I Need a Present – Any Ideas?

Everyone needs a present. It does not matter how old you are, whether you are someone who only likes the designer things or someone who likes the simpler things in life – you need a present and to be spoilt.

Everyone’s idea of a perfect present is different of course, but I dare you to go into a shop purposely created for present purchases and not drool over a present you’ve just got to have.

The last time I was in a store like this was to buy a present for my parents, who are certainly not easy to buy for. They are not only people who are not nuts for designer objects but they buy anything they have a desire for or need which means when it comes to shopping for them there are very few options left. Although I had a very specific item in mind after months of racking my brains, I found myself wandering around different aisles, looking at sales and the newest offers for more inspiration. I am sure I spent much more time than I had intended in the store. I wish I could say it was because I was looking at all the present options for my parents but this was not the case. Very quickly I was looking at presents and gift ideas that took my fancy for myself. Shopping alone made it even worse as I had no one to drag me away and restrain me. The best part is that the people at the store are perfectly fine with letting people play and get carried away with a present which is more likely to be for themselves than a gift for anyone else. (At least they were in this store – play at your own risk!)

Presidential Debate Number 3: Five Lessons to Step-Up Your Next Presentation

The pressure was on, each candidate striving to deliver the knock-out punch that would leave a lasting impression, swaying undecided voters. Two evenly matched candidates, this debate felt like a tug-of-war… one moment one candidate winning until the rebuttal, when his opponent would take the lead.

While I thought Obama was closer to his second-debate performance than Romney was to his first round win, all in all I’d say it was a draw. Why? Quite different in their styles, both men projected the confidence, credibility and connection that is critical to presidential leadership.

While you may be expecting a critique discussing why a “draw”, I’d like to take this opportunity to share five lessons from the 3rd debate that you can use immediately to step up the quality of your next presentation.

Presidential Lessons Learned

  • Watch your Posture. Did you notice that from the moment the two candidates sat down they were locked, loaded and ready for action? What did they do that communicated this message? Quite simply it was their posture. Rather than sitting back comfortably in their chairs both men leaned slightly forward with their arms resting on the table top. Their posture alone said energized and engaged. Take-a-way: If seated when presenting, always lean slightly forward, back straight and shoulders relaxed and squared. If you sit back and get too comfortable you can look like a disinterested sack of potatoes NOT a leader.

  • Stay Engaged. In previous debates, both Obama and Biden didn’t always appear to be listening when their opponent were speaking. Sometimes they looked disinterested, distracted or at times dismissive. But all that changed, this time both candidates turned their head, looked at their opponent and appeared to be listening when the other was speaking. Take-a-way: Whenever there are multiple presenters, always look at and listen to the person who is speaking. This level of engagement says a lot about your character.

  • Create Interest. Romney’s response to the first question started with a salutation. In the previous two debates, both candidates included a greeting with their opening remarks. However, last night when it was Obama’s turn, he skipped the salutation and jumped right into answering the question. Take-a-way: An audience prefers if you skip the greeting and find an interesting way to both grab their attention and introduce the content of your remarks / presentation. Be careful not to default to a salutation to get you started.

  • Solicit Feedback. It was clear that both candidates had been skillfully coached on their presentation style. This was most evident with Obama improving both his messaging and delivery with each debate. Take-a-way: Benefit from the feedback of others. Don’t count on your judgment alone to determine the effectiveness of your presentation. Solicit feedback, gathering differing perspectives about what works and what to change. Ask trusted colleagues to consider: If this was your presentation and you had only 15 minutes to make any changes, what would you change?”

  • Ask for the Sale. For the first time, both men gave thoughtful consideration to their closing remarks and concluded by asking to be your next president. Take-a-way: The conclusion is your final opportunity to leave a lasting impression that moves your listeners to action. Be sure you know what you want your listeners to do and ask for it.

Implementing these lessons learned in your next presentation are sure to make you a winner!

