6 Quick Tips For Your Business Presentations

Practices that help people design presentations and the practices that help them deliver successfully do not overlap much. A systematic approach helps busy executives discover how to win results faster.

Thomas Sechehaye has determined two distinct sets of behaviors and practices necessary for effective design and delivery.

Practices associated with successful design only were:
• Participate in audience research
• Look for new information about design
• Learn story structures
• Design for visual impact
• Plan specific calls to action
• Structure dramatic flow
• Follow brand or company guidelines
• Adapt to diverse media

Practices associated with successful delivery only were:
• Adapt to specific audience insights
• Refine vocal quality and tone
• Practice effective eye contact
• Use authentic personal strengths
• Build high impact body language skills
• Share personal experiences with anecdotes
• Get 1:1 coaching and feedback
• Rehearse for face-to-face and virtual delivery

As the two stages demand and require different practices, then executive and sales presentation training needs to guide people about key strategies for each phase. While many organizations target presentation skills training, these two phases are often merged. The skills are rarely broken out as discretely different.

Some people are extremely anxious about delivery skills. All they can think about is previous experiences of feeling anxious, losing their voice, or feeling queasy. Successful delivery skills help professionals reinvent the experience of presenting.

But many of the challenges of delivery can be solved with careful attention to design.”

Professionals who want dramatic improvement in presentation results should emphasize 6 key best practices, listed here.

Key Practice 1. Identify Design Process
Define how presentations are built from the ground up. Find out if every individual or team is doing this differently, or following a proven and systematic design process.

Key Practice 2. Share Best Practices
Once you have determined the best practices for your business, share them. Remove inter-departmental barriers by sharing best practices. This may be done informally amongst peers; or more formally in design debriefs.

Key Practice 3. Storyboard Presentations
You would never build a house by just grabbing a 2 x 4 lying on the ground. Yet many business presentations are built in such a haphazard manner. Use a storyboard to plan powerful presentations from start to finish. This is critical to increase productivity-and streamline processes across your business.

Key Practice 4. Learn Skills For Design & Delivery
Begin with the end in mind. Learn the skills for design and delivery success. Approach each area as a unique skill set. Solid design sets the foundation for high-impact delivery. Therefore, learning design skills first is a smart approach.

Key Practice 5. Provide Training Options For Individuals
Different people learn in different ways. Some people prefer the freedom of online learning. Others learn best in a classroom environment, with shoulder-to-shoulder instruction.

In an ideal environment, provide options that encourage individual freedom of choice. If travel budgets are tight, provide online training that offers freedom in instructional design. This recreates a friendly, open environment for learning new skills.

Key Practice 6. Strengthen Skills With Coaching
One on one coaching is one of the best ways to create rapid improvement. With new advances in virtual coaching, this is now much more available and affordable than in the past.

With a step-by-step approach to the unique skills of presentation design and delivery, busy professionals can make rapid progress and not leave up to chance.

How to Present Without Fear – PRACTICE

Public speaking is one of the largest fears that people face. Whether a toast at a wedding or as business meeting facilitator- public speaking can be a nuisance. Some balk at embarrassment while others fear hesitating. Even for the most learned or the professional speaker, public speaking is difficult.

Overcoming fear is similar to athletic competition- one must practice before competition. Research with hundreds of clients shows that when individuals practice speaking they become confident and unrestrained. Presentations are not as difficult as they seem; they require structure and framework. Get help with your next presentation with PRACTICE©.

Preparation – No presentation can begin or even end properly without proper preparation. All speakers require a framework that must include 1) your audience analysis, 2) your purpose or motive for the presentation, 3) your 3 or 4 main points 4) any stories or statistics required 5) your call to action. These five components are essential to every presentation. Meetings today are run too haphazardly. Productive meetings must have purpose.

Rapport – Some presentations are succinct and do not enable much time for your to build audience rapport. You can overcome this hurdle with consistent interaction. More importantly, adult participants desire becoming part of the presentation. When possible, stop for questions, engage participants with case studies, exercises, charts, etc. If you relax your audience you too will relax.

Attention – It is important to understand that you will never capture the attention of an entire audience. People filter during presentations are think about a myriad of items other than you. However, to ensure you capture an audience majority it is best to use metaphor, statistics, and even self-deprecating humor. Participants enjoy hearing new information especially that which is memorable.

Conviction – Passion and empathy are keys for presentation success. Avatars of the speaking world capture audiences with charisma. The best speakers include King, Kennedy, Robbins, Clinton and many others. Participants even in business meetings enjoy listening to those passionate about the subject.

Timely – Presentations must be time honored. Research proves that business meetings and classroom training are too long. Keep meetings succinct and agenda bound. No meeting should last longer than 45 minutes to one hour.

