Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Christmas Present Tips For the Last-Minute Guys

When was the last time you sat next to someone who gloated that they had bought and wrapped their Christmas presents by the end of the summer sales? Trust us, these people either have no life, are cheapskates because they have paid less than half price for last year’s stock, or they are just plain cunning and are not to be messed with. How on earth did they know what Christmas presents to purchase that early on and where on earth have they put them? Storing Christmas presents is an annual challenge for most of us. There’s a fine line between getting them out of sight from prying eyes and remembering their clever hiding places again on Christmas Eve.

Those of you who have children will know it’s impossible to plan and buy their Christmas presents in advance. Oh yes, in September your five year old son will be banging on about a Dino Dig kit and you get it delivered straight away knowing that you’ve made a dream come true – until they come back from their best pal’s house in late November announcing they want a PicoZ Red Helicopter just like so-and-so’s. Now you’re in trouble. There will either be tears at Christmas time or your Christmas present budget just grew a little.

As soon as we get to November 1st, you can guarantee the huge pumpkin lanterns and witch hats will be sent back to the store room to make way for the life-sized reindeer and over-loaded Christmas trees in shops across the land. Anyone with an ounce of sense will mark this black day in the calendar and avoid the centre of town for the next seven and a half weeks. It’s not going to be pleasant so don’t bother. Some people make this choice simply to retain their sanity and good humour. Others avoid Christmas present shopping in the stores in the run-up to Christmas because if they don’t they will come out in a nervous rash. Shoppers can be ugly and vicious as they jostle for the last Grow Your Own Arsenal Pitch (did you see the stampede at Highbury in May 2006 for a slice of the real thing?) If you don’t believe us, rent the Arnie film “Jingle All the Way” and see just how bad it can be. (OK, it’s just a movie, but we have to make the point!)

So what’s the choice? If you can’t beat them, join them? Not quite. Buying your Christmas presents over the internet is the easiest solution. Making your selections at home before lunchtime and then putting your feet up in front of the match at 2.45 sounds like a morning well-spent. For the last-minute Christmas present shoppers, there are two options. One, you head down to town in the downpour while your mates are enjoying a few rounds in the pub, and spend hours hunting around stores that are already preparing for the post-Christmas sales. There’ll be no colours or sizes that anyone in their right minds would choose, nor will anything that meets your budget be available anymore. Or two, you jump online and choose the exact Christmas presents you had in mind, and wait for them to arrive. Who says you have no Christmas spirit? You just have better things to do with your time. You have still thought about what you are buying. And let’s face it, the number of times shoppers deliberate for ages over a Christmas present like an Iconic Telephone for their parents should I? Shan’t I? It’s not a problem you are likely to encounter. You make a decision on the spot and stick to it. In fact, once the item’s paid for the thought has flown. There are more people than care to admit that there have been a number of Christmas presents brought home and then the guilt pangs set in. What if they don’t like it? Is the colour right? Will they be offended by my humour? None of these questions are likely to bother you.

So you have sat yourself down at the PC and you are still wondering if there’s enough time to put it off till tomorrow because you hoped to squeeze in a round of golf today. Check the delivery times and then y ou’ll be able to make your decision. You don’t want to go to all this trouble and then discover that your Christmas presents won’t arrive till January 3rd. Your street cred would really take a nosedive if that were to happen, and you might just wish you’d been a little bit more ahead of the game.

Bad Christmas Presents For Your Wife

Shopping is not an activity that most men enjoy. Especially when it involves a big crowd, long queues and expensive price tags. However, husbands cannot escape shopping for a Christmas present for their wife. It is a time for you to show how much you appreciate and love her. Getting the right gift is important. Get the wrong gift and you send the wrong message. If you don’t want to be an “insensitive” husband, avoid getting things in the list below which I deem to be bad Christmas presents for your wife.

Household appliances

Do not be tempted to buy household appliances such as juicers, breadmakers, vacuum cleaners, food processors or cappuccino makers as a Christmas gift. Yes, it will lighten her load and help out in her chores. However, gifts are not about making life easy for her. In my book, it shouldn’t even be considered a gift but rather a household necessity. Gifts are about making her feel good about herself. It’s a message saying how special she is to you and how much you love her. Don’t get me wrong. You can buy household appliances for her. In fact, you should. Just not as a Christmas present.

Clothes

Too many things can go wrong if you decide to buy clothes for her:

  • wrong size
  • she may not like the material
  • wrong color
  • don’t fit well.

If you believe this is the best gift, then take her with you or be 100% sure it is something she wants.

Self Improvement books or CDs

Women are very sensitive. Give a self improvement or CD for a gift and she will very likely interpret it wrongly. You may think you are doing her a favor but she will not see it that way. Gifts should not in any way point out her weaknesses. So, stay away from those recipe books and how-to guides.

Chocolates and Teddy bears

These gifts are too generic. It shows that you didn’t put much thought into it. They are not special enough for a Christmas present. Plus, if you have children, they would think it is silly for mommy to be playing with teddy bears. Gourmet chocolates is an okay gift but would be better as a random gift. For example, surprise her any time throughout the year as a way of saying “I appreciate you” or “I’m thinking of you”. If you want to give chocolates as a Christmas gift, make sure it comes with something more personal like jewelry.

Decorations

I’m talking about something that you would put on a wall, table or shelf just for display purposes. So, no ugly lamps, statues or paintings. The exception would be if you framed up a nice picture of her, the family or both of you together. If it’s meaningless or does not trigger an emotion (other than disgust and disappointment), don’t get it.

To get the right Christmas gift for your wife, take some time to ponder what she wants. Don’t think so much about what she needs. Here are some hints:

  • She wants a break. She wants some time away from chores, work and kids.
  • She wants to be pampered.
  • She wants to feel loved. Inject some romance into her life.
  • She wants to know she is special. Give her something personal that reflects your love for her.

Happy shopping!

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.