Pitch Perfect! How to Make Successful Sales Presentations!

BoringPresentation_WebMake winning sales presentations. Learn the tricks the pros use to get audience agreement and sell a product, solution or idea. Use the latest behavioral psychology and neuromarketing techniques. Use what you learn during this webinar to make a clear, compelling presentation that gets buy-in and improves your success rate. It’s easy—when you know how to do it.

  • Discover the three reasons people buy
  • Improve sales
  • Learn the latest behavioral psychology and neuro-marketing techniques
  • See how to get audience agreement
  • Get the recipe for persuasive presentations

This webinar with sales and presentation guru, Mike Parkinson, is recommended for those who develop or deliver sales presentations and presentations that are meant to persuade the audience to take a desired course of action.

About Mike Parkinson:

Mike2015_bigMike Parkinson is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, solution and strategy expert, award-winning author, trainer, and popular public speaker. He is a key contributor on multi-billion dollar projects and helps Fortune 500 companies improve their success rates. Mike shares his expertise through books like Billion Dollar Graphics, articles, and online tools. He is also a partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), a premier creative services firm.

The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined

PXP_WatchNowIconBusiness communication exists to move business forward. In a perfect world, that work is efficient and effective. Now, think about the last presentation or meeting you attended. Was it efficient and effective? No? You’re not alone. It’s time for a new approach, one that is practical and flexible enough to work in a variety of situations.

In this webinar with author Greg Owen-Boger, you will be introduced to the concept of The Orderly Conversation, OrderlyConversationDropShadow1-e1378476873997which is a type of communication that combines a carefully organized message with flexible, spontaneous delivery. This means that while you prepare, you need to look ahead to the uncertainties of the conversation, and once the conversation starts, you need to adapt what was planned to what’s happening in the moment. And this is why the traditional approach of one-way speechmaking, which we all learned in school, falls short in the business setting.

This session is not about tips and tricks. Instead, it’s a serious, big-picture look at group communication. It’s about the skills and techniques you use to achieve your goal and manage the process effectively and efficiently.

In this webinar, we examined:

  • Engagement, thinking on your feet, and managing a genuine Orderly Conversation
  • Techniques to frame the conversation to provide context and relevance
  • How to prepare to be spontaneous
  • Skills for encouraging participation in the conversation while controlling the message
  • New language for coaching others

TheOrderlyConversation_HANDOUT_-PresentationXpert

About Greg:

Greg owen boger headshot with sPACEGreg Owen-Boger is the Vice President of Turpin Communication, a presentation and facilitation training company in Chicago. He started with Turpin as a cameraman in 1995, and quickly moved on to instructor/coach, project manager, account manager, and now VP. Trained in management and the performing arts, he brings a diverse set of skills and experience to the organization. Prior to joining Turpin, he was a Project Leader for a boutique consultancy that uses live theatre to initiate the leadership development process.

Greg is the 2015 President of ATD, Chicagoland Chapter (formerly ASTD). He is a frequent blogger, popular speaker, and the co-author of The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined. He is among many thought leaders who contributed to the book Master Presenter: Lessons from the World’s Top Experts on Becoming a More Influential Speaker.

 

 

3 Tips for Handling Hostile Questions During Presentations

Chances are that you’ve seen the following happen more than once: A colleague builds a beautiful case to support his recommendation. Then comes the relentless questioner who pummels him with questions that seem to have nothing to do with the core case, and the colleague limps to a close as if he’d been attacked by war planes rather than stung by a B-B gun.

If you haven’t experienced this in real life, you’ve certainly seen it on TV press conferences.

People ask hostile questions for any number of reasons:

  • They disagree with what you have said or have wrong information.
  • You have not established credibility with them.
  • They’ve misunderstood you.
  • They think they are “saving the day” for everyone else or their entire organization.
  • Their personality makes them always look for the cloud in every silver lining.
  • They are angry with someone else and are taking it out on you—consciously or unconsciously.

Whatever the reason, your presentation success and credibility often rides on your ability to remain unruffled and walk away from the situation on a positive note with an air of confidence. Here are three tips that can help you do just that.

Rephrase a Legitimate Question… Minus the Hot Words and Hostile Tone

If the question is, “Why are you demanding that we submit these forms with an approval signature? I think that’s totally unreasonable,” try rephrasing it to emphasize its validity, and then respond:

“Why do we think the forms should have an approval signature? Well, first of all, the approval signature allows us to. . . .”

Don’t feel that you have to refute an opposing view in great detail, particularly if the hostile view is not well supported itself. Simply comment: “No, I don’t think that’s the case.” No elaboration is necessary.

