Saturday, February 28, 2009

Winning The Big Pitch The 7 Deadly Sins Of Business Presentations And How To Avoid Them

Writen by Thomas Murrell

Are poor presentations costing you business?

The ability to deliver a presentation to potential investors or clients is an essential skill for any budding entrepreneur, sales professional or consultant.

Whether it's a '15-second elevator pitch' or a more extensive presentation, winning over and persuading audiences is vital in today's competitive capital raising and sales environment.

Learning the art of making powerful and persuasive presentations in any business situation and you will win more work.

My premise is every start-up entrepreneur, seasoned business operator or consultant can win more business by being a better presenter.

Here are the Seven Deadly Sins of Business Presentations and How to Avoid Them.

1. Not Having a Clear Goal.

It is essential to know what the objective or end outcome of your presentation is. Is it to raise funds, educate and inform, build relationships, to sell or build credibility?

2. No Structure.

This is an absolute must for any presenter - at the very least have a beginning, middle and end. You may be the best presenter in the world with outstanding delivery skills but poor structure will lead to a poor presentation.

3. Not Connecting with Your Audience.

Building empathy and rapport with your audience is critical. Connect with them on three levels - head, heart and hip-pocket.

4. A Poor Beginning.

First impressions always matter. If you have to raise $8 million in 8 minutes, make every word count. I learnt this tip from attending Patricia Fripp's speaking school recently and I think its brilliant. For business presentations she says avoid using 'Thanks, its great to be here' as your opener. She rightly points out you've just wasted 10 seconds. At a million dollars a minute that equates to nearly $167,000!

5. Too Much Content.

The cardinal sin of all business and technical presenters. In my media career, I estimate I have attended more than 300 conferences, events and seminars. That's 1500 hours worth of presentations I've had to sit through and the most common mistake I've seen is presenters rush and overload the audience with too much content. Remember, presentations rely on the spoken word and the visual - use the written word and a handout to provide more detail.

6. The Presenter's 'I's' Are Too Close Together.

We all like to talk about ourselves. As a radio manager, I spent hours listening to and providing feedback to broadcasters. Those that really connected with their audience talked with them rather than at them. I observed they used the word 'you' a lot more than the word 'I'. This led to the saying that with some presenters their 'I's' were too close together! Here's another great tip I learnt from Fripp. Record your presentation and have it transcribed. Every time you see the word 'I', cross it out and replace it with 'you'. She calls this working on your 'I-You Ratio'.

7. Poor Closer. Again it is beginning and the end that is the most important part of any presentation. With your closer - what is the key message or action you want the audience to take away with them as they walk out the door? In business presentations the closer is often the 'call to action'. When I heard Bill Clinton speak at a Fundraising event for sick children, his closer was 'I want you to help'. Simple, direct and effective.

Here's another tip I learnt from Fripp. If you want to take questions, take them before your closer, because ending on question time is a poor and weak way to end a presentation. Worse still, you are unlikely to be able to control the last question. Take questions for a set period before the end, wrap that section up and then end with a strong closer. I've already tried this on several audiences and it works a treat!

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Right Projector Screen Can Save You Money

Writen by Nick Summers

At the LCD Projector Center we concentrate very much on LCD projectors, so why am I writing about projector screens? Quite simple really. Buying your lcd projector in isolation from the screen without considering how they work together is likely to cost you more and give you less than perfect results.

How can picking the right projector screen save you money?

One of the biggest challenges when choosing an lcd projector is getting the right brightness for the room you are going to be using it in. For home use you can usually darken the room. This means you can buy a cheap lcd projector, often saving many hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

But often darkening the room significantly is neither possible nor desirable. Buying a higher specification projector will give you a brighter image, but it's probably cheaper to buy a high gain projector screen. The quality lcd projector may cost you a thousand dollars more than a dimmer model, whilst quality projector screens that enhance the image brightness and clarity are only a few hundred dollars more.

Projector Brightness and Screen Gain

The brightness of an lcd projector is given in ansi lumens. Typical values for home theater and business presentation use are 500 to 3000. The higher the number, the brighter the picture will be. At the low end a darkened room is essential, whilst at the very top end acceptable results are possible with higher light levels. The current generation of home use projectors are typically in the 1000-1500 range.

The gain of a projector screen is the increase in brightness of the image produced compared to a flat matt white screen. This is given as a simple number, eg 1, 1.5, 2 etc. A gain of 1 means the image is the same brightness as on a flat matt white surface, whereas 2 means the image is twice as bright.

As an example, if you decide you need about 1500 lumen to get an acceptable quality picture, you could buy a projector with that rating and worry about the screen later. Or you could buy a cheaper 1000 lumen model and match it to a projector screen with a gain of 1.5. This would give you an effective image brightness of 1500 lumen at a reduced cost.

Very High Gain Projector Screens

Typical cheap projector screens have gains of between 1 and 1.2. Gains of 1.5 to 1.8 are achieved with high quality perlescent finishes at about double the cost. If money is no object and you need the maximum gain possible then you need a chromatically matched projector screen.

Gains of up to 4 can now be achieved with matched projectors and screens. An lcd projector only transmits 3 narrow wavelengths of light in Red, Green and Blue. A matched projector screen is covered with material that reflects only these wavelengths. Almost all of the ambient light is absorbed or scattered, so the projected image appears very much brighter.

The Downside of High Projector Screen Gain

Whilst projector screen gain might help you use a cheap lcd projector in brighter rooms than it could cope with on its own, there are 3 trade-offs. These are the viewing angle, color shifting and uneven brightness.

High gain projector screens limit the viewing angle. For a screen with a gain of 1 the picture appears high quality out to about 50 degrees from the projector. But at a gain of 1.5 that viewing angle is reduced to about 35 degrees. Over 2 and the viewing angle is down to around 25 degrees, making it much more difficult to layout your room.

Color shifting happens due to the surface properties of the higher gain screens. A true white screen will render colors accurately. By trying to manipulate the way light reflects, a high gain screen can cause a shift in some of the colors. This is rarely a reason not to buy, unless you really do need the colors to be spot on.

The biggest impact a high gain projector screen has on image quality is the change is brightness from the center of the screen to the edge. There can be up to 30% difference at gains over 2. This is usually not too much of a problem, but it does become far more noticable the higher the viewing angle.


A little research and a bit of leg work could help you make great savings. Treat the projector screen as an integral part of your system and buy it together with your projector. Visit stores and insist on demonstrations with a variety of lcd projector and screen combinations.

Choosing a good quality, moderate gain (1.4-1.6) projector screen can decrease the cost and increase the performance of your system. A cheap lcd projector can produce a bright, clear image at higher than expected light levels. So whilst your projector screen may cost more, overall you save. brings together all the latest news and reviews from the world of LCD Projectors. Research your home theater or business presentation LCD Projector at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Loan Officer Training So You Want To Be A Top Producer

Writen by Chad Weber

First of all, many studies have been performed on top producers. No matter what field of sales they are in, top producers always seem to have a common thread. This has led me to believe that success is a recipe. What I mean by this is wherever you find success, you will find certain ingredients. Unfortunately, many loan officers focus on the WRONG ingredients. This became very clear to me, only when I began teaching. I say this because some of the brightest and most capable of my students are also the poorest! Before I break into that though, let's look at the key ingredients that MUST be present to be a top producer:

1. - Passion.

Another poster mentioned this above, and hit the nail on the head. However, a lot of us misread what passion is. When I say passion needs to be present I don't mean you need to jump out of your bed every morning pumping your arms in the air singing "I love loans!!" No, this isn't passion, this is, well....Lunacy? j/k :)

Seriously though, passion in this context is a reference to your viewpoint. Those who are passionate and successful have a laser focus to accomplish a certain goal, and view their position as loan officer as a career and not a job. With this laser focus, they are willing to go above and beyond to CREATE a situation of success instead of crying in their spilled milk claiming "it's not fair."

The passionate ones will be successful no matter WHO they work for. They are the ones who still read and research even after hours. Passion will drive you to move forward no matter what.

2- Focus on others.

This quality is required if you want long term success. Sure there are a lot of people who are only focused on screwing over every last client they come in contact with, and they make a lot of money doing it. Eventually, your past deeds will catch up to you. If you want to create a "buzz" and high level of chat about you and your services, there is no finer way to accomplish this than approaching each sales situation with a genuine desire to HELP your client.

By eliminating "commission breath" from the picture, we shine through as genuine, trustworthy individuals who are also referral-worthy. Despite popular belief, no amount of charisma, NLP, or sales hypnosis will mask a thorough screw-job at the closing table! People can see through the fakeness of someone who is only motivated by money.