Information -Dependent – The best meetings have agendas and stick to them. Every meeting must have an opening three to four main points and closure. Do not offer similar bromides others do. If you want to run an effective meeting then you must honor the framework of an agenda with only three to four main points. This framework keeps meetings focused and energetic.

Close – Our work over 27 years proves that over 82% of meetings have little if any closure. Every meeting must have a summary of key points and a call to action. For a keynote presentation this is imperative, a classroom breakout- a return on investment and for the general business meeting- completeness of task.

Evaluation – On completion of any meeting take a few moments to digress your presentation for evaluation. Never focus on the rote “smile sheets” handed to participants, simply review your work and areas that you believe might need improvement.

There is no such thing as a flawless presentation. Even the “best” professionals mar their performances. The key is to not worry, remain relaxed and most important- have a conversation. The best presenters have a plan, know their purpose, speak with passion and hold their presence. Yet, the most imperative tool for any speaker is practice. So, for your next speech remember to PRACTICE Your Presentation©. Now make it happen!

Copyright (c) 2008 Drew Stevens PhD

Art of Negotiation – Knowing When and What to Negotiate

As a professional sales person how good are you at negotiating? The answer lies in the size of your pay check, so don’t kid your self and say you are great at negotiating if your pay check is consistently small, by small I mean less than $250,000.00 per annum! I personally would not be happy with a pay check of that size, so I would make it my business to learn this skill and hone my negotiating skill into an art form.

Professional sales people must understand this simple truth: Selling and Negotiating are totally separate phases of the selling process, most sales people are poor to average negotiators, and believe that negotiating is all about reducing the price to finally achieve a sale, little wonder then that the customer expects this and tries to squeeze the last ounce out of the sale person that they are dealing with and usually are still not satisfied. Have you as a sales person experienced this?

You definitely would have, as today’s informed and savvy customer is continually bombarded both electronically and by the media and friends to never pay list price for any thing and in fact to ask the sales person these Fatal questions “What is your best price?” or “I have been offered this price from your competitor down the road, can you better it?” You may be asking at this point yeah I have so why have you called it a Fatal Question? Fair question and here is my answer, to a professional sales person this question is fatal, as the customer is taking control of the sales process putting the sales person into a price point corner, either way the sales person stands to lose once they allow themselves to be dragged into this quag mire, if they make the sale their commission is affected dramatically so a lower pay check and if they lose the sale their pay check and their self esteem is damaged. Lose- Lose, so can you now appreciate how important the skill of negotiating is?

Here is another question, has a customer said this to you “Just tell me what the price is?” What is the customer doing? Do you know? If you do, do you know how to neutralize it? Keeping the customer happy and involved?

How often has this happened to you? and how have you handled this situation? Have you gone straight into giving the customer the price and then had the customer say “Thanks I will think about iy and get back to you” Yup it has happened right?

Negotiating is an art that right an ART, something that superb sales persons do extremely well, in fact none of my customers have ever paid less than the price I have asked for! Can you say the same?

Before you enter the negotiating phase you must do so after you have answered these two questions, 1. Do I know the customers needs? 2. Does the customer appreciate what is on the table? If the answer to either of the questions is no, you are not ready to negotiate, slow down, regain control and go again. If the answer is yes, you are ready to start the negotiating phase. Let us just go back a step and see how we would handle a customer that is insistent and wants to know the price, the easiest way that I have found to handle this situation is to go along staying in control for example “Yes, customer, we can discuss price, could I ask a few questions to get the details I need to assist you better?” At this point the customer may still refuse to give you information that you require average sales people succumb at this point and give them the price, (either specific or ballpark) this practice is risky as you have now lost control, getting control back from this position is difficult and you will now get squeezed by your customer, resulting in a smaller pay check for you.

If the customer is insistent, work to get below the surface to the customers specific need with out establishing the need. Why? Knowing the need allows you several ways to meet your objective whereas a Demand is narrow leaving you with few if any choices to satisfy. Selling on price is damaging for your pay check and your companies long term viability, companies need to make a profit to survive, so don’t give it away freely!

Negotiation is a tool that you use to preserve your price and terms. I learn’t this when I went into our local Mercedes Benz dealer ship lately to purchase the new Mercedes SLS Gull wing I asked the sales person for the best price without allowing him the time to get into the sales process, he was a superb sales person and turned my question on price around seamlessly getting me to give him the reason “needs” at no time did he ask me to make an offer and when price was eventually discussed it was when he was ready for the negotiating phase and I was made to feel that the price was minor in comparison to what was on the table. I paid full price that is the art of negotiating by a superb sales person, little wonder he is the highest paid and holds the number one position for Mercedes Benz sales in Australasia.

You can as well once you have mastered the art of negotiating.