Presentations – Not Meetings

Today, more than ever before managers need to have meetings with employees that are more presentation than they are a place to discuss issues. Meetings usually consist of one person, in most cases a manager, speaking about the issues, projects, numbers, policies and deadlines. To motivate your team at your next meeting, try involving key members of your team and turn your meeting into a presentation.

A presentation sparks interest and participation from all members and helps to promote memory retention of the discussion. Make sure the key participants have met to discuss the issues and the planning of the curriculum for the presentation prior to the delivery. Each speaker must be given a time limit and will need to keep to the topic of their portion of the presentation to have impact on the participants.

Ensure that each key note speaker opens their theme with a powerful impact statement to engage the listeners immediately and to hold their curiosity and attention. Using data, facts or the business statistics in a carefully crafted way, causes instant attention that will be held throughout the entire presentation. Use this technique to drive home facts about your business in a meaningful and sincere way.

The main speaker should make a point after their opening statement to highlight in brief the agenda for the presentation and introduce all speakers even though they work at the facility. It is at this time that this person will need to remind all participants that during the presentations there will be no questions, question and answer period will commence when all presentations have concluded.

An important step in the pre presentation planning with the speakers is to devise a system or a method of acknowledgment, so that when one speaker is done the next speaker takes over without missing stride. If there is too much time between finishing and starting another presentation you could risk losing attention. Ensure that each keynote speaker comes equipped with his or her powerful beginning impact statement. Again, hold the attention throughout the entire program. Tie one presentation to the next with words such as, “in a few moments Mark will expand more on this issue”.

For example, if you are having a service advisor meeting and you need to make an impact on your current numbers and the direction you are steering in, invite the GM, Shop Foreman and your lead advisor to speak. When peers are invited to speak at your presentations there will be a greater sense of urgency within the department to improve due to the fact that coworkers want to excel as a team and not let anyone down.

It would be more impactful if the Shop Foreman informed the service advisors that the productivity and efficiency numbers were down last month and the technicians had been coming to him showing him the inconsistencies in the concern line stories, this maneuver will have more impact than anyone else will on the management team stating it. The Shop Foreman represents the talent on the floor which usually outweighs the advisors five to one. If the Shop Foreman comes to the presentation armed with figures and with examples of shoddy concern line recording, it will drive the point home.

Once all key note speakers are finished with their presentations you will open up the floor to Q & A, however remind everyone that there is a time restriction and to stick to the topics of the presentations. Having effective presentations and defining answers during the Q & A will make a lasting impression on all participants thus driving up the retention level for your expectations to be fulfilled.

At the end of all the presentations it is best to wind up with the expectations deadline and close with another impact statement. This should be done by the senior manager attending the presentation. Whoever this person is should tie together the sum of the meeting notes into the closing statement.

Should you want a certain deficiency corrected use this as the window of opportunity to instill a deadline and remind everyone of the expectations. Remember to thank everyone for his or her participation and involvement. Use this method to promote an exceptional award winning number one team because second best is like all the rest!


The Next Big Deal or Gnawing Dispute: 5 Strategies for Successful Negotiations

There is an old adage that when two opposing parties in a legal matter proceed to litigation, then they have both lost their case. Having negotiated thousands of real estate and finance deals in my career as an attorney, I have listed below what I call the 5 “B’s” of successful negotiation:

1. Be prepared. Know your facts and have the relevant information to support your position readily available. Nothing stalls negotiations better or undermines your position more, then when you have to scramble and seek out the information necessary to bolster your position.

2. Be Patient. With good negotiations, reaching a resolution takes time and is not like ordering “fast food.” Don’t feel compelled to make a decision right away. If you are unsure about something, there is absolutely nothing wrong with waiting 24 hours to make a decision. If there are several items to accomplish in a negotiation, focus on those points that the parties are more agreeable on, and tackle the more difficult issues at a later time.

3. Be Consistent. Have a goal of what you want to accomplish going into the negotiations. If need be, “map out” a strategy to reach your goal(s) and plan for contingencies. Most importantly, once you’ve reached an agreement regarding a point of contention, stick with it. Don’t agree to something with the real intent to address and “change up” the issue at a later time. That approach wastes time and undermines one’s own credibility.

