How Your Future Can Rob Your Present

Going after your passion and Focusing on your goals are the corner stones of success. That is a common knowledge: one should focus and concentrate in order to achieve maximum results. It gets a lot of emphasize lately.

But there is a trump in this process of success. It is so easy to fall into it, that it should be spoken out loads.

Your goals are in the future.

At the Present, What you experience as your life, is the road you walk to achieve your goals.

Hence, your future determined your present.

So, the big question is what are you willing to do in order to achieve your goals?
Are you willing to have “bad” life now, for limited time, in order to have “good” life later?

Here lay the trump. We are sure that we are smart enough and logic enough to think in cost-benefit terms, to know our borders and have the common sense to make the right choices. “I have my limits”, “not in any costs”, “I have my values” etc.
But never the less, we fall into the trump of “too much focusing”.

Here is a story about a man who decided to go to the beach to collect some sea shells. It was a beautiful sunny day, few days after a storm. The beach was full of shells and small stones.
Our man takes a basket, and he is going along the beach, face down, looking for special shells and rear stones.

The beach is beautiful, white send; skies are blue, and few seagulls flying around. A pleasant wind and the sound of the waves complete the perfect scenery.

Our man is focusing in his mission. Time passed, his basket is half full. More people arrive at the shore; children are playing, the sun get hotter and the waves much higher. The basket starts to be heavy, the man sweats, but he would not stop. So many beautiful pieces here, he just needs to pick them up. Tomorrow they might be swiped to the sea. More time passed, it is afternoon, he became tired, he did not stop to drink or to eat, the basket is heavy, and he has to go through all the way back. Still he feels lucky to have these treasures with “no effort” at all.

At evening, he gets back home tired but satisfied. He suffers from sunstroke, and all he wants is to go to sleep.

At the time he was walking on the beach, he was so focused on finding beautiful shells and rear stones that his head was bending down, his eyes were looking at the ground, so he could not notice how beautiful this day was. He could not see the blue sky, he did not pay attention to other people, and he did not hear the seagulls or the sound of the waves.

More than that, when he came home, he was so tiered that he missed his family too. But still he is happy with his achievements, he thinks “tomorrow is another day”, I can go to enjoy the sea sure some other time, I will enjoy with my family tomorrow etc.

This walking on the beach is the metaphor for ones life.

His passion and Focusing on his goal to collect as many rear shells and stones he could, theft his life from him. The problem is that it is not something he was aware of when he was walking on the beach.
It could hold a long time until he will notice that his future have stolen his present, and it could be too late. This beautiful sunny day and other sunny days are gone.

So, the big question is what are you willing to do in order to achieve your goals?
Are you willing to have “bad” life now, for limited time, in order to have “good” life later?

I admit, this is a provocative question. Life is about choices. Choices could be conscious or unconscious. You set a goal, you focus, you concentrate, and you persist.
Soon your Automatic pilot will take control over your common sense, your limits and priorities and could take control even over your values in order to achieve that goal. Be aware; every thing is about proportions. Do not lose your present for the future.

Nine Suggestions When Giving a Presentation

Once again, I attended a business presentation in which the presenter was quite knowledgeable, but the presenter…

  1. was half-hour late
  2. further delayed the presentation because the presenter had to set up the equipment for the PowerPoint presentation
  3. began nearly an hour late
  4. was underdressed for a business presentation (wore jeans to a business presentation)
  5. knew the materials presented, but not really organized, and certainly, was not concise
  6. showed a PowerPoint presentation where some slides had 3 paragraphs on a slide (i.e. the fonts were nearly unreadable even in a small room) and where some text was grayish-blue or white on a relatively light blue background
  7. and said, in our opinion, a rather uncalled for remark, when we had to leave before the end of the presentation

I purposely avoided stating he or she in the above bullet points or mentioning the business or type of business because these are not important.  I’ve attended, not infrequently, similar ill-presented presentations related to several different industries. In fact, I listened to the CEO and the national speaker for this company one evening.  The presentation was one of the most unexciting presentations I heard.  People around me were falling asleep and doing other things during this person’s presentation.  This person took an hour to give a presentation, which could have been presented in 20 minutes.

