Every day, 50 job postings arrive in my inbox.

No, I’m not in the market for a job. I signed up for a Talkwalker alert on Presentation Skills because I wanted to see what other people are saying and writing about the ability to speak in front of an audience.

I expected articles, white papers, blog posts … and I got job listings. Lots and lots of job listings. Because it turns out the people who do the hiring want, expect, and even demand good presentation skills.

Here’s what got my attention – they want, expect, and demand strong presentation skills even for positions that we might not automatically associate with strong presentation skills.

We’d expect a job in sales to require a person to speak well.  Or maybe a management position.  And of course they do.

But employers also insist on excellent presentation skills for software developers, medical safety specialists, research managers, systems engineers, logistics specialists, graphic designers … it goes on and on.

That means if a person is looking for a job … or a consulting assignment or a
professional services engagement … it behooves them to be very good at connecting with an audience and expressing themselves with confidence and clarity.

I have a couple of thoughts about that. (You’re not surprised, are you?)  

First – for a skill that’s in seemingly universal demand, people are surprisingly reluctant to invest their time, energy and money in getting better at it. I don’t know what holds them back; do you? Maybe they really don’t understand how important it is, how much their success rides on speaking well. Or maybe it’s just fear.  

And – I think there’s a bit of a misunderstanding out there. “Presentation Skills” is convenient shorthand, but I think employers, clients and customers really want something bigger than that.  I tell my clients often it’s not just about presentation; it’s about Presence.  

Yes, it matters how you stand, what you do with your hands, whether you’re
speaking loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear you.  But the most important thing is whether you’re really there.  

When it comes to speaking about your work, you must be fully Present to win. Are you?