3- "YOU" packaging

I get emails from posters on this board sometimes asking why I ask so many questions to those who are asking for sales and marketing help. I'm told I should just come right out and tell people what they should do, and be done with it. Well, there's a reason I do this. That reason is listed above. YOU packaging is just a funny name for a simple concept.

Top producers all understand this concept. Top producers understand that YOU are the product! Not your company, not your loan programs, not your rates and not your closing costs. YOU are.

Once we understand this we need to begin treating ourselves like the feature product. In other words, we need to package ourselves, and spend time developing ourselves. Imagine if one of the mortgage companies you broker for called you up and said: Hey, in order to serve our brokers better, we are allowing you to customize some of the plans. Tell us what rates you want to offer, what credit scores will qualify etc. Anything goes, you want it, you'll have it..."

How many of us would jump all over this opportunity like mad men, trying our best to create the ultimate product? Yet, there is a much more powerful solution available to us and it seems to get neglected by 95% of the originators out there. Becoming a student of your career, and spending time and money to invest in the most powerful product we have to offer (ourselves) will move lo's to the top of the heap faster and more decisively than any "super-loan."

4- Referral/ duplication of effort

No matter how many people tell you "Don't work with realtors," or "avoid builders," etc, don't listen to them. All top producers understand that duplication of effort is needed to grow. If technology is all we needed (as some will have you believe) then all companies would be running and thriving with nothing more than sophisticated computer programs.

Nope, you absolutely MUST have others out there that are telling people how wonderful and great you are. Every referral partner you team up with works like a mini- sales employee spreading the word. Nothing can grow your business faster than a raving fan that is excited to be working with you. There are so many groups to choose from: realtors, builders, CFP's, CPA's, Divorce attorneys, etc. Choose one or two groups and stick with them. Learn everything you can about adding value to your new team mates, and expect the same devotion in return. If it's not reciprocated, fire the individual and hire one who can.

5- Database

All top producers maintain a well worked database of SOI, former clients and future clients. Without a good database follow-up system in place, you will constantly spend time and money recreating new clients. This will eventually burn you out, or eat into your ROI to the point that you wonder why you even bother (yes, I was there at one point... lol. Effective database marketing will eventually rival any form of advertising and marketing you may do, except for the fact that the clients that come from your database are primarily returning clients or associates! Warm leads vs. cold leads... Hmmmm...

6- Niche focus

You have to be exceptional at something. When others say, "Wow I sure could use ________" you want everyone's eyes to light up and say " Go see __________, he's the best at ________." (Don't you love my spaces?)

Having a niche specialty allows you to focus your creative energy. Like it or not, we are only human and absolutely cannot afford the mental energy and time required to be great at everything. It spreads us too thin, and we end up being mediocre. Focus on what you want to be great at, and make sure everyone knows this is your specialty...

7- Do!

Finally, top producers are not talkers, but doers. There are plenty of sharp people out there, many of them with great ideas. Yet many of them are starving because they can never seem to get past the stage of "research." You know the kind, they are always telling you about the latest and greatest marketing plan, or idea that they will be implementing next week or month. There are thousands of these types out there, but only a handful of those that actually decide to move forward and excuse the phrase, "just do it." Ahhh, the true nature of the entrepreneur! Now, what will you "do" today to move your career in the right direction?

Chad Weber Average Joe LO

Average Joe L.O. provides hype free marketing products for loan officers who target real estate agents. If this is your target, you need to visit today to take advantage of additional free training materials.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Design Better Powerpoint

Writen by Kevin Potts

In my line of work, I find myself constantly producing PowerPoint presentations. Sometimes these are just individual slides (like a diagram or case study), sometimes they are templates, and sometimes they are whole, individual presentations. Most of my PowerPoint work is completed at my day job where I am an in-house designer, but my freelancing alter ego occasionally comes across a client needing some presentational pick-up. Over the years, I have built and edited hundreds of PowerPoint files.

I know a lot of people think PowerPoint is the devil incarnate, but in the corporate world, it is an ubiquitous evil. To shake some of the negative stereotypes, I apply traditional design principals to make my company and clients look better than the competition.

We go to 120 trade shows a year, and we present at every single one. We also use Macromedia's Breeze for hundreds of online demos. Our PowerPoint is often the first thing a potential customer will see from us, so it is critical (and easy) to make a good impression before they even receive a brochure.

PowerPoint is used by nearly sales guy on the planet, with a whole industry of accessories built around the presentation guru / road warrior concept. It is employed for downloadable or live web demos, and it is even used (or abused, depending on your point of view) to pass along copy, concepts and notes between internal team members. With this volume of use, PowerPoint slide design becomes just another facet of a company's identity program.

From Chuck's Neighborhood PeeCee Warehouse to Apple Computer, the local cafe with the amazing bagels to Starbucks Coffee, every business benefits from a unique identity, a look and feel that separates them from competition. The company logo is only a small part. Corporate colors, type treatments, illustration styles and repeated graphic elements are all parts of the greater whole. This identity is carried through to stationary, trade show graphics, packaging, advertising and yes, PowerPoint.

The software has become so ubiquitous that I consider it part of a greater paradigm shift in mainstream communication. The only problem is that this evolution is hindering communication. Like text messaging or 200-pixel banner ads, the information is compressed to a set of key buzzwords, crippling the message by stripping the skeleton of any meat. Bullet points become rapid-fire metadata. I give you the words "purple" and "fish" -- you figure out what I am trying to say.

* Leverage your existing technology
* Realize rapid ROI
* Streamlined implementation

Is about as meaningful as:

* Parsed cabbage flux capacitor
* Disco glitter manifestation
* Expressive giraffe BLT

Maybe a hundred years ago those phrases denoted something, but by sheer repetition and abuse, the PowerPoint generation has crushed the meaning like 200,000 people at a Stones concert trampling through a flower garden.

In the same way a good logo supports a successful identity program, good PowerPoint transcends half-assed bullet points and reinforces the speaker -- their personality, message and purpose. It doesn't recycle the same, tired messaging over and over. Not only does it look awesome, good PowerPoint hammers home the presenter's message with unique phrasing, interesting design elements and a certain disregard for the status quo bullshit buzz-speak.

All the flashy backgrounds, painstaking animations and intense clipart research are for nothing if the message has been gutted from the shell. So while I "design" PowerPoint, I design for the audience because I am focused on how they will react to the information.

Kevin Potts is a successful freelance designer and is the webmaster of Blogging Articles and

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Presenting Facts To Decision Makers

Writen by Lance Winslow

All too often in presentations those giving a presentation to the decision-makers will in fact talk too much. The decision-makers have summoned the presenters to discuss with them their proposal to help solve a problem of the decision-makers. The decision maker or decision-makers did not call upon the presenters to give them a three-hour lecture on every single aspect of the situation or scenario.

The decision-makers are well aware of all aspects of the situation and have only asked for certain information. Overloading or confusing the issue will not help the presenter's case and it often upsets the decision-makers because they feel their time is being wasted.

I always found it amazing as the CEO of my company that people giving me presentations and advice would assume that I am an idiot. In fact, often the more I listen to the presenters I would become disgusted on how little they really knew and how their opinions were based on nonfactual information and limited knowledge of the subject. This use upset me that I was going to be paying so much money for someone that knew so little.

Sometimes I got to the point that I would tell him exactly what I wanted. Tell them I don't want them to think just do exactly what I say and do not deviate at all. If you are giving a presentation to a decision maker and they say something similar to that, then it is because you talk too much. Please consider all this in 2006.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

Monday, February 23, 2009

Please Allow Me To Introduce

Writen by Ty Boyd

Too few people are introduced effectively when giving a speech or a presentation. I always advise speakers to write their own intros. It's sometimes the only commercial you will get.

Additionally, I instruct them to print reading instructions on the page with the intro. Simply say, "Please read as written." Funny thing, when we have that instruction on the intro, people will work so much harder to do it well – and just the way you have written it. It beats some clown saying, "Well, here's an old buddy-buddy of mine. Never dreamed we'd be paying him to tell us anything about this subject. Let's give a warm welcome to this fool!"

Being the introducer requires that we create an atmosphere of mutual respect between the audience and the speaker. We need to answer several questions: Why this speaker? At this time? For this audience and at this place? As a speaker you know how much better the event goes when these questions are answered.

Here are some pointers: - You are the stage setter.

- Create an inviting environment.

- Do your homework.

- Be really interested in the speaker and subject. Show it.

- Unless the speaker is a celebrity, use his or her name several times. Audiences forget.

- Be a little bit on the gossipy side. Make the introduction sound like a novel not a textbook. Be sure to answer the audience's unasked question, "What's in it for me?"

- Never introduce a female as "Mrs. John Smith" or in a sexist way.

- When you make an introduction, speak to the audience, not to the person being introduced.

- Do not upstage or over praise.

- While you are on stage, you are the captain of the ship. Don't leave the center spot until the speaker has arrived. Welcome the speaker with a handshake, nod, smile, or slight touch on the shoulder, and then exit. It's now his or her show.

- Model good listening.

- Lead the applause. Model the behavior you would expect from the audience.

You may not be compensated for simply introducing a speaker, but the more proficiency you display on the platform, the more desirable you become as a total package.

Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, is in the Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Speakers Hall of Fame. He has taught presentation skills to Fortune 1000 executives in more than 40 countries. His Excellence In Speaking Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

How Do You Make Sure Your Elevator Speech Hits The Mark

Writen by Lorraine Howell

The "elevator speech" has become the essential tool for savvy business owners, entrepreneurs, and other professionals who use networking and building relationships as key strategies in their marketing efforts. You have only one chance to make a good first impression. A great elevator speech is the key to starting the conversation.

When someone asks you the introductory question "What do you do?" you have approximately 15-20 seconds – or the length of a non-stop elevator ride in a 40-story high rise building – to say something that will generate interest in the other person, so they ask you follow up questions about what you do.

It sounds simple enough. You just have to create a short pithy statement that compels people to ask more about you or your business.

So how do you do this? You start by asking a few key questions and your elevator speech begins to emerge within the answers to these key questions.

The first question is "Who is your audience?" Identify your target audience and what is important to them. Your target audience is the same as your target market or ideal customers. Who do you want to work with or who would want to buy from you? Dig beneath the surface and be specific about your target market. If you are not clear on whom you are trying to reach, your message will be muddled.

Is there an ideal industry, business type, group, socioeconomic status, location, hobby, or other factor that describes your best customers? If your target market is a business, what is the company's profile, number of employees, annual revenue? Where is the business in its growth cycle?

The next question to answer is "What do they care about?" What are the day-to-day concerns or issues faced by your target market? What is their point of pain that you can address? By the way, the question is NOT "What do YOU think they should care about?" Put yourself in their shoes and think about it from their point of view. The more you understand the situation from their perspective, the more likely you are to hit the mark with your elevator speech.

Once you have identified your target audience and their concerns, you can turn your attention to your product or service. Answer this question: "What value/results/benefits do you provide?" Before you answer, look at the question again. I am asking what do you do, NOT how do you do it? And that small distinction changes your approach to an elevator speech.

More often than not, people launch into a detailed explanation about how they work or how their product is put together. They are confusing the process with the results. When people ask "what do you do?" what they are really asking is "what can you do for me?" So tell them about the results or benefits they can expect from your product or service.

And finally, answer this question: "What spins your jets about what you do?" People like to work with professionals who demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for their work. Consider this your "secret sauce." It's the zest and energy that will immediately attract people and move them to ask more questions.

The answers to these four questions provide the foundation to a memorable elevator speech. I have created a proven process of delving into these questions in more detail, plus six more relevant questions that help you uncover a powerful elevator speech in my new book Give Your Elevator Speech a Lift! The book is available now at or on my site at

Lorraine Howell owns Media Skills Training where she teaches business owners, CEO's, and management teams to speak with confidence and impact in an enjoyable and down-to-earth way. Sign up for Lorraine's FREE e-tips and also receive her FREE 5 Steps to Start a New Business Conversation (& Get Results, Too!)" by visiting her website at

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Express Yourself How To Conduct A Seminar Part I

Writen by Sangeetha S. Naik

Conducting a seminar is a great way to communicate your ideas or introduce new technologies. It is useful to know some guidelines when you have to conduct a seminar. I understood the importance of this both as a attendee and a presenter myself.

Preparing your presentation

A successful seminar is the result of careful preparation of your speech and your presentation material. Here is how you can do it.

Research your subject

If you are called to speak on a topic, probably thats because you are already have some knowledge of it. Even so, you need to reference from at least 2 different books. This helps you address and include points you have not thought about. It also helps you determine a flow for the seminar.

Preparing the presentation

Include a presentation. Presentations help the audience to understand the underlying points that the speaker has to say especially if the subject is rather vague.

The presentation should have an Introduction and a conclusion. The introduction can include a summary of the topic and a brief overview of what the speaker will be saying for the rest of the duration of the seminar.

The speaker should determine how long the seminar will take and accordingly create the presentation slides. Thumb of rule is approximately 2-3 minutes per slide if the speaker intends to skim through the slides quickly. And around 5 minutes per slide if the speaker intends to explain the slides with small examples. For example, if the seminar is supposed to be 40 minutes long, there should be around 16 slides if the speaker intends to quickly skim the contents of the slide.

Make sure the content has a ``flow'' to it. By flow I mean that the content that comes later can depend on the content which comes in first, but not the other way around. This is a common mistake. The speaker tends to explains a point that should have come in later, in the beginning itself. This tends to confuse the attendees because they have not gained enough insight into the topic to be able to grasp the new information.

The Look and feel of the presentation is extremely important. Avoid too flashy and too plain presentations. A presentation with extraordinary text effects look naive and detracts from the importance of what the speaker has to say.

At the same time, avoid plain presentations as the attendees perceive that the speaker has probably not prepared enough. Use well designed presentation templates which are freely available or at a low cost. The text size of primary points should be uniform as far as possible. Secondary points should have a smaller font size to show its reduced significance. Secondary points are indented under primary points.

Include pictures or graphs instead of text wherever possible. Management Guru CK Prahalad, in a seminar on India's innovation possibilities, explained the efficacy of the Jaipur Foot in a picture that showed a physically challenged person running with the Jaipur foot. Though the audience had already heard about the Foot, they were visibly amazed and touched as they saw the picture.

The way text is arranged on the presentation slides is also important. Speakers sometimes make the mistake of putting up points and their respective explanations also. Not only does this practice increase the number of slides, but it is a sure shot way to lull the audience into sleep. So thumb of rule is to use minimum text, and make sure whatever text you put up is a point, not an explanation of a point. If you intend to give out detailed points for reference, do not include them in the slide. It just makes them cluttered and anyway the audience just cannot keep up with the stream of points you list out to them during the seminar. Use handouts instead for such points.

It is very important to include within the seminar content, examples and case studies. Examples illustrate the speaker's point in a more interesting way which the audience is immediately able to relate to. Examples and case studies have the power to touch an audience, relate to similar experiences and thereby be eager to learn more. Sometimes small jokes too make the seminar livelier.


The speaker should prepare handouts as well, especially if the audience is small. Handouts will contain all main points of the seminar as well as those detailed points which cannot be included in the seminar slides but are useful for reference later. Include within the handout, a list of any reference books used to prepare for the seminar. This helps the audience to read or followup on the same topic later.

Listen to your voice

The speaker should listen to his seminar using a Dictaphone( or tape recorder) and play it back. It is possible to immediately detect the parts of the seminar that could be corrected or which don't sound right. If the seminar sounds interesting to the speaker, chances are that others would also feel so.

During the seminar

Once the seminar is prepared, relax!! Most of the work is done.

List out your seminar itinerary The speaker should make sure that the audience knows how long this is going to take. Give a brief idea on the important aspects of your speech so that the audience is aware where they are during the seminar. Then start with an introduction. Many people fail to give out a decent introduction before they delve into the subject, perhaps because they want to be quickly done with the main parts. An introduction helps bring people into sync with the subject. The speaker can also emphasize the benefit the audience will get by hearing the seminar out. It would be something like this "The topic I am going to speak today is about xxxxxx and through this I hope you will be able to gain yyyyyy."

Style of speaking

The speaker's voice should reach everyone, especially if it is a large audience and if there is no adequate sound system. Not able to clearly hear is probably the first way to lose interest. Similarly the seating should be such where everyone can easily see the speaker and the presentation.

The speaker should be relaxed and should be able to casually bring out examples of as many points he is taking. Examples have the power to immediately make the audience understand the point and be in sync with the speaker.

Speaker's attention has to be on the audience. The speaker can probably glance occasionally at the presentation, but remember to make eye contact as often as possible.

The general thumb rule in a seminar is for the audience to understand the subject first before asking questions Interactions can be initiated after the seminar. But during the seminar the speaker is the one who has to be strictly speaking. While an interactive seminar may seem more lively for the speaker, in fact it is lively only for the speaker and for the person who is asking questions. Others immediately lose interest. So in the interest of the larger audience, the speaker has to make sure he does not lose grip over the audience even for a minute. That means avoiding asking audiences questions during the seminar or encouraging discussions during the seminar.