When I See You Smile – How to Make This Happen in Your PowerPoint Presentation?

Many people would be annoyed by poor PowerPoint presentation. Most of the slide presentations that you’ve seen are extremely dull and you would get out the room before the presenter finishes his final slide presentation. It could be torturing because of the total boredom of the atmosphere. Imagine that someone is doing a stand-up comedy in the meeting room. You would be expecting smiles on the crowd and sounds of laughter over the room. Has this ever happen to you?

Certainly, it would require some skills on how to make your audience smile to give you a round of applause to your spectacular performance. It is important to gain good rapport from your audience if you can make them feel comfortable in the meeting room. There are few tips on how to put a smile on your audience’s face:

· Your presentable looks – this doesn’t mean undergoing an extreme makeover. It actually means that you have to dress nicely and be comfortable with it. Don’t overdressed yourself (or putting too much make ups) because most audience is not expecting a clown in the meeting room. Please take note that being funny on stage doesn’t mean you have to be a clown but be a comedian!

· If you can’t think of a joke, then add-in some sarcasm – seriously, sarcasm on your presentation can be created by simply doing the opposites or something “rebellious” like “If the earth is flat, then the author of the book – The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman would be writing a book entitled – The World is Round”. Make sure you don’t elaborate much about the sarcasm you’ve made. Remember, a joke doesn’t need much explanation to make people laugh. If people don’t get the joke – just proceed with the other one. So, practice makes perfect – you’ll be able to learn to create more jokes related to the theme of the presentation.

· Use “copycat” jokes – Every movie needs a screenplay and you can actually plan your storytelling or jokes when you are engaging with your audience. If you’ve known or heard some jokes from a movie or a show, you can jot it down and then modify it before you include it in your presentation. Telling jokes is much appropriate when you’re presenting a product review in front of your clients especially when you’re comparing your product with competitor’s product. You can add some sarcasm when you are commenting on your competitor’s product.

· Master your facial expressions – it’s like going to an acting class, some certain facial expressions can be shown when you’re telling something hilarious to your audience. For instance, even a blink of an eye which implies certainty or approval when

These are the basic tips on how to make people feel comfortable while you’re presenting on stage. Now, it’s time to present your heart out to make your audience smile and burst into laughter.

Use Presentation Folders As an Effective Marketing Tool

Today’s presentation folders can do much more than simply hold paperwork! There are an endless array of uses for individuals, educational institutions and business organisations. Indispensable within an office environment, presentation folders also act as a powerful marketing tool when you’re out and about.

It’s easy to customise folders to your exact specifications at a fraction of the cost of other forms of branding, marketing and promotion. A customised folder is ideal for use at exhibitions, business meetings, trade shows and presentations and provides the perfect cost effective way to promote your brand.

Powerful Presentations

Whenever people meet they make several snap judgements about each other before they even open their mouths. A presentation folder is a sure fire way to make the right first impression at business meetings, conferences and corporate gathering and give you the professional edge. You can use your folder to keep your important paperwork organised, whilst an expert promotional design will give further impact to your message.

Brand Promotion

More and more businesses are utilising the power of promotional materials that can be given away at events or to prospective clients. Mouse mats, mugs and printed pens are all very well, but a branded promotional folder is much more likely to be used and seen by others and will generally have a longer shelf life too, which means the money you spend goes further. You can create a completely unique design that will specifically appeal to your target customers to further enhance your brand identity.

Impressive Information

Many companies need to distribute information both internally and to clients. A beautifully branded presentation folder can be used to distribute all types of documents including leaflets, posters, presentation notes, training manuals, catalogues and product information. Since much of the data presented at conferences and to clients will be used for reference, a quality folder is an ideal way to ensure that the necessary information is easily accessible.

Exceptional Design

In order for your presentation folder to pack a powerful punch, it needs to look as professional as possible, which is why if you’re considering promotional presentation folders for your business it’s best to call on the experts. You can order high quality presentation folders online complete with professionally designed branding so your folders reflect the quality of your business.