Your answer will sound authoritative and final and will make the asker appear rude and argumentative if he or she rephrases and continues.

1) Upgrade the Tone

Avoid matching hostility with hostility; try to maintain a congenial tone and body language. The audience almost always will side (or at least respect and empathize) with the person who remains calm and courteous.  Keep in mind that how you answer questions will be remembered more clearly and for much longer than what you say.

2) Acknowledge and Accept Feelings

Try to determine possible reasons for any hostility. By acknowledging and legitimizing the feelings of the asker, you may defuse the hostility and help the other person receive your answer in a more open manner.

Examples: “It sounds as though you’ve been through some difficult delays with this supplier” or “I don’t blame you for feeling as you do, given the situation you describe. I’m just glad that has been the exception rather than the rule in working with this audit group.”

3) State Your Own Experience and Opinion

People can argue with your statistics, data, surveys, and facts indefinitely. But they cannot argue with your experience. It’s yours, not theirs.

After you’ve listened and acknowledged their opinion and feelings, feel free to end by stating your own in a non-confrontational way. “My experience has been different. Based on X, Y, and Z, it’s my opinion that ABC approach will work in our situation.”  Then break eye contact and move ahead.

Your audience will take their final cues from you.  Make them positive.

About the Author:

Booher Consultants, a communications training firm, works with business leaders and organizations to increase effectiveness through better oral, written, interpersonal, and enterprise-wide communication. Founder Dianna Booher is the author of 46 books, published in 26 languages. Recent titles include Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader and Communicate With Confidence! The Revised and Expanded Edition. For more information, visit www.Booher.com
Copyright © Booher Consultants; article used with permission.

Thinking of Doing a Google Hangout? Read This First

This is not going to be a technology article, so if that’s what you were hoping for… sorry. Nope, just good old fashioned presentation advice, but the kind you need when you’re going to be on camera.

I recently watched a Google Hangout where the content was all good, but the speaker’s on-camera performance left much to be desired.

Just a few simple adjustments would have made this presentation so much better, and I would have been able to focus on the content rather than the distractions of the visuals.

Here are some tips for you whether you’re live on a Hangout or shooting a DIY video for later upload.

1. Place your webcam at or above eye level

When you sit at your desk, your screen tends to be a little bit lower than eye level, unless you have a really high desk or a massive monitor. But when you shoot a Hangout or video, you don’t want to be looking DOWN at your audience, which is what will happen if you keep your monitor where it is.

If you’re using a laptop, elevate it on some books or a box, so that you’re looking directly into the camera or even looking up a bit. If you’re using a standalone webcam (anyone still use those?) position it the same way.

2. Actually look at the webcam

I’m shocked when I watch a video or Hangout and professionals who should know better are looking down at the screen instead of into the camera. Just because you’re looking at someone’s face on the screen doesn’t mean you’re making eye contact with your audience.

If you want to make eye contact (and your audience wants you to), you must look INTO the webcam lens.

This takes practice, and for some presenters it helps to tape a picture of someone next to the lens. The more you get used to talking into the camera, the easier it becomes.

3. Put on some powder

Yes, guys, even you. The last thing I want to see on a livestream is some sweaty, shiny guy on the other side. I’m the least likely person to tell you to wear makeup, because I don’t enjoy wearing it, and it’s actually one thing that keeps me from shooting as much video as I should.

But you don’t need full stage makeup, just a little something to even out a blotchy complexion and keep you from blinding the viewer. A little basic street makeup for women and at least some powder for men is required to keep you from looking either shiny or washed out on the screen. And guys, that powder will need to go on your pate as well, if you’re losing your hair. Just sayin’.

4. Pay attention to your backdrop

If you don’t have a nice backdrop at your desk, fake one. Ruth Sherman taught me to put a plant or some flowers behind me to liven up (and lighten up) the scenery, even if I have to put them on a step stool.

Your audience can’t see what’s holding it all up; they just want something pleasant and non-distracting behind you instead of saggy drab curtains, a mishmash of books and knickknacks, or a big piece of drywall (which is what you would see behind me at my desk if I let you!).

You don’t have to have a fancy studio setup or expensive lighting when shooting video or live Hangouts. But as a professional who wants to be seen as an authority and an expert, you do have to come across as someone who knows what they’re doing and has the confidence of a pro. And the last thing you want to do is distract your audience with these piddly but noticeable mistakes.

Making these little tweaks to your appearance and to your performance will make a subtle but important difference in how your audience perceives you, your credibility level, and overall, your ability to make a connection and build a relationship with your audience.

