How to Get Started on Your Next Presentation

You’ve been asked to give a presentation. Now what? Where do you begin?

Like most people you have probably suffered through a presentation where the speaker rambled on. You waited patiently for the main idea. You left wondering, “What was that all about?”

Situations like these happen most often because the speaker failed to do the upfront planning and organizing required for a meaningful presentation.

You can avoid that frustration for your audience by planning and structuring your presentation so the audience can easily follow your main points and logically go with you to your call to action or powerful conclusion.

Test Yourself

Honestly answer the following questions with “true” or “false”. This will give you a good idea of how much you already know about organizing a great presentation.

T = True (Most or all of the time)

F = False (Never or almost never)

  1. I spend a significant amount of time identifying the goal of my presentation.
  2. I gather a large amount of information about my topic-more than I think I’ll need.
  3. After I’ve identified my goal, my very next step is to create my introduction.
  4. Once I know my topic for my presentation I begin creating my PowerPoint slides. This is the way I organize my thoughts.
  5. I begin my presentation with a clear thesis (I tell the audience what my intent is in speaking).
  6. I plan and use transitions throughout my presentation to bridge parts of my presentation together.
  7. I don’t create an outline for my presentation-I find this too restricting.
  8. I eliminate any information that doesn’t support the goal of my presentation-no matter how interesting it might be.
  9. I include no more than 5 – 7 main points in my presentation.
  10. I explain my purpose in the beginning, the middle and again at the end.

How did you do?

Hopefully, you answered “T” to questions 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 and “F” to questions 3, 4 and 7.

Getting Started

Begin by discovering as much as you can about what success will look like in the mind of your presentation sponsor-the person who has asked you to present. Ask important questions such as:

What is the purpose of this presentation?

Why did you ask me to present?

If this presentation is a smashing success, what will be different at the end? How will the audience think, feel, act… differently than when they came in the room.

Who will attend?

How many people are expected to attend?

What can you tell me about them? (Age, education, role in the organization, background, knowledge of my topic, coming voluntarily or mandated to attend, do they know one another, etc.)

What speakers have done well in the past with this audience? (If applicable)

What worked?

What didn’t work?

How much time will I have?

Will there be other speakers before or after me?

What will the room be like? (Setup, size, equipment, acoustics, etc.)

Is PowerPoint expected? What other visual aids have worked well in the past with this audience?

This is simply the bare bones information you need as you begin the journey of planning and structuring your presentation.

After you’ve gathered all this essential information you can then begin to think about your big idea (your goal of your presentation), your key points and supporting points and then your attention-grabbing introduction and close.

Best of luck in getting started! For more information contact me at 720-542-3324 or [email protected]

Powerful Presenters Close More Sales

For many professionals (consultants, designers, architects, etc.), presentations are a key aspect of the sales cycle that can’t be ignored. Let’s face it, you’ve got a lot riding on how you look, what you say, and the way you answer questions. In order to get more new clients, you must become a master of the art of a quality presentation.

A successful presenter is one who comes across as confident, creative, and convincing. Here are some key features of a winning presentation:

1. Be prepared: Know your subject intimately. Be ready to answer questions and describe the benefits to your client in detail. Well in advance, brainstorm your client’s potential objections and have a solution prepared.

2. Create rapport: Don’t be so focused on the presentation that you forget to nurture the relationship you are building with your clients. They want to know what type of person you are.

3. Present by objectives: With each component that you present, explain its advantages and how it will help your client achieve their specific goals.

4. Show one concept at a time: Don’t place all your cards on the table. Each idea deserves special attention. If a client looks at work before it’s formally presented, he or she may form negative opinions before hearing its merits. 5. Describe, then show: It’s important to take it slow, giving your audience time to absorb each concept. Explain the details of each idea BEFORE you display it.

6. Let ‘em hold it: Once you put something in someone’s hands, they begin to feel ownership. Let your client get involved in your creative process. Encourage questions and discussions.

7. Keep it simple: Keep your description direct, clear, and concise. Don’t oversell with long-winded explanations. Good ideas don’t need to be pushed.

8. Leave informed: Make sure you are clear on how you will move forward. You may have to be the one to say, “So, what are our next steps?” Your client may not have a definitive answer, so be prepared to define this. For example, you may suggest a specific date for a follow-up call or meeting.

Practice makes perfect. If you aren’t comfortable with making presentations, role-play with an associate or friend. You can also perform in front of a mirror. Observe your posture and mannerisms. Are you fidgeting? Do you maintain eye contact? Are you ready to persuade and make a call to action?

ACTION ITEM: Examine your presentation style by asking for a second opinion from someone you trust. This isn’t easy to do, but if you use this feedback to improve your skills, you will reap the rewards.

