Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nine Ways To Put Your Best Foot Forward At A Trade Show

Writen by Graham Green

Exhibiting at a trade show can be an excellent way for new companies to attract business. However, having a successful trade show experience takes a lot of preparation. With so many booths to visit, trade show visitors don't often linger at one booth—unless you give them a good reason to. Following are nine tips for getting the most out of your first—or fiftieth—trade show.

Know what you need. In advance of the show, make sure you know exactly what you want to get out of the experience. Are you there to educate the public about something that pertains to your business? If so, lots of literature, demonstrations, or PowerPoint presentations might be your focus. Do you want to collect prospects for a marketing list? Then plan to give people incentives to sign up. Are you planning to sell products directly? Be ready to offer discounts, coupons, and free giveaways. Knowing what your goals are will help you decide what you need at your booth.

Know your show. Well before the show occurs, get in touch with the organizers to find out as much as you can about the venue. Where will it be located? What demographic does the show generally attract? What's the layout of the building? Where will you be placed? Can you choose your placement? Will the show provide a booth? Who will your neighbours be? Will there be electrical outlets nearby? What else is provided? Make sure you've given some thoughts to your goals for the show beforehand, as it will affect which questions you'll ask.

Pick the right display. It's important to be sure your trade show stand will attract attention. Pick colours that match your company logo—the more they match, the more slick and established you'll look. Choose a unique design that will also match your needs for space. Think neatness, conciseness, and visibility. Focus on graphics more than copy—offer a few bullet points or a catchy slogan, but save your customer-education efforts for brochures and other handouts, as visitors will rarely stop to read a large block of text displayed at your stand.

Give freebies. Give people a reason to come by your booth. Most businesses give away pens, magnets, key chains, and other small items decorated with the company logo and phone number. Go a step further—bring food (even if your business isn't food-related), give gift certificates and coupons, hold raffles for a valuable product or service you offer, give demonstrations, or bring a PowerPoint presentation.

Be welcoming. Don't just stand quietly at your booth and expect people to come by. Be friendly—strike up conversations. Smile. Make eye contact. Don't eat or sit down at your booth—it'll look like you're taking a break. If business is slow, don't be afraid to get out there and mingle.

Look popular. This is an old—and effective—trick. Make your service look in-demand—and it soon will be. Put up a few strategically-placed "sold" signs on a few of your items—or leave a few empty spaces on your literature display rack to make it look like you've been too busy to replace it. Be sure you really do have enough for everyone, however.

Be interactive. Build an automatic draw into your trade-show display. Have an interactive computer game for customers to play, a scheduled demonstration (post the times in a visible area on your booth), or a survey for customers to fill out for a free gift.

Sign 'em up. Make a business contact at every opportunity. If you're holding a prize drawing, ask the contestants to fill out their name and contact info on their cards. If you're holding a demonstration, pass a mailing list around at the end. Have a clipboard with a mailing list sign-up in prominent view on your table, with pen included. Bring plenty of business cards.

Follow up. This is crucial to your trade-show success. Follow up with the contacts you make in a timely manner. Be sure you have a system in place before the day of the show for tracking, recording, and following up with new prospects.

Not everyone has an ideal trade-show experience the first time. But whether you're new to trade shows or a veteran exhibitor, you're sure to have a fun and profitable time at your next trade show with these helpful tips.

Graham Green is managing director of the banner stand and exhibition supplies company For more information on exhibition stands and a wide range of banner stands visit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Effective Usage Of Power Point Presentation

Writen by G.R. Brindha Shivakumar

Why we are opting for Power Point presentation often? It's an effective way of communicating, teaching, and learning. Anything which conveyed through pictures will capture all our minds quickly and reside inside easily. Isn't it? Now we are going to discuss about how to make this effective communication more effective and perfect.

• First of all selection of background; This is called templates and that should be relevant to the topic or else at least colour of the background should be pleasing.

• Next is foreground option. This should match with background. For example some background with green colour font will be visible while you are creating the presentation, but during the show, the audience in the 5th row inwards can not view the contents. So the background and foreground should be contrast in color. Moreover it should not irritate audience eyes.

• For some text instead of underlining you can go for italic or bold, that make your presentation a neat one.

• Avoid much header and footers. That don't use more content in master slides.

• A general statement is that for PPTs the rule 7×6 , i.e. 7 slides per presentation which is for one to one and half hours and 6 lines per slide. This rule is to avoid more information in single slide.

• The important and interesting feature is animations. The audience will enjoy the content if it is with text and picture animations. Because of the picture animations audience can easily remember the contents. But these should not be more also.

• You should avoid animations which has more time slice. Animations and text should coincide both in timings and relevancy. Any animation should not take more time to start, exists and exit.

• Even simply you can have picture only to explain content, which will give a great effect to the presentation.

• Don't always use monotonous text sequence. If you are going to explain different terms, scatter the terms here and there, so that audience will sit straight after the usual show.

• Audio can be used wherever necessary. But it should not disturb your speech.

• It is better to add query slide at the end of the show, which will give a feedback about the session from the audience.

G.R. Brindha Shivakumar

Friday, November 28, 2008

Plasma Screen Hire What Do You Need To Know For Presentations

Writen by James Hunter

How many people will need to see the screen?

A 42" plasma screen is the most common size and will usually be sufficient for a smaller meeting – up to 20 people. Several other sizes, bigger and smaller, are available, including 32, 37, 40, 50, 61 inches and now up to 81". Remember that these screen sizes are a measure of the diagonal dimension of the screen, so a small variation in this vital statistic can make a big difference to the actual screen area.

What will you be showing on the screen?

Both data (from a computer) and video can be used to input into the screen. Some LCD screens and plasmas have a TV tuner built in; others will need a separate tuner if you wish to receive TV signals. Do you have a TV licence? What about a video or DVD player?

How big is the room – do you need a PA system?

There's nothing worse than being unable to make yourself heard! If there is audio on your material do you have a way to amplify this? Many screens have basic speakers on them, but these are less use for larger events.

What is the difference between LCD and plasma screens?

The technology is converging is terms of quality and size availability. It used to be that plasma was larger, but LCD was brighter. These differences are now reducing as the technologies converge. The choice of LCD or plasma rather depends on the intended use of the screen.

What about the Resolution?

This is the number of pixels available on the screen. The higher the resolution is, the greater the definition and sharpness of the image. This is more important with larger screens where the pixel size is more noticeable, and less important when displaying images from a video source because rapidly changing images make the pixellation less noticeable. Nowadays, it is usually best to go for at least XGA if showing data and at least SVGA if showing only video.

Wall mounts and desk stands

When considering the hire of a plasma screen, remember to consider how it will be presented. The usual method is to use a fixed or wheeled base with steel poles attached. The bracket on the back of the screen is then slid over the poles to allow a decent viewing height. The poles can be of different lengths to allow different heights.

James Hunter works for Status AV, one of the premier plasma screen hire companies in the UK.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 Ways To Make A Point In Two Minutes

Writen by Rix Quinn

Have you noticed that time is passing faster? Me too, and I'm not all that old.

But maybe time seems to fly by because we're exposed to shorter messages…and that's a good thing. Many experts calculate an adult's attention span from eight seconds to about six minutes, so it's important to cram lots of information into a short time.

Maybe you've already noticed that e-mail seems to get better response if it's brief and succinct. But what about press releases? Well, many companies now choose to release a single page story instead of a multi-page one.

If you believe – as I do – that a two minute (or shorter) message is the wave of the future, how can you send an effective one? Here are ten brief thoughts:

1. SINGLE THEME – Stick to one main point, and reveal it at the first of the message. If you've got two or three points to make, stress the most important first…and use the others as supporting points.

2. AGE – There's some research that claims the younger the audience, the shorter message it wants. Reason? Folks under 35 are used to receiving information in brief form.

3. MINI-PARAGRAPHS – Because people on-the-go want briefer messages, they likely want short sentences and short paragraphs too. Consider paragraphs of three sentences or less.

4. NEED IDEAS? – I think the best messages are radio commercials. Listen to how well they create images -- and motivate listeners -- in one minute or less.

5. EXPERT ADVICE – Most folks want – and pay attention to –advice from experts.

6. CURRENT EVENTS – Can you link your feature with a current event or popular trend?

7. PROGNOSTICATOR – Does your story predict the future of an event or industry?

8. FAMOUS QUOTE – Does a famous quote – or quote by a famous person -- add emphasis to your story?

9. HEADLINE HINT – Don't write your headline until you've finished writing your story. It's easier to make the headline summarize the story than it is to write a headline, then write the story to fit it.