So how do people ask questions. They should do it after the seminar during a Question answer session. Any questions they have during the seminar should be written down by the audience and asked after the seminar. The speaker could make these rules clear to the audience prior to starting with the seminar.

After the seminar

After the seminar is over, there could be a question answer session where audience can ask questions. As the audience is more aware of the subject now and not burdened with their own questions, they can easily understand the replies to other questions.

Now the speaker could try to get feedback from the audience about your seminar. Of course this applies only if the seminar is conducted within a company or among people who will come back for more seminars. The speaker should try to understand if the subject was interesting to the audience and in particular "useful" to them or their department. This way it is possible to understand whether to continue to build on the details of the same or similar subjects in your next seminar.

In Poornam's Development department, we conduct feedback sessions after every seminar to know whether the topic is useful for further implementation within the department. This way we were able to include JAD (Joint Application Development) and Inspection Review methods to our processes. The seminar became an extremely useful method to increase the knowledge level of staff and to improve our processes also. If the feedback session wasn't there, probably people would have forgotten about the seminar and its uses to the department. Remember the speaker is a powerhouse of information on the topic and that knowledge should not go waste if it is useful to the organization.


Finally ensure that seminars are always are conducted in an organisation. Besides drastically improving kowledge levels, it brings about an understanding of the immensity of the vast unknowns in our profession or for that matter any profession. This in turn eradicates complacancy.

Another surprising benefit of conducting seminars within organisations is the increased confidence levels found in the speakers. Generally once a speaker has conducted a seminar, he rarely stops conducting seminars and goes on to become good enough to speak outside the company to a more general audience.

As complacancy is eradicated, a renewed interest in learning is developed and most speakers turn to writing articles and reading more books. Most importantly, the fresh inflow of new ideas enters the organisation as many of these ideas are implemented. The audience which listens to the seminar already know much of what is spoken and are ready to accept changes brought about by the new systems introduced as a result of the new ideas introduced by the speaker.

All in all, seminars benefit the orgnisation, the audience and most importantly the speaker.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harnessing Your Presentation Nerves

Writen by Paul Archer

Here's some advice on how to handle nerves whilst speaking in public I was given when I first started out.

Imagine your audience are all sitting on the toilet. That advice only made me chuckle so I couldn't use that. Then I was shown the image of butterflies flying all around your stomach and was told to make sure these butterflies flew in formation, and this was to banish my nerves. Let me tell you butterflies in formation are no much better than butterflies in a free for all. Next I was told to imagine my audience were stark naked and this had a similar result to the toilet.

Finally someone gave me some solid advice. Rename nerves and call it adrenaline. The advice went on to say that you'll never get rid of them; use them to your advantage, since you need adrenaline to do a good job. When I was told this many moons ago it put it all into context.

But you will get nerves or adrenaline flushes before presenting. If you don't then stop speaking in public because you don't care anymore. You need adrenaline as this makes you do your utmost best. Controlling this natural energy is vital. Here's 4 ways of handling the adrenaline to your advantage.

Go Peripheral Vision

Peripheral vision was taught to me a few years ago. Now I've always struggled to have a wide peripheral vision apparently because I'm a man. Women have naturally more powerful peripheral vision and that's just because women's brains are wired differently. My mum always had eyes in the back of her head.

So what does this have to do with adrenaline control? Well, imagine you're up on your stage and feeling a little anxious and energetic. Maybe you're being introduced or you have a natural moment to pause. Focus on a point in front of you and stretch your peripheral vision right down to your ears and imagine these are your extra eyes.

Do this for a few seconds and you will relax. How? The brain is wired so that you cannot consciously process nerves and peripheral vision simultaneously. Clever isn't it? Try it next time, it really does work.

Lubricate your mouth

As a speaker, your voice is by far the most important asset, only second to your body. By the way, PowerPoint comes down very low in priority. Your voice is the vehicle in which the message is given to your audience so make sure it is ready and willing. There are some things you can do beforehand to make your voice sing, but that's the subject of a different article. But what can you do if your mouth is drying up and the water is miles away from where you're standing?

If you have slightly less than a minute available to you, tear a tiny piece of paper millimetres in size, and fold it into a tiny ball. Wedge this in the back of your mouth behind your teeth, so you don't swallow. Make sure no one can see you doing this otherwise they'll think you're taking drugs, and we don't want that do we?

Your mouth now thinks there's something in there and will automatically produce saliva. And that's what you want…to lubricate your mouth at that vital moment. Try it, but do practise first, it does work.

Taking a Slurp

On the subject of dry mouths, the next tip was given to me about 10 years ago by a chap called Frank. Now Frank was from the East End of London and had a wonderful gritty accent. Now when Frank got lost or wanted to check his notes, he would call out to the audience that he wanted a "slurp". Off he went to the side of the room where he kept his bottle of water and glass. He would make a song and dance over opening the bottle and fizzy was best. It made a loud psst when it was opened and he poured the water vigorously into his glass and took a couple a big slugs. All of this was done very dramatically and sure enough, many of the audience would copy if they had water in front of them.

Meanwhile Frank could have a good look at his notes to see where he was and to settle down any nerves he might have had. Very clever.

Whilst on the subject of notes, you should have them. Not a script of your speech but something containing bullets or reminders of what to say next. Now Frank would never hold onto his notes as that stilted his body language and use of gestures. Care with using PowerPoint as your notes, many people do it. If you do this you'll end up having a slide for every single part of your presentation since they are your notes. You'll end up being accused of "Death by PowerPoint" and you don't want that.

Visualise to Success

My final tip for you to overcome your nerves or ensure they're channelled to assist you not hinder you is major dollops of visualisation. Now this is not new at all and many sport stars use this to increase their success.

Mohammed Ali was perhaps the greatest champion of visualisation. He called it Future History and would predict the result of all his fights. And he got it right many more times than he got it wrong. "Ashley Moore, I'll have you down in four" And he did.

You see the way the brain is wired ensures that if you visualise and imagine an event in your head and if you do this strongly enough. I mean really intensely. Colour, movement, panoramic views, sounds, people, laughter and you part of it, then the brain will eventually believe it to be true.

So next time you have a big speech coming up. Play a movie in your head of it all going very well indeed. Maybe even a standing ovation. Go on really pump up the success in the movie. Only you know it's there.

Paul is an international speaker, trainer, author and coach based in the UK. He specialises in rapport selling and rapport sales management and can ignite his audiences large or small. Rapport selling gets more results. Get your Ebook Presentation Excellence at and sign up to our regular EZine of sales and management tips.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Handling Questions With Authority

Writen by George Torok

At some point in your presentation you will be expected to answer questions from your audience. They might have some burning questions that need to be answered before they buy into your message. Handling their questions with authority can make the difference for you between a successful presentation and a waste of time. This is the opportunity for the audience to test your knowledge on the topic and commitment to your message.

1. Explain at which points during the presentation you will take questions and how individuals will be recognized to speak. Point out the microphones they should use. State the rules that must be followed to ask questions.

2. Prepare how you will answer questions - especially the worst questions. Imagine how confident you will look when they hit you with the killer question - the question that is intended to skewer you to the wall. Instead you smile and calmly respond with a positive answer. Craft and rehearse the answers to these difficult questions before the presentation.

3. Maintain control of the questioning. Formally recognize the questioner before they speak and limit the number of questions. Allow only one person to speak at a time.

4. When listening to the question look at the questioner while moving away to include the whole group. Paraphrase the question for the group. State your answer to the group. Beware of answering only to the questioner.

5. Kick start the question period with, "A question I am often asked is, …".Then answer your 'question'. This helps to prime the pump and encourages others to ask questions.

6. If you don't know the answer offer, "I don't know the answer to that question but give me your card and I will get back to you." Beware! You can only do this once or twice. Anymore and you will look dumb.

7. If you can't answer a question but know that someone in the audience may know ask, "I know there are experts in the audience, how would they answer this question?" Only do this if you know there are experts in your audience.

8. When you get the person who strongly disagrees with you and refuses to shut up, respond, "Thank you for your opinion, I know there are different schools of thought on this issue - I am telling you what has worked for me."

9. Avoid repeating, "Thank you that's a good question." after every question - the questions might not be good, and the audience will see through your insincerity.

10. Never end your presentation with a question period and closing with 'no more questions? Well that's all'. That is a weak close. Instead always finish with a closing statement that will resonate with the audience and reinforce your message.

Bonus tip: Plant the question you most want to hear. Before the program begins, ask someone sitting near the back to 'pose' the question on your signal.

