bringing people together costs money

Simply put, whether it’s a sales pitch, an analyst summit, industry event or everyday run-of-the-mill business meeting, it costs money to bring people together, whether on-site in a conference room or an event that is produced off-property. Meeting costs escalate quickly when you include the dollars for salaried employees taken away from work, travel, the venue itself, equipment, hiring production crews, as well as lodging and the cost of food and beverage.

In a recent study commissioned by Casio, 250 senior executives in the U.K. were surveyed to examine how to improve business pitches, workplace collaboration and meeting delivery. The results were striking:

  • Almost two-thirds reported spending at least one to three hours each week in meetings
  • 48% reported these meetings were not usually worthwhile
  • 56% said the business pitches they’ve seen recently could be improved
  • 73% identified poor presentation skills as a common mistake

So what is the answer?

How can you ensure that the people in your organization deliver presentations that add to the bottom line? First, identify an upcoming presentation that is critical to the success of the organization. Perhaps it is an all-important industry event, a highly anticipated product launch or an upcoming webinar — I like to call that your “end game.”

Next, invite an experienced presentation professional to work with the individual or team of speakers to provide the knowledge, counsel and coaching to ensure the message is compelling and that they connect and engage with their audience. Rehearse and solicit feedback so that the presenter(s) are comfortable and confident in their delivery.

Having an “end game” establishes a goal, providing an ideal opportunity to practice and use the new skills in a high-stakes environment. A presentation professional provides valuable coaching, instills confidence and guides the presenters to experience a “win” and set higher expectations for the future.

It’s clear that presentations play a big role in business, with a big price tag to match. Just as the impact of a great presentation can be dramatically positive, a poor one can be considerably damaging. Developing presentation skills throughout an organization can and will impact business, minimizing wasteful meetings and arming a team with the skills to engage and influence.

How have you experienced poor presentation skills affecting your business?

Stephanie Scotti is a strategic communication advisor specializing in high-stake presentations. She has 25-plus years experience of coaching experience and eight years teaching presentation skills for Duke University. She has provided presentation coaching to over 3,000 individuals in professional practices, Fortune 500 companies, high-level government officials and international business executives. Learn more at ProfessionallySpeaking.net and ProfessionallySpeakingBlog.com.

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