Conclusion

So if you want a quick and cost effective way to promote your business and get the professional edge over your competitors then order your customised presentation folders today.

Presentation Skills: More Traps For Inexperienced Presenters To Avoid

There are a number of traps that inexperienced presenters can fall into when they first begin presenting. Any one of these traps can make your presentation look less professional than it otherwise would. This article shares 6 of those traps with you and shows you some neat ways to overcome them.

Trap 1: The lapel microphone

Lapel microphones are wonderful as they allow you to move away from the podium and even through the audience. This makes for a much more relaxed and interesting presentation. The lapel microphone does, however, come with a few traps to look out for:

  • You have to have somewhere to clip the microphone. If you are a man wearing a suit, you normally clip it onto the lapel of the jacket and everything is fine. If you are a woman wearing a round neckline you need to check that the microphone is able to be positioned close enough to your mouth to pick up your voice. Be careful of wearing a scarf or jewellery that may rub against the microphone as this will cause interference with the sound quality.
  • Lapel microphones come with battery packs. These battery packs need to be put somewhere. If you are wearing something with a pocket that won’t sag with a little weight, then you have an obvious spot. If the battery pack has a Velcro attachment and you don’t have a pocket, you better hope that you have a belt. I have been in the situation where I have had to borrow a belt from one of the conference organisers so that I had somewhere to hook the battery pack. If the battery pack has a clip, you can attach it to the waist band of your skirt or trousers. If you are wearing something without a pocket, a belt or a waist band… you are going to have to carry the battery pack in your hand (not the preferred option). So… before you present with a lapel microphone, ensure you wear clothing that will be suitable.

Trap 2: Water and tissues

Your comfort while you are presenting is paramount. If you are speaking for more than 30 minutes or you are nervous, you will want to have a glass of water close by. If you stand up to speak and you find that you are really nervous, your mouth and vocal chords dry up. To help you lubricate things again, just take a few sips of water. Tepid water is better at lubricating than ice cold water, so pour your drink a little while before you present.

If you suffer from a runny nose, take tissues to the podium with you and very discreetly look after your problem. Sniffling during your presentation will look very unprofessional.

Trap 3: Fiddling with audio visual equipment

The time to check that all your audio visual equipment is working is before the presentation, not once it has started. The audience does not appreciate sitting there watching you fix audio visual equipment during the time they were expecting to hear your presentation.

If audio visual equipment breaks part way through your presentation, keep going without it. If you give the audience an activity to do, you can attempt to fix your audio visual equipment at that point. If there is a conference organiser, you can let them know of the problem and they will get someone to fix it for you. In the meantime, soldier on… the audience will thank you for it.

In the same vein, check that your microphone is working before you walk onto the stage. If the chairman has used a hand help microphone to introduce you and then hands that same microphone over to you for your presentation, there is no need to hold it up and say ‘Is this working?’ or something similar. Just start talking as if it were working and take action only if it isn’t.

If I am going to be using a lapel or hand held microphone I always check with the people in charge of the audio visual equipment how long it has been since the battery was replaced. There is nothing worse than having the microphone fade and fail half way through your presentation. If they are good at their job, the sound support staff will usually put a new battery in before each session.

Trap 4: Stepping out of sight

It increases audience participation when you get closer to them and get them involved. You can get some great atmosphere happening in a room by moving into the audience every now and then. The trick, however, is to make sure that you still keep including people in the front rows and tables. As a rule of thumb, don’t go out of sight of the front rows of the audience for more than 10 or 15 seconds.

Trap 5: Reading your speech

The audience go to hear you speak, not to read. Reading takes away the natural voice inflections that happen when you speak. It is much more interesting to listen to someone speak than it is to listen to them read. If you are worried that you will forget what you are going to speak about, then use the notes pages for your PowerPoint presentation and put bullet points of the major points beneath each picture. This will allow you to speak about the idea on your slide and it will be much easier to find where you are up to than if you are looking through a written copy of your paper.

