How To Make A Presentation for First Time

Finally, I was able to do a first time presentation to an audience about the topic “Loving Your Neighbor”. The goal of my topic was to be able to explain the meaning of Christian love and to help us in applying in our daily lives.

I never hesitated when I was given the invitation to to be a speaker  from one (1) of the nine (9 ) series of talks on Christian Life Seminar (CLS). This activity is just one of the many programs of CFC FFL Singapore as an evangelistic and missionary community. It has been my thought principle to be able to make a little difference to my fellow people in everyday life. I knew God was the one who invited me to share my talent and be able to teach. You can never say no to Him, right? I remember Jim Rohn shared one of his philosophies. There are three (3) disciplines that you need to do if you want to pursue spiritual development:

1. Study – means you have to learn the disciplines, study the Holy Scriptures, attend seminars, and listen to sermons or preaching.

2. Practice – implement what you learn. Set a personal prayer time. Start to make a habit to pray with the family.

3. Teach – sharing what you’ve experienced from the first two (2) will accelerate the learning process.

Of course I accepted the responsibility. What should I do next? I want to share with you some practical steps about how I prepared to do my first time presentation:

  1. Know your stuff – pick a topic that you are interested to share. In my case, the topic was handed to me by our service leader.  The nice thing about each particular topic was that you have a reference from previous speakers who have done the presentation. I borrowed their personal resource like PowerPoint, reference book, recorded audio and other stuffs that may be helpful. Ask and ask. Never be afraid to ask questions or tips that can help you in delivering a good presentation. Thanks also to my mom for helping me too. Do some extra research on the topic over the internet.  Another tip is to add some of your personal experiences or you can also borrow other person’s experience.
  2. Practice – Rehearse out loud with your PowerPoint and tickler notes. I need to improve more on this one. A good idea is to record yourself either video or audio. I actually recorded the actual live presentation for my purpose of review and further improvement.
  3. Relax and pray – having deep breathe-ins and breathe-outs will help relax and calm down the butterflies in your stomach. I know a friend who does some exercises to pump out the energy. Prayer is a very powerful resource to ease up tensions and build up confidence.
  4. Visualize – Imagine yourself speaking your voice confidently to a large crowd. Visualize the audience clapping out loud. I must say that this is very effective and yes indeed it became true. They really did clap. They even gave me handshakes and gave uplifting praises. The feeling was awesome.

Some additional advice is to look directly to your audience faces  as if you’re speaking to a friend. It’s a good way to involve them in your conversation. Look for people who smile as they can help you gain your confidence. If you are nervous to look at their faces, just look straight to the wall on the level of their faces but it is really nice to have an eye contact with your audience.

Lastly, if you are given an opportunity to speak in front of an audience, never hesitate to volunteer. This is very effective in overcoming your fears of public speaking.

Tips, Skills and Tools For Easy Negotiations

Negotiations do vary. But whatever the technique, there is the risk of getting off track. That is why it’s important to arm yourself with the basic skills for negotiation – to prevent communication breakdown.

Learn To Communicate

Being clear on what you want to communicate is the first step in any successful negotiation. Having a strong idea to communicate what you want to say and what the other party wants to know is a good starting point.

Get Your Facts Right

Do your research and collect all the relevant facts. It’s vital that you prepare and rehearse all the details of the negotiations. Such details include issues such as your start date, salary and benefits, and how you will end the meeting.

After establishing these factors, you should strive to figure out what the other party wants in a calm and straightforward manner. You should always make sure that you are listening to the other party – it is a sign of respect, and your opinions will be better appreciated.

You can achieve this by repeating the points that the other party makes and by using positive language and feedback.

Avoid Arguments

While negotiating, you should never forget that it is all about finding a win-win solution. Arguments are the last resort and should be avoided at all costs. If you need to convey that you feel that the other party is wrong, do it in a nice way – this avoids creating bad blood and sending the negotiations south.

Of course, disagreements are bound to arise, as everyone thinks differently. If you have to differ on a certain point, do it in a way that does not demean the person you are negotiating with.

You should always remain emotionally calm, no matter how much you are provoked. You should be prepared to compromise and also try to convince the other party to make compromises. This is best accomplished by being prepared to adjust your expectations in order to meet the needs of the other party. Often it’s good to ask, “Does that sound OK to you?”

Whenever a negotiation involves money, it is wise to let the employer put the figure on the table first. This eliminates the possibility of you quoting a figure that might be either too high or too low.

At the same time, it’s also good to aim high, so that you won’t be exploited. Nothing beats confidence at the negotiating table, and that comes from understanding of what wining the negotiation means to you and your future career prospects.

Flexibility – The Key

You should always remain flexible throughout the negotiations. This is important, just in case the other party decides to change the terms of the deal. Your preparation will help you immensely, as you may need to change your negotiation approach without putting your objectives in jeopardy.

Showing signs of desperation may also prove expensive in some negotiations. It’s better if you indicate that you really want the deal to come through – but not at the price of saying yes to every issue.

How you close the negotiation is important. That means making sure that there are no loose ends left to tie up.

When it comes to your career, negotiation is necessary. Follow the tips above, and you will probably be successful.

Do You Make This Mistake When Ending Your Presentations?

Has this ever happened to you? Gord (his name changed to protect the innocent) thinks his presentation is going well. His content is accurate. His delivery is passionate.

He just has to end his Question and Answer session with a bang to leave his audience feeling motivated. So he asks, “Are there any questions?”

Gord methodically answered every question, until there were no more questions left. By that time, the audience’s energy level had plummeted. All the “big” questions had been answered. The final questions were of limited interest and should have been dealt with one-on-one after the session.

With his audience staring at the floor, Gord ends his Question and Answer session by saying, “Well, if there are no more questions, thanks for attending.” People in the audience give token applause and flee the room.

Gord’s terrible ending damages his career. He looks weak and indecisive. His presentation fails to generate any enthusiasm for his cause.

Do not let this happen to you! If you end your presentation with a typical Question and Answer session, the energy will leak out of the room like air out of a burst balloon. What can you do to prevent this?

Well, it is better to intersperse questions throughout your presentation. But, if you have to leave questions until the end, use the following technique to guarantee you’ll end on a high note.

Say, “I’ll take a few questions. Then, I’ve got one final important story to share with you!”

Take questions from the audience. When the questions become less frequent, tell the audience, “I’ll take one more question. Then I need to tell you that final important story I promised.”

Make your final point a great story that propels them to take action. Motivate them to do something. Since your closing story is the last thing they hear, it makes a big impact.

Do not make the mistake of ending your presentation with a standard, boring Question and Answer period. Instead, use this technique to end your Question and Answer session with a bang, not a whimper!

© 2008 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada