Effective leadership starts at the top, and it’s hard for a founder to build a strong team with poor communication skills. Stammering during a leadership meeting or presenting unclear content is not how an entrepreneur sets a professional tone for their company. How else will a founder inspire their team if they can’t effectively communicate their goals?
Want to ensure your communication skills are up to par during your next leadership meeting? Check out the following eight essential skills for founders and entrepreneurs to display when presenting to teams:
1. Public speaking
Effective public speaking skills are vital in the workplace, especially while running meetings with teams. Spoken communication is how founders establish goals and present ideas. Fortunately, public speaking skills can be sharpened, so even entrepreneurs who aren’t ready to lead a board meeting upon startup can work on becoming public speaking masters.
Presentations are how we effectively communicate with teams, and storytelling is the lifeblood of a powerful presentation. People instinctively respond to stories, and the artform will capture their attention and cement the content to their memories. What story will you tell? As a founder or entrepreneur, try telling the story of your company, your products, your customers or yourself. Later presentations can tell the story of a goal, an objective, a process or a success.
3. Visual Aids
Two-thirds of all people are visual learners, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the human brain is visual. Therefore, it only makes sense that imagery is a powerful communication tool. Visual aids and visual storytelling are vital elements of an effective presentation. Entrepreneurs can accomplish better visual communication by adding infographics, photos and video to their team presentations.
4. Nonverbal communication
Sometimes what you say isn’t as important as how you say it. Not only can unintended – and even unconscious – facial expressions and hand gestures send the wrong messages, but they can be hugely distracting to teams during meetings. Teams could be left thinking a founder is angry or annoyed at them when the truth is the entrepreneur had just been stuck in traffic that morning – if unintended nonverbal communication is left unchecked. Likewise, exaggerated gestures will not effectively hold an audience’s focus on the content of the presentation.
5. Presentation structure
Another way professional messages can be lost in translation is through poor presentation design. Audiences are unlikely to notice a skillful design, but an ineffective structure surely will lead to distraction and confusion. Fortunately, Beautiful.ai users don’t have to be skilled presentation designers to create powerful slide decks. Thanks to presentation templates and Smart Slides, users can choose the structure that works best for their topic and watch as artificial intelligence incorporates the principles of good design into slides every time new content is added.
6. Audience engagement
It’s practically impossible to capture and hold teams’ attention during a presentation without some type of audience engagement. There’s no sense wasting time designing a beautiful presentation if your team isn’t focused on your content. Storytelling, imagery and presentation design are all ways audiences engage with a presentation, but founders also can ensure their presentations are powerfully delivered with extra engagements like humor, questions and team activities.
Ever hear the saying, “less is more?” The adage definitely applies to team presentations. Most people dread lengthy meetings, so founders can deliver more powerful presentations by keeping their deliveries short, sweet and to the point. Beautiful.ai customizable presentation templates display the appropriate number of slides for efficient delivery, and they can help presenters ensure their slide decks aren’t lengthy and unfocused.
It’s easy to focus on the content of a presentation and barrel through the delivery, but how is the audience reacting? Founders who wait until the close of the presentation to receive feedback from their teams can miss important opportunities to address questions and concerns or even change course for better engagement and understanding.
If you wait until the end of the presentation to see if your team is on the same page, you’ve waited too long. Asking questions and actually listening to responses can help avoid this predicament and allow time to adapt a presentation and its delivery. In fact, including placeholder slides inviting questions are effective ways to ensure active listening is featured in the presentation.