Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quick Tip - Presentation Pump-up

One of the most common questions I get asked is "What are some quick ways to improve my presentation skills?" While there are many, here are the four I share most often because they have the highest impact in the least amount of time:

Get out of your own way. It's not about you, your day, that you "have to" present, or anything else "you". Put the audience first. Decide the audience deserves the best, focus on them, and watch the shift!

To stop the "um" and "ah" habit, simple shut your mouth fully. When our mouths are closed, we cannot have utterances slip out through our teeth and tongue. As simple, and perhaps strange, as it may sound, shutting our mouths now makes for more effective talking later.

Know that nerves show you care. Channel nerves into energy by welcoming them rather than fighting them. Resist saying "I'm really nervous", or allowing a shaking voice to distract you. Those who are not nervous at all may not care at all. Your nerves are your friend, so call on them for energy conversion!

If you are physically shaking or shaky, touch something (not someone!), and allow some of that shake, or that frenetic energy to channel elsewhere. If there is a podium, come to the side and lean slightly on it. If there is a chair, grip the back of it. If there is a table, put your hand down on it. That allowing for the energy to focus will allow you to stay on task and on focus, too! 

These quick tips will pump-up your presentations while keep you grounded in making an impression that is memorable for all the right reasons!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Positivity, Praise & Prediction

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." 
~ Oprah Winfrey
American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist.
(b. 1954)
There are the four (and some even say five) P's of Marketing, and in leadership of self, and others, personally and professionally, please consider the three P's of Personal Growth. Sure there are many ways to compliment, to recognize and to support others, and if sincere, they are all likely quite effective! Here, the focus is in the process...not to take away the personal touch, rather to allow for just that with some quick steps to follow that include positivity, praise, and prediction.

Step 1: Positivity. While it is not officially a word for spell check, positivity is an outlook, an approach, a state of being. Come from a place of being positive when you provide feedback. Even encouraging words can sound/seem discouraging without positivity. So, when you want to share, check your positivity meter, and ensure you are minimally at a 4 out of 5, and preferably at a 5, on your P-scale!

Step 2: Praise. Share the good news, good word, good review. Instead of couching it in "I thought you...", start it with "YOU really...". This approach to praise means it is truly about praising the person, and not about your opinion being heard (there is a difference). Use the person's name. Share the praise in front of others when appropriate. Praise loudly, often, and specifically. Resist the "You were great", and go for something like "You drew in our clients with your benefits presentation, and you really wowed all of us with your knowledge of the product!". The difference is short in time, and long on impact!

Step 3: Prediction. Closing out your compliment with anticipation - a way to carry it forward is powerful for you, and empowering for the recipient! For a prediction, think about where the actions or results can have a place elsewhere or in the future. For example, if you are thinking in a positive way, and share You were great", and go for something like "You drew in our clients with your benefits presentation, and you really wowed all of us with your knowledge of the product!", you can then add "I can only imagine how strong you will be with XYZ next week using a similar approach!" By adding a prediction, you allow the other person to see your vision without telling that person what to do - you set someone up for success with a clear idea planted for him or her to nurture.

These three steps are simple. They will take a bit of effort to include, and yet the consistency of your sincere positivity, praise and prediction will become habitual when you implement it over time, and it will likely become an enjoyable challenge to incorporate often, when you see the responses and the results that follow!