Presentation Skills are Crucial for Careers

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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

Job Search: Distinguishing Yourself

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It need not be said that technology plays a significant role in our lives, but it is important to understand how vital it is to your career. This hardest thing for most people to figure out today is, how do we show employers our capability and willingness to learn and apply new technologies.  Lauren Johnson wrote an article about using Snapchat to land a job and I felt motivated to share the three tips that I see as crucial. However they will that when used together, I see as crucial to standing out when trying to snag a job.

1. Research, Research, Research

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Before all else, Research is the most important thing you can do. Since I am a planner and strategist so it’s easy for me to say that research is key. The truth is that employers and professionals are looking for people who will go above and beyond the average person. It says a lot about you when you have deeply research the companies you are applying to.

It says even more so when you have gone out of your way to discover the skills they deeply desire and acquire them. An example of this would be, finding a job opening at a new agency and you research the desired skills for that position. You see that this company could use all the skills you have but they also want someone who knows basic graphic design and adobe creative suite skills. Which leads to the next tip/step.

2. Learn Tangible Skills

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It’s not enough to just research the skills that these companies want, if you want to work there, you need to go out of your way to learn the unique skills that will set you apart. There are dozens of online tutorial sites that can teach you virtually everything that you need to know to actually acquire tangible skills.

Knowing industry information isn’t as important in the digital age what with search engines acting like a digital memory. What employers want in new hires now are applicable skills that can be applied and used to perpetuate the company. This means learning skills like the Adobe Suite, Final Cut pro, Microsoft Office, and much more will be a critical component to distinguishing yourself from competing applicants.  So once you take the time to learn the skill you’d think that would be enough, right? Wrong. This leads to the final step

3. Create personal project

Once you actually learn these skills, it isn’t enough to just say you have them. If you go into an interview tell the person interviewing you that you have skills in adobe creative cloud, you better be able to back that up. Which brings up the importance of personal projects. So many people get in this mindset that they only have to do things that are assigned to them.

Personal projects require you to be intrinsically motivated because there is no point to what you are doing other than to fulfill the goal you set for yourself. These are important because they allow you to develop your skills into physically or digitally produced items. It will be these projects that you can actually show during your interviews to set you apart.

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Personal projects prove that you have not only researched what the company wants, but also you have learned the skills they desire and physically produced something to prove it. This goes above and beyond what more people do to apply for a job.

-Nathan