The Do’s and Don’Ts of Giving a Presentation

First of all, I understand that the title to this article is not new because many authors have previously expressed their view on this topic. What makes this article original is that what I am sharing below is based on my own experience as a trainer for more than 10 years. In compiling the Do’s and Don’ts lists below, I would also like to acknowledge all my mentors for their generous sharing of experience and techniques used in their own training.

Here is my Do’s list:

  • Find out whether the training is conducted in my own room or other people’s room. If it is in other people’s room, I will find out from the event organiser whether there are any specific requirements for the participants. I do not assume that my rules are their rules.
  • Prepare my template by listing down the title to the presentation; a few enrolling questions to engage the participants at the very beginning; my personal story and the answer to the question “why am I qualified to give the presentation”. Finally, I will also prepare a list of benefits my participants will receive out of the presentation based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“MBTI”) Model and/or the Extended DISC Model.
  • Prepare my script and rehearse as many times as possible before the actual presentation. This is to ensure that the presentation flow would be smooth.
  • Prepare the timetable and decide what kinds of group activities would be used in the presentation.
  • Remind myself through visualisation technique that I will use empowering and positive language in my training at all times.
  • Decide the marketing plan and opportunities for the participants who might be interested in my other programmes. I understand that many authors do not include this in their do’s lists. I guess this is because they believe that they are only speakers and not information business entrepreneurs. According to my mentor, a speaker only speaks. An information business entrepreneur makes information sharing a business.
  • Always acknowledge my participants for their participation and sharing. If applicable, I will also acknowledge the event organiser for its effort to organise the event and put my participants and me together.
  • Make sure there are regular opportunities for the participants to do their review and revision in order to reinforce what they have learnt.
  • Prepare a speech for delivering at the end of the training session as a proper closure.

Here is my Don’ts list:

  • Do not use PowerPoint unless I am showing pictures and diagrams which require a certain degree of accuracy. Use flip charts as my main teaching tool instead.
  • Do not conduct the training as a monologue. Instead, always look for opportunities to engage my participants by asking them questions.
  • Do not show off. The training is not a forum to show how much I know on the topic I am teaching. It is my participants’ show and I should let them shine.
  • Do not mumble or speak too fast. A good trainer is someone who can communicate well with his participants. Speaking slowly and clearly will allow my participants to understand my messages.
  • Do not let my participants’ energy level go down because this would be detrimental to their learning. If needed, stop teaching immediately and perform stage change techniques. I will only resume the teaching when my participants are back to their original energy level.
  • When dealing with questions from the participants, do not assume that I must answer all of them. Other participants might be able to answer some of these questions. I can take a step back and become the facilitator of the exchange of views between the participants.
  • Avoid using judgemental comments or passing unnecessary remarks about my participants.
  • Do not keep on teaching without giving breaks to my participants. I confess that I have been guilty of this for years.

I hope you will benefit from my Do’s and Don’ts lists as discussed above. Visit my website as I have a lot of useful tips on public speaking. Please leave me with your comments on my website as I would love to hear from you too.

“Body Language – ‘Hands’ – How To Immediately Win More Negotiations” – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Do you observe the body language of someone’s hands when you’re negotiating? To win more negotiations, you should listen to their hands! Hands convey a lot of hidden information in a negotiation.

There’s so much information conveyed by the way someone uses their hands. People use them to show appreciation by clapping. They display their hands to exhibit displeasure in other ways (i.e. sitting on their hands). They also use their hands when speaking? Hands give insight into the thought process that someone has. As someone is speaking, their hands add or detract from the message they’re delivering; you do the same when you’re conveying information, too.

When there’s a difference between someone’s words and their body language, pay more attention to their body language. It will disclose someone’s intent more than their words. Consider the following lightly when conversing with someone. Consider it more strongly when you’re negotiating.

Hands close to the body
The closer someone has their hands to their body, the more guarded are their thoughts. You’ll see this display when someone senses perceived threats to their well-being. Their hands are in that position to protect themselves from perceived indifference.

