Effective Business Presentations

You are about to start your pitch–it may be for capital you need for your business, a joint venture with a large company or a new product being presented to an important client.

A good presentation starts with a joke, right?


While Pundits tell you that “ground breaking” is essential and a great way to break ground in a meeting is some light hearted wit–forget that advice! There are far better techniques to, as they say, “break the ice”. Here are a few:

  1. Ask about whether your guests need water or beverage–or better still make sure they have them.
  2. Ask about their roles in the company (i.e. if you do not already know).
  3. Other topics like sports, weather, latest announcement from the Federal Reserve and even Junior’s baseball game the night before are a better topic than a joke. Why? Because jokes can hit a sensitive nerve and may come off badly. It takes one person in the meeting to be uncomfortable with your joke to ruin the ambience and goodwill you want.

So what are some of the fundamentals that permeate through all good presentations?

1. Practice – No matter how good you are in your subject matter, you need to practice as a presenter, not as an expert–surprisingly just like many great music teachers do not make it as a performer, many experts make poor presenters. So practice your lines, your timing, your stance and your “Gaps”–more on Gaps later.

2. Pace – Pace should be lively and directionally forward, but not hasty.

3. No skipping – imagine saying to the audience–we are going to skip over next five slides–WRONG MOVE! Why have these in the presentation if you are not going to talk about it and worse, why have them when you don’t think they are important?

4. Leave time for questions and answers. Space them so there is no “barrage”.

5. Make the presentation human and real life. Long theories and expostulations belong in classroom not in business conferences.

6. A quick technique to liven up the pace. Pick someone to “respond” to your question if you are greeted with silence. You will be amazed how others sit up and take interest once the ball starts rolling on questions and answers.

7. Keep the discussion focused on the presentation and what the subject matter is. Diversions should be relevant to the topic at hand.

8. While opinions differ on content here is a good template for a presentation:

  • Opening page–who is making the presentation and to whom and a one liner on the subject matter
  • Executive summary
  • Brief recitation of topics to be covered
  • Index of presentation slides
  • Body of discussion
  • Sales pitch which includes competitive positioning, product superiority, “why us” pitch and stats

Good luck!

Be Amazed at How Many Billions Are Presently Enrolled in Debt Settlement Programs

If you’re someone that reads a newspaper, listens to the radio, watches T.V. or surfs the internet, then you’ve obviously heard and seen the zillions of advertisements that guarantee quick and almost painless debt relief, and the most widespread magic potion right now is debt settlement

If you were drowning in debt, and got a reply from a debt settlement company that read like this, “We are generally able to settle debts for about 40 cents on the dollar and have our clients debt free in a very short period of time on a low monthly payment plan and we charge the lowest fees in the industry”.

Then you’d most likely feel that your prayers had been answered, and they might have been, because most debt settlement companies do work hard for their fee, and they do help people.

The biggest problem that presently exists is that the continuing financial crisis has spawned a multitude of new companies that just want to rip off people that are already in big trouble, and right now the debt settlement industry is largely unregulated, and only about a dozen states have laws that govern debt settlement.

The next biggest problem is, that most Americans with serious debt trouble have almost no knowledge about the different ways that exist for getting out of debt, and they usually have next to no idea of the differences between, credit counseling, debt consolidation and debt settlement.

All three of the above can work, and a good credit counseling agency will quite often recommend either debt consolidation or debt settlement, but the two things are completely different and what suits one debtor won’t suit another.

What They Are And What They Aren’t

Debt Consolidation
a) Using a single loan such as a home equity loan to pay off multiple debts at full price.

b) The biggest advantage is usually the lower interest rates, but debt consolidation loans are becoming much more difficult to obtain.

c) This option is generally credit score neutral.

Debt Settlement
a) You’ll generally have to owe at least $7,500 and be at least sixty to ninety days in arrears before you can enter into the debt settlement process.

b) During the 60-90 days you will be pestered by debt collectors.

c) Not all companies will agree to debt settlement although most will, and they all prefer it to bankruptcy.

d) You will have smaller monthly payments.

e) You will damage your credit rating, but how much will depend on your previous rating.

Credit Counseling
a) Involves paying a small fee, which is usually under $100 to a service that offers budgeting advice and will often negotiate lower fees and interest rates with debtors for an additional monthly fee.

b) Debtors pay the counseling service, which in turn pays the lenders.

a) A federal judge will consider your debts and assets, and decide which debts get paid and which get erased.

b) Bankruptcy is more and more frequently the only alternative for many people, but it has the longest negative impact on credit ratings, and it is quickly becoming far more complicated to do than it once was.

How Many Companies And How Much Money?
According to the debt settlement’s lobbying group, The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC), there are perhaps 1,000 firms that presently offer debt settlement services, and an amazing $20 billion in consumer debt is currently enrolled in debt settlement programs.