Trap 6: Pacing and other repetitive movements

Nervous movements can be very distracting to the audience. These include things such as:

  • Pacing back and forth on the stage.
  • Hand wringing.
  • A repetitive arm movement.
  • Jiggling one foot on the heel of a shoe (usually done by women wearing high heels).
  • You can find out whether you have one of these distracting movements by:
  • Presenting to a friend and getting some honest feedback.
  • Presenting in front of a mirror.
  • Videoing your presentation and watching it at double speed.

I hope that sharing these traps for the inexperienced presenter will help you to avoid some of the mistakes I have made over my many years of presenting.

Best wishes with your future presentations.

Data Collection and Negotiations

What is data? How does it impact a negotiation. How do you gather it? Data is the meat of preparation. Negotiators should take the time to fully prepare. If they do this, often as not they will be better prepared than the other person. As a result, they will likely control the conversation and its outcome.

Data is any information available about a given topic, person, commodity or situation. Having the discipline to gather, assess and use this data makes the difference between negotiating and begging. Preparedness is the key to a successful negotiation.

Data is readily available in the information age. Computers, data bases, the Internet. newspaper archives, public libraries, even company historians all have a wealth of raw data. Knowing where to look and how to search are excellent tools to develop to help you be a better negotiator.

Computers and the Internet are great tools when searching for data that is in the public domain. This type of information may be available at the library, newspaper archives, from a title company, or off the Internet. It is difficult to refute hard data. That is why it is worth the extra effort to gather. It is also important to know what facts can be used against you. When you conduct fact-based research, be alert for related information that may be used against you. The search for data should be broad-based and inclusive. Being properly prepared takes away the element of surprise at the moment of confrontation.

When you are investigating the person or persons you will be confronting seek the counsel of others who know the person, study previous negotiation results with the person or his company, casually discuss the person with his peers. Never miss an opportunity to discuss him with his secretary or assistant. Often a little casual conversation will reveal reams of valuable information about how his day is going, his travel schedule and even pressures around the office. In days of old secretaries were guardians at the door. Today the roles have changed and that former loyalty may be lacking.

With a little sleuthing, there are usually some valuable insights available. As with data-based research, cast a wide net and collect as much information about the other person’s interests, nature, and reputation as possible. You can use this collective pool of data to talk about his hobbies and interests to build a relationship or use it to be on the alert for his known stylistic tactics.

5 Essentials For Quality Negotiations

One of the most important, although, often, overlooked/ neglected, assets, and skills, needed, to be a truly, effective, quality leader, is the knowledge, ability, and expertise, to effectively negotiate, for the best interests, of one’s organizations! Over, and over, again, true leaders, are confronted, with a variety of circumstances, where negotiations, become an essential component, and necessity. After, over four decades, of involvement, in most areas of leadership, from identifying and qualifying, to training and developing, to consulting to well – over, a thousand actual, and/ or, potential leaders, as well as serving, as a leader, for many different types of groups, I often, stress, how important this is, what it means, and the key aspects, which must become part of every leader’s skill – set. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, review, examine, and discuss, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1, Know/ recognize objectives/ goals/ priorities/ needs: Before one can negotiate, effectively, he needs to truly, understand, his organization’s, and constituent’s, actual needs, goals, and priorities, so as to know, what objectives, he must prioritize, in any negotiating. Without this knowledge, and understanding, how can anyone, best – represent, his group, and stakeholders, best – interests?

2. Study the opposite side/ party: It’s important to realize, and recognize, you will be negotiating with another party/ side, with its own set of needs, and priorities. The more one knows, his opposition’s objectives, conditions, set of priorities, etc, the more successful, one’s negotiating, will, potentially, become!

