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May 01

You Can Be Heard: Salonee Shah on Presentation Skills

Salonee ShahHave you ever presented to a targeted audience only to find them disengaged, your message clearly not getting across? Or perhaps you’ve experienced working for a boss who always seemed cold despite your best attempts at conversation. Well, both of these scenarios are most likely the product of a mismatched and ineffective presentation of information. Half of the solution lies in learning how to present effectively, and being able to communicate your message confidently, clearly, and creatively. The other half involves the difficult task of learning how to adapt your communication style to meet the needs of the listener.

What does this really even mean? Session two of the WAC workshop series led by the insightful Kathleen Brady focused on building better presentation skills to more effectively influence audiences. The interactive discussion taught us how we, as communicators, can learn to modify our behavior to communicate effectively in every situation. Participants were not only walked through a personalized profile detailing their unique communication styles, but were also taught a number of strategies on how to improve personal problem areas. Seemingly simple but enormously difficult to do well, successful presenting includes the ability to understand the audience’s processing style and sculpt the messages accordingly. I’m looking forward to session 3 from Kathleen on May 21st.

The next time you present, take a moment to ask yourself the following questions: Who is my audience? How do they need to hear this information? What do they need to know? Why are they listening to me? The first step is learning how to identify the audience’s communication style as well as your own. The next step is learning how to adapt your style to the audience’s and sculpt your message accordingly. Luckily, being able to deliver your content so it is truly heard is a skill that can be learned! But as most valuable skills do, learning to present and communicate more effectively takes both time and practice. Just remember, it is not only about what we say and how we say it. It is also about knowing whom we are speaking to.

Salonee Shah is formally a student at Columbia University, but informally a student of all things related to personal and professional development. She will soon begin what she hopes will be a long and successful career in finance, making sure to live true to the mission of WAC along the way.

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