Soft skills
How to sound clear and persuasive
24 Jul 2023

We are thrilled to announce the launch of our new YouTube series – Soft Skills Talks! During these live streams, EPAM experts give practical advice on improving various soft skills that can help you elevate your IT career. The first event features Helena Koushnerevitch, a Lead Talent Development specialist, who shared her expertise on public speaking skills. Helena provided useful tips and techniques to help the audience improve their ability to deliver engaging and effective presentations.

Here are some of the key takeaways from Helena's talk:

Communicating clearly

To escape from misunderstanding, start with a clear message and support it with context before recapping the key idea. Simplifying the language and avoiding idioms, phrasal verbs and slang can help you succeed

Anticipating questions

The best way to handle challenging questions is to be prepared. Create a list of potential questions and persuasive answers to keep the situation under control. You can anticipate up to 80% of the questions you may be asked.

Presenting yourself

Use the three-step technique for self-introduction at an interview: present, past and future. Start with your current job or education, briefly discuss your previous jobs & projects you worked on and finish by sharing your aspirations for the future, such as career goals.

Handling behavioral questions

While speaking about your soft skills and personal abilities, use the STAR (situation, task, action, result) technique to be more specific. Describe the context or situation you were in, explain the task or problem you needed to solve, speak about the actions you took to solve the problem and share the outcome.

Convincing the audience

To make the presentations more persuasive, refer to facts and avoid general descriptions. One more way to make your speech more persuasive is to tell a story based on your real experience that people can relate to.

Audience engaging

Creating a dialogue is the number one way to draw the audience's attention. A universal tool that may help is a question. Use open-ended questions for a small group or closed questions for a larger audience.

Overcoming speaking anxiety

The cheapest way to cope with stress is to breathe (explore the box breathing technique mentioned by the speaker). If you feel nervous while answering challenging questions from the audience, take a pause and try to suggest a solution. For example, you can readdress the question or promise to answer the question afterward (e.g., via email).

Minding humor

Be careful with jokes, as they can be shared and related to a specific number of people. For example, it is a bad idea for a mixed audience with different backgrounds, ages and cultures. If you want to play safe, joke on yourself or test your jokes on a focus group.

Using AI tools

ChatGPT can help enhance the quality of your presentations. You can find relevant facts and examples to prove your words, generate a clear message and find potential weaknesses in your arguments. 

To gain a deeper understanding of the presentation skills specifics, explore the full version of the stream. Stay tuned for our next event to boost your soft skills even more and prepare for a bright career journey!