The HR Juggler

Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Skills

Last week was all about presentations for me. On Wednesday, I delivered a presentation to 100 of our division’s most senior managers, on the requested topic of HR: Our Philosophy, Our Strategy and Our Expectations. On Friday I went into my daughter’s reception class and talked to a class of 5-year-olds about my job and introduced them to the concept of HR.

Two very different audiences, two very different presentations. Yet some of the learning was the same –

  • People love pictures. In both presentations I included a lot of pictures, with minimal bullet points. This made a huge difference with how the audiences engaged with the presentations and helped prompt me with the points I wanted to make
  • Meet your audience where they are. In both of these instances I thought quite carefully about what the audience’s prior knowledge of the subject was and what their preconceptions might be. In the case of my colleagues at the senior managers conference, I was also honest with myself about what their current frustrations were likely to be and worked to address them
  • Simplicity is fine. HR isn’t complicated, it is only us as HR professionals who sometimes contrive to make it seem so. If I can’t explain what my team do simply and clearly, without jargon, then shame on me
  • Be credible and honest. Don’t over-promise, over-egg your strategy or exaggerate your achievements…nothing loses your audience more quickly
  • Engage with your audience. Unsurprisingly the children were far more vocal than the adults. It was so sweet watching them stretch their arms in the air, desperate to ask a question, or more often, make a statement to contribute.
  • Choose the key messages you want to emphasise and accept that people won’t remember more than a few key points. Shorter and more succinct  is often sweeter, particularly if you are speaking towards the end of the day, as I was on both occasions 😉
  • Prepare well and practise, so that you feel as confident as you can be
  • Smile
  • Breathe
  • Slow down
  • Be positive!
  • Enjoy your moment, even if like me, presenting is not your most natural mode of communication 🙂

I really enjoyed both experiences and felt like I learned a lot through delivering both presentations. I’d love to hear what you think and what your learning has been from any similar situations.

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