Giving your first presentation at work can be a daunting experience. Whilst you may have presented during your time at school or university, presenting in the workplace requires a slightly different approach. The ability to successfully prepare for and deliver an engaging and effective professional presentation is a hugely valuable skill; if you enter the workplace with a solid understanding of what constitutes a “good” presentation this will set you in good stead for success in your first few months at your new job and beyond.
Around 25% of people report fear of public speaking - it’s very common, so don’t worry if you feel a bit daunted by the prospect of giving a presentation as you’re not alone. Once you’ve done it a few times it will only get easier, promise!

As with most things, preparation and practice are key to delivering a good presentation; dedicate enough time to it and it will pay off. It will also give you the confidence you need to not dread giving said presentation as much as you might otherwise. Of course, there are a number of aspects that you need to be aware of in order to be able to start the preparation process which we will address in this lesson.

Academic vs. professional presentations

During your time at university, it’s likely that you will have been required to prepare and deliver presentations on a certain topic during your seminars, either as part of a group or by yourself. Whilst the skills you picked up by giving these presentations will put you in a good starting position, when delivering presentations at work there are a few key differences between academic and professional presentations that you should be aware of.

If you didn’t give any presentations whilst at university - don’t worry! During this lesson, we’ll run you through the key points you need to be aware of when you’re first asked to give a presentation at work.

Academic presentationProfessional presentation
PurposeTo showcase what you have learnt and convey informationTo convey information but also, usually, to provide instructions, persuade your audience or influence a decision
AudienceProfessor and classmatesColleagues and clients
StructureMore rigid guidelines to followMore scope to shape the flow of the narrative

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