Stories for Better Business Presentations

Tell a story, make a point. Tell a story, make a point. The founder of the National Speakers association, Bill Gove, is famous for this phrase he used to break down the art of making speeches for professional speakers. Whilst he delivered the advice to professional speakers, the advice still rings true for anybody giving a speech or presentation in any situation.

In offices, managers and sales professionals are relying on dry facts and statistics to make their point. And yes facts and stats are important, but they are boring! If you want to persuade, motivate, or educate your audience you need to illustrate your points in a way that connects with your audience at an emotional level. And, there are few better ways to do this than with a well told story.

A good story, one that illustrates your message so people remember what you said, and why you said it has several elements.

Purpose

Why are you telling the story? That may seem slightly confronting when I’m writing an article encouraging you to use more stories. But, I want you to use stories to make your presentations more effective. And, any stories you use must have a purpose that is relevant to the point you are trying to make. Telling a story, for the stories sake will only upset your audience. Your time is limited, and their time is precious so don’t waste it with irrelevant anecdotes. Instead examine the point you need to reinforce and ensure the story illustrates it appropriately. If it doesn’t – ditch the story and find another!

Real Life Experience

There may be a temptation to use a story that you’ve read. If you’ve read the story on the net or in a book, there’s a very real chance that your audience has read it too. This diminishes your effectiveness, and will damage your credibility. There is no reason to “borrow” a story. Look around your business or look back through your past experience and you’ll find plenty of experiences that you can recount to your audience that will illustrate the points you want to make.

Setting

Tell the audience and they may understand what you are saying; involve the audience and they will remember what you’ve said. Every story has a setting; it could be a situation, an office, or an activity. No matter what the setting if you can describe the setting and bring the audience into the scene with you. One of my mentors, Craig Valentine, is a master at this. He uses all of the audiences’ senses to bring them into his stories to great effect. The more you involve and immerse your audiences in your stories, the deeper their understanding will be of the point you are making.

Characters

Characters, with their emotions and dialogue bring your stories to life. Your audiences will relate to the situations your characters find themselves in and the emotions your characters convey through the words the characters say. Similar to setting, through your characters you can involve your audience in the story, enabling them to get a better appreciation and understanding of the point you are making.

Utilise stories to make your speeches more effective. If you apply the elements you will see a distinct difference in the audience understanding, and your ability to sell your message or products.

What is the Best Christmas Present for Your Teen?

Are you scratching your head and have absolutely no clues about what makes the best Christmas present for your teen? Everyone is busy hunting for gifts. Perhaps you are still in the midst of your Christmas shopping and hope you can really make this Christmas a memorable one for your kids. Fret not, here’s your help!

Nowadays, you hardly see a teen without an MP3 player or for that matter, an iPod, iPhone or Zune. These youngsters are often on the lookout for the latest billboard chart hits, and they can always be seen humming the coolest tunes in town. So unless you have not noticed that, getting them a new iPhone or Zune would make a great Christmas present for your teen.

What if they already own an MP3 player such as an iPhone or Zune?

Well, you can always buy them the music. Perhaps getting an album or two would make them happy. But trust me, they prefer to pick their own songs and music. After all, mum and dad may not know best which are the hottest singers and bands in town and who are the coolest hip hop singers and dancers. It would be a disaster if you got them the wrong Christmas gift!

You may be so close to your teens that you know every song they are listening to and know what album would make the perfect Christmas present for your teen. Knowing our nature, they can get bored with the album after a short season. A short season can mean just one week…

Since that is the case, why not make a gift out of a paid membership to one of those download services for them? These sites offer unlimited number of songs, music and even movies as well as music videos – the right kind of stuff that would appeal to your teens. And you do not have to worry about getting the wrong songs or music for them. They pick and download what they want and as many as they want.

No, it is not going to bankrupt you. Each membership to a Zune or iPhone music service costs less than $50 and the best part is, it is a one-time fee for lifetime access. In this time of celebration, give the best Christmas present for your teen – a paid membership to an online music club.

Why not check out the recommended services listed below today?

Seeing is Believing – Using Visuals in Your Sales Presentation

Humans are incredibly visual creatures. If you think about which sense you use most often to physically navigate through the world, it’s your sight. When an attractive person walks down the street, it’s fun watching the heads swivel, because everyone wants to see person. This has some interesting and powerful implications on interpersonal communication, even though we primarily think of communication as being sound driven (i.e. talking and listening). By incorporating the sense of sight into your communicating, you engage with the other person much more completely, and they are able to really grasp what you are conveying

Here are three ways that you can use sight in your interpersonal communication, especially when you are in a selling situation. This is just the beginning of bringing other senses into your communication and it’s is a big part of improving your ability to influence other people:

1.Be aware of body language and facial expressions

I’ve read different reports that all give a different weight to the importance of body language and facial expression in communication. They all agree, though, that they are really important. Some studies suggest that over 50% of interpersonal communication could be based on just your posture, movements, and expressions. Most of physical expression is so subtle and unconscious that we don’t even notice that we are giving out these clues when talking to others.

Even though many of these are unconscious, we can become aware of, and control, the visual signals we give others. One of the most common for example, is the sign that we give others when we cross our arms across our chest. It’s often an unconscious visual signal that we are “closing off” our mind and not listening to the other person. Just learning to open your arms when listening to a client can have a huge impact. This is just one example of the subconscious signals we are giving each other as we speak to one another.

2.Your visual presentation tools

Don’t forget the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. When you are talking to someone, what are they looking at? Are your sales materials clear and visually attractive? Do they get your point across? If you use a brochure, prospectus, or PowerPoint presentation, for example, use pictures and images that are emotionally evocative. Make sure that the pictures are telling the same story that your words are.

Also, remember that the condition of your visual images tells a story as well. Don’t use sloppy, dirty, or confusing materials. And make sure your most important visual presentation tool – your appearance – is also in alignment with your message. Make sure that you aren’t sloppy and unkempt. Also, match your appearance with the message that you are communicating. If you are selling insurance and attempting to sell respectability and trust, by all means put on a blue suit, white shirt, and power tie. If you are representing a young, new technology; a hipper appearance would make sense.

3. The talking pad

A very simple (and very powerful) tool in a sales call or any conversation where you’re trying to influence someone is to use a “talking pad”. This is basically a sheet of paper where you writing down the main points that you are trying to communicate. It can be as formal as a legal pad or notebook that you take on your sales calls, or it can be as informal as a napkin in a restaurant or the back of an envelope. The important component is that you are writing something down for the person to look at while they are listening to what you are saying.

This can be especially powerful when you are using numbers. For example, just saying, “If you take 100 widgets that would be a total of 2500 hundred dollars; with the 20% discount over 4 payments would be only five hundred a month” is a sure way to make sure the information goes in one ear and out the other. However, if you write on a piece of paper, “100 widgets = $2500 x 20% discount = $2000 over 4 payments = $500/payment, it’s a much stickier message and they process it much more quickly and much easier.

These are three simple ways to make sure that you use the power of sight when you talk with people. If you have any other ideas, please let me see them.