Presentation Topics

Great news, you have a second interview. As part of the hour long meeting they want you to present for twenty minutes on… oh my goodness, the subject of your choice. Where on earth do you start with deciding a subject. Should you go professional, serious, fun, talk about something you have done, something you are doing, somewhere you have been?

If you are working with a recruiter ask them if they know what previous candidates have presented on and which of those people were successful. If three out of the last ten people interviewed were hired and they all presented on how to sell widgets in an emerging market then that is probably a topic that the interviewers like; or if you don’t think you could do that subject justice you at least know that work related is a good route.

In general, a good starting point for your choice is subjects you are passionate about. People say that sex sells (although I wouldn’t recommend that as a presentation topic unless you are going for a sex industry related job). I would suggest that passion sells and that sex and passion, at least sometimes, are related. One thing we know you are passionate about is this job. This is the role you have envisioned and dreamed about. You are truly passionate about getting it and what a good fit you will be once you’re hired. What a compelling topic; how about ‘My first six months as ‘XYZ”? Six slides either month by month or subject by subject if the role has six categories within it. Think it through carefully. What will you do? How will you do it? Who will you do it to? When will you get a previously mentioned desired result? Why are you going to be successful? Write notes as and when you think of them. Keep a sheet of paper near you over the next couple of days and just keep scribbling things down. Then sit and start to make sense of what you have. Format it. Add some pictures, graphs, charts. Write notes to go with the slides. Review them again the following day. Rehearse your presentation. Is it sounding good? Does it give the message you are trying to convey? Are you passionate in your presenting of it?

Oh this is so exciting… good luck; go and wow them with your thoughts, ideas and enthusiasm!

For help putting together a presentation or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches at [email protected]

Every Negotiating Issue Has Multiple Solutions

Although I’m sure that many of us have heard about negotiations that got hopelessly deadlocked, it turns out that in most cases a negotiation can always be kept on track so that you can reach a deal with the other side no matter what negotiation styles or negotiating techniques are being used. The key is to understand that you always have the power – you could walk away from the deal if you had to. Since we never want to do that, what we need to do is to understand how to work flexibility into our next negotiation so that we can find the multiple solutions that will work for us.

Keeping The Other Side At The Table

In order to conduct a successful negotiation, you are going to need to have both parties come to the table and stay at the table. That may sound easy, but during a heated negotiation, one or both parties may decide that it’s time to throw in the towel. As a negotiator, you need to take steps in order to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

Look, if during a negotiation you reach the conclusion that the situation is hopeless – you are never going be able to reach a deal with the other side, then yes, you need to give up and walk away. However, before you do this you need to realize that both disagreements with the other side and actual deadlocks are really opportunities for you to create a different type of deal. You need to remain flexible and keep an open mind when you encounter these situations.

It is entirely possible that during a negotiation things will start to go off the track when the other side starts to become angry. You can tell that this is happening when they start to interrupt you, raise their voice, or start to lose patience with what is going on. If this happens, then you need to start to communicate to the other side that you are flexible; you are willing to search for different ways to resolve the issues. As long as you can keep the discussions going, then both sides will be in a position to remain flexible.

Different Aspects Of Flexibility

I’m often asked by novice negotiators what flexibility actually looks like in a negotiation. The answer, of course, is that it depends. There is not one thing that you can point at and say “that’s evidence of flexibility”, rather it has a tendency to sneak into a negotiation from around the corners.

Flexibility can enter into a negotiation in several different ways. The first is in how you choose to define the bottom line. The definition that you use when the negotiations start may not be the definition that you’ll be using when things wrap up. Additionally, we need to understand that in any negotiation there is both an apparent and a real bottom line. What both sides may see as being the bottom line may only be the apparent bottom line at the start of the negotiations. Based on the discussions that you have, the real bottom line will emerge.

Different kinds of flexibility may be used during a negotiation. What many of us don’t realize is that a negotiation is really an opportunity for us to use our trial and error skills. If we are trying something and it’s not working out for us, then that is a message that we need to go back and try something else. Your goal has to be to keep trying different things until you achieve the deal that you’ve been looking for.