Any questions? Contact George Torok, "The Speech Coach for Executives", to deliver powerful presentations and handle questions with authority.

About The Author

© George Torok delivers inspirational keynotes and practical seminars. He specializes in presentation skills, creative problem solving and personal marketing. You can arrange for George to work with your people by calling 905-335-1997. For more information and to receive free tips on presentation skills and personal marketing visit and

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3 Tips For Giving More Powerful Presentations

Writen by Larry M. Lynch


"Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it" said Joseph Pulitzer. This neatly sums up writing and giving a presentation. Let's look at three ways you can use to help you give more powerful presentations.

1. Use the "Rule of Three"

Your presentation should be divided into these three distinctive parts:

• The opening

Here you establish rapport with your audience and introduce your topic. The opening should be more than 5% to 10% of your presentation length. The opening should also give three main points coming up in your presentation.

• The main body

Your topic information is provided here. Your three main points are discussed using no more than three minor points for each main point. This should take up no more than 70% of your presentation time. For a one hour presentation, for example, it would run about 40 minutes.

• The conclusion

A strong, unifying conclusion or summary is very important. This is where you briefly reiterate your main points and their respective values. Your conclusion is the part of your presentation that most attendees will remember best. Make it count. You'll need about 10% of your presentation time to effect a good conclusion to your presentation.

2. Keep Your Presentation Short

It was none other than Winston Churchill himself who got up to speak, walked to the podium, and said, "Never, never, never, never give up." He turned around, walked back to his seat and sat down. The thunderous applause that followed went on far longer than his speech had. It is remembered to this day.

Time your presentation to take a little LESS time than you've been allowed. Hardly anyone has ever complained about a presentation that was shorter than expected. On the other hand, if it runs longer than expected …

3. Use Appropriate Anecdotes and Humor

There really a number of ways you can successfully incorporate appropriate quotes, anecdotes and humor into your public speaking. A little laughter never hurt anyone, and once you get a rapport with your audience, your presentation is bound to be a successful one. Try some of these possibilities:

• A comic strip panel (especially one which imparts its humor without using words)

• A Cartoon or humorous video clip (a short digital video clip of a few seconds can easily be inserted into a Power Point or other audio-visual presentation program slide)

• A couple of well-placed jokes (if you don't have a good source for jokes, there are lots of sources online)

• Use humorous graphics or funny photos to help illustrate a theme or point

• Humorous anecdotes are always popular and can be found online and in printed publications alike. Be a good sport though, and be sure to include your source.

• Humorous quote sources and humor websites abound on the internet and finding two or three appropriate ones to use will be time well spent.

Use these four key tips to help ensure a more powerful, successful presentation. You'll find that your presentations will flow more smoothly, be more concise and informative and involve your audience more. With practice then, you too will have more attendees approaching after your presentation to shake your hand and say, "Thanks, I really enjoyed your presentation." As for the others, the thunderous applause of the audience will wake them up.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is a bi-lingual copywriter, expert author and photographer specializing in business, travel, food and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape From America, Mexico News and Brazil magazines. Free details of his 5-week online course "Develop a Specialty and Get Published on the Web for Fun, Fame or Fortune" and more tips on article writing, public speaking, and mental skills development are online at:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Becoming High Voltage Communicators

Writen by Randy Siegel

Most of us are operating at less than full power, and we're not even aware of it. Something is missing from our lives and we aren't sure what it is.

When we operate at full power, our lives are richer because we live with authenticity, connection, meaning, service, and serenity. We are powered by passion that is grounded in love and not driven by fear-based anxiety. Service and love become our primary motivations rather than self-aggrandizement.

When we do the work of authentically packaging, promoting, and presenting ourselves we create a strong sense of identity, purpose, and self-esteem. We become what I call "high voltage communicators." But identity, purpose, and self-esteem alone cannot ensure that we stand in our power.

To operate at full power and become "high voltage leaders," we must consciously and consistently choose Self over ego. David Richo, Ph.D., in his book Unexpected Miracles: The Gift of Synchronicity and How to Open It, offers this distinction between ego and Self, "…the ego is our capability of light, and Self is the light."

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called the Self the "God archetype" within us, while the ego is the center of our conscious rational life or the bearer of our personality. When functional and happy, the ego helps us achieve our goals in life. When dysfunctional, it becomes inflated and its main objective becomes to save F.A.C.E.: Fear, Attachment, Control, and Entitlement, according to Dr. Richo.

To be at our full power we must shape ego so that it serves Self. To choose Self over ego requires:

1. Focused attention
2. Unconditional acceptance
3. Inspired action.

Let's examine each.

Focused attention asks us to seek the high road and choose love over fear and service over Self. It requires us to examine our intention before beginning any transaction. Before I speak to a group, I ask myself, "Am I doing this to serve my audience, or am I doing this to gain applause?"

The Law of Attraction teaches us that what we focus upon, we manifest; what we focus upon expands. This is why living a life full of appreciation, gratitude, and love becomes so important. Every night before I go to bed, I recount three things, people, or situations from my day for which I am grateful.

Unconditional acceptance requires us to trust in the Divine Order of life. We do this by practicing trust, patience, and surrender. We don't hold on to outcomes, and we unconditionally accept the "what is." Paul Ferrini in his wonderful little book The Ecstatic Moment writes, "All suffering results from your refusal to accept and bless your life just the way it is now."

Paul Ferrini reminds us that when we practice unconditional acceptance, we say to ourselves:

I embrace the givens of life: beginnings and endings, aloneness, change, unfairness, unpredictability, and sometimes being given more than I can handle.
I open myself to every transformation that is ready to happen in and through me.
I respect the right of others to question or reject my path.
I drop the need for certainty; I am comfortable with ambiguity.

Finally, inspired action asks us to flow not fight. It requires us to listen to our intention and act upon inspiration. Inspiration can come from hunches, synchronicities, life events, physical sensations and illnesses, emotions, dreams, and other people; so we need to stay attuned to all these signs to assure that we're on the spiritual path. I find that when I'm feeling good I am on track.

If we find ourselves off track, we can look at what emotional blocks, doubts, fears, attachments, and negative mind talk might be in our way. If we are clear, then we can trust that our higher power has something in mind that is better for us and the world (back to unconditional acceptance).

We cannot employ these three strategies once and consider our work done. Instead we are called to practice them every time we make a critical decision or interaction. We are called to consciously choose the spiritual path every day and every moment of our lives.

When we authentically package, promote, and present ourselves we create a strong sense of identity, purpose, and self-esteem; we become high voltage communicators. But when we team identity, purpose, and self-esteem with consciously choosing Self over ego, we become high voltage leaders and stand in our full power, becoming the full expression of all that we are.

"The Career Engineer," Randy Siegel, helps clients electrify their careers and transform their lives by becoming high voltage communicators™. Power up and subscribe to "Stand in Your Power!" his complimentary monthly eNewsletter at

Monday, February 16, 2009

Create A Graph A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Numbers

Writen by Dee Reavis

You have data! The problem is to pull meaning out of it. The data has no value if you can't understand it.

The solution is to visualize that data. One of the simplest ways to do just that is with graphs. Graphs have a way of letting you see the big picture that is hidden within the mass of numbers.

Types Of Graphs

There are several types of graphs. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. The following list shows the more common graphs with their pros and cons:

Pros Cons

Line Graphs Great for seeing trends and seasonality in data. Not good with small amounts of data.

Pie Graphs Good for showing the percentage of the whole. One trick pony! No other uses.

Bar Graphs Better with small amounts of data. Not good with large amounts of data.

Uses For Graphs

Graphs have an amazingly wide number of uses. Some of these are listed below:

  1. Show trend over time.
  2. Illustrates data seasonality.
  3. A visual indicator of volatility.
  4. A predictor of future results.
  5. What portion each part is of the whole.
  6. A means of making comparisons between multiple sets of data.
  7. Shows when a preset standard is being met.
  8. Provides a starting point for regression analysis.
  9. Initial analysis for curve fitting.
  10. Helps visualize the relationship between two or more variables.
  11. Simplifies reporting.
  12. Identifies opportunities.

The Language Of Graphs

Graphs have a set of vocabulary that is necessary to know to fully understand their meaning. Most of the terms used come right out of your algebra textbook. If you know algebra, then you probably already know theses terms. If you don't know algebra then you need to learn these terms and their definitions.

X - It is common practice to call the horizontal values x.
Y - The vertical values are referred to as the y values.
X-axis - This is the horizontal line which separates the y positive values from the y negative values.
Y-axis - This is the vertical line which separates the x positive values from the x negative values. Slope - This is simply the slant of the graph. A positive value says the graph is rising. A negative value says the graph is falling.
Variables - These are the two part values consisting of a dependent variable and an independent variable. An example might be a graph of monthly expenses. The x variable is the month and the y variable is the expense. A data point might be February for $3000. When March comes along, the value might be $2500.