What Can Be Done And What Can’t
Andrew Housser, who sits on the board of The Association of Settlement Companies, said that settlement firms offer an important service to customers in certain circumstances, but added that the big influx of new settlement firms, many of which are being run by former mortgage industry workers are getting the industry a bad name.

“Hundreds of companies are flooding into this and frankly some of them don’t know what they are doing. There’s been explosive growth, and unfortunately you get some good players and some bad players”.

TASC (The Association of Settlement Companies) is actively supporting regulation in 24 states, in an attempt to reign in abusive companies, and it’s also self-policing its 200+ members and investigating complaints against other settlement firms lodged via the association’s web site, TASCsite.org.

Housser also said that credit counseling isn’t a viable alternative for many indebted consumers.

“For example, consumers who enroll in credit counseling generally still face high monthly payments, because counselors can only negotiate lower interest rates and friendlier loan terms and not principal reductions and many debtors can’t afford those payments”.

He then offered an advantage that debt settlement sometimes has over credit counseling.

“Some people fit in sweet spot of debt settlement, where they can’t afford credit counseling programs but still have some income. We give them a program to work out their debt for less than face value and typical monthly payments for debt settlement are 1 to 1.5% of total debt, vs. 2 to 3% for debt counseling. Total settlement fees typically average about15% of debt, meaning a consumer with $10,000 in debt would pay $1,500 to a debt settlement company for help”.

He justified the seemingly fees, saying that “debt negotiation is a very labor intensive business and legitimate companies clearly list their fees up front, and don’t pile on extraneous charges”.

The Best Advice
If you’ve tried different debt reduction techniques and none have worked for you, and you’re getting deeper into debt every month and have to do something, then be careful not to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

Regardless of whether you decide to go to a credit counseling agency, or a company that offers debt settlement and/or debt consolidation, only choose a company that is BBB (Better Business Bureau) affiliated, and don’t sign anything that you don’t fully understand, even if it means having a lawyer explain the finer details to you.

Business Presentation Tips – Little Changes For Big Success

In business presentations, clients and prospects are listening, watching and sensing everything you say, show and do.

Skilled experts read non-verbal facial expression and body language. Perhaps you’ve seen the Fox television series: “Lie To Me.” In this series, Dr. Cal Lightman is able to decode non-verbal facial expressions and body language. He uses this system to determine if someone is lying. 

This popular show is rooted in serious science.

Researcher Dr. Paul Ekman has studied facial expressions for 50 years. His blog offers a course on ‘micro-expressions,’ the telltale signs of whether someone is telling the truth or not. 

Ekman was named in 2009 as one of the Top 100 most influential people of 2009. Dr. Ekman’s training is used by government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, educational and medical professionals to enhance their ability to better ‘read’ people and detect potential lies.

Whether or not you want to study the art of lying, your audience is watching your face. Your audience may not include people with the same trained expertise. However, every person has the instinctive ability to sense lies or truth. This is the root of expressions such as: “I just have a hunch he’s not telling the whole story.”

If you want to radically change your success in presenting, it pays to understand the power of facial expressions.

What can you do to improve your presentation delivery skills?

Here are a few tips to help you master the art of using expressing yourself with authentic presentation delivery:

Tip 1: Show Your Emotions

While presentation coaches and trainers spend a lot of time on the face, this is often the easiest way to show believability. Adults have a lot of practice showing emotion with our facial expressions.

In professional settings, the emphasis is: show appropriate emotion. When your face conveys an appropriate amount of happiness or sadness, your audience will read this as alignment.

Tip 2: Smile Like You Mean It

A genuine smile can dissolve barriers and warm up a crowd. You don’t have to ‘turn on the charm’ or become an over-the-top performer. Simply smile with feeling as you would to a close colleague or friend.

Tip 3: Share What’s Going On

No doubt you’ve heard about the power of self-disclosure. It’s also called frank and honest expression. If something is going on, tell your audience.

This is a fast and easy way to let the audience into your personal experience. Perhaps you’ve just had a tough commute. Or you got lost on the way to the conference. Open up. It will help people to understand your expressions and emotions.

If you notice that you’re making a strong facial expression, let the audience come inside of your reaction. “This story makes me frown…let me tell you why…”

If you are sharing data you feel passionately about, tell the audience about your feelings: ” I get so worked up about this because I know there’s a cure…”

With small transitions and changes, you are building a bridge of trust with your audience. Because you want to be a persuasive presenter, connecting to your audience and telling the truth are extremely important.

The good news is, when you pay attention to the little things, you can get big results. With a precise focus on your delivery skills, you can be the kind of charismatic presenter you’ve always dreamed of being.

Want to be an animated and persuasive presenter? Show your feelings, speak the truth and connect personally with your audience