10. POPULAR HEADLINES – In our experience, the two most popular headlines are those that (a) ask a question or (b) present a list…like the story you're reading now.

RIX QUINN'S writing discusses many ways to present messages quickly. His book "Words That Stick" is available from

For details on his corporate workshops about brief writing, call 817-920-7999.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Presentation Tips For Beginners

Writen by Greg Ward

An effective, compelling presentation has three clear parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.

Try to involve your audience. Inject variety through the use of a whiteboard or PowerPoint bullet points. Invite comment or feedback whenever possible. Questions or comment from the audience provide valuable breaks as well as a chance to regather your thoughts.

Remember - you are there to communicate with your audience, not to talk at them. So use language they find compelling. Paint pictures of events and ideas they can see in their mind. And keep them thinking with occasional questions. Keep them well informed about the structure and length of your presentation. If in doubt - cut it out.


Keep PowerPoint text to an absolute minimum.

Brief bullet points are fine. But sentences and paragraphs should be avoided. Never read a presentation directly from PowerPoint

PowerPoint is best when used as a prompt. Too much information will send your audience to sleep. Keep them alert through the inclusion of photos, sound files or interesting background graphics.

Top Tips:

1. Encourage questions
2. Introduce props, MPEG clips or product samples
3. Be conversational - don't rely entirely on notes
4. Smile - it projects confidence
5. Use repetition to ensure key facts sink in
6. Pause for effect on key points

Tips for presenting to a hostile audience:

1. Anticipate the tough questions.
2. Explain early you may not have all the answers.
3. Listen carefully to the question and look directly at the person asking.
4. If you need time to think, repeat the question aloud.
5. Whenever possible, provide an answer linked back to your speech.
6. If you cannot link back, acknowledge their concern and promise to investigate.
7. When appropriate, suggest another person or avenue that might be helpful.
8. Remain calm and helpful. Never show temper or exasperation.
9. Avoid bad body language: crossing arms, shaking head.
10. Keep things moving - respond to another member of the audience.

Greg Ward is a New Zealand media coach and trainer. For more details and online info, check

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Charismatic Communication How To Do Board Presentations Part One

Writen by Desmond Guilfoyle

Board presentations in many ways are no different to presentations to other audiences and groups. In board presentations you still need to:

  • have completed a thorough stakeholders exercise and know as much as you can about the members of the board and their attitudes;
  • know your subject;
  • know what you want the board to say 'Yes!' to;
  • find some key 'values' or 'emotions' on which to hang your presentation;
  • structure your content to make it easily digestible;
  • deliver your content confidently;
  • wear the right uniform and talk the talk of your stakeholders.
There are however, a number of other considerations you can address and tactics you can choose to employ to ensure your message is heard and embraced, the first of which is to decide if a presentation is the right way to go.

Would a written report be a better way of gaining board support? Written reports are useful when there is a great deal of technical data, a complicated process that needs careful scrutiny, or where a number of lead-up steps need to be taken before a case needs to be stated or advocated.

Some executives use the tactic of providing written reports that deliver high levels of data and proposing that the board 'accept' the reports. Then, they round off with a presentation on 'Best Case'.

Having decided if a presentation is the best course of action, review the following tips and ideas to determine which ones suit your personal circumstances.

Front-End Research

In studies conducted by Professor Jay Conger of the University of Southern California, it was found that effective corporate persuaders would select influential and savvy colleagues and superiors to get an emotional reading from them prior to engaging in processes of persuasion. They would question how various ideas and proposals might impact emotionally and logically on staff, superiors or board members. This enabled them to acknowledge and mirror in their proposals the emotional state and expectations of those they were seeking to persuade.

In board presentations, it makes supreme sense to discuss your proposals during the development phase and avoid the situation of 'springing' a completely new proposal on your board. Where possible, consider the following:

  • Try out your raw ideas on various board members before you finalise them. If you can't access board members, test your proposals on your colleagues, CEO, or other senior execs in the know, during the development phase of your ideas. Elicit from them/him/her as much detail of board attitudes as possible. Make amendments to satisfy any concerns or ideas expressed.
  • Notice or discover the 'value' words board members use, such as 'shareholders interests', 'profitability', 'responsibility' 'market share' 'credibility' and other key words that relate to fundamental concepts and principles embraced by your board. Find ways of linking your key ideas to the value words you have elicited. Value words also provide benchmarks that you can employ when delivering board reports, as opposed to submissions.
  • Get to know your subject from 'both sides'. An audience of board members is generally a demanding audience where assumptions, judgements and proposals may well be challenged.
  • To avoid being unprepared for challenges, become a Devil's Advocate of your own position. Research the downside of your proposal and build up a comprehensive idea of the other side of your argument, proposal or idea. Get colleagues to pull your proposal apart if they can.
  • Complete an opportunity-cost exercise so you can be the one who says something along the lines of "I would be remiss if I didn't detail the potential costs and pitfalls of this proposal…." complete with well thought out ideas on how to neutralise or minimise those costs and pitfalls.
  • Having a very clear picture of opposing arguments and the pitfalls and negatives inherent in your proposal will allow you to pre-test the validity of your position. It also prepares you for demanding or difficult questions during, and at the end of, your presentation.
  • Understand clearly the format required. Often, executives turn up to a board meeting with their content well prepared but with little idea on the format of the presentation. Boards like exercising their power (Who hasn't sat outside a board meeting stewing while waiting to be summoned?) and your board will probably demand you deliver your presentation according to its rules and not yours.
  • Ensure you know how the board likes information, reports and proposals to be presented. Schmooze a board secretary, ask your CEO or a sympathetic board member to discover how the board likes presentations to be delivered and follow the rules rigidly. By delivering your presentation in a familiar format you increase the persuasive power of your presentation.
  • Know who the tyrants are and what their hobbyhorses are. Board members are no different to any other group. Often board members will make statements or ask questions simply to show off their knowledge. It is wise to determine if any of your content will touch upon pet subjects of individual board members. In such cases you need to design tactics that either appeal to, or circumvent, particular positions of individual board members.
  • Know where the power resides. What power blocs operate within the board? As a managing director you may well know who the 'Alpha' personalities are on your board. If you are not a CEO, find out as much as you possibly can about the power politics of your board. You are then in a position to tailor your content to the values and beliefs of the alphas or to the dominant power bloc on the board.
In Part Two of this article you will cover the esentials of delivery to a board.

(c) Desmond Guilfoyle 2006

Desmond Guilfoyle in an award winning commentator on influence, persuasion and charisma. He has written three books on those subjects and his book 'The Charisma Effect' has been published in seven languages around the globe. He can be contacted at For further articles, tips and information visit his blog at

Monday, November 24, 2008

High Definition Hd Explained

Writen by David Gray

HD stands for High Definition (HD) and is essentially a video format which is digital in nature and offers the promise of sharper, clearer pictures and sound than currently available using analogue video and television formats.

There are two standards (commercially current) of HD which are 720 and 1080.

Each can be shown and recorded in two different ways, Interlaced and Progressive.

This gives rise to the four commonly stated standards which your display device is capable of showing namely:-

720i, 720p, 1080i, 1080p where (i) stands for interlaced and (p) stands for progressive.

To understand which is better and which standard you should seek out it is worth first looking at the common PAL system which is used currently in the majority of VHS, DVD and television broadcasts.

The amount of information contained in a picture is directly related to the quality of the image able to be displayed. For PAL we have a picture which consists of 576 lines and 720 columns per line. This in computer "speak" gives us a number of possible pixels per image of 414,720. Pixel shape is rectangular.

If this raw information is displayed on a screen the clarity will decrease as the screen size increases – will look fuzzier. This is because the same number of pixels will still be present but each will be larger for a larger screen size.

There are clever algorithms which will divide these pixels into smaller units so that the image on a large plasma screen will look better, however the raw information remains the same.

For 720 HD the resolution (number of pixels) increases to 720 lines by 1280 columns giving us a total of 921,600 using square pixels

For 820 HD the resolution (number of pixels) increases to 1080 lines by 1920 columns giving us a total of 2,073,600 using square pixels

Thus PAL has half the resolution of 720 HD and a fifth of 1080 HD.

The next problem is how to get all of this information to the screen to show a smooth motion which looks natural and has no jerky movements and in sport for instance the football moves across the screen without leaving a ghostly trail or shadow, known as video lag.

In the PAL system images are shown using a method known as interlace (i).

Interlace shows the video images as two fields which we call odd and even. The odd fields is lines 1,3,5,7…575 and even fields are 2,4,6,8,…576.

