Last updated: 17.07.13

UK businesses 'need presentation training'

Businesses in the UK are failing to acquire new clients as a result of employees not being properly trained in delivering presentations.

According to research from Casio Projectors, almost half (49 per cent) of 250 senior company decision makers questioned are unlikely to buy from an organisation that lacks proper pitching skills, reports Fresh Business Thinking.

The Art of Presenting report further revealed more than half of employees (56 per cent) in Britain think meetings with prospective clients are not worthwhile because those tasked with the job of presenting a pitch are not able to keep audiences interested.

Meanwhile, almost all (93 per cent) of workers surveyed received no presentation training at school and 41 per cent claimed their company does not offer coaching in this area. This means that 66 per cent of new starters to UK firms do not have the presentation knowledge businesses need.

Gemma Platt, UK marketing manager at Casio Projectors, said despite the fact that 76 per cent of business people are required to deliver pitches at least once a month, there remains a severe lack of investment in developing presentational skills.

"If presenters want to keep their audiences engaged, it's important that the UK's overall presentation abilities improve," she added.

This could involve ensuring employees know how to operate AV technology such as projectors and interactive whiteboards and use size-appropriate screens to ensure everyone can see information clearly.

Indeed, the report revealed 40 per cent of decision makers claimed that effective and creative use of technology could improve business pitches.

Other ways of making presentations more effective include rolling out proper training in the workplace designed to brush up workers' communication skills, while better use of technology could boost audience engagement.

Improved company training is also likely to reduce staff turnover rates, with Cathy Wellings, head of communication skills at consultancy organisation Communicaid, recently claiming that employers are mistaken when they believe workplace education will encourage their workers to look elsewhere for better opportunities.