Archive for: June, 2023

3 Tips To Buying Presents While You Erase Debt

Jun 08 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Whether you are erasing debt or have already eliminated debt there always arises a time when you have to purchase a present for someone. Be it a birthday, a wedding, Christmas or Valentines Day, there are various times throughout the year that you will have to purchase a gift. Many of these events do not just pop up at the last-minute just before the day of the event. 99-percent of these are planned months in advance like weddings. Others recur every year like birthdays and holidays.

Or Do You Have To Buy Presents?

Okay let’s face facts, no one is twisting your arm to purchase gifts. You can say “NO” and not do it. However, the reality is that most people feel some sense of obligation to purchase gifts for family and friends for those special holidays and events that take place every year. So then the question becomes how do you purchase these gifts without going into debt to do so. Here are 3 Tips to Buying Presents:

1. Budget

The key to buying gifts is to budget for the gift(s). Christmas and birthdays come at the same time each year and every year. These holidays should be no surprise. For the Christmas holiday season start budgeting for presents in January. That gives you 12 months to save up a Christmas fund. If you are out of debt and at the point where you are socking money away in savings every month then you could wait until the summer to start or in September just put a large enough sum into your holiday savings to cover your budgeted number.

For events like birthdays, weddings and baby showers create a fund where you drop x-number of dollars into it each month to cover the cost of presents that may or may not be predictable. Do you find that your kids are constantly invited to birthday parties? Sometimes several in one month? Having dedicated money to cover just such a scenario goes a long way in preventing you from pulling out a credit card for that unexpected event.

2. Set a Limit

No matter how many birthdays or holidays you plan to budget for you must set an affordable limit. Write it down in your budget/spreadsheet. Decide on a dollar amount for Christmas. Maybe it is $500 or $1000. Save up the money, buy your gifts and do not go one cent over that limit. Having a known limit and cash in hand are excellent tools to help prevent you from pulling out the credit card to pay for a gift. If you think you have to put a gift on a credit card then think to yourself, “I cannot afford it!”

Make sure you set a realistic limit. Obviously $50 won’t get you through the Christmas gift buying season if you have 20 gifts to buy. But you do not want to over-budget by thousands of dollars if you are already deep in debt or your income is not very high.

3. Do Not Feel Obligated

This one is harder because it hits us at an emotional level and not a financial one. Often times we feel obligated to buy friends and family gifts. I know of some people who feel they have to spend exactly the same amount of money on each and every child they buy gifts for. Doing so is a good way to get yourself into debt. Kids and adults have no idea what you spent on gifts unless you tell them. Just because you spent $25 on your niece’s Christmas present do not feel guilty that you spent $20 on your nephew. You do not need to go out and find a $5 gift for your nephew to make it “even” or “fair.” Buy gifts from the heart not based on how much you spent on them.

When you erase debt and are contemplating purchasing gifts remember to budget, set limits, and do not feel obligated to purchase something. Sometimes just you being there for the holidays is the best gift you can give.

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How to Start a Business Presentation

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

I used to love watching Sesame Street as a kid. It was an American TV show with Muppet style puppets. Every episode had some major learning point for us kids but we loved the programme for its colour, fun and songs.

One of my favourite songs was the ABC song which ended. “Now I know my ABC, next time will you sing with me”

Now this song always reminds me of the ABCD of presentations. A really clever neumonic to help you with the first few minutes of any presentation to get it off to the right start and give you lots of confidence to continue.

  • A – Attention
  • B – Benefits
  • C – Credibility
  • D – Direction

“Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking….”

“Hello, my name is Paul Archer…”

“Uhm, OK, let’s get started then shall we?”

What do these three have in common? Yes of course they are bland, listless and terribly unexciting presentation starters.

Your first priority is to get the attention of your audience especially if you are selling and presenting at the same time. We don’t have the luxury of time, so we need to grab their attention in the first few moments.

Now it helps if you’ve done your circulating with the audience beforehand and have done some homework on the people sitting in front of you. This gives you some pointers as to the type of attention getter to use.

I’m not saying you should tell a joke. Perhaps you could but make sure it’s a self effacing joke to show your humility and not embarrass anyone sitting down.

  • Share a quotation. You can get thousands of these from the Internet and one might fit the bill.
  • Tell a story or metaphor which will link into the main points.
  • Ask a searching question.
  • A call to action
  • This day in history. Log onto the History Channel’s website and sign up for the email a day service. It’s great and everyday gives you something that happened this day in history. You might be able to link this in.

Once you have their attention, tease them with some of the main benefits or the major one benefit they will get from listening and maybe staking action.

It might be obvious to you, but we have to think of our audience. WIIFM. What’s in it for me? Think in their shoes and share some benefits.