The full image is made up of both fields but to show both "halves of the image" at the same time. As the display of moving video is actually a sequence of stills shown in sequence (25 per second) the engineers devised a method which showed for the 1 of 25 stills just the odd lines and for the 2 of 25 stills just the evens, whilst leaving the odd fields up from the first image. The next still shows the odds of the 3rd image and the evens from the previous still. This iss repeated and gives the appearance of motion, it is also why when you freeze frame the image is never as clear as you'd expect.

This works because the human eye has a thing called latency, in which the image it sees remains in the retina and fades as a new image is seen. An extreme example of latency is to look at a bright light and then look away – you still see the bright light although it is not present.

The use of interlaced transmission and processing tricks the brain into thinking it is seeing a full motion image when it is not.

The alternative method is to show the whole of each image completely, however this requires a lot of processing power and is now possible due to the technical advances made in electronics. This is called Progressive display.

So the difference between PAL, 720i and 1080i is the amount of data with which the eye is presented.

720i and 1080i are a vast improvement on PAL and you will notice a significant improvement in the clarity of the image and the amount of detail able to be seen.

The same level of improvement again would be displayed with 720p and 1080p which do not use interlaced video display methodology.

DO NOT however think that the selection of 1080p is automatically a superior image to that of 720i. The size of the screen, how far way the viewer is and how the original footage was obtained is very relevant.

David Gray is Technical Director at Status AV - a high end audiovisual company based in the UK. He has experience of a huge range of installations and event productions, including high definition and widescreen projection.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Speech In Business

Writen by Lance Winslow

The social skills of a small businessperson, franchisee, independent contractor or manager are all important. Speech and body language are first impressions and weigh heavily on the decision making process of a potential prospect or customer. As the old adage goes, 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression.' We've talked about image and along with your marketing, your sale is halfway done. You're half way home. Please don't blow it by saying the wrong things such as "That's a damn nice car" or "Those stains by the carpet and furniture ain't comin' off, cuz."


You can order and receive a sales tapes to listen to, which can help you. They might have ice breaker ideas for greeting customers and teach you how to say what you mean in a most professional manner. Learn them, adapt them and make them work for you.

Each person, every individual has a different displacement, a different energy level, a different set of experiences, which good or bad, have led them to where they are. This is true for everyone, even you. We don't expect each sales line to work for everyone. If they all work for you, you are probably a very shallow person. Some you won't feel comfortable hearing. While all these lines have worked for one or more individuals, they might not work for you. Variations of these lines will work when you put on the spin that fits your personality. Listen to the tapes while working in your small business.

Practice using roll playing techniques and most of all be yourself, Think about it.

Lance Winslow

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Powerful Presenters Close More Sales

Writen by Wendy Maynard

For many professionals (consultants, designers, architects, etc.), presentations are a key aspect of the sales cycle that can't be ignored. Let's face it, you've got a lot riding on how you look, what you say, and the way you answer questions. In order to get more new clients, you must become a master of the art of a quality presentation.

A successful presenter is one who comes across as confident, creative, and convincing. Here are some key features of a winning presentation:

1. Be prepared: Know your subject intimately. Be ready to answer questions and describe the benefits to your client in detail. Well in advance, brainstorm your client's potential objections and have a solution prepared.

2. Create rapport: Don't be so focused on the presentation that you forget to nurture the relationship you are building with your clients. They want to know what type of person you are.

3. Present by objectives: With each component that you present, explain its advantages and how it will help your client achieve their specific goals.

4. Show one concept at a time: Don't place all your cards on the table. Each idea deserves special attention. If a client looks at work before it's formally presented, he or she may form negative opinions before hearing its merits. 5. Describe, then show: It's important to take it slow, giving your audience time to absorb each concept. Explain the details of each idea BEFORE you display it.

6. Let 'em hold it: Once you put something in someone's hands, they begin to feel ownership. Let your client get involved in your creative process. Encourage questions and discussions.

7. Keep it simple: Keep your description direct, clear, and concise. Don't oversell with long-winded explanations. Good ideas don't need to be pushed.

8. Leave informed: Make sure you are clear on how you will move forward. You may have to be the one to say, "So, what are our next steps?" Your client may not have a definitive answer, so be prepared to define this. For example, you may suggest a specific date for a follow-up call or meeting.

Practice makes perfect. If you aren't comfortable with making presentations, role-play with an associate or friend. You can also perform in front of a mirror. Observe your posture and mannerisms. Are you fidgeting? Do you maintain eye contact? Are you ready to persuade and make a call to action?

ACTION ITEM: Examine your presentation style by asking for a second opinion from someone you trust. This isn't easy to do, but if you use this feedback to improve your skills, you will reap the rewards.

Copyright 2006 Marketing Maven

Wendy Maynard, your friendly Marketing Maven, publishes REMARKABLE MARKETING, a weekly marketing ezine for business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. If you're ready to skyrocket your sales, easily attract customers, and have more fun, subscribe now at

Friday, November 21, 2008

Networking How To Network Within Your Organisation

Writen by Neen James

Although there are any number of different networking groups and events you can attend, some of the best networking can occur within your organisation. To build your profile and reputation internally and understand "who's who in the zoo" it is worth investing time to get to know the people around you. Here are some suggestions of activities you could try to boost your internal networking skills.

Volunteer for the social committee. Every business (large or small) has a social committee (sometimes is it informal) designed to create fun activities to get to know co-workers. Invest some of your time to help the team create some fun and energy in your workplace. Organise a variety of events – some costing money, others that are free, some that include family members or partners and some that involved outside activity i.e. company picnic – you can all meet in a park, take your own food, provide sports equipment and plan to have fun. This activity also allows others to meet your extended family and help learn more about you. If you want to keep it strictly to those you work with, organise an event where you can meet people during the week and participate in an activity i.e. ten pin bowling or the movies. By choosing a week night it means people are not giving up their weekend. At Christmas hold an event to help a charity by collecting gifts or tinned food to donate to the needy.

Arrange a Lunchtime self-development session. Determine a topic you and your colleagues would be interested in, then simply invite someone into your organisation to give a brief presentation allowing time for questions and answers. You don't need to pay this person; they may be an internal expert you invite. Choose someone who is an expert in his or her topic area. When organising the meeting, set up the agenda so that there is time when people arrive to meet each other, allow 20 minutes for the presentation, 10 minutes for questions and a few minutes at the end to continue chatting to co-workers.

Start Friday night drinks after work. Suggest your team finish at 5.00 on Friday afternoon and all meet at a local bar or café. Invite other teams that you work with to join you. Meet from 5.00 – 6.00 PM so it isn't a late night and still allows people to meet other Friday evening commitments. Pick a central location close to the office and make it a regular event. After a month it will gain momentum and people will know you are there and will join you when they leave the office.

Organise a lunchtime sports team. This is a great way to build teamwork internally and also get to know people from other areas within the organisation. Put up a notice or send an email asking for interested parties and then form a team i.e. basketball, football, tennis, soccer team are all fun and easy to organise. Find an oval, park or gym close to the office you can use and set a regular time and day each week to meet. This is a great way to also get fresh air and exercise while networking. You might even like to get everyone to contribute some funds and organise team t-shirts to wear, your organisation may even have some you can use!

Hold a quarterly breakfast forum and invite the CEO. Make an appointment with your CEO's Personal Assistant and advise them you would like to invite the CEO to a quarterly breakfast where they can meet the team and also answer questions they might have. Once you get approval from the PA, book the next quarter's date and find a suitable venue (preferably close to the office). Each person pays for their own breakfast so it doesn't cost the company any money. Make arrangements with a café close to the office or in-house catering if you have it, and start at 7.30 and finish by 8.45. This allows people to meet, ask the CEO questions and get involved in discussions.

Seek out (or start) a mentor program. Identify people you would like to learn from within the organisation and approach them about being mentored for 6 months. If your organisation already has a mentoring program, sign up and get involved.

Write for the company newsletter. Offer to provide articles or updates for the internal newsletter. This is a great way to work with the production team (who are often volunteers looking for content for the newsletter).

Get involved in a charity. Select a deserving charity and organise events within the company to raise money for them. Your company may already have a chosen charity, if so; invite someone from the organisation to update your colleagues on suggestions of how you can help even more. This can be a fun way to help others and also help you get to know those you work with. Make it an annual event if it is something special i.e. red nose day or Daffodil day.