If you see this in a negotiation, it may behoove you to put the other negotiator at ease. Based on what caused him to display his guarded gesture, you may have to address that point before you can induce the comfort you seek to invoke in him.

Hands with interlocking fingers -
When you observe a negotiator in this position, he could be displaying a demeanor that states that he’s not open to your offer, suggestion, or counteroffer. To confirm your observance, consider questioning him about the meaning of his display (e.g. I noticed you have your hands closed and your fingers locked. That usually means that someone (use ‘someone’ to avoid ‘you’ – the latter may make him defensive) is not open to something that has occurred. Is anything wrong?). Then, note his response. If he unlaces his fingers and opens his hands, while saying everything is okay, ask him to proceed. Two things will have happened. One, you will have altered his body language, which will entice him to become more mentally receptive to you and your offers. Two, you will have given him the lead in the negotiation. Based on what he does with it, he’ll give insight about what caused the initial display that you brought into question. And, he’ll give vision to what he’d like to discuss. That will highlight what’s important to him.
Hands pushed away palms out
Take special note of this gesture because it indicates that the originator wants no part of what caused him to display the gesture. You can note future discernment by the degree that he forces this gesture outward. Also, be aware of this gesture when the other negotiator voices his assertion that he’s in agreement with you. In this case, his body language belies his true feelings. Believe that more than his words.

There are other hand gestures that give insight into a negotiator’s thought process. We’ll leave those to discuss at another time. For now, note the signals mentioned above. In so doing, you’ll be more perceptive. That will assist you in winning more negotiations… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Negotiation Mastery – Knowing When to Say When

Negotiation in business is a critical aspect to getting more accomplished and generating more valuable sales. Negotiation is founded upon principles but it could be argued that it is more art than science. The best negotiators are often brilliant strategists and gifted technicians but their perhaps most unsung trait is the mastery of the true art of negotiation. Let’s explore this a little more.

The basic fundamentals of negotiation call for careful planning and, in most cases, pursuit of a solution that leaves all parties better off than they were before. While these basic principles can guide and govern many negotiating scenarios, there is certainly more to it.

What is the art of negotiation? The art behind this critical business skill comes from the intangible ability to simply get the job done. For example, perhaps you have experienced a negotiation where you followed your plan to the letter and felt like you tactically handled it perfectly. The end result: the negotiations failed and you were left scratching your head as to how this could have happened.

Now consider a scenario where a negotiator also follows their plan, but only almost according to plan. Their tactics are sound but there seem to be some key elements missing. The end result: the negotiation is a dramatic success and, despite the negotiator’s apparent missteps, everything seemed to work out great. What was the difference?

As you may be gathering, the answer to what differed between these two scenarios may not be readily apparent. The negotiator who seemed to do everything perfectly failed and the one who seemed to stray away from the original plan had more success. What gives? The answer lies in the intangible nuances of human nature.

Chances are, the successful negotiator from our example probably sensed the need to change his or her course during the negotiation. This could have been based upon a specific response from the other party, body language, or just an instinctual feel for how things were proceeding. They adjusted their plan, perhaps stopping short of seeking all the objectives they originally set out to achieve. They may have even offered an additional incentive to the opposite party.

While this approach may not immediately make sense, it is highly effective. Sure, we all have an agenda when it comes to negotiations. However, asking for too much puts the entire agenda at risk, while knowing when to say when may eliminate a single objective but leave the rest intact and still satisfy all parties when the day is done. The ability to recognize the need for this and know when to change the plan is an art that the best negotiators have mastered. Even they may not know exactly how they do it; it’s just a feel for the process that makes them great.

This feel for negotiation comes from two key things: experience and attentiveness to the other party in the negotiation. The take home message is to pay attention and be involved in as many negotiations as you possibly can. These elements will make you better and will help hone your feel for the process that will make you better over time.

In summary, you can call it a sixth sense, a gut instinct, or whatever you wish, but the art of negotiation comes not from a textbook, but from within each of us. Knowing when to say when, when to not press for that extra benefit you would like to have, is what sets the best negotiators apart from the rest of the world. It is their artistry that can inspire all of us to reach new heights in business.