Give Yourself the Present of Being Present

Have you noticed how GOOD you have it? How ABUNDANT your life really is?

Or are you stressing about holiday hutsle and bustle? I remember plenty of years where I MISSED the holiday, the season and everything that was really great and precious because I was focused on everything I thought I didn’t have like:

1. Not having enough money to buy the holiday presents I wanted to buy.

2. Not having friends to celebrate the holidays with.

3. Not having my family members treat me the way I’d like.

4. Not having the funds to take a fabulous vacation.

5. Not having a passionate romance in my life.

This year my focus is much different. And I’ve seen the amazing difference even a year can make. This year I choose to focus on what I DO have:

1. A healthy body that lovingly moves me through every hour of each day.

2. A love relationship with God that that continues to amaze and dazzle me.

3. An opportunity to create all things new in this glorious New Year.

4. A sweet and smokey smell filling my glowing fireplace.

5. The luxury of taking time to reflect on what is most meaningful to me.

6. The ability to let go of all people, thoughts and things that are meant to move on.

As a result of focusing on what I do have, everything that I haven’t had in the past has either been brought to me or I have been brought to peace with it.

It’s a beautiful place to be.

I hope and pray you give yourself the gift of being present with what is. Enjoy ALL that you do have and remember you have what it takes to live a legendary life!

© 2007 Gina Ratliffe

OSRAM – The Five Components of an Effective Presentation – Part 5 of 5 – The Message

How do you give an Effective Presentation?  What makes the difference between an average presentation and an effective presentation? This is Part 5 of 5 focusing on The Message.

There are five main components of an effective business presentation. The acronym OSRAM should help you to remember them and help you to light up your audience. The five components are:

  • The Objective
  • The Speaker 
  • The Room 
  • The Audience
  • The Message

You should consider each of these components in turn to maximise the effectiveness of your presentation. Neglecting any individual component can ruin an otherwise successful presentation. Put them together correctly and you will turn on a light in people’s heads; brighten up their lives; get your audience to see and understand things, about which they were previously in the dark.

This series of articles looks at each of these components in turn and discover what needs to be done to ensure the success of that component.

The Message

Last but by no means least of the five components of an effective business presentation, is your message.  It is surprising where the time goes to when you get up and start talking. In a 30 to 45 minute presentation, you have only time to get across three main to points.

Keep it simple!  If you cannot state your central message in one or two sentences, you probably have not narrowed your topic enough, or clarified your thoughts enough.

  • Decide on three key points.
  • Develop supporting evidence for each key point. Include statistics, stories or examples.
  • Develop a strong introduction and powerful conclusion with a call to action.
  • Use visual aids, which help to communicate your message.
  • Perform the presentation with enthusiasm, variety and passion.

I have 3 golden rules for making your presentation memorable:

  1.  Never let them get ahead

This first rule is more about ensuring people listen rather than making it memorable, however if your audience don’t listen in the first place they are very unlikely to remember anything. As soon as your audience gets ahead of you and thinks that they know what you are going to say next, they will stop listening. After all, why bother listening if you already know it?

How can your audience get ahead of you?

The classic way is if you put up a slide with 5 or 6 bullet points and start talking your way down the list. While you are on the first point they will have read them all and will be ahead of you. Another classic is giving out handouts of the slides before the presentation. Everyone is likely to read ahead, to see what you will be talking about and will already have decided if you might be worth listening too, even before you stand up to speak.

  2.  Just Do It  

My second rule comes from a saying by Confucius:

  • I hear – I forget
  • I see – I remember
  • I do – I understand  

While this may not always be true, after all there are some things you hear that you will never forget, I think the general gist is true.

Take driving to a new location as an example. The first time you go you need to look at the map to see how to get there but if you drove their one day you can invariable drive their again later without looking at the map. However if you were a passenger on the first trip and then have to drive there yourself another time, you will probably need to check the maps again. This is because when you drove you actually did it and understand where the location is, when you were a passenger you just heard and saw but didn’t really understand where you were going.

What has this to do with presentations? If you really want your audience to understand what you are talking about you need to get them to do things. Either physically or mentally. Make them think, ask them questions, get them to participate, not just sit and listen.

Take them on a journey where they imagine using all their senses, describe what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it smells or tastes like and what it will feel like to do something.

3.Do it in threes

For some reason that I can not explain, the human brain remembers three things better than it does two or four. Politicians and advertising executives have used this in speeches and in advertising for thousands of years.

  • Vini Vidi Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) – as Caesar said.
  • Grace Pace Space - Jaguar’s tagline in the 50′s J
  • Just Do It - From Nike

The tag line “Just Do It” is not “Just get on with it” or even “Do It” which logically you may think would have more impact and be more memorable. It is “Just Do It” because of the rule of 3. 

However, it does not even have to have just 3 words as long as the rhythm is right: “The Best 4×4 by Far” – from Landrover works because the way it is said has three phrases “The Best , “4×4“, “By Far“.