Hold a 'brown bag' seminar at lunchtime. Invite everyone to bring his or her own lunch; you can invite a speaker to provide information to the team. The topics might be relevant to them for outside life i.e. health, fitness, family or some way to add value to the people you work with. The topics can come from our colleagues – ask them for suggestions. You can hold these on a monthly basis and allow time within the agenda to meet at least two other people from other departments. Advertise it on the notice boards, email and in the bathrooms (you would be surprised how many people read information in the bathrooms).

Organise cross-function team events. Get to know other teams within the business by holding a morning tea and asking the other team to explain what they do within the business and the challenges they face, and then you do the same. This is a great way to find about others and also share what you are working on.

Start a book club. Find a few people who are interested in similar books to you, set yourself a book to read every two months. If it is an Australian author, invite them to join you at one of your meetings to explain more about the book and why it was written. Most authors love to meet their readers. When you get together, chat about what you learnt from the book, what your opinions are on the writing style and what you liked most about the book.

Get in a project team. Seek opportunities to work on projects within your team and with other departments. Ensure you have your manager's permission to be involved. This is a great way to network and learn from others.

Offer to be the MC. If you have a conference or event, offer your services to be the master (or mistress) of ceremonies. This will help you meet other people within the organisation, external experts that might be invited as part of the event and also help profile your skills.

Provide your business card to co-workers. When you meet someone from another department always offer your card. This will give them your contact information if they want to contact you again.

Make the most of getting to know those you work with, take time to learn what they do and how you can work together to achieve your goals.

Neen is a Global Productivity Expert: by looking at how they spend their time and energy – and where they focus their attention – Neen helps people to rocket-charge their productivity and performance. A dynamic speaker, author and corporate trainer, Neen demonstrates how boosting your productivity can help you achieve amazing things. With her unique voice, sense of fun and uncommon common-sense, Neen delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more at

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All Presenting Is Persuasive

Writen by Guila Muir

After stumbling a bit, most speakers are able to name the purpose of any presentation they might give. However, most really stumble when asked if their presentations are meant to persuade anyone of anything.

The answer, 99% of the time, is YES. And yet most presenters don't realize it. As a result, the world is full of "information-only" presentations that do NOT achieve the presenters' or the audience's expectations or needs. Information in itself does not lead people to understand, believe, or act. Information alone is a "data-dump," not a presentation.

Think about it. Why give a presentation at all if you are not attempting to change the audience's behaviors or attitudes?

Persuasion versus Coercion

"Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces." Henry David Thoreau

The term "persuasion" can turn presenters off. Many subconsciously equate it with coercion. And in fact both do share the same continuum of strategies that seek compliance from the listener. Yet persuasion, when done well, answers the audience's questions, address its concerns, and fulfills its needs…while achieving the presenter's goals.

Persuasion is nonadversarial in nature. Because it does not command, negotiate, or coerce, those who are persuaded almost always feel comfortable and satisfied with the outcomes. Why do they feel satisfied? Because the speaker has done her homework. She KNOWS what the audience needs and cares about. The presentation moves out of being a data dump and into the realm of dialogue, even if no formal "Q & A" takes place.

Credibility as Persuasion

"Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion." Aristotle

Persuasion is more than strategy or technique. Your credibility factor underlies all persuasion. All the charisma in the world falls flat if the audience doesn't perceive you as being credible.

Empirical research (McCroskey, Holdrige & Toomb, 1974) describes five dimensions that must be evident in order for a speaker to be credible:

• Competence: the degree to which you are perceived to be an expert.

• Character: the degree to which you are perceived as a reliable, essentially trustworthy message source.

• Composure: the degree to which you are perceived as being able to maintain emotional control.

• Extroversion: the degree to which you are perceived as bold, outgoing, and dynamic.

• Sociability: the degree to which the audience perceives you as someone with whom they could be friends.

Remember that the effectiveness of your presentation is really about building a relationship with the audience. These five dimensions of credibility are far more effective tools than PowerPoint or any other technology. People are "buying" (or not buying) you.

What's in it for Them?

Jerry Weissman, in his book "Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story" calls persuasion audience advocacy. By that, he means the ability to view yourself, your company, your story, and your presentation through your audience's eyes. You must be able to answer the question "What's in it for them?" at every juncture of your presentation.

If you want to move the uninformed, dubious, or resistant audience to understand, believe, and act, (and what speaker doesn't?) you must:

1. Know your audience.

Do your homework. Find out what your audience cares about, what it wants to know, what its concerns are.

2. Link every piece of information to your audience's needs.

Here's a helpful test.

1. First, determine your next presentation's purpose. Write it down. Reflect on it. Change it if necessary.

2. Then, compose the first draft of your presentation. Focus on the purpose as you write.

3. Go through your presentation. Every time you provide a piece of data, STOP. Then ask and answer these questions:

"This is important to them because…" (answer it!)

"So what?" (explain how it benefits the audience.)

4. When you discover information for which you cannot answer these questions, ask yourself: Does this data help the audience understand, believe, or act? Remove the data if it does not.

You're On!

Once you've gotten through the test and integrated the answers into your presentation, be ready to put on your Audience Advocacy hat once again. Select from the following phrases and insert them into your presentation at the appropriate times:

"This is important to you because…"

"Why am I telling you this?"

"Who cares? ("You should care, because…")

You are Credible; You Meet Your Audience's Needs

Develop and practice the five dimensions of credibility. They are an innate and natural part of you. A higher awareness of them will increase your effectiveness as a speaker. Remember to "see, taste, and hear" your presentation as if you are a member of your own audience. And always ask yourself: What's in it for them?

Far from being coercive, you are proving yourself to be powerfully aligned with your audience. Your message will benefit, motivate and move them!

Article © 2005 Guila Muir and Associates

Guila Muir pumps up your presentation skills! Sign up for her free, quarterly e- newsletter, full of strategies to make you a better speaker, at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Steps To A Successful Audiencetrainer Relationship

Writen by Andrew E. Schwartz

A major cause of trainers being unreceptive to their audience is stage fright. Being so self-involved the trainer has very little energy to devote to making personal contact. It is not unusual for this to happen, and there are ways to avoid it. You can capture and hold an audience's attention if you begin by giving your listeners your attention first.

Never in the course of the presentation lose sight of the fact that you are speaking to people. Keep what is said on a personal level. Speak directly to individuals. Never slip out of focus and begin talking to the room in general.

There is nothing wrong with talking to yourself in private. It can be a constructive emotional safety valve. Many trainers, however, talk to themselves in public when they train without the audience's attention. Their training presentations are boring and dry, and waste both their own and their listeners' time. It is crucial that a trainer learn how to gauge the level of audience attention. Without audience attention, you might just as well pack up your notes, aids, projector, easel charts, and go home. There is nothing to train but an empty room.

Many trainers unconsciously place themselves in opposition to their audiences, and this comes through in their delivery. People are more likely to listen to someone who agrees with them. It is almost always possible to find some area of agreement with which to begin, even if it is nothing more than the mutuality of the audience's and speaker's joint presence. But it can usually go deeper than that. You should work from the assumption that both you and your audience are on the same side, both mutually seeking a solution, seeking to learn, to find the benefits of this or that technique. The word is adaptability -- an attribute which any person willing to study human nature can and must develop.

Part of the larger philosophy of speaking from the audience's point of view is through the use of their language. It identifies you with "their side." They will automatically feel more closely in agreement with a person who speaks as one of them. If you are presenting to a group who sells boats using words such as "bow" and "stern" rather than front or back will help establish closeness and unity with your audience. The more you are able to couch your ideas in your audience's terms, the better are your chances of establishing true rapport, and you gain one more advantage in your attempt to hold their attention.

Copyright AE Schwartz & Associates All rights reserved. For additional presentation materials and resources: ReadySetPresent and for a Free listing as a Trainer, Consultant, Speaker, Vendor/Organization: TrainingConsortium

CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates, Boston, MA., a comprehensive organization which offers over 40 skills based management training programs. Mr. Schwartz conducts over 150 programs annually for clients in industry, research, technology, government, Fortune 100/500 companies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. He is often found at conferences as a key note presenter and/or facilitator. His style is fast-paced, participatory, practical, and humorous. He has authored over 65 books and products, and taught/lectured at over a dozen colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Presentation Skills Traps To Avoid

Writen by Andy Britnell

The art of presenting well is a learned skill, but even if you are a complete beginner, you can get a head start by not falling for these common pitfalls:

1. Never, ever, imagine that you can get away with not preparing and that when you stand up in front of your audience, you will be inspired to speak fluently and intelligently! It just does not happen and there is no quicker way to destroy your credibility and reputation. Remember the old saying – fail to prepare and you prepare to fail!

