Using Communication and Presentation Skills to Further Your Career

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It might not be your lack of knowledge or competence that’s holding you back from taking the next step in your career. It could be how you present yourself. Whether you’re part-time, looking for a promotion, or have been in the industry for a long time, your career will always benefit when you take the time to brush up on your communication and presentation skills.

These skills also give you confidence and clarity in what you want to achieve in your life. If you want to advance your career, you need to focus on honing these skills.

Why You Should Improve Your Communication and Presentation Skills

You’ll remember when someone was rude to you, or to give you constructive and well thought through feedback. Over time, poor communication breeds poor responses. This makes it harder to influence people, and it affects your credibility.

Two graduates with similar experience apply for the same job. On paper, they have nearly identical skillsets. In person, one graduate walks the walk and talks the talk. The other one comes and in lets their CV do the talking. You can probably guess which one gets the job offer.

Communication is much broader than simply talking to someone – it’s body language, it’s writing, it’s listening, and it can be so much more. Having top-notch communication skills means you’re a better listener, a good negotiator, and a great motivator. You’ll develop high standards and these will reflect in your work and your interactions. This builds your reputation and your credibility in the workplace, which can help you move onto the next step in your career.

Communication is Also Needed for Presentations

Many people dread PowerPoint presentations and standing in front of a group of people. Nerves get the better of many people. What you should realise is that it’s okay to feel nervous. What you need to master is the art of appearing be confident when doing a presentation.

If you can do this, you will start to feel your confidence developing naturally and you’ll soon be communicating decisively.

Then you learn something golden: Presentations aren’t that scary when you’ve done them a few times.

Developing your presentation skills can help you in many ways, including:

  • Research and planning
  • Preparing a message
  • Technical skills
  • Public speaking
  • Focus

Hone your presentation skills and you’ll develop a fantastic skillset that will open up many opportunities. Becoming a superior presenter will make you more memorable, and people will begin to see you as a natural leader.

Improving Your Communication and Presentation Skills

Upping your communication and presentation game is going to take a lot of work. You have to be aware of a lot of things going on around you. You’ll be second-guessing yourself a lot, but in time, these skills will become second nature.

Are You Really Listening?

Listening seems like an easy skill – just let your friend drone on and on about their favourite hobby. There, you’re an exceptional listener.

No. That’s totally wrong. The reality is that listening can be as active as talking.

Next time you have a conversation with someone, check yourself before you jump in and speak. Squeeze your thumb and index finger together as a reminder. It’s too easy to change the conversation topic to yourself or something you know. Can you name at least three things you’ve learned from the conversation? If you can’t, start listening properly.

Zoning out is a bad habit, so avoid it at all costs in the workplace. You’ll seem disinterested and it’ll make your peers doubt whether you actually absorbed any important information. Use a notebook to write information down if it helps. This is especially useful if you have talkative colleagues or bosses who could do with looking to improve their communication skills themselves!

Practice Your Public Speaking Wherever You Are

A lot of people say you should practice in front of the mirror or make a video of yourself speaking, but who really wants to do that? See everyday interactions as your chance to work on your public speaking. Pay attention to your posture, keep eye contact, and smile at whoever you’re talking to.

Consider your key message and what you want to say.

Don’t waffle or get off track.

Structure and Flow Are Important

Why are many presentations mind-numbingly boring?

Often, it’s because they’re too long, poorly planned, and unstructured.

What purpose does your presentation have? Get into the head of your audience and assume they’re going to get bored quickly. How can you make your information appealing and get across the key message?

Think of K.I.S.S. – “Keep it simple stupid.”

Don’t go for fancy fonts or try to cram as much as you can onto a page. When you try to cram you usually do nothing but tell people stuff they already know. Keep slides slick and add value through your own presenting style.

Your presentation should have a start, middle, and end.

If for whatever reason it has to be a long one, build in a pause for short breaks, which will help keep people refreshed and engaged. Tell them at the start you’re going to have a break, it’ll stop them zoning out!

If You Use Emojis in Your Presentation – Stop Right Now

Just don’t. Don’t even entertain the idea.

There is (maybe) a time and a place for emojis. A professional presentation isn’t one of them.

Dress the Part

What message are you sending to your audience if you turn up in shorts and flip flops?

Dress for the target audience and event. Some events will need a formal suit, while others can be more relaxed. It’s stressful, tiring, and tricky trying to pick the right outfit, but dressing well can help further your career.

It’s often said, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If managers wear a suit jacket, follow their lead. If you’re speaking or networking at an event or venue where you don’t know the dress code, just ask someone!

When Networking, Don’t Just Suck up to the Most Important Person

Find the most important person in the room, compliment everything about them, hang on to their every word. Job done! You’ve advanced your career!

Everyone else has tried this approach. It won’t advance your career in the way you hope and this is a perfect example of poor communication in action. When networking, treat everyone with the same respect and be interested in their business and conversation. Never brush someone off because you don’t think they’re important enough.

You never know who they know, and you could miss a huge opportunity.

Improving Your Communication and Presentation Skills

Put these ideas into action and watch your confidence soar and your career take off. Becoming a better communicator and presenter may seem daunting, but learning these new skills is great fun and well worth the effort in the end.

Maurice De Castro is the Founder of Mindful Presenter. Maurice is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s most successful brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at

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