Presentation skills are as fundamental a communication skill as writing for many careers. They include a combination of visual, verbal, and written communications skills that are used to inform, persuade, and even inspire your audience.
Presentation skills are important because presentations enable high-impact communication of information in multiple formats to your audience. At the core of your presentation skill set, storytelling in your scriptwriting allows you to capture the imaginations of your listeners with vivid verbal imagery. The use of data visualizations and graphics in your presentation design can drive home your points with additional clarity. Add to this a poised delivery and confident body language honed through public speaking practice, and you can multiply the impact on your audience even further.
The need for powerful, data-driven presentation skills is growing particularly rapidly. The digital era offers opportunities to harness data to communicate insights in ever more, and ever more complex, ways. The sheer volume of data available today combined with new demands for data-informed decision-making make the need to convey this information clearly within a narrative that makes them actionable more important than ever.
Presentations skills are important in any field, whether you are a scientist delivering research results, a public policy specialist proposing funding priorities, or a startup founder telling the story of your company’s newest innovative technology. They are especially critical for careers in business, where the ability to effective presentations can make or break your bottom line.
Management analysts and consultants are an example of a business career that utilizes presentations extensively. As business efficiency experts, they gather and analyze data about a company’s operations on all levels and then extend possible solutions and recommendations through presentations as well as written reports. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected employment growth of 14% over next decade in this field, much faster than average, driven in part by organizations’ continued needs to improve efficiency and control costs in competitive markets.
Yes! Coursera offers a wide range of courses and Specializations that can enhance your presentation skills. Whether you are looking to refine your presentation design, hone your storytelling and public speaking, or master your data analysis and presentation with Excel and PowerPoint, Coursera has choices from leading schools and companies like the University of Colorado, the University of Washington, as well as PwC - one of the leading management consulting firms in the world.
And, thanks to the power of Coursera’s video-friendly platform, you’ll be able to practice your presentation skills remotely through collaborative group projects and in live office hour sessions with experienced professionals.
The skills and experience you might want to have before starting to learn presentation skills might be ambition and drive to make a favorable impression. To learn effective presentation skills, you might already have learned good organizational skills, good public speaking skills, and good storytelling skills. The art of storytelling, or creating a compelling tale that helps form the story arc of your presentation, is one of the fundamentals of good presentation skills. Creating clean and clear slides, as well as delivering your presentation in an engaging manner, are other fundamentals for presentation skills. Learning how to do all this effectively can help you achieve points for great presentations all throughout your career.
The kind of people best suited for roles in presentation skills may include those who possess a great speaking ability, good storytelling traits, a confident demeanor, and a sense of humility that keeps the presenter ‘real’ and without pretense. Some of the top presenters today are those who share personal anecdotes and who tell stories about their or others' lives to make a point in presentations. If you can emulate some of the top speakers, you may become well suited for roles involving presentation skills. You may also find that computer literate people who really know how to work the presentation software are best suited for roles involving presentation skills, as their presentations are often filled with excellent graphic elements and moving images.
You may know if learning presentation skills is right for you if you get excited about creating a story around a personal topic or a work topic in a presentation format. You may be very passionate about learning Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or other presentation software and getting good at the software. Another way to find out if learning presentation skills is right for you is to click over to YouTube or SlideShare to watch some shared presentations. If you find these presentations fascinating, then you might find a good fit for doing presentations in your career. Ultimately, if you find unique and interesting ways to address certain topics in a presentation format, then it may make sense to continue getting good with your presentation skills.
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