2. Don't feel you need to include lots and lots of information – you will lose your audience. Practise the presentation with a carefully-chosen audience (who you can trust to be helpful and objective) and you will be surprised how long it can take to cover a few points when they are involved and contributing.

3. Don't read from your notes. You may need prompts, but you should be well enough prepared to speak spontaneously about your content.

4. Don't get too technical in an effort to prove how much of an expert you are. Unless all the audience are at least as well-versed in jargon as you are, you will simply alienate them.

5. Don't be afraid to use humour. A little lightness softens up your audience and makes them more receptive. On the other hand, attempting jokes which fall flat will work against you. Know your limits.

6. Never give out handouts while you are talking, as people will instinctively start reading them and you will lose their attention. Remember to allow sufficient time afterwards for the distribution of handouts.

These points are intended as a general guide. As you become more practised at giving presentations, you will no doubt begin to learn some rules of your own about what does and does not work for you, and that is when you will become really proficient.

Andy Britnell specialises in sales and customer service training for the private and public sectors. Go to and you can sign up for my FREE short monthly newsletter and FREE e-mail coaching.

I coach corporate and SME clients who wish to fulfil more of their potential by thinking and behaving more effectively - see

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Does Your Body Language Tell The World

Writen by Keith MacLean

If your business requires you to travel internationally, or meet regularly with people of other countries, are you aware of what your gestures and body language are communicating? We all know that different cultures have different gestures and different levels of comfort with certain body language, but do you know the specifics for the nationalities you deal with? You should, as your trustworthiness and credibility may be at stake. Here are a few tips to remember about your body language in your next international meeting.

Don't use "signs" with your hands- You may have no idea what your commonly used symbol means in other countries. Here are some examples – the ok sign so commonly seen in the US means worthless or zero in France. Worse yet, in Brazil it is considered vulgar, so you might get slapped if you flash it to a woman from that country. The thumbs up symbol that is widely recognized in the western world as a positive sign means "get stuffed", or something very close to that in Bangladesh. At best, your audience may have no clue what your gesture means; at worst it may be offensive. Best bet - just keep any signs for your fellow countrymen!

Don't wave your arms - Talking with your hands is common – and nearly expected in Italy, but in many Asian cultures it is considered distracting, a sort of meaningless chatter. Your best chance of having your speech or presentation have worldwide appeal is to keep your arm movements to a minimum.

Keep your distance, maybe – Knowing what is expected in the culture you're visiting or working with is important. For instance, in the UK, Canada and the US, we're most comfortable with somewhere around 18-24 inches distance between us when we talk. In other parts of Europe, they prefer to be a bit closer, about 14-16 inches difference. In Asian countries, they like even more distance – as much as 36 inches in Japan. But, in Middle Eastern cultures, standing 24-36 inches away from your associate would make you seem very untrustworthy. They prefer a distance of around 8-12 inches between parties when talking.

Your body language is crucial when conducting business. International negotiations can be difficult enough without having your body unintentionally send insulting or inappropriate messages. So take care… and maybe sit on your hands!

Keith MacLean presents his Psychology of Persuasion and Body Language seminars for a reasonable fee to groups of all sizes worldwide. When you are ready for more check out

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How To Select And Benefit From Using A Professional Speaker At Your Conference

Writen by Maria Davies

If you're considering bringing in a speaker at any point during your next conference, there are a few things to bear in mind that will make the experience more beneficial for everyone, from the conference booker through to each audience member and the bottom line profits of the company.

Any public speaker worth his/her fee will see the task as not simply delivering a talk. Those worthy of patronage will also undertake prior research into the client's desired outcomes, industry competition and the current and potential problems faced by that client's business. Only by doing so can the speaker hope to add value and serve the purpose for which he/she was booked.

Remember that a speaker does not have to be intimately knowledgeable about your particular industry to add value.

Frequently, you'll find that speakers are also trained and experienced coaches and/or trainers with professional business qualifications. Often, they will have climbed the corporate latter to a senior management position so they understand the problems faced at different levels in the workplace. This means they have the processes in place to support staff and management so that improvements are effected from within, which increases morale, abilities, working relationships, communication, confidence and, ultimately, bottom-line results.

This is why a good speaker is likely to also want to discuss requirements with your company's decision or policy-makers, and may also want to survey a selection of conference attendees prior to your event. This all forms part of the speaker's due diligence that ensures relevance in the subject matter and a good return on investment for the client.

A competent speaker is also likely to be able to offer a package of options including workshops, coaching, facilitation and training, in addition to a keynote speech.

In summary, here are my five top tips for getting the most out of working with a speaker:

1. Know why you're booking a speaker, i.e. what are your desired outcomes?;

2. Book far enough in advance to allow the speaker sufficient research and preparation time;

3. Seek a speaker who focuses on providing value to you, the client, rather than one who sees the role as just delivering a speech;

4. Be prepared to co-operate in providing the access the speaker needs to best meet your expectations;

5. Remember that true change is a process. Find out whether your speaker can provide follow-up support and training.

Maria Davies is the UK's most successful female sales presenter who trains others to overcome their public speaking fears and use presentation skills to increase the audience share for their product or service by around 91%. Find out more speaker bookings at

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Presentation After The Presentation

Writen by Stephen D. Boyd

Allowing the audience to ask questions after your presentation is an excellent way to reinforce your message and to continue to sell your ideas. In addition, because listeners can ask for clarification, audience members are less likely to leave your presentation with misconceptions about the concepts you delivered. Because of these benefits, the question and answer period is actually another presentation and vital to most speaking situations.

Here are some suggestions to more effectively handle the question and answer period. Create the right mental set among your listeners by telling them early in the presentation that you will have a question and answer period at the end of your speech. If you have an introducer, tell that person to mention your willingness to answer questions at the end of the presentation. People are more likely to ask questions if you tell them at the beginning that they will have this opportunity.

Show that you want queries. Say, "Who has the first question?" Look expectant after you ask the question. If no question is asked, "prime the pump" by asking a question. Say, "A question I'm often asked is…." Ask the question and then answer it. If there are then no questions, you can finish with "Are there any other questions?" Some of the enthusiasm for your presentation is lost if you have no questions from the audience. Usually, "priming the pump" will motivate audience members to ask questions.

Look at the person asking the question, and repeat it, especially if there is a large audience or if you need a moment to think. By repeating the question you also insure you understood what the person asked. However, do not continue looking at the person once you start to answer the question. Remember that you are still in a public speaking situation and that the whole audience should hear your answer—not just the person who asked the question. In addition, continue to stand where you are equally distant from all members of your audience. Avoid the temptation to move directly to the person who asked the question. Visually this will make the rest of the audience feel left out. As you end your answer, look back at the person and his/her facial expression will tell if you answered the question satisfactorily.

Keep your answer concise and to the point. Don't give another speech. The audience will be bored if you take too long to answer a question. In addition, possibly the only person interested in the answer is the one who asked the question! If you can answer with a "yes" or "no," then do so. This keeps the tempo moving and will help keep the audience's attention.

One of the toughest challenges is the loaded question. Don't answer a loaded question; defuse it before you answer. Before answering a question such as, "What are you doing with all the money you are making from increased prices?" defuse it by saying, "I understand your frustration with the recent rate increase. I believe what you are asking is, 'Why such a sudden increase in rates?'" Then answer that question. You only get into arguments when you allow yourself to answer the loaded question. If the person is not satisfied with the changing of the question's wording, tell him or her that you will be glad to talk about it following the question and answer period and move quickly to the next question.

Sometimes you will have a listener raise his or her hand and instead of asking a question will make an extended comment—or a speech. This person has no question. A way to handle this is to watch the person's speaking rate, and when he or she takes a moment for a breath interrupt with "Thanks for your comment….Next question?" Look to the other side of the room and the long-winded speaker is not sure whether you interrupted him or whether you really thought he or she was finished. Do not allow the person to continue with the "speech" because it will deprive other members of the audience of the opportunity to ask questions.

Don't evaluate questions. Avoid saying "That was a great question," or "Good question." If the next person asks a question and you give no positive adjective, then the person may think you did not approve of the question and that could stifle others from asking questions. If you want to affirm a specific question, simply say, "Thanks for asking that question." Make everyone feel equally good about asking questions.

Consider having your conclusion after the question and answer period. This technique allows you to control the end of your time in front of the audience. Instead of the last question, the audience receives your prepared and planned conclusion. Say, "Before I make some concluding remarks, who has a question to ask?" Then when you take the amount of time you want for the question and answer period, go back to your conclusion. Thus you can end in a positive and upbeat way rather than trailing off with "So if there are no further questions, I guess that's it…."

