For Project Managers, presentations are not mere short-term goals but are vital activities that can win a contract, solve long-standing problems, or establish success plans. Effective project managers carry with them effective presentation skills in managing, organizing and planning resources. They use them to achieve positive responses from everyone concerned with the project.

Still, some project managers cannot sell the ideas they propose or advocate. They cannot communicate their cases and, consequently, fail to win audiences. To address these dilemmas, they can improve their presentation skills through the following best practices:

1. Defining the Audience, Purpose, Time and Location

The project manager must determine what exactly he is trying to achieve, how much time he has, and where he should accomplish such purpose. Most importantly, he must gauge the audience’s knowledge about the subject, reason they’re attending, and exact expectations. If he can answer these questions, he can attend to the specific needs and interests of the audience in a timely and composed fashion.

2. Writing and Planning the Presentation

There are numerous ways of delivering a presentation. It can be through the latest audio-visual technology, simple but effective speaking, dramatic rhetorics, or exchange of answers and questions. The project manager can choose the means he is most comfortable and effective with. Either way, its contents must be clear and specific to achieve the presentations’ goals within the time available. To make sure that his presentation can achieve the best outcomes, the project manager can ask someone to review it and provide feedback.

3. Connecting Visually

Numerous studies have proven that large percentages of information are best absorbed through visual aids. PowerPoint presentations, for instance, utilize colors and pictures to stimulate the senses. On the other hand, screens cramped with words and long sentences curtail the purpose of visual aids. A project manager can study and use what visual aids can best highlight the essential points of his presentation.

4. Preparing the Speech

Project managers can speak from memory, index cards, or full scripts. Taking and referring to notes is completely acceptable during presentations. If he is an established expert on the subject or has certified charisma on the audience, he can choose to spontaneously yet cautiously present.

5. Practicing

They need not be word perfect, but practicing will help project managers master what to say during the presentation. It will lead them to be (or at least sound) naturally intelligent for each part. And though it is perfectly normal for them to be nervous, practice can however convert their fears into positive energies. Such can motivate them to discover, anticipate and change areas they can improve.
As leaders, one of the jobs of a project manager is to prove what his team can do (or has done). He should remember that his audiences are already on his side. Afterall, they most probably came to hear what he has to say. If he can deliver an effective presentation, then he can win not only his audience, but also his current and future teams, clients and successes.

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