3. Proceed with an open – mind: Great leaders proceed with an open – mind, prioritizing, the possibilities, etc! When, this is the mind – set, it permits a negotiator, to see things, from a variety of other perceptions, instead of only seeing, his own – side, of any issue, etc!

4. Consider viable options and alternatives: When, one thoroughly, considers, as many possibilities, ramifications, contingencies, etc, he positions, himself, in the best place, to be able to succeed, and benefit his group. Thinking, outside – the – box, and considering various possibilities, or paths, often, brings forth, the best potential results, etc!

5. Negotiate using win – win negotiating: Quality negotiations stem from, both sides, leaving – the – table, believing, they benefited, and the process, was a fair one! To do so, win – win negotiating, must be the approach. This means, it’s not about beating/ defeating an adversary, but, rather, working – together, to generate the best result, for all involved. It requires, proceeding, consistently, in, an open, and honest manner.

Do you have the skill – set, attitude, and personal quality of character, to become a quality negotiator? Are you, up to the tasks?

Debt Negotiation Services – Can They Really Settle Your Debt For Less? Part 2

Debt negotiation services are playing an important role in the lives of all those people who want to get rid of their debts in no time. These services are present in the markets from a long period of time but they actually got fame after the wave of recession hit the economy. Though it brings fast reduction in the balances of debt but still people have many uncertainties and doubts in their minds.

In this article, people will understand that can debt negotiation services really settle their debts for less? The answer to this question is yes because these services can easily bring up to 50% reduction in the amounts of debt.

Debt negotiation services are basically performed by the certified and professional settlement companies. These companies have skilled and proficient negotiators that play a key role in the whole process of negotiation. These negotiators design such deals that are beneficial for both lenders and borrowers. They talk with the lenders on a person’s behalf and make convince them on granting reduction in the total outstanding balances. Making the lenders agree for the debt negotiation deal is not easy because lenders wants to recover the full amount of money from their debtors and thus these experts really have to put many efforts in this aspect. Debt negotiation services not only bring reductions in the outstanding balances but they also bring decline the interest rate and other hidden charges. Once the lenders show their acceptance for the negotiation deal, a person gets up to 50% reduction in the payable balances easily, where the left over balance can be paid off by the common willingness of both parties.

Debt negotiations services are getting very much popular these days and many people are taking the help of the settlement companies in order to get rid of the debts. The new rules and regulations of settlement are the main cause for making this process popular. The new laws have made this process more reliable and genuine. As per the new modifications in preexisting laws, a negotiation company is not liable for asking the service fees from consumers in advance, it can charge the fees only after delivering the services successfully.

It is advisable that a person should always consult a Negotiation Company if he wants to live a debt free life.

5 Steps Towards Better Negotiating

The current American President, perhaps, was previously, best known, for his book, The Art of the Deal. He ran for office, based largely, on his purported ability, to negotiate deals, and get the best, possible results! Every individual, who ascends to, and/ or assumes, any position of leadership, must realize and recognize, one of the most essential skills and abilities, is possessing a quality, meaningful, effective, ability to negotiate. Some of the basic reasons, this is so essential, is to be able to achieve, generating a consensus, and a meeting – of – the – minds, in terms of legislation, event planning, and motivating and inspiring others, to share his views, so a quality, relevant, sustainable system, becomes viable, etc. This article will, therefore, briefly discuss and evaluate, 5 steps, towards becoming a better negotiator, and quality negotiating.

1. Consider what you seek, and why?: Before one negotiates, he must possess a clear – cut idea, of what he hopes to achieve, what he believes it might achieve, and why! It’s essential to go, beyond the norm, but strive to consider alternatives, as well as potential ramifications. Far too often, individuals believe they have been victorious in their negotiations, only to realize, in the future, proof of the adage, Beware of what you hope for!

