Mastering Public Speaking & Presentation for Young Entrepreneurs

The art of making conversation is as much about listening as it is about making your own point,besides, if one doesn't listen intently, how will one contribute meaningfully?

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The world of business has always been cut-throat. Today, however, the scenario is even more competitive than before. With entrepreneurs innovating, and constantly stretching the boundaries of products, services and unique offerings, it is ever-more difficult to stand out and be noticed.

Aside from one's innate and honed entrepreneurial skills, however, there is one vital skill-set that young Turks can work on, develop, evolve and master, that will aid them immensely in being noticed and being memorable. Be it within an organization or to potential investors; the mastery of Public Speaking & Presentation can prove to be that differentiating 'x factor', that really gives a young entrepreneur the edge.

Smooth Networking Through Conversational Skills

For any young entrepreneur, it is of paramount importance that they regularly attend a slew of social gatherings. These are high-powered soirees where captains of industry, investors, influencers, and strategically important people gather and rub shoulders. In a milieu such as this, more than just attending, it is critical for a young entrepreneur to make an impression, be noticed, and impress.

Be it among a group of people who are making conversation about a general current affair or talking brass-tax, or a casual (seemingly) run-in at the bar with a specific individual; young businessmen have to be at the top of their communication-game. It is common knowledge that business deals are sought and struck more at these kinds of events, rather than in a formal office and board-room settings.

And so, just around the corner, part of the next conversation might be the just the investor a young entrepreneur has been looking for. Therefore in order to impress in this kind of a situation, here are some pointers that should be kept in mind:

  • General & Current Affairs Awareness: Read regularly and stay abreast with news and views on a wide range of ongoing issues. You never know where a conversation might be headed. It is only when one is aware, and based on this awareness, has a well-thought-out point of view, can one actively participate in conversations, and make a great first impression.

  • Business Awareness: One's own business, its numbers, ins and outs, should be on any entrepreneur's fingertips, just in case the need arises to discuss any aspect of the business, at any point.

  • Sectoral Awareness: Not just one's own company, a young entrepreneur must also be intimately versed with the goings on within the larger sector in which he or she is operating. Only then will that person be perceived as a serious business-person.

  • Sense Of Humour: Especially at social gatherings, having a great sense of humour can give a young entrepreneur that 'in' into a conversation. A light-hearted joke or anecdote based on currently trending issues and topics is a huge help to get into a conversation. Similarly, even during what is referred to as 'shop-talk', to lighten the mood and break the monotony, it helps to be able to whip out an unexpected one-liner.

  • Don't Be In A Hurry: Some enthusiastic youngsters have a tendency of wanting themselves, and their original ideas to be heard, in a hurry. Curb that tendency. Nobody likes a show-off or a know-it-all. The art of making conversation is as much about listening as it is about making your own point. Besides, if one doesn't listen intently, how will one contribute meaningfully?

  • Introductions: It isn't always necessary to begin conversations with one's introduction. It is, in fact, more natural, organic, to assimilate into a conversation by offering a perspective, and then, a little while into the conversation, slip in one's name.

Deal Clinching Through Presentation Skills

The other important aspect of great communication for young entrepreneurs is, of course, the Presentation. In most situations, this refers to a Business Presentation delivered through a multi-media experience. Here too, there are specific tips that one can keep in mind to really make a winsome presentation.

§ Complementary Presentations: Many times, there is a tendency for the content on one's power-point slides to be the exact same thing that the presenter is verbalizing. This is a rookie mistake that should be avoided. The content on the screen/slide must complement and support what the speaker is saying, not replicating it. This keeps the listener's interest high and makes for a more impactful, immersive presentation.

§ Mask Your Fluster: Usually, business presentations, either during or after, entail a series of questions that the audience asks. As the speaker, it is entirely natural and human to be thrown off by some tough questions. It may be a very seasoned investor who makes you nervous or the very heavy sense of the occasion, that might give you the jitters. Do not be in a hurry to answer, because that's when silly mistakes happen. A great way of buying time when asked a tough question is to ask to go back to the relevant slides, in the meantime, gather one's wits and thoughts, and answer coherently.

In my view, presentation is an area that is still dealt with in a more assured manner as compared with unplanned conversations since the former is a thoroughly advance-prepared situation, while the latter can take place at any time, with no fixed agenda. Today's entrepreneurs need to work more on the latter because presentation skills evolve by default, through one's education and work.

The trick is to become a smart, savvy and sophisticated conversationalist which will really open doors for entrepreneurs and catapult them streets ahead of their contemporaries.