3 Essentials to Developing Powerful Presentations – Part 2

Powerful presentations are vital to building your credibility when communicating with colleagues, senior leaders, board members, clients, or staff. In Part 1 of this article, I focused on the preparation phase, and action steps that need to be taken in advance to ensure success. The next two phases include the presentation itself, and feedback to refine your skills following the presentation.

Presentation (Your Delivery during the Meeting)

It’s OK to be nervous. However, the best way to overcome nervousness is to be prepared and know your topic better than anyone else. Eventually the nerves will subside.

Speak clearly and with confidence. Pace yourself, so as not to speak too fast or too slow – because both drive audiences crazy. If you have difficulty enunciating certain words, do not use them. Also, be careful not to speak in a monotone manner; it will put people to sleep.

Be mindful of your body language. A genuine smile is a great way to warm a group up, so be very conscientious of your facial expressions throughout your presentation. Your body language should be relaxed to convey confidence, and throughout your presentation be sure to scan the room with positive eye contact and a periodic smile. If your eyes focus solely on your presentation notes or the PowerPoint slides on the projection screen throughout the entire presentation you will lose the audience, and you will not be able to assess whether they are embracing your message or are board stiff. Also be extremely mindful of your posture and hand gestures. Remember, not only is the audience listening to you – but they are also looking at you.

Make your presentation memorable. Start with a strong opening, typically interesting facts and figures are a good way to get the audience stirred, or with a little taste of humor. Next, make sure you have an impactful middle — this is where your knowledge and expertise of the subject matter will make all of the difference. Don’t lose the audience with too many big words, but at the same time don’t talk down to the audience. There is a fine line between a presenting your information with confidence and finesse, and totally missing an opportunity to “wow” your audience. Prior to closing your presentation, allow a few minutes to take a few questions. And, if asked a question that you cannot answer, don’t fake it. Respond appropriately indicating that you will find out and get back with them a.s.a.p. Most important, end with a memorable closing, usually a great supporting quote helps round off your presentation.

Walk the room. When presenting to small groups, using the opportunity to walk around the room is extremely effective. Periodically gaze across the entire room, using positive eye contact and smiling as often as possible to convey a sense of confidence. Of course, walking the ballroom is not effective if you are presenting to a large group in the 100′s because then everyone cannot see you. In these instances, stay on the stage or at the front of the room, periodically pacing from one side to the other to keep everyone’s attention. When presenting to large groups, I always prefer and request a wireless microphone for this very reason.

Be mindful of the time. If there is a clock in the room, periodically glance at it to ensure you stay within your allotted timeframe. I have been in meetings where the speaker went over their allocated time and participants started leaving. My suggestion, respect people’s time. That’s why handouts are so helpful. If you are running out of time, you can always advise participants to review the handouts later for more details.

Feedback for Refinement (After the Meeting)

Solicit audience feedback. The manner in which you solicit feedback depends on the audience you are presenting to. When I’m facilitating a training workshop, I always handout participant feedback forms. When I am presenting to small groups, I usually speak with the meeting planner afterwards to get their feedback on the effectiveness of my presentation and suggestions for improvement.

Use feedback to improve your skills. It’s tough accepting constructive criticism and feedback when you have worked so hard preparing for a presentation or to facilitate a training workshop. However, you must take it all in stride and use what you learn to improve your presentation style. If you continue to hear the same criticism over-and-over again (you use your hands to much, you pace too much, you let the audience take control too much, you didn’t use eye contact with the audience, etc.) then it is a chronic blind-spot that you need to work on eliminating. It’s OK to be sensitive, but use this type of feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow over time. When you begin to hear the same criticisms less over time, you’ll know that you have mastered them.

In closing, my list of tips for a powerful presentation is not all inclusive. However, hopefully it has gotten your creative juices going and in the future you will consider some of these tips to improve your presentation skills. There hundred of other tips to help you improve. I give hundreds of presentations each year, but I still review books and other self-help resources to refine my skills. Believe me, your first, second, or maybe even fiftieth presentation will not be perfect – but the more you do over time the more confident you will become.

Internet Authors Live In The Present

Internet Authors are living in the present? They have to. In fact, any author needs to think about what’s happening now, right now, this minute. Whether it’s thinking about how to finish a chapter, or whether their character suddenly became unbelievable, or how the dialogue sounds. When they’re hunched over their new creation, they need to be there, really be there, in the here and now.

Traditional Publishers, on the other hand, are lurking somewhere in the 1950s, most of them. Some are still back in the ’30s of course, and you can usually tell them by the way they dress and the elaborate and affected manner in which they speak. The majority, however, are there in the days before computers and Elvis Presley. They tend to like large desks, they fill them with parcels and piles of paper, and imagine themselves deciding the future of ‘culture’ in the Western world, with their exquisite taste and rare educated sensibility. Quite specifically, that places them before the advent of mass television and before electronic means of creating text. It also makes them insensible to the growth of the internet, a medium which has made the purchase and dissemination of the written word at once far easier and also less discriminating in its choice of material. The internet allows anyone with a story to reach a readership. Publishers are no longer the Gatekeepers, the people who have the luxury of deciding what the public has the opportunity to read. The readers, those most underestimated people, are now able to make such decisions for themselves.