About the Author:

Lisa Braithwaite is a public speaking coach and trainer based in Santa Barbara, CA. She is author of the Speak Schmeak blog as well as the free e-book, Present Your Best: 11 Strategies for Magnifying Your Confidence, Both Onstage and Off.  For more information, visit http://www.coachlisab.com

PowerPoint, the Swiss Army Knife of Communication Tools

One of the story lines to emerge from the recent Presentation Summit conference in Fort Lauderdale was the growing use of PowerPoint beyond its traditional slide design-and-projection purpose. The upshot: if you’re only using the software for it’s original, intended function, you’re missing out on opportunities to improve communication and marketing materials across the board.

Troy Chollar, head of TLC Creative Services, delivered a conference session titled PowerPoint is My Creative Suite.  Chollar said PowerPoint’s massive user base and user-friendly interface, as well as its ability to import and export many formats, makes it an ideal app for uses beyond traditional slide presentations. Among them: photo and video editing, mockups and prototypes, graphic drawing, e-learning, as a music player and for signage design.

In another session, Insider Secrets for Paper Presentations, presenter Ric Bretschneider explored best practices for using PowerPoint to create presentations meant to be passed out rather than presented. Bretschneider, who spent 17 years on the Microsoft team that develops PowerPoint, said much of the work done by that team for Office 2007 was focused on printed presentations. His session looked at using PowerPoint to create everything from formal pitch books to documents designed to facilitate group brainstorming efforts.

Nolan Haims, vice president and New York director of presentations for Edelman, the world’s largest PR company,  wrote about how he uses PowerPoint beyond slide presentations, including for text-heavy documents and white papers, in a post-conference wrap up. Read the post at his excellent Present Your Story site here.

(Note: Nolan delivered a free webinar for PresentationXpert on Wed. Nov 13 titled In the Trenches: Real-World Solutions to Corporate Presentation Challenges. He shared numerous techniques and strategies, developed out of pure necessity, for achieving best presentation practices while still meeting tight deadlines and contending with difficult clients. For a recording of the webinar, click here.)

And in her 500th blog post, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finkelstein listed the many ways PowerPoint can be used beyond its original purpose, and her readers joined in to add to the list.  Read the post here

3 Ways to Improve Your Leadership Communication Skills

By Nick Morgan

Leadership communication always needs to be a two-way activity. Leaders, to be blunt, need followers, and a smart leader wants to know what those followers are thinking and doing. Moreover, leaders are in the business of persuasion, and you need to be listening to the people being persuaded or you won’t know how you’re doing.

There’s an even deeper reason that you need to be in the listening business as a leader. I believe that it’s the responsibility of a leader to return the courtesy of your followers by making an equivalent effort to listen as hard to them as they do to you. It’s courteous and it’s right — and it’s necessary in the long run if you’re going to fulfill the leader’s full set of obligations.

Good listening, then, is a profound activity. People need to be heard to be validated as human. We’re a social species.

Increasingly, though, listening is a forgotten skill.  No wonder — we’re constantly awash in information. Why should we voluntarily listen any more? There’s simply too much to take in. And yet, listening to the people close to you — your team, your company, your sphere of influence — is more important than ever. Here’s how to do it well.

Feedback

At its most basic, listening offers feedback. Feedback, which is often critical, is simply a response, usually involving evaluation of some kind.  Many leaders, in fact, consider (critical) feedback the beginning and end of their job communicating to their followers. I worked with one CEO who believed that it was enough to tell his executive team when they had screwed up. “They have a job to do; they’re paid a salary. Why should I praise them?”

I finally persuaded him to broaden his communications palate for the purely transactional reason that it would get him better results. He was dragged kicking and screaming into a more enlightened version of communication, but he wasn’t thrilled about it. It seemed like work to him.

Nonetheless feedback both good and critical is an essential part of listening. Here’s how to do it without destroying the ego of the receiver and ultimately the relationship.

Begin by describing the actions of the person to whom you’re giving feedback: “You completed the task on Tuesday.” If your purpose is critical, relate the action to the standard: “It was due on Monday.” Then describe the consequences of the behavior, and the reasons for them: “Being a day late leads to bottlenecks at the plant and will cost us forty-five thousand dollars each time. We can’t afford that kind of cost and stay in business.”

Then make your request: “I need you to complete the task on time in the future.” Finally, check for comprehension and agreement:  “Do you understand? Can you commit to getting the task completed by Monday from now on?”

The key is to avoid all the tempting analyses and speculations on the motivation of the receiver. “You always turn your project in late! Are you deliberately trying to sabotage us? Do you want to screw us? Are you trying to bring the organization down? Are you drinking again?”

These sorts of communications, satisfying as they may be, crowd the channel with emotional baggage that ultimately gets in the way of persuasion. It’s difficult, but don’t tell the person that he or she is bad. Instead, stick to the facts and the consequences.

