You know that communication and presentation skills are important. Almost every job ad asks for superior communication skills. Perhaps you want to improve your own career success but your funds for training or coaching are low or non-existent.
Maybe you are a manager or team leader that has noticed missed opportunities because your team is stumbling through their presentations. Perhaps some negative comments have filtered back to you and you need to act.
You probably know that the best way to improve any skill set is to work with a professional. But those costs for a presentation skills trainer or speech coach can be substantial and you are not ready for that investment right now. You want something cheap. That's understandable.
What can you do to start improving those presentation skills? How can you find and arrange some inexpensive training for you or your staff?
Buy a Book on Presentation Skills: The $30 Option
This is a small investment and well worth it. What book do you buy? Search Amazon for books on presentation skills or public speaking. Look for quality endorsements and reader comments. In particular look for specific details about the book or results enjoyed by the readers.
Ask a professional speaker or a speaker that you admire about the books they recommend. Be sure to ask them, "Why this book?" If they can't tell you why, then it is probably not a good book. If the person only recommends their own book it is probably not a good choice.
If you want to train your staff, buy a copy of the book for every person on your team and instruct everyone to read the book. Hold weekly meetings and assign each person to teach a different section of the book. In order to teach they first need to learn it well. The bonus is that each person will need to prepare and deliver a presentation before your group. That's good practice and they are bound to receive some helpful feedback. This is a cheap training option.
Toastmasters: The Club Option
Toastmasters International is an international nonprofit organization that teaches public speaking skills. Every member receives program material that enables a systematic personal training program. You move at your own pace and benefit from the experience of your fellow club members. It's a supportive and constructive environment.
You have two options with Toastmasters. The simpler choice is to join a local Toastmasters club. Pay your dues -- which are quite inexpensive. Attend the regular meetings. Study the program materials. Actively participate in as many club activities as you can. If you are really keen, you can attend and speak at speech contests, conferences and volunteer training events. Toastmasters offers a cheap yet effective program.
The second option is to form a Toastmasters club at your company. Many companies host and financially support a Toastmasters club for their employees. Contact Toastmasters International to learn how to arrange this. They will help you through the startup process and even find local members from other clubs willing to help your new club get going. Forming a company club grants the same privileges to all club members.
Internet: The Free Option
People used to say, "Ask a question of the universe and it will answer you." Today, that universe is the Internet. For cheap you can't beat free.
Want to learn more about how to improve your presentations skills? Search the Internet for "Presentation Skills", "Public speaking" or "Communication principles". If you are working on specific challenges, then search for those terms: "How to open your presentation", "How to write your speech" or "How to feel more confident when speaking".
Read published articles. Search on Google for "presentation skills articles". Visit the major article directories to look for more articles. Look on YouTube for video instruction. Check your favorite podcast directory or iTunes for audio tips. Search Twitter and Facebook for presentation tips and insights. Check LinkedIn to find and join discussion groups about presentation skills and public speaking. Search for "Free presentation tips" to find free newsletters. Look on Technorati.com for "Presentation skills blogs".
If you want to improve your presentation skills you can start now. You don't need to spend a lot of money. You might need to invest some thought and time. You do have inexpensive choices.