What All Of This Means For You

The wrong way to approach your next principled negotiation is to go in thinking that there is one and only one solution that is going to provide you with the deal that you want. What you need to do is to negotiate with flexibility so that you are able adjust your approach and stay on track.

The first thing that you’ll need to do is to remain flexible when the other side of the table starts to become upset. You’ll need to find ways to keep them talking and get them to calm down. Keep in mind that there are a number of different aspects to negotiating flexibility and each can be used when appropriate.

The most important thing to keep in mind when you enter into your next negotiation is that there are many different ways to reach a deal that will meet your needs. You need to retain the flexibility that will allow you to adjust your position and work with the other side to take new paths that will lead you to a deal.

HELP! I Have To Deliver A Presentation!

“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.”

- George Jessel

What is it about public speaking that drives people nuts? Many studies have shown that given the choice of what registers the greatest fear in humans, “untimely death” actually is less fearful than speaking in public!

1) Public Speaking or Humiliation

2) Peer Rejection

3) Untimely Death

It is hard to believe that such angst is caused about presenting to groups. As with many things in life, I believe it comes down to one thing and one thing only: Preparation. Those that are thoroughly knowledgable in their subject matter as well as their delivery of the subject matter, find presenting not only easy, but actually energizing.

One of the goals I have always used in delivering speeches, is to know the material so well, that the well-prepared content is delivered in a nearly ad-libbed fashion. This casual delivery style keeps the audience engaged through both delivery of content as well as inflection in the voice. In the early days of my speeches, I used to have three key words highlighted in my speaking notes for each slide. I would ad-lib the slide but always ensured that I covered the three key words – that was the solution to delivering the message. Now, I practice speeches so much that the “ad-lib” sections and anecdotal stories flow seamlessly to capture the essence of the presentation.

Rules Of Thumb:In a nutshell, make the presentation entertaining! Presentations should be inspirational, exciting, well-thought through and yes, entertaining. From the look and feel of the presentation, to its delivery, it is critical to keep the audience dialed in. Specifically, I prefer the following as my simple rules of thumb:

  • Black background with vibrant colors to pop of the slides
  • Kabel Ultra Bold font for the best readability – not everyone is sitting in the front row
  • No more than 3 bullets per slide in – short and to the point!
  • Graphics on every slide – think entertainment and interest
  • Presentation should be timed to about one minute per slide – keep the audience engaged

StoryBoard It! Slow down… and don’t race to create slides just yet. Before you start creating slides for your next presentation, plan what you’re going to say. Storyboard the flow of the speech first – this will make your presentation more cohesive and easier to create the slides. Believe me, some time spent up front in mapping the sequence, will save you more time than it takes to create it. This storyboard process will help you clarify what you want to say, when to say it and how you want to say it. The flow of the presentation is equally important as the content of the slides.

Never, Ever Read Slides: Raise your hand if you have been in the audience of a speech where the presenter read the slides WORD-BY-WORD… positively riveting! Don’t be THAT guy! The audience can read the slides – keep them brief and to the point – accentuating what’s on the screen with anecdotal tidbits that enhance and personalize the slide. Keep the pace moving so that the audience does not fall into a trance staring at a slide with 100 words on it for five minutes.

Be A Story Teller: Personalizing your speech is an excellent way to deliver a message. Interweaving anecdotal examples of real-life stories that help to characterize the essence of the point create a longer-lasting impression on the audience. In addition, these interjections of personal experiences enable the speaker to humanize the points and allow the audience to create commonality with the presenter. The more the speaker can make the content their own, the better the reception from the audience.

Be Prepared – Practice! Now is not the time to go lightly – this is the area that will make or break your speech. You MUST practice your speech to the point that it flows effortlessly from your mouth to the audience. In your mind, you need to know not only where you are in your presentation but what is coming up next. I always love it when I get “in the zone” where I am simultaneously delivering the speech while thinking about what is going to be presented next. Or as Wayne Gretzky, hockey Hall-Of-Famer would say, “skate where the puck is going, not where it’s been.” That is being in the zone.

Overcoming the fear of presenting is solved through one way only – preparation. Know your stuff, be well-practiced and your delivery will be seamless and well-received. The “rubber chicken circuit” is not for the faint of heart, but with proper planning and preparation, you can unleash your “inner orator”.