Improving presentation skills

Three-quarters of American companies say they have difficulty recruiting the right people and according to the Society for Human Resource Management critical thinking is one of the top job skills requirements that is hard to find, but not the only one. As reported in this article from the World Economic Forum, the top three “missing” soft skills in the workplace are:

  1. Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Innovation, and Creativity
  2. Ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity
  3. Communication

During this week our learning focused on developing better presentation and communication skills. Both as listeners and speakers, we learned a few tricks about persuasion and presentation skills.

We started via Aristotle’s three means to persuasion via this short video:

Key Points on Aristotle’s Rhetoric The 3 Means to Persuasion:

  • Logos (Idea must make sense from an audience point of view)
  • Ethos (reputation, credibility, trustworthiness, authority)
  • Pathos (emotional connection)

We also discussed factors that influence decision-making:

Key Points on Science of Persuasion

6 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion (shortcuts that guide human behavior):

  1. Reciprocity (people most likely to say yes if they owe you)
  2. Scarcity (less availability = more wanting)
  3. Authority (credibility of the messenger)
  4. Consistency (voluntary, active and public commitments)
  5. Liking (get people to like you)
  6. Consensus (if others like you agree, you’re more likely to agree)

And finally, we dissected the presentation techniques of the late Steve Jobs:

Key Points on Presenting like Steve Jobs:

  • Set the theme (single headline)
  • Make theme clear and consistent
  • Create headline to set the direction (provide a reason to listen)
  • Provide the outline
  • Open and close topic/section with a clear transition
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm
  • Make numbers and statistics meaningful (provide context)
  • Make slides and visual tools easy on the eye (simplicity)
  • Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse