Present Your Message with Power and Pizzazz

If you’re ready to kick your career or business up to the next level, then make it a goal to become a powerful presenter. People view savvy communicators as being more capable, intelligent, and knowledgeable than those individuals who have difficulty in communicating their ideas. You can quickly gain the status of an expert in your field when you are able to present your ideas effectively.

Although many things go into giving a successful talk, I’d like to focus on one area that is very easy to apply – using body movements and gestures. When you use body movements and gestures appropriately, your presentation takes on a certain sense of aliveness that is often hard to accomplish when you use words alone.

Harness the Power of Gestures

Gestures include your posture, the movement of your eyes, hands, face, arms and head, as well as your entire body. They help to support or reinforce a particular thought or emotion. If our gestures support our statements, we are communicating with a second sense. People tend to understand and remember messages better when more than one sense is reached.

Winston Churchill was a master at using gestures to powerfully bring home his point. During World War II, Churchill rallied the citizens of Great Britain to continue their fight against overwhelming odds. He often visited the neighborhoods of London, which had been devastated by bombs and walked through them with his fingers held up in the sign of a “V”. This victory sign accompanied his famous message, “Never give in. Never, never, never give in.” This gesture so powerfully communicated Churchill’s message that soon people gained greater resolve to continue fighting whenever they saw the victory sign.

Another reason that using appropriate gestures is so critical to your presentation is that communication does not just consist of words. Less than 10% of the words we use in speaking gets through to others. On the other hand, over 55% of our body language is communicated to others very clearly. Whether you are trying to sell your product or service to a client or you are trying to persuade a group of people to change their behavior, it is critical that your words and gestures match. Many people have sabotaged their messages because their words were saying one thing, while their bodies were saying the exact opposite.

Can you think of a time when someone told you that he would be able to do something while his head was shaking no? Which did you believe, the words or the gesture? When your body movements are congruent with your words, your message will have a very powerful impact on your audience.

Make the Most Out of Movements

People will begin to make judgments about you as soon as you stand up. The time to begin using effective body movements is when you walk to your position in front of a group. Stand up tall and walk with a strong posture. Let your body communicate that you have something important to say and the audience needs to hear it. If your posture is slouched, they will feel that you aren’t convinced about your message and they will begin doubting you before you have uttered a single word.

When you get to the front, take a deep breath, calmly look at your entire audience and smile. One of the biggest mistakes presenters make is to begin talking as soon as they get up to the front, or even worse, as they are walking there. When you take time to look at your audience before you speak, you begin to establish that critical connection with them. You also give the audience sufficient time to focus on you and what you are about to say.

Look directly at the faces of your audience members, not over their heads. Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of speaking. An easy way to get over stage fright is to look at the faces of individual audience members and just talk to that one person instead of the entire audience. Rotate the people you talk to – someone on the left, someone towards the middle, a person on the right, someone in the front, etc. This will help you maintain rapport with the entire group, while allowing you to feel at ease.

A further advantage of maintaining good eye contact is that it will help you gauge how your message is coming across to the group. If you are trying to explain something and members of the audience give you blank stares, then you need to adjust your words so they can better understand you.

Use Conversational Gestures

Like Winston Churchill, you should strive to incorporate gestures into your talk. People naturally use gestures in conversations. They are not on the spot, so they easily move their arms and hands and make facial expressions to illustrate the points they are trying to make. However, an amazing thing happens when people stand up in front of a group to speak. They suddenly think, “Oh no! What am I going to do with these things attached to my shoulders?” and they either don’t move them at all or they move them awkwardly. Gestures should be a natural extension of who we are. Presenters should strive to be themselves. They should be as spontaneous with their movements as if they were talking to their family or friends.

Practice Makes Natural

A good way to be comfortable with gestures is to know your speech well. Several of the most outstanding speakers offer the same piece of advice: “The key to effectively using gestures is to know your material so well, to be so well prepared, that your gestures will flow naturally.” Practice your speech and know it well so that you can enjoy sharing your message with others.

Become a master at using your body to support your words. Have fun with gestures, be yourself, and you will certainly present your message with power and pizzazz.

How To Create Persuasive Sales Presentations In Minutes

Yes, minutes-not hours. Not days. Not all weekend. Not anymore. If you’re ready to connect with customers and prospects and share your solutions-here is the quick and easy way to design highly persuasive sales presentations.

Sales presenting is a critical part of professional business. If you’re good at it…you’re prepared. You’re also well ahead of the curve of folks who are suffering under these false assumptions:

A. I’m more creative ad-hoc

This is a scary belief. If you are telling yourself this fiction, watch out. If you hear it from a co-worker or teammate, challenge it.

Creativity is best when you’ve got a solid story structure and have rehearsed like wild.

B. I’m best when I wing it

Variation on a theme. Do not fall for this illusion. Winging it is a joke. Even if you’re a pro. Even if you’ve done it before. Even if you have a very attractive alternative for how to spend your time before your pitch.

Don’t fall for this kind of thinking. It can be a cover-up story you’re telling to yourself to avoid hard work.

C. I already pitched to this group before

Things change. People change. You’ve changed. If you’re going to be at the top of your game, approach your presentation with fresh eyes and new enthusiasm.

Relying on a dusted off presentation is a really bad idea.

O.K. Now that we got those out of the way, what are you going to do to create powerful sales presentation-fast?

Follow these 6 steps and you’ll be off to a great start.

1. Start With Targeting The Client’s Problems

Based in your research and understanding, identify the top problems your client faces. Start here. Show that you understand, know and are listening to your client’s true needs.

2. Prioritize Options

In traditional newspapers, articles were written with the most important facts and news first. Then, if the editor needed to cut the story, they would cut off the bottom-which contained less important information.

Approach your presentation planning the same way. Organize key concepts by importance. Then, if you need or want, you can skip the less important points based on time and client interest.

3. Highlight Benefits

Building your presentation on your client’s top priorities, structure your story. Using a presentation storyboard is the fastest and easiest way to plot your strategy, organize the time and highlight important benefits.

While your company may offer several types of services such as consulting, training and sales presenting-focus on the specific benefits that address your client’s issues.

Many sales presenters neglect to consider this point. They may find certain benefits more intriguing or important. But what you prefer is not crucial. Focus benefits to connect-the-dots with the problems your client wants to solve.

4. Engage and Interact

Old-school selling often encouraged sellers to: “tell, tell, tell.” Instead, organize your presentation to include times for the audience to interact. Plan your sales presentation with ample time for discussion, Q & A, and client interaction.

Hint: do this early on. The sooner you hear what is important to your client, the better. You’ll be able to adapt and flex your message to match the mood.

5. Personalize With Relevant Examples

Be the person everyone wants to listen to. Share your personal experience through short, powerful and relevant examples. This is where practice and rehearsal really pay off.

Work through your potential examples with your presentation coach. Practice sharing anecdotes. Speak briefly. Share your story with passion.

6. Finish With Clear Compelling Message

It’s often said that people remember the beginning and end of a sales presentation-more than anything else. End on a bang, people will recall you, your brand and your offer.

If you must make a decision to cut a section in order to end with impact, slice away. Take a surgical approach to send the strongest message in the shorter amount of time.

Using these 6 tips, you will be able to create persuasive sales presentations in minutes-not days.

3 Tips For CIOs To Become Better Negotiators

It’s interesting to realize just how important the skill of negotiating is to CIOs. Sure, we all know about the importance of information technology, but when you think about it, we spend a great deal of our time negotiating no matter if it is with vendors, other departments, or even members of our IT team. Since we do so much of this, we should always be looking for ways to get better at it…

3 Ways To Become A Better Negotiators

First off, when we dive into a negotiation be it with a vendor or with someone who works for our firm, all too often we just start things off with a vague idea about what we’d like to accomplish. We know that we need to create a deal, but we’re not 100% what that deal is going to look like. However, we believe that we’ll recognize it when we see it.

What this mean to you as the person with the CIO job is that before your next negotiation starts, you really need to do some homework. By taking the time to prepare for a negotiation, you’ll have an advantage over the person that you’ll be negotiating with. Doing your homework can be as simple as coming up with a plan for what you want to propose to the other side. When you do this, the next step is for you to highlight the key details in your plan that you want to make sure that are part of the deal that you reach.

When we are negotiating with someone, all too often it can be easy to assume that they have more power than they really do. They may represent a big company or a powerful internal department. We need to take a step back and realize that they are just a peer – no more, and no less. If you can see them as someone just like you, it can remove a great deal of the intimidation that they may be presenting to you and you can focus on getting what you want from them.

Finally, don’t worry if what you are asking for has never been done before. Hey, there always has to be a first time, right? Make your case and explain to the other side how things will work. If they still seem nervous about agreeing to a deal, you can create checkpoints that will allow them to determine if the deal is being implemented in the way that they agreed to.

What All Of This Means For You

At the heart of what it means to be in the CIO position is the ability to communicate well. One form of communication that we all need to take the time to master is that of negotiation. Since we negotiate so often and with so many different types of people we need to get better at doing this.

There are three ways that we can become better negotiators. The first is to make sure that we always show up prepared to negotiate – we need to do our homework. Make sure that you see the person that you’ll be negotiating with as a peer – they do not have any special powers. Finally, just because something has never been done before does not mean that it can’t be done now.

As a CIO, you never seem to have enough time to get everything done. When you are trying to decide where to spend your time, learning to become a better negotiator is one thing that will be on your plate. Among all of the other things that you have to do, this is a good way to spend your time. Time spent becoming a better negotiator is time well invested.