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Presentation Skills  |  Storytelling  |  Social Influence  |  Visual Communications

Why train your Presentation skills? 

Written by  Maurice

The title actually contains 2 questions:

  • Why Presentation skills
  • Why Training

Why Presentation skills..?

In a B2B environment a presentation is a more formal spoken message, normally compressed because of limited time.  You have to show credibility and that you understand their issue(s). Show your solution, idea or offering and get them to ‘buy’ your message. Visuals that support your message saves you time. Your listeners in general want to control the subject, the duration and when to ask questions. You as a presenter need to manage all.

People buy from people that they trust, like and solve their problems. Storytelling as a format to present your message contains all these 3 elements and more. Storytelling can also create an emotional connection plus it can create images in their minds that can last a lifetime.

I am convinced that to excel in B2B environments better presentations with more impact will result in:

  • more customers, more deals & more revenue;
  • more custom satisfaction;
  • Your message being remembered better and longer.  

Be aware that another group probably needs another approach or message. You can discriminate when speaking with: Students or beginners vs. Experienced or C-level;  IT  vs. the business (HR, finance, marketing/sales);  New customers (why change?) vs. existing customers (why stay?).


Three out of four people suffer from fear of public speaking. According to research from Stanford University and AT&T the number 1 predictor for success in business and upward potential is “How much you enjoy public speaking and how effective you are at it!” So you need to get over that fear or get better at it.

How many great leaders, presidents and C-level personas do you know that deliver poor quality presentations? Think about it. It’s exception that proofs the rule.

The advice of Warren Buffett to a class of business students at Columbia University back in 2009:
"Right now, I would pay $100,000 for 10 percent of your future earnings, so if you're interested, see me after class."  After the laughter subsided, he turned serious:
"Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills | Public speaking. If that's the case, see me after class and I'll pay you a $150,000."
Mastering the art of public speaking is the single greatest skill to boost your career and value.


Why Training..?
In short: To get better!  You now know why you should get better!

Lots of people had their first (and for some a terrifying) experience with public speaking in front of their class, their peers, when they were 10 -12 years old.  “…this was my presentation about soccer, rabbits or my dog…  Are there any question?”  Not the best standard to continue throughout your career. By the way, the three topics I spoke about when I had that age been Time, USSR and Money. Apparently I was interested in out of the ordinary topics for my age.

Though many companies offer all forms of training for their employees either internally or by using an external trainer often the quality of presentations is not far beyond acceptable. Why not go for excellence? All the books and articles written in the world about public speaking, body language, breathing techniques, NLP and many more related topics, can’t prevent presentations are too often boring or do not have the expected outcome or result. That can be a waste of time for all parties.

In the world of public speaking ‘Just knowing how to do it better or doing it correctly…’ means nothing, nada, zilch, if you don’t act on it. You have to absorb all these new required insights and use them during your next pitch, presentation or speech. Looking at people playing golf does not make you a better golf player yourself next time. You need to train your skills, to get better. The longer and more you train the better you get.

Same as with driving a car, theory alone will not get you there. It helps, but you need to drive and practice for 20-40 hours, doing some parallel parking and three point turns, with instant and honest feedback. That works. The day you receive your license is memorable, but you still need 1000s of miles to get from a learning state where you need to think about most activities to a new driving behavior that turns into a habit. “I can turn on my car with my eyes closed in 1 second. Try that with a new rental…”

To promote a permanent change in behavior or the existence of a habit you need a reward. This can be:

  • winning the golf tournament
  • getting from A to B faster by car, without accidents or support from others
  • as well as applause or the desired results when you finish presenting

To get the most out of a presentation skills training participants need to remember, understand and apply certain techniques. They have the possibility to practice and experiment them in a safe and positive environment. Don’t start practicing on your prospect.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”
---  The Navy SEALs

Apply means to create a new opening, a close or a main message etc. Then to stand up, take pole position in front of the rest and deliver. The rest of the participants can spectate, analyze and evaluate what they see, hear and feel.  It’s a learning experience for both presenter and listener. Social learning is a strong format.

Training provides the opportunity to redo an exercise and show improved skills or techniques based on instructions, honest and concrete feedback. A workshop is a great start. A follow-up (internal) training is even better.

In summary

Presentations and presentation skills are important. They are very important. They make or break deals and careers. To make the difference you need to make an effort to get a little better every time. A workshop that provides you with multiple learning styles to understand, apply, create and evaluate new techniques gives you a great start, confidence and inspiration. But follow-up and continuous training over a longer period of time with honest feedback from your manager, coach or colleagues in a friendly environment with room to experiment will get you even further.

Thank you for reading my post. On LinkedIn I regularly write about Presentation skills and how commercial B2B professionals can get the most out of them. If you would like to read my future posts then simply add me to your network or click <Follow>.

Maurice Hellemons

Tags: Training, presenting, presenteren, Presentation, presentations, Improve presentations using NLP,, why training, why, why public speaking, effect of training, workshop, Beter presenteren kun je leren!, YouncK,, Learning equals Remember, Understand, Apply. Then Create, Evaluate and Analyze. Lead by example, Safe environment,  more deals. B2B.