I apologise that the above examples have a very British flavour to them, but thinks of tag lines from your favourite vendors are I’m sure many of them will be in “threes.”

When you cannot do it in three, then use 5 7 or 10. Groups of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 9 are not recommended, as they are less memorable.  Do not ask me why, they just do not work as well. I suppose that is why we have a top ten, and not a top six or top nine.

Politicians, leaders and advertising executives all use the rule of three. Now you know about it, look out for it.  You will be surprised how often it is used. As you can see from the examples above another favourite memory technique is to use alliteration. Combing the rule of 3 with some alliteration is particularly powerful.

  • Location, Location, Location – the great rule of property
  • Education, Education, Education – what this country needs according to New Labour

So have three benefits at the end of your presentation, it will be easy to say, sound better and be more memorable.

Sales Speaker Recommends Present Moment Selling

You have bills to pay; genuine pressures, and you’re going to fall short, unless you make this sale, and the next, and the next after that.

Your prospect is sitting pretty, a salaried type that can string you out, forever. Calm and cool, he is your diametric opposite.

This seems like a prescription for failure, doesn’t it? You NEED this order, and he doesn’t.

At times such as these, you start monitoring your dashing heartbeat, sweating palms, becoming introverted. Nonverbal cues signal distress to the buyer, who interprets your insecurity as the product’s defect.

He starts having an aversion reaction, feeling there is something wrong with you, the offer, or both. Leaning away, you become more aggressive, and tension fills the room.

Clearing his throat, he tells you to follow-up with him later. It’s an excuse, but you treat it as an objection, invoking all of your “buy now,” urgency appeals.

But the more you press, the more resolved he is to deny you what you need. Leaving the office, dejected, you start thinking there’s no way you’re going to reach your quota.

Your energies turn to making excuses, which only leads you to feel worse.

Sound familiar?

What pushed you off the slope into this sales abyss?

You weren’t doing what I call, Present Moment Selling. Instead of treating this engagement as if it were the only conversation that ever mattered, you succumbed to your concerns about the past and future.

You worried about your bills, instead of preparing your presentation. You counted the commissions you HADN’T yet earned, and worried about the future.

Tacitly, you bought into the idea that the present and future would exactly mirror the past.

Yet, there was no evidence to support this belief, and you made it an unfortunate actuality by diverting your focus from THE NOW.

Sales aren’t made in the past or in the future. They can only be made, NOW.

How many times have you counted on earning approval for a deal that never came to fruition? How often have you been surprised that someone said, “yes” after you used a standard close, one that rookies are taught?

Observe winning sports teams, especially how they treat TIME.

They put their losses behind them, especially lopsided scores. They focus on the current contest, and take it one game at a time, never getting too high or too low, emotionally.

A famous book’s title sums up the idea: BE HERE NOW.

Be completely present for this sale. This means you have prepared, you know more or less what you’re going to say, how the prospect will probably respond, and the questions and concerns that will be raised.

But you are not 100% scripted.

There are three types of scripts:

(1) Manuscripts: This is where each word is planned in advance, and the communicator needs to stay on message.

(2) Impromptu: These are off-the-cuff remarks, developed on the spot.

(3) Extemporaneous: These talks blend planning with a certain amount of spontaneity.

Successful sales talks are generally of the third type. As a seller you need to convey a certain amount of detail before a prospect can be expected to make an informed decision. Skip this information, and your offer will be misjudged.

But you have to permit room for customizing. I recall speaking to a buyer in Colorado, and before I got into the main part of the sale I asked, “Do you know where Delores, is?”

She did, it was about 4 hours away. As it turned out, she played sports there, volleyball and soccer. I attended a summer camp, there, along the Delores River.

After sharing these anecdotes, we had established common ground, literally, and we went on to have a very affable conversation.

I realize you may not be able to chit-chat like this, with C-Level executives in the big city. Still, it shows how customizing a talk can be beneficial. Providing this opportunity, and sounding as if you are IN THE MOMENT WITH THE PROSPECT, are essential to succeeding.

But I should note that you can be in the moment, but if the prospect isn’t, you’re not going to make a sale. So, taking the time to ask how they are and to listen for their responses, is crucial.

For instance, if they sound distracted, as if they’re having a conversation with someone else while you’re on the phone, pause for a second or two. It makes no sense to continue without their attention.

If they force you out of your comfort zone, by barking, “Let’s cut to the chase!” you’re going to be tempted to skip over vital information that they need to hear, without which they cannot intelligently buy.

Say, “I’ll make it brief,” but don’t leave anything out! If they interrupt, let them go, telling them you’ll call back when they have time.

When seller and buyer are both in THE NOW, there’s less effort, more fun, some sharing, and for that time you are genuinely relating to another person, which is gratifying.

The bonus is that you both forget your cares and woes, fostering a pleasant mood for buying and selling.

That’s a benefit that most people would pay for, and appreciative prospects actually do.

Be Here Now often enough, and you won’t have to worry about your bills or your quota!