Copyright 2006 Marketing Maven

Negotiating a Real Estate Contract

Negotiating the purchase or sale of a home can be fraught with struggles, ill-will and nastiness. coming the three deal-killers is easy if you remember one thing. Keep your emotions out of real estate contract negotiations. It will reward you handsomely. Plus, if you exit successfully from a ugly negotiation you still have to endure several weeks or months with the other side. On top of that, you might need to go back to the buyer and seller and ask for a closing date extension or inspection repairs. If wear out the other side early, they’ll be much more unlikely to agree to anything you ask for simply because they don’t like you or your attitude.

There are three outcome variables when a real estate contract is drafted by the buyer and presented to the seller.

The seller will accept the terms=contract.

The seller will change the terms=counteroffer.

The seller will reject the terms=the end, start over or walk away.

When the parties to a real estate contract accept the terms, it is known as acceptance. Most states require all real estate contracts to be in writing. And, they require that all offers of price or other terms be in writing. You might want to throw out a number out to a seller in a conversation, but it is not enforceable and is considered by real estate professionals as undesirable.

The counteroffer is the most common scenario in real estate contracts. Many buyers and sellers like the back and fourth of counteroffers and negotiations. But, be forewarned, some buyers and sellers have a low threshold to extended counteroffering. My rule of thumb is once you have gone back and fourth five times, you start to bog down the process. Each side should develop a strategy for negotiating before the real estate contract is formally presented.

In some situations a real estate contract is rejected before acceptance, by either side at any time. Some reasons for rejections are: incompatible closing dates or other terms, price, or another real estate contract is presented and it is more attractive to the seller. I am of the opinion that it is better for a contract to be rejected during negotiations than fall-through after acceptance. Like many things in life, accepted contracts are easier to get into, than out of.

Low-ball offers. Much more common in 2006 and 2007 than in previous years. Real estate market pendulums have swung in the buyers favor. That being said, some of the low-ball offers that buyers recently have attempted to negotiate were twenty-percent under list. Sellers of appropriately priced homes did not even respond. The rule of thumb is to not go below ten-percent of list for an opening price offer. If you can sweeten other terms of a contract to counter the low price, it could help keep you in good graces with the seller.

Counteroffers are like volleyball. Each time an counteroffer is given back to the other side, you will start to know where they want to go on price and terms. If sellers or buyers don’t move off their original price much, they are showing signs of digging in their heals, don’t expect much movement, each round. Early signs of rigidity in counteroffers tell me to buckle your seatbelt another notch, because the other side is not flexible.

The take-it-or-leave-it offer. Sometimes negotiations get near an impasse. The other side might call your bluff and say this is it, take-it-or-leave it. If you developed a strategy as I mentioned earlier, you will know what to do with the ultimatum. And, I hate to say it, the folks who do these ultimatums also like to try and come back after you’ve met the ultimatum and ask for another bump. No, no, and no.

Highest and best offer. Sometimes sellers or their agents get restless in negotiations and want to call your bluff. They’ll say give us your highest and best offer. This is a tricky situation, sometimes if your not in love with a home, you might withdraw the offer and not tip your hand. Especially if you might revisit it later after pursuing other homes.

Bidding Wars. Going into bidding wars is not for the faint of heart. You will probably over-pay for the home, but if you truly want it, it’s okay. You might though have to come up with some extra cash for the down-payment if it doesn’t appraise out, at an inflated price. One of the main problems in bidding wars is not knowing how many offers are on the table. Real estate license laws usually favor the listing agent ‘s need for confidentially with their client, the seller. I’ve also seen all the offers drop out except for one, and you end up negotiating against yourself. I tell my clients to not participate in a multiple offer situation. They become competitive and emotional, I prefer to stay on the sidelines until the dust settles. Since you haven’t tipped your hand, if you are invited to submit your contract after the multiple peter out, you will have a fresh slate with all the frenzy just a learning experience for the sellers.

Don’t be rushed through negotiations. I have seen contracts put into acceptance in hours and at the worst, weeks. I would say, a good negotiation should take no more than two days, with five rounds of counteroffers. If either side starts to delay their response to a counteroffer more than one day, it’s a red flag. Give reasonable deadlines for a response to all your counteroffers.

Full price offers. Sometimes if a home is priced right and new to the market, and you really want it, offer full price. I’ve seen homes slip away over a thousand dollars, and in the scheme of things or as a ratio of list price, it’s dumb.

Withdrawing an offer. If you are working with unreasonable people, or terms that are agreed to are change and continually in flux, walk away. First though, withdraw the offer. Withdrawing can really tell the other side that they are unreasonable. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t. But, most houses are worth the trouble of torture-some sellers or buyers.

Keep a written record of negotiations. It’s easy after a couple of rounds to forget that you agreed to leave the basement refrigerator, or as a buyer to shorten your mortgage contingency, make sure you write down all the changes each round, all experienced real estate agents do.