“What I’d like to do is to give you some bang up to date pointers which will help you decide your direction over the next year. These could give you a competitive advantage.”

Enough to intrigue, excite and make people want to listen more.

Important to get this part done, if the audience have never met you before. Sometimes, in more formal settings, the Master of Ceremonies will introduce you and help to build your credibility.

However in most business presentations, particularly sales pitches or “beauty parades” you really do have to cement your credibility. Don’t overdo this bit. Don’t fall into the trap of telling them all about you, your history, your qualifications.

That’s zzzzz time.
Instead use a reassurance statement. This statement should include your name and your experience both in the customer’s industry or sector and your experience in dealing with similar problems to your customer.

“My name is Paul Archer, I’ve been working with salespeople across the globe for almost 20 years helping them to earn their bonuses. For the last two years I’ve been helping businesses like yours get better closing ratios from their Key Accounts.”

I love taking my three children on car journeys. My wife and I have a bet as to when the first one will ask “are we there yet Dad?” Normally my wife wins. So I reply “Not yet Euan, we’ve just passed Winchester and we’ll probably be at Nanas in half an hour.”

And they’re happy for the next few miles.

Now someone gave me a brilliant tip the other week to help in this arduous purpose. Keep telling them where you are and how long to go.

“Hey guys, we’ve just passed Stonehenge. Can you see it on your right? And we’ll be at Nanas in 20 minutes, in time for an ice cream”

Since that piece of advice we’ve never looked back and you can use the same idea in your presentations.

Tell your audience where you’re going to take them. Give them clear direction. Not an agenda. These are for books. Presentations need signposts which tell you where you’re going. At each junction the audience needs reminding where they’ve come from and then where they’re going to go next.

The best analogy is one of these property purchase programmes on the TV. My favourite is Phil and Kirsty doing “Location, Location, Location”. Just as they’re coming up to a commercial break, Kirsty will quickly recap the main points covered so far and one or two tempters of what you’ll see after the break. This not only gives you clear direction, but tempts you to come back after the break.

And when you return from the break, Phil takes over and reminds you what they did before the break and then tempts you further with the major benefits of the next 15 minutes.

Brilliant stuff and certainly worth repeating in your presentations.

So give direction and then constantly signpost your way to the end. And as you approach the end signal that the end is in sight, summarise each of your key points, remember the power of three – three major points maximum. Invite questions; never ever finish on a Q&A because if there are no questions, you’ll go out like a damp squid.

Invite questions, deal with these and then restate your aim and purpose and end with a call to action.

With the end in sight:

  1. Signal that the end is in sight
  2. Summarise each of your key points
  3. Invite questions: don’t end on Q&A
  4. Restate aim and overall purpose
  5. Definite finishes – call to action

And now you know your ABC…and D. Next time will you sing with me…

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Power Point – Avoid Image-Only Slide Decks in Your Power Point Presentations

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Avoid image only slide decks. Images are attractive but just like anything that’s overused, a slide deck that is only images loses its appeal. The audience has to use a lot of energy to figure out what you intend the images to convey, which is extremely tiring.

Combine images with short text to make it easy for the audience to get your idea-then elaborate with your spoken content. Use these 5 techniques to combine images and text to create a slide deck that is easy for the audience to comprehend.

1) Images: I strongly recommend that you use photos instead of clip art that is easily recognized and always fake. Then your whole presentation is tainted with the possibility of fakeness.

Photos of real people and places gives a strong impression that the content it elaborates is real and meaningful. There are truly unlimited stock and royalty free photo options and you should take advantage of them.

Even better are photos you take yourself of your team, your facility or headquarters and of people using your products or services in real settings. Audiences crave realism far more than they crave perfection, so taking your own digital photos for use in your slide deck guarantees a high rate of return for the audience. Couple your photos with a phrase or 2 bullets that communicate action in verbs and adjectives.

Original and meaningful photos+reality=high return on the investment of time taken to attend the presentation.

TIP: A photo of your team in action could be matched with the phrase “Broad spectrum of skills, unified solutions”

2) Original illustrations will also generate interest and enhance the stickiness of your message. The illustrator doesn’t have to be a well-trained artist, just someone who can draw a visual picture of a concept you are trying to get across. Scan the illustration or drawing into your computer and you’ve got a unique digital image.

TIP: Use the illustration in the center of a slide with one sentence of text or a caption which serves as an introduction or lead-in to your spoken content.

3) Graphics such as process flow diagrams or organizational charts are totally boring as typically used. Instead of using a flow diagram that pinpoints every step, use a very high level view that highlights the start, 2 midpoints and the outcome. The labels on the diagram are helpful text.

TIP: Describe in colorful and evocative language, with the use of a story or a prop, what is happening during this flow of activity.

