All Presentations Should Tell Good Stories

When you think about it, the end goal of most presentations is to convince, whether that means convincing your audience to agree with your point of view, or convincing them to take the action you want them to take. Professional presenters with vast amounts of public speaking experience are usually great story tellers. In order for your presentations to come across convincingly to your audiences, they require the focus, logic and sequence of any engaging story.

You might or might not be aware of falling victim to some or all of the common mistakes that initially trip up novice presenters. Most of these learners’ mistakes relate directly back to the ethos of story telling in presentations – or lack of it. When preparing for forthcoming presentations, or looking back retrospectively at old ones, you might give yourself a confidence boost by answering a few hypothetical questions honestly.

Are you prepared to offer appropriate answers to the broad range of questions that might be posed by your audience?

If not, might your inability to appropriately answer audience questions be due to a lack of flow in your presentation?

Are your slides truly sequentially ordered?

Are you sometimes guilty of randomly leaping from one aspect of your subject matter to another without any logical connection between the two?

Do you put yourself in danger of leaving gaping holes in your presentations by trying to sound too clever, for example, by presenting answers and conclusions that lack supporting evidence?

Do you try too hard to amplify your knowledge of your subject matter by including information that is indirectly related but not directly relevant to your presentations?

Searching questions indeed and you might be wondering how they relate to the harnessing of your story telling skills to enhance your public speaking effectiveness. They do, as they are all about focus, logic and sequence:-

Focus – keep to the point. Identify information that seem interesting and smart, but realistically bears little relevance to the core messages you aim to send. Once you have identified these curve balls, eradicate them, even if you desperately want to include them because you think they sound good.

Logic – tempting as it is to provide answers and conclusions first, followed by rhyme and reason afterwards, it is illogical. Notice how the stories contained in your presentations flow so much more smoothly when you simply reverse the order of certain slides. Questions first, arguments and evidence in the middle, answers and solutions last but not least.

Sequence – stories lacking in sequential orderliness are confusing, often to the degree that they might initially capture attention, but ultimately fail to retain it. It is impossible for you to over check that your presentations are sequentially correct. When going to the time and trouble that preparation for successful presentations demands, it is a crying shame if your subject matter is right, but the sequence in which you present it is erratic and disjointed.

Your ability to recognise the mistakes you are prone to making, coupled with your willingness to improve your public speaking performances, equates to half your battle being won. So sit tight with a copy of your presentation in front of you and see how you can make instantaneously dramatic differences.

Ideal 50th Birthday Present for Your Mom

Mothers are considered as the image of God on earth. Hence, the occasion of her turning to fifty calls for a great celebration. Isn’t it? Now if the occasion is great, the gifts must also be great. This article would give some of the gift ideas that might help you in deciding a proper one to be given to your mother. Reaching the age of fifty does not mean that your mother is getting old so you should give some serious type of gifts to her. In fact, the 50th birthday present can even be some of the exciting and adventurous options. But one thing that you must essentially look for is that the gifts for mum must reflect your emotions and feeling along with the respect that you have for her in your heart.

Most of the children feel that with the gradual ageing, their mothers would hardly take interest in outdoor adventures. But for the kind information of the children, if you give something that could be adventurous and exciting as 50th birthday present for her, she will even be happier. Even if she doesn’t seem excited, take her for it forcefully because she would definitely enjoy it. Most of the mothers like adventure, but for a peaceful upbringing of their children, they forget about their sporty aptitude and continue with their routine life. So can’t you help her retain her own self once more. Gifts for mum do not have any limitations, hence you are free to select anything as per the nature and desire of your mom irrespective of her age.

The adventure outside will be the most unique experience that she might not have been gone through before. This will, however, become one of the memorable birthdays that you can make immensely special for her. The second alternative that you can take into consideration as the 50th birthday present for your mother is a holiday trip. If you have a large budget, you can arrange a tour for her to the places that she always wished to visit. The children quite often listen their mother say that such and such place she wants to visit and you too are not an exception. Try to remind the names and plan a holiday trip for one of the perfect gifts for mum.

