Public Speaking – Three Surprising Tips to Improve Your Presentations

You’ve all heard the advice to get to know your audience, make eye contact, don’t say “um,” check your equipment, and similar public speaking techniques to make your presentations as powerful as they can be. These are great tips, and you’ll hear them over and over, but I’ve got some lesser-known suggestions for you today that will benefit you and your audience as much as more common advice.

Pointer 1: Take your medications

As an allergy sufferer, I can tell you that I am not at my best when giving a talk through sniffles and itchy eyes. Even if I’m not having a particular allergic day, I will be sure to take my prescription medication before I speak, to ensure that I don’t have a sudden unexpected reaction.

If your nervousness goes to your gut, by all means take your upset stomach medication. If you get tension headaches, head them off at the pass with your favorite pain reliever. Do what it takes to avoid the physical distractions that will disrupt your performance and keep you from doing your best.

One caveat to this advice: Avoid psychiatric anti-anxiety medications before speaking; you will not be as sharp as you could be. There are non-pharmaceutical ways of dealing with nervousness and anxiety that will not interfere with your ability to think on your feet and interact with your audience.

Pointer 2: Start on time

How many times have you arrived on time for a presentation, even early, and ended up sitting there for an extra fifteen minutes while stragglers made their way to the seats in the back of the room? Then, because the presentation started late, it ends late, but you’ve had to miss the end because you have other commitments on your schedule.

Waiting for latecomers rewards latecomers, but it punishes those who were on time for your presentation. Latecomers may be a distraction when then enter the room after the presentation has started, but what’s worse: a little disruption by laggards or being responsible for annoying the half of your audience who made the effort to be on time and now might miss the end if you go over?

Take charge of the room, take charge of your time, and make the decision to reward the people who are committed and punctual.

Pointer 3: Give the end of your sentences the same energy you give to the beginning of your sentences

This is a simple tool but an effective one. Some people’s voices trail off at the ends of sentences, making it hard to hear the last few words they’ve said. As a speaker, trailing off at the ends of sentences means that your audience might miss something important. Make sure you are emphasizing both ends of your sentences, and your audience will never miss a crucial point or valuable tip!

Stick with the tried-and-true public speaking advice you’ve heard before, but in addition, try adding these three tricks to your bag the next time you have a speaking engagement. See if you don’t feel more confident and pulled together on stage and more successful in connecting with the audience.

The Art of Negotiating Deals

Do we pass any single day without negotiating for something or the other, with someone or the other? No. Everyday we parley and bargain for things, big and small. Similarly, negotiating deals is almost an everyday affair for entrepreneurs too. The art of deal negotiation is a very old one and can be equally lucrative, if done properly. Contrary to common belief, far more is negotiable than entrepreneurs think; they just have to know how to do it and how not to. Mostly the ploy of the representative lawyers is to say that the deal presented is final, and to take it or leave it. However, this even after this it is possible to negotiate a deal further to suit one’s needs and demands.

Roger Fisher and William Ury in their book Getting to Yes define negotiation as a “back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed.” It is but natural that in a deal negotiation, both parties would want to forward certain self-interests without compromising too much. Negotiating deals is not a process of quibbling over what each party wants or one where either side is a runaway winner. One cannot stubbornly stick to his ground without giving any breathing space to other players. Most likely such a deal will not come through, apart from the fact that it will be an unfair one even if it does.

A successful deal negotiation is one where both parties leave the table satisfied and believe that they have made the best of deal. In this, neither party wins or loses. Such deals are definitely possible to negotiate. Fisher and Ury focus on a method known as ‘principled negotiation’, a method developed at the Harvard Negotiation Project. ‘Principled negotiation’ asserts that the purpose of negotiations is “to decide issues on their merits rather than through a haggling process focused on what each side says it will and won’t do. It suggests that you look for mutual gains wherever possible, and that where your interests conflict, you should insist that the result be based on some fair standards independent of the will of either side.”

To this effect, the following points should be kept in mind while negotiating deals:

1. The people are separate from the problem.

2. Focus should be on interests, not positions.

3. Generating a variety of possibilities and options before deciding what to do is a good idea.

4. The result of negotiation should be based on some objective standard.

The idea is that neither side should be pushed on the defensive; both party would want to work with each other. During negotiations each side is sizing up the other. They will evaluate negotiating skills, intelligence and maturity demonstrated by each other. If the entrepreneur somehow gives an impression that shakes the confidence or trust of the investors, they will withdraw from the deal. Similarly, if the investors show arrogance, rigidity in seeing the entrepreneurs’ needs and points of view and deals with them in a high-handed manner, the entrepreneur will do well to opt out of the deal. The point is that if each side treats the other in which they would want to be treated, most likely each will be successful.

Creating Engaging and Powerful PowerPoint Presentations – New Year’s Resolution for PPT Presenters

Whether you are a professional or an amateur presenter, one thing that could possibly ruin your performance – the poor quality of your PowerPoint (PPT) presentations, which many presenters have neglected its potential to engage with their audience. Due to lack of enhancing PPT presentations, your audience might feel distress about your insensitivity of displaying “lousy” or “irritating” PPT slides to them, and that would cause a minor snag in your performance.

Thus, you need to have a strong resolution on this coming New Year – Making as many engaging PPT slides as possible in order to gain good rapport from your audience. It is also a great long-term plan for many areas – for instance, you could boost your sales when you are describing products to your clients, or maybe you could receive certain recognition from your audience by outsmarting other presenters who did not take advantage of the presentation tools.

Here are a few steps that you should follow to work on this resolution:

1. Find a suitable mentor – You need to get some inspiration from famous presenters such as Steve Jobs, Randy Paush, Ken Robinson and etc. If you could find the right one – then, you should start looking for one immediately via Ted.com, by watching fascinating talks by remarkable speakers.

2. Always think or see things from your audience’s perspective – Avoid being a “selfish” presenter by neglecting your audience’s perspective. For example, you need to take note of your audience’s visibility, in that case, you need to increase the font size, select the right colors of the font, and slide layout.

3. Being simple is simply enough – Try to restrict yourself from putting too much texts and animations into your slides as it could create unnecessary distractions. Your main aim is to engage with your audience with your presentation with less distraction, not making things harder for your audience to perceive.

4. Break the “tradition” – Do not be tempted to use the default PPT templates repeatedly in your presentation. Hence, you can either purchase new PPT templates or download them for free on the Internet. Other than that, you can hire a designer to design a new template based on your preferences.

5. Add-in some laughter and interaction with your audience – Your build rapport with your audience by making your audience laugh during intervals. Certainly, if you have any jokes to share among your audience, it has to be relevant and straight to the point as it can a good way to lighten the atmosphere.

It is time to bade farewell to “worse” PPT slides and embrace this New Year with enhancing PPT presentations!