4) Videos are very effective as images when they are targeted, narrow and coupled with a bit of text. You’re not trying to create a great movie. You are trying to communicate your key point through a powerful visual.

TIP: It’s important to not assume that the audience will get your exact point. So the video should have some brief text overlaid on it in places.

  • A few short nouns that highlight features
  • Text that highlights feelings or emotions that you want the audience to take away with them
  • Use text for your call-to-action if your video comes near the end of the presentation

5) Logos or company brand images can be used during times when your spoken content is about the virtues of your company brand promise. Let’s say that your company brand promise is “quality is never sacrificed” and you want to use that brand promise to differentiate your company from the lower-quality completion.

Using the brand image uniquely at one specific point in your presentation coupled with the tag line “quality is never sacrificed” would be very effective.

TIP: It’s important that the logo or brand image not be on every slide as part of the template or the value and power of its use on a particular slide is diminished.

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Presentation Skills – Seven Presentation Secrets Learned from the Academy Awards

Jun 04 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Academy Awards come and go, but one thing is a constant: bad acceptance speeches. You may never win an Academy Award, but you may be asked to give an acceptance speech for an accomplishment in your business, your career, your community, or your organization. Sometimes your acceptance speech will be for what you accomplished, or for what your team has accomplished.

Will you be ready when it is your time to give an acceptance speech?

The following are seven presentation secrets to giving an outstanding acceptance speech in any situation:

Prepare For the Moment – You may have heard the Oscar winners say, “I really didn’t think I would win,” or “I really didn’t think I would be standing here tonight,” and then give an acceptance speech like they didn’t think they would win. Well, my question is, “Why did you think you were invited to this gala event?”

Most likely, you will know ahead of time that you will be possibly winning an award, so take the time to prepare your presentation. Practice your speech using a tape recorder or, better yet, a video camcorder. Also, if you can, give a dress rehearsal of your speech in front of friends, family, or colleagues.

Agree Who Will Give the Speech – Time and time during the Academy Awards Ceremony, the first person to the microphone will speak for the full thirty second time limit and not allow the other winners in the group (many seen clutching their own acceptance speech notes) the opportunity to give their acceptance speeches. Where this moment should be one of the happiest moments in their lives, you can see the disappointment on the faces of the winners who didn’t have the opportunity to speak.

When you are working as a team on a project and are receiving an award, agree in advance who the acceptance speaker will be. This might be the team leader, the manager, vice president, etc., but work this out before giving the speech.

If you decide on one person to give the speech, then you need to decide on who will be recognized during the time this person gives the presentation. Also, when speaking for the group, make sure the “I’s” are changed to “We’s.” For example, when speaking for the group say, “We would like to acknowledge the following people…” instead of saying, “I would like to acknowledge the following people…” Remember, the designated speaker is representing the group.

If decision is to have several team members speak, achieve consensus on how much time each person will have to speak so that each person has an equal opportunity to express appreciation.

Use Notes to Enhance Your Presentation – At the Academy Awards Ceremony, one person read his entire speech from his notes, not once looking at the audience. What he had to say was very heartfelt and sincere; however, his sincerity didn’t translate to the audience because his notes were in the way. When giving an acceptance speech, use notes as a tool to enhance your presentation and not as a crutch. Only use notes for remembering the opening sentence, important names to thanks, or whatever facts you need to mention. Don’t have the entire speech on notes.

The following are some quick tips for working with notes:

Practice with your notes so that your speech is natural.

Type your notes. In the heat of the moment and sometimes bad lighting, our eyesight can become a little challenged. Type your notes in 16-18 point fonts.

Double space your sentences so that you can easily read your notes.

Type only on the top half of a full page so that you are less likely to lose your place after looking up at the audience.

Look up at the audience after every two or three sentences to maintain rapport with the audience.

Number your notes in case they fall and become scrambled so that you can quickly recover.

Practice a smooth transition for pulling your notes out of your pocket or portfolio.

Don’t flip your notes because the flipping noise will cause a distraction for your audience. Practice sliding your notes.

Share the Wealth – How many times have we seen at the Academy Awards ceremony where some persons went on about how they personally achieved the reward or, worst yet, forgot to acknowledge the most important person for whom they would not have achieved the award (Remember Hillary Swank not remembering to thank her husband?). Take the time to give appreciation to the organization giving you the award and to those who helped you achieve the award. No person is an island. You achieved the goal through the help of someone(s), so acknowledge and appreciate them. To save time, if it is a few people, acknowledge them by name. If it is a large group of people, department, or organization, mention the group by name. For example, you might say, “I would like to acknowledge the people in marketing for their hard work on the Peterson project for making this moment happen. If it were not for their time and effort, we would not have won the XYZ account. Thank you.”