The third on the list is a pretty emotional type of 50th birthday present idea, that is the albums. You can easily collect some of the memorable pictures that you often observe your mom looking at. Arrange all of them in a sequence from her unmarried phase of life to her marriage to your birth to the present phase. Put all of them in an album and present it. It will prove your love and care towards your mom. Even if you do nay buy gifts for mum, she knows you love her, but why not utilize a chance and a special moment to exhibit and express your love and care for her.

Some of the other 50th birthday present ideas for mum include some gag presents, surprise dinner or party arrangement, health spa session, etc. So, what are waiting for? The ideas of gifts for mum are right here in front of you, gift her and show how important she is for you.

Negotiation Skills — The Salami Technique

Some negotiators just love to play tactical games. In this article we will look at one their favourite negotiation tactics – the Salami technique – and think about how to rebuff it.

Salami sausages are big things (often spicy) that are eaten a slice at a time. They would be indigestible if taken in a single large piece. This aspect has led negotiators to use the name for a negotiation technique that tries to do just that: to win concessions in small doses (slices) when the other party would probably reject them if they were put on the table all at once. The technique is often used against a party that is mainly concerned with damage limitation.

Consider a tough union negotiating with management. Management would really just like to keep the status quo (damage limitation) but the union negotiators would like a whole host of goodies to take back for their members. These could include a pay rise, more holidays, flexible working hours, private health membership, better pension arrangements, improved canteen, increased allowances and so on. It is not difficult for the union to make a case for each of these and they can probably add to the list.

If the union negotiators use the salami tactic they will present just one of their demands for discussion and push hard to reach agreement. Let’s say they focus on a 6% pay rise and after a long discussion and some haggling they agree on 4%. Deal done, except there is more to come. That’s just the first slice of the salami and there is a whole sausage in the cupboard.

The next slice might be the holiday arrangements. The current 23 days is from a bygone age. ‘Other employers’ have agreed to 25 days plus public holidays. Let’s say they eventually reach agreement at 24 days this year and 25 days next year. Good! The managers might by now be congratulating themselves on their rusty negotiation skills and their damage limitation but the union representatives have been busy polishing their negotiation skills.

‘We would now like to discuss something that is very dear to the hearts of our members, the need for flexible working hours.’ The slicing of the salami sausage continues: private health, pension, canteen, allowances, and so on. By the end of the negotiations, when the management team add it all up they are staggered at what they have conceded, slice by slice. None of the individual items seemed all that great at the time but – add them all together and the cumulative effect is astonishing.

What went wrong?

The management negotiators were beguiled by one of the standard tactics used by skilled negotiators. Of course, presented like this, the salami technique looks so obvious that you might think that no management team could be so stupid as to be caught by it. However, just as a simple magic trick can seem incredible when performed by a skilled magician, so even simple negotiation skills like the salami technique can produce amazing results when used by skilled and experienced negotiators.

The salami is not restricted to management-union negotiations. Any negotiator who has a list of things on which they want to gain agreement can use it. Try it when you next buy a car. Are you buying just one item, the car? Or are you gaining agreement on several things: buying the car, filling the petrol tank, replacing worn tyres if it’s a used car, a free service next year, alloy wheels… and whatever else you can think of. Will they lose the sale over a tank of petrol or one new tyre?

So, what do you do if you are on the receiving end and the other party tries to salami you?

Of course, your first line of defence is to recognise what they are doing and your second is to put a stop to it. You will need to be assertive about this but the response is quite straightforward. The salami tactic works because the person being sliced does not recognise what is happening. Once you do, you can fight it.

How? Simply refuse agreement on any one slice until you have everything out on the table. ‘Is there anything else you want to discuss as part of these negotiations?’ Do not discuss details until you have formally agreed that everything is out in the open. Then put forward a proposal on a collective agreement — bundle the lot together.

The discussion can now begin in earnest and you can use your negotiation skills. You might trade one slice of salami off against another by offering some flexibility on, say, item one provided that they drop, say, items two and three. Continue like that until you are happy with the deal, then close.

Good luck! And watch out for that spicy sausage!

Author: Tony Atherton
© Tony Atherton 2005)