So it‘s possible to give feedback well, both the good and bad variety. But if you want your audience to feel that it has been heard, feedback isn’t really enough. Too often, it feels punitive, despite your best efforts, and it certainly feels like it’s judgmental.

To up the ante on good listening, here are a couple of other ways to listen that will let your audience know that it has truly been heard.

Paraphrasing

To go a little further as a good listener, try paraphrasing what your audience is saying. This activity is surprisingly difficult for the poor listeners of the world. For the rest of us, it’s easy enough if we can swallow the temptation to give our own opinions. Paraphrasing means simply saying something like, “So let me be sure I’ve understood. What you’re saying is that the green ones are tastier than the brown ones?”

The point is to play back, like a recorder, what the person has said to you. That’s all. Resist the temptation to embroider (“But that’s ridiculous! That can’t be true!”); that will undo all the good work of the paraphrase.

Paraphrasing is a powerful technique because it gets your receiver agreeing with you. He or she nods and says, “Yes, that’s correct. That’s what I said.” From that simple agreement, you can build a persuasive relationship because you’ve begun to create trust and liking. It’s impossible to hate or distrust completely someone whom you’ve just agreed with, especially in the act of replaying your wise words back to you.

Active Listening

Finally, let’s take the listening game higher. The most powerful form of listening — the one that people most strongly react to, feeling that they are both heard and understood — is a form of empathic listening where you identify the emotion and state its underlying causes without trying to solve the problem: “So, Bill, what I hear you saying is that you’re angry with me because I haven’t fully appreciated the lengths you’ve gone to in trying to win over our Latin American customers. Those efforts have caused you a lot of sleepless nights, time away from the family, and marital problems. Is that right?”

Don’t try to solve the problem at this stage. Just acknowledge it fully, and you will be surprised at how powerful that acknowledgment is for the other person. The key elements are the correct identification of the emotion; the reasons for it, including your own personal responsibility, if any; and a full statement of the facts of the situation if those haven’t been brought up openly before.

This form of active listening — active because you’re acknowledging your own role in the situation — is the hardest to undertake. In a contentious situation, it can feel as if you’re giving in to openly express how the other is feeling. But you’re not; you’re just stating the other’s position as fully and honestly as you can. Agreement, compromise, or resolution will come later. For now, active listening is a powerful first step toward solving any serious problem in a communication.

What you will find is that if you’ve done it well, people will agree profoundly and powerfully with you. Of course, to accomplish this form of listening effectively, you must be good at reading the emotions of others, and those come chiefly from the nonverbal conversation. What you’re doing is translating the nonverbal into the verbal, and that is an important skill for any leader to employ with wishes to have a full set of tools for persuasive communications.

About the Author:

Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. In his blog he covers modern communications from a variety of angles, including the latest developments in communication research, the basic principles and rules of good communication, and the good and bad speakers of the day. His passion is to connect the latest brain research with timeless insights into persuasive speaking in order to further our understanding of how people connect with one another. For more information on his company, visit www.publicwords.com

Are You a Communicator or a Public Speaker?

By Nancy Duarte

It’s rare for me to read a book on presentations and learn something but I did in the book, Habitudes for Communicators: The Art of Engaging Communication from Tim Elmore. Elmore uses sticky metaphors that help you remember his concepts. His chapter heads are metaphorical like “Windows and Mirrors”, “the Faded Flag” and “The Thomas Nast Principle.”

He has great insights throughout the book. For example, in “Windows and Mirrors” he proposes that there’s a gap between communicators and public speakers:

A Public Speaker:                                                                                                                

1) Puts the Message Before the People

2) Asks: What Do I Have?

3) Emphasizes Techniques

4) Focus is on Content of the Words

5) Polished (Image Conscious)

6) Goal: Complete the Message

Communicator:

1) Puts the People Before the Message

2) Asks: What Do They Need?

3) Emphasizes Atmosphere

4) Focus is Change in the Listeners

5) Personal (Impact Conscious)

6) Goal: Complete the People

At the end of each chapter is a quiz, but Elmore’s also put those questions into an online assessment to rank yourself to see how you’re doing as a communicator. He asks questions like “I tend to focus on being simple more than comprehensive.” It shoots out a score when you’re done. This book is full of fresh insights that I haven’t seen in any other presentation book, so it’s worth picking up.

About the Author:

Nancy Duarte is the CEO of presentations firm Duarte Design, whose clients include many innovative Fortune 1000 companies in diverse industries. Duarte worked with Al Gore to develop the presentation that became the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and supports many conferences, including TED and PopTech. For more information about her company, visit www.duarte.com

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