Presentation Skills are Crucial for Careers



As I reach the end of the term, I find my courses requiring me to create three presentations. I remember when I first started pursuing an education in advertising, Deb Morrison once said in a lecture, that becoming a powerful presenter was one of the most important skills you could have in life. I find this increasingly true as I begin to search for a career where I will be pitching my ideas and work.

Forbes recently published an article with the headline, “New Survey: 70% Say Presentation Skills Are Critical For Career Success”. This has me thankful that I was able to take a class aimed strictly at making me a better presenter. A few years ago, when Deb told the class this, I raced to take advantage of her advice.

I was lucky enough to be blessed with the opportunity to have learned from the amazing Mark Lewis, may he rest in peace. One of the best classes I have ever taken was his “Presentation skills” course. Because of this, I am writing this in tribute to him, just four months after I finished his class, he unfortunately passed. He will be remembered by the lives he touched and the knowledge he imparted.

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Photo taken from Mark Lewis’s old Website, Laughing Moon Productions

Mark taught me not only how to become better at presenting, but also what makes a good and memorable presentation. The knowledge I’m sharing isn’t my original thought but rather a reiteration of what mark taught me. The structure to use when creating a presentation is: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them,” “Tell them,” “Tell them what you told them.”

I know this might seem simple or even repetitive for a presentation, but there is science behind this. This structure relies on the psychology of persuasion using the primer of consistency. To sum up what some people have devoted their lives to researching, people require consistency to be persuaded by others. Even if a presentation isn’t mean to be persuasive, you are still trying to persuade your audiences to listen to your information. So it’s a battle with the listener’s attention.

Psychologists have proven that it takes 3-5 times for a information to be fully absorbed. By addressing this scientifically proven factor, presentations are much more engaging and the information fully absorbed. Let me break down the structure. When you, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them you are giving them a primer to your information so that they are ready to hear your information. The Next step when you actually, “tell them” is the second time giving them the majority of the information making it on the forethought of their minds. Lastly, when you “tell them what you told them” you are hitting on the persuasion primer of consistency.

The below image is a sheet he passed out in course. I found it while cleaning and I felt like Indiana Jones in “The Raiders of the Lost Ark” when he find the artifact. As Indiana Jones gave it to the museum in the film, I want to share it with the public and anyone who wants to take advantage of it.mark lewis