Australian Institute of Soft Skills Training

3 min read

How successful presentation skills can change the course of your career

04/03/2019 11:02:00 AM

 Business woman making a presentation at the office

They don’t call it dressing for success for nothing. Successful presentation skills and making the right impression are crucial in the workplace. They play a key role when it comes to trying to ace that job interview, but also for being taken seriously down the track.

While it might seem superficial, effective presentation skills are amongst the most important soft skills you can have. Before you’ve even opened your mouth at an interview, your boss has probably formed their first impression.

Every job you go for will have different standards for how to dress. So, I’m not asking you to be perfect, but dressing appropriately for what you think would suit the type of job you are going for will get you a long way.

In a study of communications by Harvard, it was found that it only takes seven seconds for you to make an impression on another person. That’s right, seven seconds.

Now if you think about it, there’s not so many words that you can string together in seven seconds. 38% of your first impression comes from how you sound (what you say…) In seven seconds that is probably— ‘Hi my name is Matt…’

So that means 55% of your first impression comes down solely to your appearance and non-verbal aspects of your communication. Have I got your attention now?

Presentation skills are crucial for driving your career forward toward true success. Follow this quick checklist to make sure you demonstrate successful presentation skills and tick all of the “dress for success” boxes.

1. Dress for the role

Actors know this one all too well. Are you going to wear a cowboy suit to an audition for a Sci-Fi film? I wouldn’t. Real professionals dress for the job they are applying for, and in most cases this means a suit. For a business job wear office clothing. Make sure it’s clean and ironed.

2. Starting the day in a more casual work setting?

Try to still dress up rather than dress down. Go for simple, neat and clean as a start. Keep makeup and jewellery to a minimum.

3. Do your hair

A dirty or messy hair do is never a good look on anyone. Keep it clean, brushed or combed.

4. Watch your body language around the office

People are drawn to smiling friendly faces. Keep eye contact and make handshakes deliberate and firm. Also, stand up straight! Good posture makes you seem more confident!

Each of these things play a role in creating an impression. Make sure you present yourself the way you would like your potential employer to remember you when they are reviewing their interview notes.

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