Always maintain control of the speaking situation. When you open your presentation for audience participation, there are risks of losing control. Anticipate the unexpected. Plan ahead as much as possible. Look at your content and think about likely questions the audience will ask. Prepare your own questions to ask. Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know," and move on to the next question (You might add that you will be glad to get back to them with an answer at a later time). Be up front with a questioner if you think the question is not relevant and in a kind way say so. Your response might be, "Actually, that question doesn't the fit the context of our discussion." Work hard not to lose your temper with someone who is trying to make you look bad by the question asked.

Remember that many speaking situations really involve two presentations: the formal presentation and the question and answer period. Insure success with both presentations by using these techniques for the question and answer period.

About The Author

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. He works with organizations that want to speak and listen more effectively to increase personal and professional performance. He can be reached at 800-727-6520 or visit for free articles and resources to improve your communication skills.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Speak To Influence Minicourse Part 4 Of 5

Writen by Gary Horsman

In part 4 of the program you will learn:

1. Why your telephone voice is important
2. Bad telephone habits and telephone tips
3. How to leave a great voicemail message
4. How to script your out-going message


Most business relationships strongly rely on the telephone as a communication tool. It is very important to consider how we sound on the telephone, as the tone and pitch and the emphasis that we use affect how our message is received.

Most people determine the meaning of what you say more from how the words are stated rather than from the words themselves. A large part of the content of your message lies in how you say it rather than what you say.

Consider the following sentence. Notice what happens when the emphasis is put on different words. Say these sentences out loud to really emphasize how the meaning changes.

I did not break that dish.
(I did not do it. Someone else did it.)
I did not break that dish.
(I did not do it.)
I did not break that dish.
(I did not do it.)
I did not break that dish.
(It may have been cracked but not broken)
I did not break that dish.
(I broke another dish.)
I did not break that dish.
(I broke something else.)

In each case, with the emphasis on a different word, the sentence has a different meaning. The meaning, as heard by the listener, will be different (sometimes very different) in each case.

It is important to realize that we are only broadcasting our message. It is also being received. There is sometimes a big difference in what we feel we have broadcast versus what is actually received.

Now that we know we need to consider how we say something let take a look at some real distractions to the receiver of our message when we talk on the telephone.


Here are some big telephone turn-offs. There may be more but here are some important ones from my list.

What you do while talking on the phone affects how you sound to the person you're talking to. Your message may not come across well if you are doing any of the following. Therefore, when speaking on the phone, do not:

• Cradle the telephone between your shoulder and ear. It has a tremendously negative impact on the quality of your voice.

It may put unnatural pressure on your larynx. The risk of dropping the phone may distract you from what you're saying. This tenuous position keeps the mouthpiece from remaining steady, and when the mouthpiece moves, it sounds to the person on the other end like your tone and pitch are varying unnaturally

• Overuse the speaker phone. I once had a colleague that used the speaker phone for every call. There were occasions when I thought I was speaking only with him and then later learned that others were also in the room. On most occasions this may be fine but there is always the chance that your message may then be overheard by the wrong person or taken the wrong way by someone else in the room without the necessary background to fully understand what you meant.

If you are going to use a speaker phone, make sure that everyone in the room introduces themselves. This is a common courtesy.

• Use a grouchy voice.

• Have sloppy body language. The way you are standing or sitting reflects your attitude, and, this can be understood over the telephone. Leaning back in the chair with your feet up can be detected. If you can convey a smooth and confident tone this way then fine. My general advice, however, is to be careful with the positioning of your body even on the telephone. If you are hunched over your computer terminal or slouched over your desk you will not sound as good as you could. I often stand when I want to boost the quality and authority of my voice when using the telephone. Avoid having bad body language or posture when on the telephone.

• Do not do other things while on the telephone. Have you ever had a conversation when you knew that someone was typing away on their computer while talking to you? Did you feel that you had their attention? Of course not. You would never try to do another task while talking with a client or customer face to face. Don't do so on the telephone either.

Here are some tips for improving the way you come across over the phone.

• State your purpose up front. If you state why you are calling at the beginning of your call, you focus the receiver's attention. You give them a chance to understand how long the return call may take and determine a good time to discuss the topic.

• Smile when you talk. Just as a negative attitude will come through in your voice, so will a positive one. I know of a company that was in the market for a new phone receptionist. The primary job of the receptionist was to greet people on the telephone. Therefore, each member of the hiring team chose their top three candidates simply by making phone calls. After interviewing the top three candidates, they then made a fabulous offer to the top pick and hired her. She was the "voice" of the company and she was chosen, in part, because she sounded enthusiastic and professional.

• Compose yourself before answering. When the phone rings, stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and smile. Then answer it.

• Wait until a good moment to answer. Do not just drop what you are doing to answer the telephone on the first ring. If you are half asleep, just out of the shower, or in the middle of completing an important rush job do not answer the telephone. If you do answer and cannot compose yourself you will answer sounding tired, annoyed or distracted. We have voicemail for just such occasions. Let callers leave a message, then return the call when you are ready and composed.

• Always let the other person hang up first. It is good practice to end a phone conversation by asking one last question, such as "Is there anything else I may help you with?" or "Do you have any other questions?" Pause and allow them to answer.


Here are a few tips for leaving voicemail messages that people will want to return.

• Leave your first and last name.

• Leave your number twice, once at the beginning of the message and once at the end. So many times callers leave long messages, and then mumble their telephone number only at the end. If I need to listen to the long-winded message a second time just to get the number I am already thinking unfavorably about the caller.

• Speak clearly and slowly.

• Don't sell anything with your message.

• Leave them guessing. For example, if you have an idea you want to discuss with someone do not leave all the details in your voice message. Try simply saying, "Hi, Gayle. I have a great idea I want to discuss with you. Give me a call." You save Gayle time by not having to listen to a long message and you establish some intrigue so that she will call you back.

• Sound like a winner. If you speak with confidence and enthusiasm, you will get more calls returned, because people like talking with winners.

• Be clear. This means speaking clearly and also being clear with the content of your message. This is related strongly to sounding like a winner.


When doing even simple voice-narration, such as recording your out-going voicemail message, it is important to read from a script. Many people try to "wing it" and sound unprofessional even on simple and short things.

It is a straight-forward matter to write down what you want to say. Practice it a bit out loud, make adjustments, and then do the narration.

It is important to note that a script that looks fine on paper does not always sound as good when spoken out loud. Make a point of saying the entire script out loud and make adjustments as necessary to keep it sounding natural. Your prerecorded message has to sound like you rehearsed it but must be spoken with enthusiasm and tempo not read monotone-fashion which would be boring.

When recording your message, speak crisply. Play it back for yourself and listen critically to it, the way you did to the first recording you made in part 1 of this mini-course. Are you gulping air? Do you sound too nasal?

Finally, remember that you often read much faster than you speak out loud. Something that looks long on paper will be even longer once spoken. Time yourself if you are unsure to get the length right.

In the final part I will share with you technology tool ideas for expanding the reach of your message and how your Internet visitors can benefit from hearing your voice.

Gary is President of Presentations That Talk ( The core product of Presentations That Talk is the PTT Presenter. The PTT Presenter allows users to easily make voice-narrated streaming media presentations. This allows a company to present their products and services, using the Internet, with presentation marketing which adds impact and helps to influence the viewer.

Gary is also a public speaker, educator, and mentor/coach to others wishing to improve their speaking ability.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Presentation Skills

Writen by Kurt Mortensen

You've only got about fifteen to thirty seconds before people start to settle into their impressions. Hence, when effectively presenting, we want openers that will not only grab our audiences' attention, but will also quickly establish our credibility, cultivate goodwill with our listeners and introduce our topics.

Think of your opening as not being more than 10 percent of your entire presentation. Budgeting your speech in this manner forces you to organize your time so that you know exactly what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. Scrap the old fillers like, "Today's topic is...," or "I'm going to speak on...," or worse, "I was assigned to talk about...." When preparing your opener, think of efficiency and accuracy. First of all, consider ways that will grab your audience's attention and perk them up. Several of the most effective approaches involve the use of humor, the telling of a personal story, the posing of a question, the sharing of a quote or the presenting of a startling fact or statistic. Anything that you feel will get your audience to tune in is critical to your opening.

