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Sharpen This One Career Skill In 2017.
By Carmine Gallo
Sunday, 8th January 2017

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal named the 2009 class of college graduates the 'unlucky' ones because they entered into one of the worst job market in decades.

According to the article, "many of its members have never caught up, and remain stuck in low-paying, dead-end jobs." One of the students featured in the piece, however, is a "bright-spot," and jumped quickly to middle management by the age of 29.

That bright spot is Katlin Fox, an HR manager who advanced at her company by first taking on projects that nobody wanted. She also developed a key skill—the ability to deliver an impactful presentation. She advanced rapidly at Suffolk Construction after her boss encouraged her to share her insights in meetings.

At one point he asked Fox to deliver a presentation about her recommendations. Fox was intimidated and even gave herself a pep talk while staring at herself in the mirror [I think we've all been in her shoes at one time or another, not knowing whether we were going to impress the boss or fall flat on our face]. She didn't need to worry. Her presentation had so much impact her boss said it changed Fox's "trajectory" in the company and positioned her to leapfrog several rungs up the career ladder.

Fox's ability to craft and deliver a presentation that was simple, insightful and engaging impressed her boss and got her promoted. Improving your presentation and public-speaking skills will help you stand out in 2017 and beyond.

Legendary CEO Jack Welch made communication skills a priority at GE. In the book Jacked Up, Welch's speechwriter Bill Lane recalls a meeting where Welch could not stop talking about a presentation he had seen from a young employee the night before. "He was unbelievable. Who is this guy?" Welch asked.

The presentation was so well received that three of the twelve business leaders attending the meeting wanted to hire him. Within a few months "the kid" had a giant offer from one of the division heads and the admiration of the CEO.

Turns out the presenter volunteered to do what his peers had declined; he made a presentation in front of Welch himself. "He rehearsed and rehearsed, and nailed it. He hit a home run and parlayed that into a bigger job."

You might not want to be the one to deliver a presentation in front of your boss. Do it anyway. Ask for the assignment, create a memorable presentation, and don't be surprised if your career takes a turn for the better.

Carmine Gallo can be contacted at 

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