If you plan to give a presentation:

  1. Come at least 1/2 hour early and never, never, never arrive late.  
  2. If you need to set up for a PowerPoint presentation, arrive even earlier to set up and test the equipment well before any attendees arrive
  3. Never under dress for the presentation.  You are the expert.  First impressions are important and giving a business presentation while wearing jeans or sweatshirt undermines your expertise.  Always dress slightly above the expected dress attire for the event.  In my opinion, the audience has a right to under dress, but never the presenter.  If the expected attire is business casual, come in a suit.  If you plan to speak to students at their school, you may come in a suit, sports jacket, or in just a shirt (blouse) and slacks. Personally,  I would come with a sports jacket and then remove my jacket when I begin my presentation. I bolded slightly because you don’t want to overdress If you are talking to a group of farmers who are dressed in their work clothes, you may not want to come in a suit and tie, but you also don’t want to come in work clothes.  Presenting in a shirt and slacks, without a tie, may be appropriate. However, if you should happen to come to an event more than slightly overdressed (e.g. if you arrive in a suit and tie and the attire for most is jeans and t-shirts), then ask permission to remove the tie and jacket.
  4. Be sure, if you are planning to use any equipment, such as a laptop, projector, or speakers, you have everything with you, including all the cabling, extension cords, etc.  Also, bring duplicate accessories.  If you can afford it, bring a duplicate laptop or a projector.  Definitely, bring backup materials, i.e. printed copies of your PowerPoint slides.  In the presentation I attended, the presenter was late, unable to set up the equipment quickly because the presenter forgot to bring accessory cords necessary to connect the laptop to the projector.
  5. Practice and rehearse your PowerPoint presentation without the PowerPoint. Then add the PowerPoint and throw out or modify any slide that does not enhance your presentation.  Then, if you are running late (a definite negative), a bulb burns out, or the laptop crashes unexpectedly, you can still proceed because you had practiced without the PowerPoint. As in #4 directly above, have a printout of the slides for yourself in case you can’t use the PowerPoint.  Use these slides as your notes to keep you on track. 
  6. If possible, print an introduction and have someone introduce you.  If not, briefly, and I mean briefly, give a background of who you are immediately after your attention getter.  Don’t begin with a long-winded introduction.  This occurred in this last presentation, and a few months ago, I heard a trainer talk about himself for at least 10 minutes-and the trainer had only 75 minute to give the presentation. By the time the trainer started the on the topic at hand, I had refocused my energies to my own materials.  I hardly listened for the remaining 65 minutes. Also, be sure to limit your introduction that relates directly to your presentation.  I am a chemist by education, but I don’t include my chemistry background.  Most of the time, I have someone introduce me as a communications and life coach, an international instructor and trainer, and a published author.  Only if I am giving a presentation, for example, on effective presentation skills for scientists and other technical professionals, will I include my chemistry credentials.
  7. Write your speech-not to memorize it or to read it, but refine it.  You write your speech to reorganize it so that the presentation flows smoothly, and to remove verbiage which is not beneficial to your speech so that your presentation is concise and to the point.
  8. Particularly, if you are already late in starting, don’t wander off on tangents. Stay within the confines of your presentation, and if possible, eliminate certain parts of your presentation to end on time.  Otherwise, you may have disgruntled members of the audience.
  9. If members of the audience must leave before you are finished, don’t say disparaging remarks such as “I hate it when people leave before I’m finished.”  It does no good and you may have killed any chance of closing the deal.

If you want to encourage people to invest in a business, product, or service, don’t do what the presenter I discussed did. Rather, be aware of these nine suggestions to assure that they remain interested.

The Randy Pausch Last Lecture Powerpoint Presentation Tips

Some of you might heard of Randy Pausch – a dying pancreatic cancer sufferer and a Carnegie Mellon University Academician of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design; have inspired and attracted millions of audiences about his ‘Last Lecture’. We are not going to discuss about the speech content as we are pinpointing about his simple and captivating Powerpoint presentations.

First of all, presentation slide layout must be simple and clear. In his lecture, he had used black-colored background and light colored fonts. He regular uses two to three bullets for the text-contents. In some slides, he did not use any bullets at all. As for the image display, especially putting pictures about his childhood and also his rejection letters, he had included maximum of three pictures in one presentation slide. If it is only one picture in one slide, magnify this picture so that it fits exactly on the slide. Please make sure that the pictures included in these slides must have high resolution for better display.

Other than that, he had improvised his speech earlier in order to have a smooth delivering skills, in terms of clear pronunciation and suitable body language. He has used several suitable metaphors for instance – “there is an elephant in the room…”, that allows audiences to get along with his speech.

Besides the Powerpoint presentations, it is very important to have a positive mind in order to become a true presenter. You need to learn to put aside your problems quickly before your presentation starts – as if it is your ‘Last Lecture’. Perform your skills to the fullest without concerning much about the final outcome. In conclusion, Randy Pausch is a great presenter and he is able to make audiences listen to his speech – so can you!