When preparing your opening, how do you establish credibility? One thing is for sure: Don't just start spouting off your accomplishments and credentials. Nothing will turn an audience off faster. Sure, education and experience matter, but there are subtler ways of mentioning them. Sometimes it will be natural to mention the school from which you graduated, to refer to a publication you authored, etc. Many times, you can do so without seeming pompous. A better strategy than tooting your own horn is to have someone else introduce you before you come on. Another handy way to highlight your qualifications without including a "Why I'm So Great" section in your speech is to include a written bio sketch in any materials you may hand out. Your biography could even be included if a basic itinerary is handed out. Such background information is commonly seen for keynote speakers in programs, for example. A written bio can be very effective, but it is very important to keep in mind that when furnishing this "blurb" about yourself that it be written in the third person-that is, as if someone else is describing you ("s/he" instead of "I").

When I say you want to establish goodwill with your audience members, what I mean is that you want them to feel that you genuinely care about their needs. You want to exhibit your desire to share something that is both meaningful and useful to them. Very early on in your presentation (in your opening), you must clearly communicate the answer to the audience's two most pressing questions: "WIIFM?" and "WSIC?" "WIIFM?" stands for "What's in it for me?" "WSIC?" means "Why should I care?" Your audience has to have a reason to want to listen to you and providing them with the answers to these questions gives them one. If you can answer their unspoken, but sincere interest in WIIFM? and WSIC?, they will definitely feel goodwill towards you. You can then achieve a win-win situation where the feeling of goodwill extends in both directions.

Finally, how do you go about introducing your topic? You introduction can be worked into the opening story, question, statistic, quote or joke you use to grab your audience's attention. Alternatively, you can set up your presentation so that the way in which you grab their attention smoothly transitions into your topic. Last but not least, I will state the obvious and remind you that a charismatic demeanor from the get-go will carry you miles beyond a dry, monotone one.

Understanding different types of audiences will also help you determine how you design and deliver your message. Following are some different categories of audiences and some strategies on how to deal with each of them.

Learning how to persuade and influence will make the difference between hoping for a better income and having a better income. Beware of the common mistakes presenters and persuaders commit that cause them to lose the deal. Get your free report 10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands and explode your income today.


Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you've seen some success, but think of the times you couldn't get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.

Kurt Mortensen's trademark is Magnetic Persuasion; rather than convincing others, he teaches that you should attract them, just like a magnet attracts metal filings. He teaches that sales have changed and the consumer has become exponentially more skeptical and cynical within the last five years. Most persuaders are using only 2 or 3 persuasion techniques when there are actually 120 available! His message and program has helped thousands and will help you achieve unprecedented success in both your business and personal life.

If you are ready to claim your success and learn what only the ultra-prosperous know, begin by going to and getting my free report "10 Mistakes That Continue Costing You Thousands." After reading my free report, go to and take the free Persuasion IQ analysis to determine where you rank and what area of the sales cycle you need to improve in order to close every sale!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How To Make Good Use Of Your Web Conference Session

Writen by Adi Gaskell

Preperation is vital when conducting a successful videoconference session. Thus there are a number of steps to remember prior to the videoconference session itself:

Always test the equipment before hand.

The WebVideo4U software is extremely reliable but it always pays to test the software prior to the videoconference itself. There may be problems with the Internet connection, the webcam or the microphone. Better to find out in time to rectify the problem than have embarrassing delays during the videoconference itself.

Double Check Timezones

The beauty of global communication also comes with the pitfall of negotiating the different timezones. Always check the timezones, double check them and confirm with both parties to ensure that there are no embarrassing hickups.

There are also several important steps to take when setting things up at your end to ensure that the videoconference runs smoothly.

Camera Angles

It seems an obvious thing but it doesn't look very professional if your fellow videoconference attendees can only see the top of your head or your neck. Make sure you've got the camera set up so that your head is fully in shot and try and leave about 10% headroom.


Test your microphone prior to the conference. Jimi Hendrix may have been able to use feedback effectively, it's more likely to deafen your colleagues however and won't get the conference off to a good start. If you do get feedback play around with the positioning of your speakers and microphone until you find the optimum position.


Your company may be relaxed regarding clothing but try and remember the camera. Bright colours and patterned clothing don't help the transmission. Instead try and opt for colours such as blue or grey.


Consider the effects of lighting on the camera. Up lighting is generally considered best and should be in front of the participants. Also beware of windows in the camera shot. If windows are in shot try and use curtains or blinds to prevent the glare ruining the shot.

Adi Gaskell is the founder of, a leading developer of Flash based streaming video solutions.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Secret To Great Presentations

Writen by Doug Staneart

If you take only one piece of advice about public speaking, make sure that it is this pearl of wisdom. If you focus on this one simple thing, the number of times you say "uhm" won't matter. If you focus on this one thing, your gestures and not knowing what to do with your hands won't matter. If you focus on this one thing, then the occasional loss of train of thought won't matter. In fact, if you focus on this one simple thing, you can break just about every rule that public speakers are supposed to abide by, and you will still win over your audience.

This one simple rule has transformed countless mediocre speakers into good speakers, scores of good speakers into great speakers, and numerous great speakers into world-class speakers.

This simple rule that can make or break a speaker is… ENTHUSIASM.

That's right, if you have a little excitement in your talk and a spring in your step, people pay attention. Your audience will have just about as much excitement about your talk as you do, and no more. So, if you want to win over your audience, add a sparkle of enthusiasm.

One of my mentors told me that there are two rules to live by in the world of professional speakers. She said, "Rule number one is to never speak on a topic that you yourself are not enthusiastic about, and rule number two is that if you ever violate rule number one, fake it 'til you make it."

Frank Bettger in his book How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling said it a different way. He said, "If you act enthusiastic, then you'll be enthusiastic."

For those of us who get nervous in front of groups, it's even easier. In the previous chapter I pointed out that 90% of our nervousness doesn't even show. Let's look at the other 10%. When we are nervous, we often cut out preambles and get right to the point, our rate of speech typically speeds up, we tend to move around a lot more, and we may move our hands around more than normal. Well, when we are excited about something, we do the exact same things.

Years ago, when I was a sales manager, I was often amazed at the number of times that a brand new sales person without a lot of product knowledge and absolutely no experience, could close sale after sale while my more seasoned people were struggling. The more times I went on sales calls with these new people, the more I started to notice a pattern. New salespeople are often nervous, so when they walk into an office on a sales call, they tend to cut right to the chase. They also generally talk faster because they are afraid they'll forget something. They have a tough time sitting still because of the nervousness, so they move around a lot.

I noticed that these symptoms of nervousness worked to the advantage of these new salespeople, because their prospects looked across the table at salespeople who appeared to be extremely enthusiastic about what they were selling. I would imagine that these potential buyers were saying things to themselves like, "if this person believes so much in this product, it must be good."

We as speakers can also use our nervousness to our advantage. When we turn that pent up nervousness into energy and enthusiasm, our audience can't help but be energized as well.

Doug Staneart,, is CEO of The Leaders Institute® ( He is an expert at helping people overcoming the fear of public speaking, building confident and autonomous leaders, and improving employee morale. He can be reached toll-free at 1-800-872-7830.

Monday, November 10, 2008

After The Speech

Writen by Stephen D. Boyd

Usually the emphasis on making an effective speech is what you do in preparation before the presentation begins.  But if you speak very much, what you do after the speech can help you become a more effective speaker.
As soon as possible after the speech, write down impressions of how you felt the speech went.  Answer at least two questions about the speech:  What was the best part of the speech? What part of the speech can be improved the next time? 
Some of your best ideas will come to you as you are speaking.  Write them down as soon as the speech is over so you can be prepared to use those lines or ideas the next time you speak. 
Think about the peaks and valleys in the speech.  Consider when the audience seemed to listen best and when the audience seemed restless and disinterested.  Write down your reactions while they are fresh on your mind. 
Talk to someone about the speech within the first day after your presentation.  You'll remember best what you talked about and you might discover a better way of telling a story or making a point as you summarize your speech to a friend or colleague.
Keep track of stories you tell and case studies you include so you'll not repeat yourself if ou speak to that audience again.  In addition, keep records of how long you spoke, what you wore, key people you met, and anything unusual about the speaking context.  Occasionally look back over your records of individual speeches and look for trends in your speaking that you are unaware of.  When you speak to this group again, this information will be the basis for your audience analysis.  This is especially important if you speak frequently within your company and your audience will be made up of listeners who have heard you before.  You don't want to develop a reputation for telling the same stories over and over.
If the group has speaker evaluations, ask that a copy of the summary be sent to you.  Look for any pattern in the comments as you analyze the summary.  If one person said you talked too slowly, it may be a personal preference and you don't need to give much consideration to the critique. If four or five people make that comment, however, then you might want to consider changing the pace of your speaking for the next speech. 
Certainly your main concern should be with your preparation before the speech.  However, don't underestimate the effort of what you do in analyzing the speech after the audience has left the room. 