Which is odd. A canvas of local creative people that I know came back with the assumption that writers live ‘in the future’. The paradox is caused by an assumption that authors are always thinking ahead, whether it’s planning the finale of a novel, or trying to decide which of their many ideas should they bring to life next. Also, once the work is finished, there’s the hard work of selecting a suitable agent or publisher to parcel off the paper and send it to. Then there’s the imagining of what the reaction might be, anticipating the best outcome, and planning how to spend the new-found wealth (really). That’s all fine, and true to a certain extent, but I’d argue that such planning (and predicting) is still based on a keen appreciation of what’s happening now. If the novel is finished, then sure, it starts to hunt for an audience. But that means living in the ‘now’, seeing the book ready and willing to go. If the creator was really addicted to the world to come, then they’d be living there, happy and contented with their dream of success, fame and riches. The book, on the other hand, would never get as far as the Post Office.

There’s another reason that authors to live in the present, and that is that the past is usually a painful and disappointing place to be. That’s certainly true at one level, judging by the vast output of recent books in the ‘Troubled Childhood’ category. There’s plenty of people out there, it seems, who have had traumatic and harrowing younger years. But I was thinking of the more recent past. For most authors, (and that means the 99% who aren’t basking in the affluence of a six figure publishing deal), that consists of trial and effort. Mostly, in fact, failing. Because, strange as it seems considering the humiliation and degradation involved, most would-be writers still feel compelled to go down the route of seeking publication by the ‘tried and trusted’ method of dispatching their hard-wrought efforts out to a publisher’s office. Inevitably, given the immense odds stacked against them, the likelihood is that the parcel is returned, (sometimes unopened, usually unread). That means disappointment, sorrow, dejection. Who’d want to wallow in such bad feelings? Far better, as any self-help guru will advise you, to ‘pick yourself up’, forget the bad experience, and move on. And that journey – moving on from the past – brings you not to the future, but to the present.

In other words, if you want to survive in the creative industries, get used to the idea that yesterday is where you failed and felt bad. Today is where you have to get on with it, finish the next story and post off the last one (maybe for the second, third or fourth time), and tomorrow is where you start a new work and – maybe, if you’re very, incredibly lucky – you will get recognition for all the good stuff you’re doing now. Maybe. That’s one way. One method. There’s another. And that is – forget ‘tradition’ and explore the internet. There you will find companies that will publish your work on a ‘print on demand’ basis and won’t charge you upfront fees. You’ll get published. You’ll see your work in book form and be able to distribute it to your friends. And there’s no grinding, humiliating put-downs involved. It’s here. It’s now. It’s technically hard to believe, but it’s come about and it’s happened. It’s what those of us in the know call ‘the present’.

Tips to Making a Salary Negotiation Letter

When in search for a new job, you definitely want something you can enjoy and can get compensated a lot for. Having a job is a necessity to be able to survive, but if everyone had a choice, they would most likely not work at all. This is why it is important that you find a job that you like seeing as you will be spending most of your days there. If you believe you have found your dream job but aren’t getting the pay you would like, a solution is to make a salary negotiation letter. Learn these tips in how to compose one so that you can be sure that you have tried everything you can to get the best possible salary in that job.

First tip when making a salary negotiation letter is that you must indicate how happy you are to be chosen for the position and how excited you are to begin work for the company. Also discuss how your experiences and skills will be a great contribution to the company and that you are looking forward to gaining new experiences as well. Talk about your goals and how you plan to tackle certain things in your first couple of months of work.

Negotiating your salary doesn’t start until the second part of the letter. After mentioning all the things stated above, that is when you discuss how you want to counter the offer they presented to you. Based on your research and in relation to the market rate, indicate an amount that you see fit. Certainly you can’t expect to be granted that same amount so always peg it at a higher rate then what you are really expecting to ensure you still get what you want.

After indicating the salary you expect, discuss why you believe you deserve this amount. Talk about your past experiences, your skills, and how you have earned it with all your achievements. Don’t forget to mention your goals and plans for the company as well so that you can show them that you will be earning the salary you are requesting for. As long as you can justify your request, you shouldn’t encounter any problems.

For your other concerns like vacation leaves or benefits, discuss these in the remaining paragraphs. Don’t go overboard and only request for things that you absolutely need. Remember, you are just about to start the job so you shouldn’t be too demanding either. When ending your letter in the last paragraph, mention how you are excited for the job and request for a meeting to discuss this negotiation further.

Following these tips to making a salary negotiation letter is all you need to be successful. Don’t have second thoughts about negotiating, you have to remember that most companies expect negotiation to take place so don’t think you are doing anything wrong with ensuring you get the salary you are happy with.