For many people, speaking in front of an audience is not a skill that comes naturally. So it’s likely that within your team you’ll find varying levels of presentation skills ability. But without a thorough assessment it’s hard to understand who is already capable of developing and delivering presentations that are effective enough to benefit your business, or if they need further training and support to do so.
But how do you evaluate the presenting skills within your team to find out where the skill gaps lie? A good place to start is to work out your presentation skills evaluation criteria.
To help you define this, in this article we’re sharing six crucial questions we use in our six-point presenter skills assessment checklist (which you can download at the end of this blog post). The answers to these questions will allow you to correctly identify the strengths and weaknesses (development opportunities) of each individual. Once you know this you can then put training in place so that everyone has the ability to confidently deliver presentations with impact.
Read on to discover the six key points to base your business presenter skills assessment on.
1. Ability to analyse an audience effectively and tailor the message accordingly
If you ask most people what it takes to deliver an outstanding presentation, they will likely focus on things like structure, delivery, slides and content. While these are all indeed critical aspects of a great presentation, a crucial part is often overlooked – understanding your audience. Look for clues to see whether your team member has taken the time to get to know their audience such as:
- Is their content tailored and relevant or generic?
- Is the information pitched at the right level?
- Is there a clear ‘What’s In It For Them’
- Are they using language and terminology that is appropriate?
- Have they addressed all of the pain points adequately?
- Is the audience focused and engaged or do they seem distracted?
For your team, getting to know their audience should always be the first step in putting together a presentation. Understanding the challenges, existing knowledge and level of detail the audience expects, lays the foundation of a winning presentation. From there, the content can be structured to cover what is important and the delivery fine-tuned to best engage those listening.
2. Ability to develop a clear, well-structured and informative presentation/ pitch that is compelling and persuasive
Flow and structure are both important elements in a presentation as both impact the effectiveness of the message. When analysing this aspect look for a clear, easy to follow narrative which is logical and persuasive.
Things to look for include:
- Did the presentation tell a story with a clear purpose at the start, clearly defined chapters in the middle and a strong close?
- Were transitions through the presentation smooth?
- Were visual aids, handouts or audience involvement techniques used where needed?
- Were the challenges, solutions and potential risks defined clearly for the audience?
- Were the benefits and potential ROI quantified/explained thoroughly.
- Did the presentation end with a clear call to action or the next steps?
For the message to stick and the audience to walk away with relevant information they are willing to act on, the presentation should flow seamlessly through each part, building momentum and interest along the way. If not, the information can lose impact and the audience may not feel inspired or compelled to implement the takeaways.
3. Ability to connect with and maintain the engagement of the audience
Connecting with your audience and keeping them engaged throughout can really be the difference between a great presentation and one that falls flat. This is no easy feat, but is certainly a skill that can be learned. To do it well, your team need a good understanding of the audience (as mentioned above) to ensure the content is on target. Ask yourself, did they cover what’s relevant and leave out what isn’t?
Delivery is important here too. This includes being able to build natural rapport with the audience, speaking in a confident, conversational tone, and using expressive vocal tones, body language and gestures to bring the message to life. On top of this, the slides need to be clear, engaging and add interest to the narrative. Which leads us to point 4…
4. Ability to prepare effective slides that support and strengthen the clarity of the message
It’s not uncommon for slides to be used first and foremost as visual prompts for the speaker. While they are great for this purpose, the first priority should always be to add to the audiences’ experience and understanding through effective use of visual data.
The main problem we see with people’s slides is that they are cluttered, hard to read, distracting or unclear in their meaning.
The best slides are visually impactful, with graphics, graphs or images instead of lines and lines of text. They should also be clear in their messaging and add reinforcement to the argument or story that is being shared.
5. Ability to appear confident, natural and in control
Most people find speaking in front of a crowd (both small and large) at least a little confronting. However, for some, the nerves and anxiety they feel can distract from their presentation and the impact of their message. If members of your team lack confidence, both in their ideas and themselves, it will create an awkwardness and undermine their credibility and authority. This can crush a presenter and their reputation.
This is something that you can visually pick up on but the good news is that it is definitely an area that can be improved through training and practice. Giving your team the tools and training they need to become more confident and influential presenters can deliver amazing results, which is really rewarding for both the individual and the organisation.
6. Ability to summarise and close a presentation to achieve the required/desired outcome
No matter how well a presentation goes, the closing statement can still make or break it. It’s a good idea to include a recap on the main points as well as a clear call to action which outlines what is required to achieve the desired outcome.
In assessing your teams’ ability to do this, you can ask the following questions:
- Did they summarise the key points clearly and concisely?
- Were the next steps outlined in a way that seems achievable?
- What was the feeling in the room at the close? Were people inspired, motivated, convinced? Or were they flat, disinterested, not persuaded?
Closing a presentation with a well-rounded overview and achievable action plan should leave the audience with a sense that they have gained something out of the presentation and have all that they need to take the next steps to overcome their problem or make something happen.
Effective Presentation Skills are Essential to Growth
It’s widely accepted that effective communication is a critical skill in business today. On top of this, if you can develop a team of confident presenters, you and they will experience countless opportunities for growth and success.
Once you’ve identified where the skill gaps lie, you can provide targeted training to address it. This then creates an ideal environment for collaboration and innovation, as each individual is confident to share their ideas. They can also clearly and persuasively share the key messaging of the business on a wider scale – and from here you can experience dramatic results.
Tailored Training to Fill Your Presentation Skill Gaps
If you’re looking to build the presentation skills of your team through personalised training that is tailored to your business, we can help. Get in touch today to find out more about our various programs.
Download The Presenter Skills Assessment Form
Written By Belinda Huckle
Founder and Managing DirectorRead Bio
Belinda is the founder and managing director of secondnature. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.
She believes in a training approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.
Belinda is currently helping to transform the presentation skills of people in organisations such as BBC Worldwide, DHL, ESRI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Pfizer, Roche, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.