Engaging stakeholders, getting buy-in from employees and management, and becoming a trusted advisor are frequent goals of safety professionals. To accomplish these goals, the place to start is by evaluating and honing your presentation skills. Everyone has attended a meeting, a conference session, or a presentation in which the presenter, presentation, or delivery of the message was lacking. This can be, at best, distracting and at worst, career damaging. A successful safety professional is one that stakeholders can trust and believe in. To be that, he or she must also be someone that people want to listen to, who communicates well, and who delivers the right message at the right level.
In this paper, the authors will discuss methods that a safety professional can use in order to enhance their presentation skills, thereby helping them along the path to achieve career success. Presentations could be anything from reporting audit results to an executive, talking about safety on the floor with a front-line supervisor or employee, giving a training class, or presenting at a large conference. Even a skilled presenter will be able to take away new and valuable information.
The three main steps to enhance presentation skills are to (1) Know Your Audience; (2) Craft Your Message; and (3) Deliver Your Message. This paper will provide an in-depth discussion of these steps and provide valuable information as to how to design, develop and deliver a powerful, engaging, and memorable presentation.
Before developing a presentation, the first step is to understand your audience, which will allow you to tailor your message so that it is received well and buy-in is accomplished. Though there will be similarities, presenting to an executive leader will generally be different than presenting to a front-line supervisor, a maintenance team member, or a front-line team member. A presenter must also understand the culture of not only the organization which you are presenting to, but also the culture across that specific team, unit, facility or department. The more information you have about who your audience is, the more successful your presentation to them is going to be.