Posts Tagged ‘Presentation Skills Solutions’

How can I get information from customers when they feel we are infringing on the way they have always done things? How do I get them to see they need to share for the good of everyone?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The bottom line is that most customers do not like sharing information because they’re not sure how you will use it. So your job is to make them 100% comfortable and confident in how the information will be used as well as why it’s a value for them to share.

The worst way to get information from customers is to start by asking them questions. Most interaction I see people have with customers follows the typical pattern of a flat statement followed by a series of questions. It goes something like this: “We’re looking at a new way to process claims, so I need to ask you some questions. Do you process claims in batches?” Now with each question you ask them, they will answer hesitantly and rarely will they give you the complete information. Why? Because they don’t know how you’re going to use the information and they don’t want to have it come back to bite them.

The first thing you need to do is give them the complete roadmap of what you will be talking about and how it will benefit them.

Once you have given them this roadmap, that will give them the confidence to openly share information. If you ever feel a client isn’t sharing information, it’s telling you that they do not feel comfortable with how the information will be used. So as soon as you sense that, stop the conversation and paraphrase for them why you’re asking the question and how you will be utilizing their answers.

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How to deal with a person that says one thing to your face and another behind your back? Or the person that says yes but then runs when things get tough

Friday, December 9th, 2011

First, get rid of the idea that the other person is doing this to attack you. Most likely it has nothing to do with you, but instead is driven by their own fear. So instead, try to think about what they might be so scared of losing that they would fight to protect it.

Apply Outcome Thinking® and try to think about the situation from the other person’s perspective. Why may they not feel safe telling you up front what they’re really thinking? Your job is to make it a safe environment for them to share their thoughts with you.

If the person is a Connector, this means you need to reassure them that you would like to hear their true thoughts even if they feel they are ones you might not want to hear right now. It also means you cannot blow up or get angry on the spot. Either of those reactions will immediately shut a Connector down.

If the person is actually being devious (and you would know this because what they are saying behind your back is malicious), you need to address them with what you heard. Make sure that you do it in a straightforward manner, sticking only with the facts, and that you do not jeopardize anyone that confided in you.

The discussion may go something like this: Jane, when you and I met on Friday, we agreed that all account information would be put into the database. I am now hearing that you feel that putting that information in is ridiculous and that you have no intention of doing it. I wanted to talk directly with you so we could sort this out and make sure that we are in agreement. Jane, I will always do you the courtesy of speaking directly to you, and I expect the same from you. So let’s talk this through.” At that point keep your mouth shut and let the other person talk so you can find out the reasoning behind what they are saying. By adding the line that you will “always give the courtesy of speaking directly” with Jane, and that you expect the same in return, it lets her know you will not tolerate her going behind your back.

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Drawing in your audience and make them interactive

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The number one way most people like to draw their audience in and become more interactive is by spontaneously asking questions of people in the audience. I don’t recommend doing that for the following reason. In the first eight to ten minutes of your presentation, an audience is trying to find out how what you are saying matters to them. So you should spend that time talking to your audience. If you need to ask a question, ask them one they can answer by simply raising their hands. Demonstrate this at the front of the room by raising your hand as you ask the question.

If, in the middle of your presentation, you want group interaction, make it comfortable for them by doing the following:

1.  Ask them to turn to their partner and do an activity such as answering the question you ask, sharing information, or doing an activity.

2.  Then have them turn to someone else in their group to repeat the exercise. This gives them confidence that they’ve already stated their thoughts or opinions to one person and it’s been received well; they have now shared it with a second person and it’s been received well, so sharing in front of the room won’t be as scary.

3.  Then ask them to pull together as a big group and share some of the answers. Write them down on a flip chart. This promotes high audience involvement because you’ve lowered the risk for the audience to be involved.

You need to be willing to go where the audience needs to go. Don’t be tied to your visuals for your presentation. Instead, be tied to your audience and what you are trying to achieve with that audience.

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Presentation Skills – Tips for speaking with confidence and authority

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Speaking with confidence and authority does not mean you need to talk at your audience, nor does it mean that you need to be a “know it all.” You do not need to have all the answers, just the right questions.

Here are a few things that show confidence and authority to the audience:

1.  Make eye contact with each person in the audience, take a deep breath, and speak to them as you would to a person over a cup of coffee.

2.  Remember, it’s not about how intelligent your audience sees you, but rather how intelligent you make your audience feel. So don’t use a lot of acronyms or terminology that your audience may not understand.

3.  Make sure that they understand the context of what you are saying and why it is important to them.

4.  Demonstrate understanding of their industry, their company, or their personal situation, by giving examples and asking questions.

5.  Don’t try to have all the answers, but make sure you ask the right questions. The more thought provoking, insightful, and intriguing you are as a speaker, the more credible you will be to your audience.

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Presentation Skills Hot Tip – Handling a disruption during a presentation

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

In a perfect world your presentation would go off without a hitch. But the reality is, you’re usually faced with clanging dishes in the back room if you are at a hotel, or people coming in and out if you are at a large convention. You most likely will have an unexpected problem, so don’t be surprised by it.

I’ve seen too many presenters allow these things to take over their presentation. I have seen presenters point to people who are late and say, “Well, we are so glad you could join us today. Please come on down and have a seat right here in front.” I’ve actually seen a speaker say, when a person got up to leave in the middle of a program, “Excuse me, excuse me, where are you going? Am I really that bad?” At this point, over half the audience is thinking, “Yes, you are that bad because you just embarrassed that person, and if you did that to me, I would die of embarrassment.”

No matter how funny you try to be with this, it never plays out well.

Instead, roll with the situation. If the bulb burns out in your projector, let the audience know that you will try to explain things as clearly as possible. Don’t refer to what would have been on your slides; instead, paint a visual picture of what you are talking about. You might say something like, “Well, we’re all here today to find out how we can improve our sales. I realize the bulb is burned out, but we have plenty of bright bulbs in our group today, so let’s move forward together without the slides. I may have to stop and explain some complex things that were in the slides in order to make it as clear as possible for you. If at any point anything I say seems confusing, stop me, and I will try to paint a visual picture so it makes sense. Let’s get started.”

Whatever you do, don’t apologize for a problem or an interruption. There is nothing more annoying than a presenter that is constantly apologizing. You are a professional and therefore you should be prepared to deal with problems and issues as they occur.

That doesn’t mean you ignore the problem. It means that you focus the audience on the solution that you are providing.

If you focus on apologizing, you’re basically telling your audience that you cannot perform unless you’re under the absolute best conditions. And let’s face it, if you’re in the front of the room, you should perform like an Olympic athlete at her best, no matter what the conditions.

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