How To Create A Graph

It used to be necessary to have graph paper to create a graph. Now we have computers. Spreadsheets, specifically Excel, are often used to create computer graphs. Online resources are available to create your graph and even print it on your own printer. These resources are shown below.


When you create a graph you have made your data visual. When it is visual, it is much more comprehensible to the human mind. You have transformed your data into something that communicates meaning more clearly.

Dee Reavis has spent his career analyzing business situations to find the lowest cost methods of doing business. Graphing resources can be found at Create A Graph, Make A Line Graph and Make A Pie Graph.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Close Deals In Record Time

Writen by Cavyl Stewart

Remember back when the ability to create a slide show presentation using PowerPoint was cutting-edge technology? PowerPoint presentations changed the way that companies and seminars did business. It was easy to take along your presentation material; just grab your laptop and go. Sound and visual effects, fancy screen designs, bulleted features – presentations had it all.

Everybody had a PowerPoint presentation. Those who didn't use this type of presentation material really felt the pressure to conform. Plus it wasn't difficult to see how bored their audiences were becoming with nothing visual to hold their attention.

When the technology bubble burst a few years back, and the after-effects of 911 dealt a serious blow to the economy, business travel budgets became practically non-existent. At the same time, globalization was becoming the new buzzword. To stay in business and be better able to conduct business globally, more and more companies developed websites. Other advances in technology helped reign in and at the same time expand the global marketplace.

Today, slide show presentations still are valuable sales and marketing tools used by all types of large, small and even home-based businesses. They're also a favorite of anyone giving a seminar.

In an effort to keep up with today's fast pace of business and its global nature, many marketing departments are realizing the benefits of emailing their slide show presentations. That's right. Presentations that used to be viewed primarily in a room full of marginally-interested decision makers can now be directly posted on a website or delivered via email instantaneously to the right person. Viewing PowerPoint presentations sent via email is as easy as reading your email. But it's even better because you get sound and animation, too.

Using a powerful conversion program called PowerConverter, you can quickly convert your PowerPoint 2000, XP or 2003 slides to browser-friendly Flash. Simply install this software, push a button and save the presentation as a .SWF or a .EXE file.

Select .SWF file formats for fast streaming viewing on a web site. Save as a .EXE and the conversion will include the Flash viewer as well as the presentation. That way, those receiving the file won't need any additional software to view it. This format is great for distributing smaller, self-running CD-ROMs.

No longer do you have to wait forever to get your marketing materials into the hands of the right person. No longer do you have to worry that your marketing materials will be out of date before those you are sending it to even have a chance to look at it. Files can be instantly updated, saving businesses time and money – the two most important things that a business needs to stay competitive.

Plus, there's no need to worry that the picture clarity will diminish after the conversion process, even as the slide show presentation is compressed by as much as 97%! You do have an option to improve the picture quality should you need it. Just note that this will increase the size of your file.

PowerConverter is available in three different versions, each optimized for a different version of PowerPoint. There's the lite version optimized for PowerPoint 97. PowerConverter 2000 is optimized for PowerPoint 2000 and the XP version of PowerConverter is optimized for PowerPoint 2002, XP and 2003.

Remember, for your business to survive, you've got to always stay one step ahead of your competition. The folks over at PresentationPro understand this. They had the foresight to develop a product that could take PowerPoint 2000 presentation materials to the next level. If you're not already taking advantage of this impressive slide show conversion technology, don't wait any longer.

Copyright © 2004 Cavyl Stewart. Get the most out of the software you use everyday. Check out the add-in software directory for more information on PowerConverter and other great time saving PowerPoint add-in tools. Visit: - Also, be sure to check out my Exclusive, 100% free, 100% original content ecourses.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Taking The Stage

Writen by Ellen Dunnigan

When you are introduced, "take the stage" by walking to the podium or center stage purposefully, quickly, and with your head held high. Pause a few seconds, smile brightly, and then move to the left or right of center stage, out from behind the podium just one or two steps.

These deliberate movements tell the audience, "I'm glad to be here. I'm prepared, credible, and confident. You are going to enjoy my presentation!"

Emphasize Key Points

When you are about to make an important point, step forward with one, slightly-longer-than-normal, step. Walking, but not pacing, can also help emphasize a lengthy and important idea. It must be "intentional" and important to the message. Simply take a few steps and at slight angles.

Throughout your remarks, your audience takes cues from your movements. As you make transitions between segments, move fairly slowly sideways away from your visual aids or props and toward your initial starting location. Returning to a position standing next to the podium (or at your initial starting point) tells the audience you are starting a new concept or idea. When you finish an important point or conclude a section of your speech, step backwards one or two steps.

Engage Your Audience

Watch what happens to your audience when you move in this manner. They will take visual clues from you and without thinking, respond positively to your movement.

As you step forward they are likely to sit upright in more of an "interested learner" posture. As you step back, or return to your starting point, the subliminal clue will tell your audience to relax from the "interested learner" posture, resting before your next point.

Avoid Unnecessary Movement

There are specific reasons to move and specific reasons not to move:

• Don't pace back and forth between the podium and your props or visual aids. This indicates an inability to control your environment. People will focus on your movement instead of your message.

• Stay in one location until you have a reason to move

• Don't pace left and right the width of your audience. This is highly distracting and tells the audience you are trying to burn off nervous energy.

• Don't stand in front of your visual aids or props. If you are using more than one aid, place the other(s) either at stage left or stage right. Make it easy for your audience to use your visual aids in support of your message.

• Don't face your visual aids. Direct your message to your important guests. Turning around impedes the flow of sound and often causes audience members to miss your point.

Keeping your movements purposeful keeps your audience's attention. An audience that remembers you and your message... What could be better than that?

Accent On Business founder and CEO Ellen Dunnigan is a nationally-recognized and proven coach with specialized training in voice, speech, and English improvement. She holds a master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology and has been certified as clinically competent by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

In addition, she has spent several years in corporate settings as an operations leader and strategist. Ms. Dunnigan has devoted 17 years to helping people improve their personal and professional voice and speaking skills. For more information go to:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Creating A Powerful Sales Presentation

Writen by Kelley Robertson

The quality of your sales presentation will often determine whether a prospect buys from you or one of your competitors. However, experience has taught me that most presentations lack pizzazz and are seldom compelling enough to motivate the other person to make a buying decision. Here are seven strategies that will help you create a presentation that will differentiate you from your competition.

1. Make the presentation relevant to your prospect. One of the most common mistakes people make when discussing their product or service is to use a generic presentation. They say the same thing in every presentation and hope that something in their presentation will appeal to the prospective customer. I have been victim to this approach more times than I care to remember having been subjected to many "canned" PowerPoint presentations.

The discussion of your product or service must be adapted to each person; modify it to include specific points that are unique to that particular customer. If you use PowerPoint, place the company's logo on your slides and describe how the key slides relate to their situation. Show exactly how your product or service solves their specific problem. This means that it is critical to ask your prospect probing questions before you start talking about your company.

2. Create a connection between your product/service and the prospect. In a presentation to a prospective client, I prepared a sample of the product they would eventually use in their program. After a preliminary discussion, I handed my prospect the item his team would be using on a daily basis – instead of telling him about the item I placed it in his hands. He could then see exactly what the finished product would look like and was able to examine it in detail. He was able to ask questions and see how his team would use it in their environment.

Also, remember to discuss the benefits of your products, not the features. Tell your customer what they will get by using your product versus your competitors.

3. Get to the point. Today's business people are far too busy to listen to long-winded discussions. Know what your key points are and learn how to make them quickly. I remember talking to a sales person who rambled at great length about his product. After viewing his product and learning how much it would cost I was prepared to move ahead with my purchase. Unfortunately, he continued talking and he almost talked himself out of the sale. Make sure you know what key points you want to discuss and practice verbalizing them before you meet with your prospect.

4. Be animated. The majority of sales presentations I have heard have been boring and unimaginative. If you really want to stand out from the crowd make sure you demonstrate enthusiasm and energy. Use voice more effectively and vary your modulation. A common mistake made when people talk about a product with which they are very familiar is to speak in a monotone voice. This causes the other person to quickly lose interest in your presentation. I recommend using a voice recorder to tape your presentation. This will allow you to hear exactly what you sound like as you discuss your product. I must profess to being completely humiliated when I first used this tactic. As a professional speaker, I thought all my presentations were interesting and dynamic – I soon learned that my stand-up delivery skills were much better than my telephone presentation skills.