2. How well will you know your negotiating adversary?: If you hope to be successful in this pursuit, it’s essential, to do thorough research, and best understand, what the other side, wants and needs/ considers a priority! Will you consider, your adversary’s priorities, and basic needs, because until/ unless you do, there will be little chance, of achieving a meeting – of – the – minds, or any form of consensus/ agreement? When a negotiator begins the process, with a keen understanding of what others want and need, he becomes capable on focusing on the best way to proceed, which is nearly always, win – win negotiating!

3. Best choices/ options: There’s a major difference, between making a decision, and making the best possible one! The strongest negotiating process and procedure, is achieved, when both sides, become more capable and willing, to seek viable solutions, and proceed to negotiate, based on doing so!

4. Prioritize for specific needs: Every group has its own, specific heritage, needs, goals and priorities, and, therefore, a true leader, must focus on listening and learning, effectively, proceeding with genuine empathy, and negotiating every relevant deal, accordingly!

5. Seek win – win solutions: Some believe negotiating is about, merely, winning, but the best negotiators, realize, until/ unless, a negotiation is based on win/ win solutions, it rarely generates the best possible results!

If hope to be an effective leader, you have to become a quality negotiator. Will you be ready, willing and able, to use the best approaches and techniques?

Negotiation Psychology Paradigms: Mind Your Mind

In a negotiation, psychologically, negotiators strive to alter the paradigm of the other negotiator. They attempt to do so for obvious reasons; they want the best deal they can get, and thus they attempt to shift the mental perception of the other negotiator. Sometimes, they’ll use the ploy of ‘disgust’ to do so.

To the degree one is more successful at doing so than the other, one comes out further in the negotiation.

The following are thoughts you can use to shift the mindset of the person with whom you negotiate.

1. Identify what’s important to the other negotiator.

You can accomplish this by asking, ‘what outcome are you seeking from this negotiation?’ Negotiation Tip: To be more subtle, you can ask, ‘what would you like to see occur today?’ You’ll receive feedback. Note to what degree you sense disgust. Then, as the negotiation progresses, see how far the other negotiator will go to achieve his stated outcome, and what he’s willing to concede to get it. This might be easier said than done, because he may ask for things that are unreasonable to see how much he can get. So, be careful to confirm what has been stated as being important, versus what you see in the form of the other negotiator’s actions. His actions will give you more insight than his words.

2. Read his body language and you read his mind.

Reading body language can be daunting. Some negotiators think, if someone has their arms crossed, they’re not open or receptive to an offer. Depending upon where you are in the negotiation process, that can be true or false. First, always establish the baseline of the other negotiator to determine how he uses his body in a ‘normal’ situation (whatever normal is for him). Then, compare what is his normal body language usage to the changes he emits when he’s disgusted, calm, contemplative, and/or reflective. As an example, if he’s jovial throughout the negotiation and makes gestures with his hands up and open, take note when his hands are turned down and he’s pulling his gestures towards himself. The latter could denote a shift in his paradigm. Depending on how such might influence the negotiation, you should take an appropriate action to align his mind with your thoughts.

3. Use Microexpressions to identify real thoughts and emotions.

Microexpressions are mental displays of emotion that are unfiltered by the mind before they’re displayed. They last for no more than one second. Since the mind does not filter the action before it’s committed, the display you see is real. There are 7 micro expressions that are generic to everyone on the planet. They are, fear, anger, disgust, surprise, contempt, happiness, and sadness. I’ll use ‘disgust’ as an example of how you might use a micro expression to validate a body language gesture you observe. When disgust is exhibited, the exhibitor will appear to have his upper lip raised towards his nose as though something doesn’t smell right. Through that action, he’s telling you that your offer doesn’t appeal to him. Take note that he may display the same signs when making an offer to you, if he doesn’t think you’ll accept it, or know it’s not a good offer. In such case, he may be testing you to see how you’ll react to his offer.

There are many psychological insights one can glean and use, to alter the other negotiator’s paradigm, during a negotiation. The better adept you become at using the above suggestions, the greater your negotiation outcomes will be… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!