4. Be Reliable. Imagine a car that starts only half the time. That’s how adverse parties feel about someone who fails to perform on past promises and then approaches their opposition for new concessions. Granted, in an ideal world, people would perform on their agreements 100% of the time. But in life “things happen” and parties are often called upon to make accommodations and exceptions to agreements long after the negotiations are over. It’s reasonable for a party to be less flexible in their accommodations for people who repeatedly fail to perform. It becomes increasingly difficult for repeat ‘offenders’ to persuade the opposition that “this time things will be different.”

5. Be Civil. This point should go without saying, but negotiations move towards success much faster when parties practice civility. If being civil to the other party proves difficult, then you have an excellent reason for engaging an attorney, a real estate agent, or any other professional intermediary on your behalf.

There are times when parties to a settlement leave the negotiation table not getting everything they wanted. That’s fine. In most good deals, the parties need to concede some, but not all, of their position in order to reach a resolution. Those people who insist on going to the negotiation table with an “all or nothing” attitude, do not make good negotiation partners initially, but by using the preceding 5 points, they will in time.

10 Presentation ‘Sins’: Are You Guilty?

Many of us have heard that 99% of presentations are bad and not effective. This article will outline the 10 most common reasons why so many presentations are so bad, and suggest how to avoid these common mistakes.

1. No clear message- When preparing your presentation, you must make sure you are clear on what your objective is. It may be to just inform, to advocate a point of view or you are seeking an approval. Whatever it is, make sure you are clear why you are giving the presentation. If you start with the end in mind the rest should be easy.

2. Your slides are boring- Unfortunately 99% of presentation slides are really bad and will not be able to grab the attention of the audience. Nobody likes to look at page after page of hardly visible text on the screen, which the presenter is reading like a story book. Generally, less text works better. Simple text with powerful images work best. Remember the slides are there just to help you as visual aids, do not rely on them. You are the ‘star’ who needs to ‘wow’ your audience.

3. Not enough material/content- Sometime your presentation fails due to insufficient content to make a convincing case for the audience. For example, you did not provide enough evidence to back up your argument or point of view. Another example would be a new business proposal which did not include risks and the mitigating contingencies you will put in place.

4. Too much material- Just as bad as not having enough material is having too much material covered in your presentation. Firstly, people have a very limited attention span that rarely exceed 20 minutes. Secondly, having too much material to cover will make it harder for you to highlight the key message or objective of your presentation.

5. Monotonous voice- Nobody enjoys listening to a robot. You need to modulate your voice so that there are times when you raise your voice to emphasise a point and there are times you pause and say nothing, to give your audience time to absorb what you just said. There are times you will speak quickly and times when you will speak slowly to highlight a point in your presentation.

6. Not rehearsing- The vast majority of people do not bother to practice giving their presentation thinking that they are already quite good at it. Unfortunately, they are not! And that probably includes you too. Even the late Steve Jobs spent a lot of time rehearsing his legendary presentations. Take the time to practice and make it a habit. It will make you comfortable with the material and make you far less nervous. This will create confidence that the audience will be able to spot and makes you case stronger. Alternatively, if you do not practice, you will appear less confident and you will not be as convincing.

7. Complicated language- Depending on your audience use language that is as simple as possible. The less the audience has to think about what you are trying to say the better. Avoid jargon and complex terminology unless you are speaking to a room full of experts. Use simple words and short sentences, your audience will appreciate it.

8. Not getting to the point quickly- People hate waiting. Try to get to the point of your presentation quickly. Often it is best to tell them up front what the objective of the presentation is at the start of the presentation. Also another tip is to tell them how long your presentation will take before you begin, this will put the audiences feeling of anxiety at ease. Unless you are told how long a presentation will take, your audience will be speculating and wondering when you will get to the point.

9. Poor structure- To be effective your presentation needs to be properly structured for the objective you are trying to achieve. Like any good story, it will need a start, middle and an ending. A good basic structure is to start with an introduction of the problem or issue you wish to address, and then go into the implications for the audience of the issue. Only then do you go into introducing the solution and also address any possible concerns relating to the proposed solution. Finally, you have a call to action, what you want the audience to do. This is just a basic example; the main point is that you need a logical flow in the structure of your presentation.

10. Giving out hand outs too early- A common mistake many people do is to give copies of their slides before the present. This is a guaranteed way of ensuring the audience will not listen to you because they will be busy reading your slides and they can read much faster than you can present. They will be on your fourth slide when you are still on the contents slide. Give your hand outs at the end of the presentation so that you will have their full attention.

Always remember these 10 sins of presentations and you will be on your way to becoming a better presenter who will always grab the attention of any audience.