The HNI summer internship program is quickly coming to a close. This past week all interns attended a skills presentation workshop to prepare us for our final presentations. During these presentations we will give an overview of the projects we worked on this summer to various managers, mentors, and department executives. We all need to be ready. Perhaps even HON Ready…

I will definitely use the information I learned during the skills presentation workshop when constructing and delivering my final presentation, but these tips do not exclusively apply to interns. They can be beneficial for any position which requires speaking in front of others! Listed below are the main takeaways I learned that can be helpful in a variety of presenting situations.

3 Speech Components

  1. Delivery – If you have ever attended a college lecture, you know of the professor that simply drones. When speech material is dry or the presenter appears sleepy, the audience will leave bored rather than stimulated. During the training session, I learned it’s important to always bring interest and enthusiasm to a speech regardless of the topic. This will energize the audience and hold their attention. 
  2. Image – Most people want to look their best when standing in front of an audience because appearance is an initial indicator of professionalism. However, I learned that business professional is not always an appropriate go-to. It’s important to dress at the same level of your audience or one level above. For example, if you are leading a meeting in front of a blue jean-clad audience, khakis would be appropriate but a suit and tie may be too formal and inappropriate. I realized the importance of this tip because a presenter needs to relate to the audience and convey a similar image. 
  3. Content – “If the horse you’re riding is dead, dismount!” I liked this quote because it remarks on the importance of balancing time during a speech and avoiding a situation of too much or too little detail. The skills workshop provided tips on organizing the content of a speech so that a presentation is detailed yet concise.
  • Opening – hold the audience’s interest with an attention-grabbing fact, question, or story
  • Facts & Benefits – present the facts and how the audience will benefit from the facts
  • Evidence – substantiate the facts with proof such as numbers, testimonials, etc.
  • Closing – summarize key takeaways
  • Questions – welcome questions with the phrase, “Who would like to ask the first question” or “I am happy to answer any questions at this time.” Avoid asking, “Do you have any questions” which prompts a yes/no response and is mechanical.
  • Official closing – thank the audience for their time

 For more tips, check out this article via Inc. on how to prepare for a presentation and polish your speaking skills for a successful pitch.