Casino Managers Benefit From Presentation Skills

Casino managers are expected to have a multitude of skills.  More than I care to list here.  But there is one skill that eludes many of them – the ability to give an effective presentation.

Managers shouldn’t feel badly about this.  They have lots of company.   Most people fear standing in front of other people and giving a presentation.  They fear giving a speech more than they fear death.  They get sweaty palms at the mere thought of doing a presentation or even being in charge of a small meeting.

These fears can be overcome with proper training.  Indeed, they must because casino managers and the properties they work for have much to gain from effective presentations.  Being able to present information and speak to groups ranging from seven direct reports to 70 people at a departmental meeting is critical.  It is vital to the overall success of both the presenter, that person’s department and, ultimately, the casino. 

First, I’ll take a look at benefits to managers.  Let’s say you have an idea that would improve the efficiency of your department or save the casino money.  You want to present your idea to the powers that be.  Over and over again, I’ve seen casino managers – even casino executives – have great ideas but, due to their lack of presentation skills, the ideas are discounted and never acted upon.  It has been well documented that people are influenced more by the delivery of a presentation than they are by the actual information.  But if you combine worthwhile information – your outstanding idea – with an effective presentation, that’s a one-two power punch for success.  Besides, it really feels good to have your idea accepted and implemented.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Potential promotions are another benefit of effective presentations.  A study by AT&T and Stanford University shows that the top predictor of professional success and upward mobility is one’s enjoyment of and skill in making presentations.  Face it, those who are good at delivering information to others are the ones who get noticed.  The ones who get noticed are the ones who have opportunities sent their way.  Strong presentation skills can help you move up the ladder.

Overcoming one’s fears is another benefit.  I cannot think of a better boost to one’s self-confidence than facing a fear and overcoming it.  In this case, I mean dealing with the fear of public speaking and turning it to your advantage.  If being comfortable with making presentations is the top predictor of professional success and giving presentations is the No 1 fear, clearly there is an advantage to be had here.  Overcome your fear, become an effective presenter, boost your self-assurance and good things will happen. 

There are also benefits to your casino.  Presentation skills are one of the most important skills to possess in the age of information, and casinos should want their managers to do well in this area.  Public speaking development should be part of the property’s strategic business plan.  A high-quality presentation skills program will increase employees’ motivation, self-image and confidence while also sharpening their organization, planning and communication skills.  Those are exceptional employees in my book, and every casino should want to have staff members with those qualities.  It can give the casino a leg up on competitors that don’t appreciate the value of  presentation development.

There also can be a cost savings for the casino.  Plenty of information is passed along at casino conferences and executive meetings.  I know from personal experience that some of these sessions are a waste of time because the speaker does such a poor job of organizing the presentation and delivering it.  The presentation is difficult to follow and, thus, no one on the receiving end really cares.  The average attorney probably bills at $200 an hour.  Casino executives’ time is worth much more than that.  If there are 10 executives in the meeting, that’s a minimum of $2,000 spent and for what?  For nothing! 
That doesn’t even include the hours the presenter spent getting ready for his or her show and tell.  Imagine what could be accomplished if some of the presenters at these meetings captivated their audience and made convincing arguments.  Ideas would flow.  Work would get done.

Delivering an effective presentation is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  Casino managers need to be comfortable sharing ideas and information in a way that creates buy-in and enthusiasm.  Casinos that offer their managers presentation skills training visibly demonstrate that they value their employees.  The cost of the program is not an expense, it’s an investment in a casino’s people.  It’s an investment that will pay handsomely for the casino and its managers.

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Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.