5. Use showmanship. In the book, The Sales Advantage, an example is given how a vending sales person lays a heavy sheet of paper on the floor and asks his prospect, "If I could show you how that space could make you some money, would you be interested?" Consider the impact of this approach compared to the typical approach of saying something like, "We can help you make more money." What can you do to incorporate some form of showmanship into your presentation?

6. Use a physical demonstration. A friend of mine sells sales training and he often uses the whiteboard or flipchart in the prospect's boardroom during his presentation. Instead of telling his client what he will do, he stands up and delivers a short presentation. He writes down facts and figures, draws pictures, and records certain comments and statements from the discussion. This approach never fails to help his prospect make a decision.

7. Lastly, believe in your product/service. Without doubt, this is the most critical component of any presentation. When you discuss solutions, do you become more animated and energetic? Does your voice display excitement? Does your body language exhibit your enthusiasm? If not, you need to change your approach. After all, if you can't get excited about your product, how can you expect your customer to become motivated enough to buy?

Copyright 2004, Kelley Robertson

Kelley Robertson, President of the Robertson Training Group, works with businesses to help them increase their sales and motivate their employees. He is also the author of "Stop, Ask & Listen – Proven sales techniques to turn browsers into buyers." Visit his website at and receive a FREE copy of "100 Ways to Increase Your Sales" by subscribing to his 59-Second Tip, a free weekly e-zine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nonverbal Communication In Business

Writen by Lee Hopkins

There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal communication in business:

Let's examine each nonverbal element in turn to see how we can maximise your potential to communicate effectively...

Eye contact

Good eye contact helps your audience develop trust in you, thereby helping you and your message appear credible. Poor eye contact does exactly the opposite.

So what IS 'good' eye contact?

People rely on visual clues to help them decide on whether to attend to a message or not. If they find that someone isn't 'looking' at them when they are being spoken to, they feel uneasy.

So it is a wise business communicator that makes a point of attempting to engage every member of the audience by looking at them.

Now, this is of course easy if the audience is just a handful of people, but in an auditorium it can be a much harder task. So balance your time between these three areas:

  • slowly scanning the entire audience,

  • focusing on particular areas of your audience (perhaps looking at the wall between two heads if you are still intimidated by public speaking), and

  • looking at individual members of the audience for about five seconds per person.

Looking at individual members of a large group can be 'tricky' to get right at first.

Equally, it can be a fine balancing act if your audience comprises of just one or two members -- spend too much time looking them in the eyes and they will feel intimidated, stared at, 'hunted down'.

So here's a useful tip: break your eye-to-eye contact down to four or five second chunks.

That is, look at the other person in blocks that last four to five seconds, then look away. That way they won't feel intimidated.

Practice this timing yourself, away from others. Just look at a spot on the wall, count to five, then look away. With practice you will be able to develop a 'feel' for how long you have been looking into your audience member's eyes and intuitively know when to look away and focus on another person or object.

When focusing on individual members in a large meeting or auditorium, try and geographically spread your attention throughout the room. That is, don't just focus your personal gaze (as distinct from when you are scanning the room or looking at sections of the room) on selected individuals from just one part of the room. Unless you are specifically looking to interact with a particular person at that moment of your presentation, select your individual eye-contact audience members from the whole room.


Most of us, when talking with our friends, use our hands and face to help us describe an event or object - powerful nonverbal aids.

We wave our arms about, turn our hands this way and that, roll our eyes, raise our eyebrows, and smile or frown.

Yet many of us also, when presenting to others in a more formal setting, 'clam up'.

Our audience of friends is no different from our business audience — they all rely on our face and hands (and sometimes legs, feet and other parts of us!) to 'see' the bigger, fuller picture.

It is totally understandable that our nervousness can cause us to 'freeze up', but is is in our and our communication's best interests if we manage that nervousness, manage our fear of public speaking, and use our body to help emphasise our point.

I found that by joining a local Toastmasters International club I was rapidly able to learn how to 'free up my body' when presenting to others.


Ever watch great presenters in action — men and women who are alone on the stage yet make us laugh, cry and be swept along by their words and enthusiasm?

Watch them carefully and you'll note that they don't stand rigidly in one spot. No, they bounce and run and stroll and glide all around the stage.

Why do they do that?

Because they know that we human beings, men in particular, are drawn to movement.

As part of man's genetic heritage we are programmed to pay attention to movement. We instantly notice it, whether we want to or not, assessing the movement for any hint of a threat to us.

This, of course, helps explain why many men are drawn to the TV and seem transfixed by it. It also helps explain why men in particular are almost 'glued' to the TV when there is any sport on. All that movement!

But to get back to the stage and you on it... ensure that any movement you make is meaningful and not just nervous fidgetting, like rocking back and forth on your heels or moving two steps forward and back, or side to side.

This is 'nervous movement' and your nervousness will transmit itself to your audience, significantly diluting the potency of your communication and message.

So move about the stage when you can — not just to keep the men in the audience happy, but to help emphasise your message!


There are two kinds of 'posture' and it is the wise communicator that manages and utilizes both.

Posture 1

The first type of 'posture' is the one we think of intuitively-the straight back versues the slumped shoulders; the feet-apart confident stance verses the feet together, hand-wringing of the nervous; the head up and smiling versus the head down and frowing.

And every one of the positions we place the various elements of our body in tells a story—a powerful, nonverbal story.

For example, stand upright, shoulders straight, head up and eyes facing the front. Wear a big smile. Notice how you 'feel' emotionally.

Now-slump your shoulders, look at the floor and slightly shuffle your feet. Again, take a not of your emotional state.

Notice the difference?

Your audience surely will, and react to you and your message accordingly.

A strong, upright, positive body posture not only helps you breath easier (good for helping to calm nerves!) but also transmits a message of authority, confidence, trust and power.

If you find yourself challenged to maintain such a posture, practice in front of a mirror, or better yet join a speaking club like Toastmasters International.

Posture 2

The second type of 'posture' comes from your internal mental and emotional states.

You can have great body posture but without internal mental and emotional posture your words will sound hollow to your audience.

For example, the used car salesman at 'Dodgy Brothers Motors' might have great body posture and greet you with a firm handshake, a steady gaze and a friendly smile. But if in his heart he is seeing you as just another sucker then sooner or later his internal conflict between what he says and what he really thinks will cause him to 'trip up'.

His body will start betraying his real, underlying intentions and you'll start to feel uncomfortable around him, even if you can't figure out why.

But, if that same used car salesman had a genuine desire to help you find the right car for you, and he puts your needs before his own, then his words and actions will remain congruent (in harmony) with his underlying intentions and you will trust him, even though you might not be able to identify why.

I have seen some supposed 'self help' gurus who don't actually practice what they preach. Consequently their words ring hollow to me and their books, cds, dvds and training materials remain unpurchased.

I have met salesmen and women who don't actually make the money they claim to make in their 'fabulous business opportunity', and while their words are practiced and polished, and their body posture is 'perfect', their words ooze like honeyed poison frm their lips and I remain unconvinced.

This second type of 'posture' is fundamentally tied to truth and honesty. It is about 'walking the talk' and being who you say you are.

It's about not trying to sell something you don't believe in or use yourself. It's about not trying to pass yourself off as an expert when all you've ever done is read a book on the subject.

It's all about making sure that your words and your intentions are underpinned by truth and honesty. Because all of us, no matter how polished a presenter we might be, are at the mercy of our body and its ability to 'tell the truth' in spite of what our lips might utter. Nonverbal clues rule!

Written communication

I could spend a lifetime writing about the art of written communication.

There is an art (and also a science) that can be learnt with diligence and practice. To write too formally; to write too informally; to write too briefly; to write too lengthily...

My first suggestion would be to avail yourself of one of the following three books, each of which is absolutely brilliant at giving you the skills and insights into effective business writing:

  • The Business Style Handbook: An A-to-Z Guide for Writing on the Job with Tips from Communications Experts at the Fortune 500 by Helen Cunningham and Brenda Greene

  • The Elements of Business Writing: A Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents by Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly

  • Effective Business Writing: Strategies, Suggestions and Examples by Maryann V. Piotrowski

From persuasive memos to complaint letters, sales letters to executive summaries -- these exceedingly useful guides help you to write clearly and in an appropriate format, style and tone. Each book has numerous examples that show how to overcome writer's block, organize messages for maximum impact, achieve an easy-to-read style, find an efficient writing system and much more.

In conclusion...