Also, only thank the necessary people during your acceptance speech. Don’t thank Guttenberg for inviting the printing press if he has nothing to do with why you accomplished your achievement. Stay focused on only those people who had a direct effect on your achievement.

Let Sincerity Flow Through Your Speech – Let your appreciations come from the heart. Briefly convey your own feelings regarding your appreciation of the award and all that it represents. Be honest and don’t over exaggerate your feelings while accepting the award. Be clear and concise in your showing of appreciation because you will most likely be under time constraints.

Value the Award – Many times during the Academy Awards Ceremony, you will hear the winner of an award say, “I really don’t deserve this award,” or “I really shouldn’t be standing here.” When you make statements like that, you devalue the award and recognition given to you. Also you question the judgment of the people who chose you to accept the award. Simply acknowledge their judgment and recognition and continue your speech.

Stay Within the Time – At the Academy Awards, the Oscar winners have thirty seconds before the band starts playing the “wrap it up” music. In many cases, the winner attempts to speak over the music. Between the band and the Oscar recipient, who do you think wins? Of course, it is the band. As soon as the band starts playing the music, the audience stops listening to the recipient. Many times when you are given an award during a meeting, conference, etc., you are also under time restrictions. In most cases, you will have longer than thirty seconds. Take the time to ask the person in charge of the meeting how much time you have for your speech. Also, make it a habit to look at the agenda ahead of time to see how much time you have been allotted. It may be only three minutes, 10 minutes, or 30 minutes, but find out ahead of time. By finding out ahead of time and staying within the time given to you, you show respect to your audience, the people in charge of the meeting, and most of all yourself. Once you go over the time allotted, you can see the audience members start looking at their watches and stop listening to your important speech.

Note: If you can’t find out ahead of time how much time you have to make your speech, assume you have very limited time and keep you comments brief.

Take the time to apply these seven acceptance speech secrets and you will give an outstanding presentation each and every time you receive an award.

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How to Make a 10-Minute Presentation

Jun 03 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Uh oh! You finally have that chance to speak about a favorite subject but they are only giving you 10 minutes? Do not panic. You can do this.

1. Establish Your Goal
In a short presentation, you must be completely sure of your speaking goal. What do you want your audience to learn or do because of your speech? In ten minutes, you do not have time to present anything more than a single idea or concept. For example, “I will share three benefits of volunteering at XYZ Animal Shelter that will motivate people to attend our next volunteer orientation.”

2. Find a Good Story That Illustrates Your Goal
There are varieties of ways to gather stories. Ask around for others to share stories. Ask questions such as “Can you think of a time when a volunteer had a personal benefit of volunteering at the shelter?” Maybe someone might share a memory with you such as the story of a volunteer who used her emergency animal first-aid training on her own pet at home, saving the life of that pet.

In a ten-minute speech, I would let this story take up to four minutes. Start your story with a strong statement such as, “Dorothy thought she was volunteering at XYZ Shelter to help everyone else’s animals but she was surprised how her volunteer experience helped her to save the life of her own pet.”

3. Create Your “Call to Action”
At the end of your presentation, you will give your audience a “call to action” asking them to respond to your talk. For example, “In my opening story, I told you how one person experienced the surprise benefits of volunteering. I have also shared two other benefits of volunteering. Our volunteer orientation begins next Saturday. Would you please fill out the volunteer forms I have placed on your tables?”

4. Outline Your Presentation
Write the outline of your speech. At the top of the page, list your goal. Next, list the story you want to tell. List your remaining points in simple bullet points. Stay focused on your goal. Let the powerful image of your opening story carry the bulk of your message. Finally, at the bottom of the page, write out your closing “call to action.”

5. Practice Your Presentation
Use a video and/or audio recorder as you practice. Review these recordings as you practice. Be neither too unhappy nor too easy on yourself. Strive for honesty as you watch yourself speak. Rehearse enough so that you can present without notes. A ten-minute speech should not always require notes.

6. Get Feedback
Share your presentation with a trusted friend or peer. Ask them for honest feedback including what they like and what they would change. Incorporate their comments into your style. Repeat the process.

7. Start Your Presentation with Confidence
Arrive at your venue with enough advance time to place any handouts on the participants’ tables and test the microphone before beginning.

When it is time to speak, skip the warm-fuzzy words such as “happy to be here.” Start with the strong opening statement from your story. Move confidently through your mental outline that you have practiced. Keep breathing and keep good eye contact with your audience.

If an audience member wants to ask a question, take a quick moment to say, “I want to respect your time and only take the few minutes I was given today. I will be happy to answer questions afterwards.”

8. Move Away from the Front of the Room
When you have finished, move away from the speaking location. Go stand by your table with more information about your subject. It would be good if you will have handouts or flyers for your topic. Give people a chance to thank you and talk to you more about your theme.

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