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is a professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky.  He works with organizations that want to speak and listen more effectively to increase personal and professional performance.   He can be reached at 800-727-6520 or visit for free articles and resources to improve your communication skills.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Entrepreneurs Start Marketing Your Business Using Strong Presentation Skills

Writen by Chris King

An excellent way to let others know about your business is to give presentations. I know that a good majority entrepreneurs haven't done a great deal of public speaking -- if any. So, in this article, I share ways on how to give presentations that will urge your listeners to hire you.

What if you don't have the speaking skills you will need to do a powerful presentation? Or, you have some skills but want to perfect them?

  • First, visit and join a local Toastmasters club. I have seen members go from abject fear (their mouth is so dry they could hardly speak above a whisper) to feeling comfortable presenting to a large group. You will also meet others who can introduce you to potential clients.
  • Next, sign up to give a speech as often as possible.Most Toastmasters clubs meet weekly. I was always prepared -- even when not scheduled -- in case someone didn't show up.
  • Before you know it, you will start feeling great about presenting.

Now that you have the skills and the confidence, prepare a folder with your basic information, the title of your talk and your availability. Your title should address a problem that the members of the groups to whom you wish to speak are experiencing or a topic that would be of interest to the group.

Be sure to include a one-sheet which covers what qualifies you to be an expert in your area, what are the objectives of the talk and what will be the benefits to the participants. Follow up after your direct mailing to start lining up some presentation dates. many groups will be delighted if you offer a free talk or workshop, but you can also speak for a fee. Or, another alternative is that if you do have products, you might ask the groups if you can sell them at their event(s).

All right, you are ready.Your presentation skills are powerful. You have a burning topic, and you have some venues lined up. Just remember the following: Make sure that you share excellent information that your listeners want to hear.

So, get busy with developing your speaking prowess, and use it to market your business like crazy. It will not only pay off, it will also be fun. Remember that powerful presentation skills will always serve you well -- no matter what business you are in!

Chris King is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, storyteller, writer, website creator / designer, free agent, and fitness instructor. Sign up for her eclectic E-newsletter, Portfolio Potpourri, at You will find her information-packed E-book How to Leave Your Audiences Begging for MORE! at and her business website at

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Story Telling As A Business Tool

Writen by R.G. Srinivasan

Long long ago, it was the time when time itself stood still
That was the time this story of story telling began
When everyone listened to the story and people learned
And that was the time people were also very happy
Because they were listening to a story.

Stories have been the purveyor of knowledge from time immemorial. Much before the advent of writing and publishing story telling was used as a means of communicating essential knowledge and preserve it for the future generations.

Our ancient elders were wise men who understood that for knowledge to be kept alive, absorbed and passed on from generation to generation they needed an interesting methodology. That became the art of story telling. The historical facts were woven into interesting fiction which held the attention and curiosity of man and made them pass it on to their next generation.

Every culture has its rich fables woven with the moral fabric necessary for the evolution of a civil society.

With the development of writing skills, from stone and clay tablets to the modern printing technology and now the digital publishing stories never lost their power in communicating and has remained one of the best sources for transfer of knowledge effectively. Now leadership is all about using story telling to craft their success . Take any successful business or political leader and you would find that they are master story tellers. "The essence of American presidential leadership, and the secret of presidential success, is storytelling."—Evan Cornog in 'The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush'; A powerful statement indeed about story telling. So how can we ordinary mortals use story telling to our advantage and success?

Start everything you do whether you are writing or speaking with a short story, a personal anecdote or an interesting event.

Instead of reeling out impressive statistics tell a story with a human touch to emphasize the same point. It is more interesting why someone bought your products than the number of people who bought it.

Read plenty of interesting stories and episodes for all occasions and weave them in appropriate places instead of long drawn narratives to convey your message.

Put emotion behind the story to make it more appealing.

Make the story telling a lot of fun. This will break the monotony of dry business presentations.

Use the story to create a grand vision about your business, a larger than life image about your brand and as motivational tool.

Use story telling to show you are person in the flesh and blood with the same weaknesses similar dispositions as the audience to get close to their hearts.

Use your creativity in story telling to shape up opinions and decisions which you want. The better story teller wins. So plan your story. Polish it up. Don't miss a chance to tell the story. "You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not."—Isabel Allende.

R.G. Srinivasan is a Certified Trainer, Writer and Author with more than two decades of managerial experience. He also writes a regular blog on home-business resources which you may check out at for online marketing tips, resources, opportunities and online promotional strategies

Friday, November 7, 2008

Charismatic Communication The Latent Power Of Not

Writen by Desmond Guilfoyle

Triggering the Yes Response

Imagine the immense delight you would feel to have an audience break into spontaneous applause after you'd made a significant point. You can appreciate, can't you, that a reaction like that signals an audience 'going for' you and your ideas in a very big and tangible way.

Consider, too, speaking in front of a group of people and triggering silent "ahuh" or "yes" responses all the way through your presentation. The air would be electric with positive energy, wouldn't it? Now, what if you could create tactical sentences that excite those responses at will? You may say to yourself now, "that can be something really worth learning, can't it?"

Review your experience of reading the paragraphs above. Can you remember the number of times that you felt physically in alignment with its propositions? Maybe you felt a few ahuh-ahuh-ahuh's as you quickly absorbed the points, or maybe the sensations of agreement and approval were a little stronger than that, providing more than enough reason for you to remain interested and continue reading.

The internal sensations you experience from a mild "ahuh" to a wanton 'go-for-it' impulse feel good. Consider the value of these positive feelings being associated with you and your content as you deliver your message. If people associate pleasure and stimulation with you and your message, three things happen. 1) People will remember more of your content, 2) People will be much more likely to embrace your message, and 3) People will come back for more.

The sensations associated with 'Yes!' and 'go-for-it' responses are an important consideration in the relationships Charismatic communicators establish with audiences. They are particularly gifted in the assessment and management of emotion in those they seek to persuade. They take constant readings and actively engage in regulating the emotional mercury as circumstance demands. This gift can be seen as a combination of self-appraisal, the capacity to read and manage an audience's emotional state, and the ability to fashion words in such a way as to make them irresistible.

Having felt the power of 'Yes!' and understanding the value of incorporating 'yes' triggers into your speaking style, your next step is to learn some of the patterns and sequences charismatic communicators use to evoke those responses. In this article we will review what you will come to know as 'tactical negation', or in simple words using the word 'not' to trigger positive reactions in your audience.


The word not and its derivatives exist only in language. This is to say that 'not's' are a mental construct and generally do not mirror the way your brain works. They are tough on your unconscious mind and that is why, for example, you can't not think of evoking 'yes' responses when instructed not to think about them, without thinking about them first and then attempting to stamp a not on them. As you can see, it's not all that hard to tie your mind up in 'not's', is it not?

Some 'not's', however, are better than others. You may not have begun to wonder where this is all taking you, until now. And as you begin to consider the immense possibilities of this simple word, you can appreciate, can you not, how a few cleverly placed 'not's' can bring about a strong sense of the opposite? O.K., enough is enough!

The 'not's' you are going to find relatively easy to integrate into your language style are connected to what are called tag questions. Some tag questions, such as "right?", "O.K.?", "You know?" and others that are part of powerless language can reduce your effectiveness as a speaker. However, appropriately inserted tag questions containing a 'not' can have the effect of producing silent affirmation in your listeners, thus significantly increasing your effectiveness. It would be useful to be able to use a linguistic device like 'not' and have your audience nodding in agreement as you go along, wouldn't it?

During the important phases of building an argument it can be extremely useful to evoke your listener's silent agreement on the points you introduce, to encourage them to feel a 'yes' coming on at various stages during the delivery of your argument.

A series of tag questions have been inserted at crucial points in this article to illustrate the usefulness of tag questions containing a 'not'. Perhaps you'd like to scan what you've read so far to discover for yourself how a negative like 'not' can induce internal sensations of agreement.

Having completed your scan, begin to think about how you can insert similar tag questions into your speaking style. Try a few out on occasions and notice the physical symptoms of agreement they evoke.

In future articles, I will cover a range of linguistic and rhetorical devices that, if used intelligently, can increase immensely your power as a communicator and public speaker.

(c) Desmond Guilfoyle 2004 - 2006

Desmond Guilfoyle is the author of three books on charisma, influence and impression management. The Charisma Effect has been published in seven languages. He can be contacted at For addition articles and information view his blog at