There are five key elements that can make or break your attempt at successful nonverbal business communication:

Nonverbal communication in a business setting requires not only recognition of these elements, but confidence in meeting their challenges.

Good luck and remember to communicate with passion!

When you match consumer psychology with effective communication styles you get a powerful combination. Lee Hopkins can show you how to communicate better for better business results. At you can find the secrets to communication success.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cross Cultural Presentations

Writen by Neil Payne

The international flavour of many people's jobs naturally means that there is greater interaction between people from different cultures. Within the business environment, understanding and coping with intercultural differences between people is critical to ensuring that interpersonal communication is successful.

Intercultural awareness is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, it minimises the possibility of misunderstandings and/or the causing of offense through intercultural mishaps. Secondly, it is a means to maximising the potential of business relationships through the utilization of intercultural differences productively.

One area within the business environment in which intercultural awareness is a necessity is in the business presentation. Directors, managers, salespeople, consultants and business personnel are regularly required to deliver presentations. However, when one is asked to give a presentation to an audience from a different culture there are intercultural factors that can hinder the success of a presentation.

By way of illustrating some of the intercultural differences in presentations, these tips to effective cross cultural presentations are offered:


The language you use in a cross cultural presentation is important. Although the majority of the language that is used in a cross cultural presentation will be understood by an English speaking foreign audience, a speaker must be careful when it comes to slang, idioms or phrases.

If an Englishman were to talk of being "knocked for six" or "bowled over" he may very well be met with puzzled expressions. More subtly, when an American talks of a 'billion' he means a thousand million, whereas in the UK this would mean a million million. Try and keep language simple.

Body Language:

Pay attention to your body language in a cross cultural presentation. Some cultures are quite animated and will appreciate hand gestures and the expression of emotion through the body. Others expect speakers to remain calm and would find such behaviour over the top. Similarly pay attention to the use of gestures. The thumbs up may mean 'good' in the USA but it means something very different in Iran. Eye contact can also be a major intercultural difference. Some cultures consider strong eye contact a sign of sincerity, others find it overbearing and an invasion of privacy. Do your cross cultural homework before a presentation.


Be aware of different approaches to time across cultures. Some cultures prefer a structured, timetabled approach to conducting business affairs, others are more casual. In countries where a start time is considered a guide rather than a definite, allow time for networking or engage in some chit chat until others arrive. Oppositely, if you arrive late to a meeting in a punctual culture, expect some negative feedback. Always show the appropriate stiffness or flexibility depending on the culture.


Some cross cultural presentations may be in front of a small number of people and deal with sensitive issues in a pressured environment. In such intercultural situations one should always keep their emotions in check. In some cultures a certain amount of cross examination or scrutiny may occur. If this happens bear in mind the positive intentions behind such actions, i.e. the questions are only being posed to establish facts, not to undermine you. Never lose patience, show frustration or display anger. To do so will lead to a loss of credibility.

Style of Presentation:

Different cultures learn and take in information in varying ways. One should always try and tailor their presentation style to meet the needs of the target culture. Some cultures, such as Europeans, prefer information to be presented in detail and in a way that sets down foundations that act as the support to a final argument or point. In such a presentation the speaker should gradually lead the audience, using a logical succession of points, to a conclusion. On the other hand, some cultures, like the US, prefer a much faster paced presentation that is bottom-line orientated, meaning the presenter speaks from a point rather towards a point.

Use of Technology:

Power Point is not the default method of giving a presentation across the world. Some countries many not even have the technical capabilities to accommodate this so one would need to adapt to the resources at hand, whether it be an Over Head Projector or blackboard. Some cultures do not even like a visual element to presentations and find much more worth in words and personality.


In a cross cultural presentation, ensure you tailor the content of a presentation to the audience. Different cultures expect different things from a business presentation. Long term orientated cultures may be excited about future projections and figures, but others would rather learn more about the presenter's credentials, accomplishments and experience. A presenter needs to ask whether the target culture will appreciate factual, statistical information presented visually, or a more personal oratory approach.

Audience Participation:

Audiences react in different ways across cultures. Some are very engaging and are willing to participate in exercises and Q&A sessions, others are the opposite. Audiences also show respect in many ways. A Japanese audience may close their eyes while listening; a US one may clap when a good point is made and a Saudi one may do nothing at all.

Although the number of areas where one could point to intercultural differences in presentations is vast, for the sake of brevity the above mentioned areas have been highlighted as a way of drawing attention to some of the major ones. It is hoped these can then act as a foundation to improving ones insight into the way intercultural differences manifest in the business environment.

Neil Payne is Managing Director of Kwintessential, a company providing intercultural awareness training. Visit their site at:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How You Can Save On Conference Calling

Writen by Markus Wahlgren

In recent years, companies have recognized the need to expand their businesses in the international arena. Breakthroughs in communications and transportation have facilitated this move and have enabled these companies to trade in various countries all over the globe. It is now easier for company representatives to travel armed with business proposals and tap or create connections in remote places.

An obvious downside is the expenses attendant to air travel as well as the general difficulty of coordinating seminars and promotional conferences with numerous and/or remote participants. When a company representative in one country, for example, needs to present a proposal for a business deal in another country, he has to book a flight, arrange for accommodations in the host country, schedule a meeting with the target company and then present his company's proposal. All these activities cost time and money and will be spent without assurance that the target company will even accept the proposal.

Small meetings or conferences held between companies in more proximate locations also involve several inconveniences. Company time and money are still spent arranging lunch meetings or dinner conferences. Even the practice of holding meetings in each representative's office involves time and the cost of travel.

As an effective solution to these difficulties, Conference Calling has quickly become a popular system of business-related communications. Company representatives may now promote their product or service and present business proposals to remote clients without need for actual travel and the incident expenses of lodging and utilities. Aside from money, the company's time is also used more efficiently since scheduling conferences over the phone can be done by just dialing the phone. Meetings can now be held without a single participant having to leave the office. Furthermore, impromptu meetings can be held without inconveniencing any of the participants since they are not compelled to alter their schedules. With just a push of a button, all delegates may be linked together and the meeting held faster than it will take to schedule an on-site meeting. It provides an effective and efficient use of the company's time and resources. Clearly, Conference Calling is the way to modern business communications. After all, what business would not want to save money?

Markus Wahlgren runs the popular site where conference calling services are reviewed and unbiased articles are published to make the decision about conference calling easier.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Public Speaking Or Gargle With Drano 4 Ways To Prepare

Writen by Mark Kessler

Which sounds more appealing, getting up in front of a group of strangers and talking, while they all sit there looking at you like a dog watching a ceiling fan...or gargling with Drano? It's no surprise how many would choose the Drano.

Public Speaking has been ranked as the "number one fear" among thousands of us. The anxiety is overwhelming, you start to sweat profusely, your knees are knocking so hard you might break a kneecap, hands tremble like you dipped them in a fryer full of hot oil, voice starts quivering like someone dumped a bucket of ice water on your head and you can't remember what it is you are supposed to be talking about. Why? Because you are scared to death.

I want to share with you some tips on overcoming this fear of Public Speaking.

1. Picture yourself doing it, go ahead picture yourself standing in front of all these people saying what it is you are going to be talking about. Picture yourself from start to finish. Begin with walking up to the microphone or podium, all the way thru your speech, and then finally wrapping it up to a successful outcome.

2. Practice, practice, your speech 'out loud' over and over again. Now, do the same thing to a real live person..(just make sure they will be honest with you about your presentation).

It's been said: "Repetition is the mother of all skill" really is and you do it everyday in your real life, because you have done the same thing over and over again. You can just about overcome any fear you have by doing it over and over again. Sports are a good see NBA players almost never miss a free throw, PGA players make 20 foot putts, NFL kickers put it thru the uprights. It's not because they were born with some special's because they practiced and practiced and practiced some more. The same holds true for Public Speaking.

3. Whip out the camcorder and tape yourself giving your speech. That way you will be able to see what the audience will be watching and listening to.

4. Get a grip...just before you give your speech, RELAX. Take some slow deep breaths and remind yourself that all these people are here to listen to what you have to say. They don't know (or really care) what your personal life is like. Honestly, they could care less about anything going on in your personal life that YOU feel is adding to this anxiety.

The more prepared you are, the less anxiety you'll experience, which in turn, will boost your confidence sky high. Then after you are all "said and done" will never look at a can of drano the same way again.

Mark Kessler is a 26 year radio broadcasting veteran and the current stadium voice of the NFL's Washington Redskins, continues to have numerous Public Speaking engagements across America and is the owner of Public Speaking 411 - a comprehensive free resource on Public Speaking, offering tips and techniques and a wealth of information to help you overcome your fear of Public Speaking.