Don’t Scare Them Away – Great Tips For Giving a Stellar Webinar Presentation

You have a product or a service you’re planning to market on the web. That’s great, but have you considered that a large part of your success depends on your personality? It’s easy to forget with the relative anonymity of the Internet that character and characteristics will show through. We like the idea of doing business in our bunny slippers, but whether it’s a phone interview, a webinar, or the making of a CD for customers, you still need to present yourself as a professional when dealing with the public.

1. Plan the time to do the job well.

Set a time and a duration limit for your presentation. In some cases these things may be set for you, but either way, assure that nothing interrupts. Turn off the phone, make sure there’s someone watching your kids, see that your pets are under control and contented, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door (disconnect the doorbell if necessary). Nothing screams “amateur” like an unplanned interruption.

Allow yourself time before the presentation to prepare and focus. You’ll want to have everything you might need at hand, so think about it ahead of time. (Will you need a sip of water from time to time, did you visit the bathroom, is the temperature comfortably cool?) Then spend the last few minutes doing some relaxing stretches, deep breathing or meditation to make yourself as calm as possible.

2. Present the best you there is

The downside to remote contacts is that you can’t dazzle your listener with your beauty-queen smile. However, experts tell us that it’s mostly tone of voice that makes a person decide whether to believe a speaker or not. All you have to make an impression in cyberspace is your voice and your diction, so work on what you say and how you say it.

The first rule is “Be businesslike”. This does NOT mean overly formal. You can be warm and still project a professional attitude. Think about good game show hosts: Their language is proper, their grammar is correct, and they avoid overly personal remarks about themselves and their guests. That is professional behavior, and you should take note: your listeners don’t want to know your opinion of the U.S. government, and they don’t care if your mother needs an operation.

The best you does not include corny jokes, either. It’s scary how many lame attempts at humor we’ve seen on web-based contacts. The problem is that you don’t know your listener’s sense of humor, and he or she might not understand yours. It’s best to skip the jokes, although as an interview or question session proceeds, there may be opportunities to add humor to your answers. Again, think game show hosts: nothing off-color, nothing too personal.

One thing you may not have considered is that with the Internet, it is possible you will be speaking to someone from another culture, someone whose first language is not English. This is another reason for watching your diction and syntax carefully. Using slang and idioms might confuse listeners unnecessarily, and humor often doesn’t translate well between languages and nationalities.

3. The customer/boss is always right

There are bound to be times when problems arise. Whether it’s a prospective employer whose website just crashed so she has to reschedule or problems with your listeners receiving your webinar, you must be gracious and accommodating. While you can’t accede to every request, you must be willing to listen to every request. While it may not be your fault that things aren’t going well, be willing to apologize for any inconvenience the problems cause. After all, an apology doesn’t cost you anything, and you don’t have to accept blame. Just say, “I’m sorry you’re having difficulty.” Most people want their pain acknowledged; they realize that it can’t always be taken away.

4. Organize early and often

Long before you advertise your webinar or answer that ad, you should do your homework. What do you need to know to do this? How should you organize the information to best present it or find it when it’s needed? Start making notes as things come up. One good way to keep track of information is to put it on note cards, which can be set into stacks of related information. You can of course use your computer as a big notebook, but if you do, make sure you know where everything is. You don’t want to keep someone waiting while you do a file search to find an address.

However you record the info, familiarize yourself with it days in advance. It should be no problem to put your finger (or your icon) on the information you need in seconds.

5. Overcome obstacles

Things happen that mess you up. If on the morning of your webinar you break your ankle and spend the day in the emergency room, you may have to make some adjustments. The good news is that your audience will willingly forgive you for a real emergency. An account of why your advertised guest speaker won’t be here today, if honest and brief, will fly. Of course you should offer something of equal value to replace what’s missing: a free entry to the next webinar or a downloadable “goodie”. If it’s an interview, offer to reschedule at the other person’s convenience. Remember, the customer/boss is always right.

I went to hear a speaker once who arrived a few minutes late and a little disheveled. He used his excuse as an introduction, and the audience was soon on his side. On the way to the venue he’d seen a young deer caught in a fence along the freeway. Unable to stand seeing the animal struggle, he stopped, waded through the damp ditch, and helped it get free. Not only did we approve of his kindness, we applauded his courage-those little hooves are sharp!

6. Practice makes better

The final rule should be first, last and in-between: practice! Talk to yourself, talk to a friend, talk to a tape recorder. Listen to yourself and critique. Does your voice sound too high? This is usually easy to fix, just relax your throat. If the volume is too loud or too soft, you’ll hear that on the tape. Are you a fast talker or too slow? You want your speech to be varied in pace so you don’t lose your audience. Listen for mumbling, words slurred, consonants left out at the ends of words. Be picky with your enunciation, especially sloppiness with words like “comin’”, “coulda” and “gotta”. Practice saying “yes” instead of “yeah”.

Practice will help you get wording down so your communication falls into natural rhythms and convincing phrases. While you should not read from a script (reading sounds much different from speaking), you do want certain points to come through. Outline your presentation or make a list of points you hope to cover in an interview. Again, note cards are good. You can set each one aside as you work it into the presentation.

7. Be physically alert, even without video
It may sound odd, but you may want to dress up a little for your presentation. True, your listeners can’t see you, but you know how you look. If you change your clothes for a webinar you may feel more professional (even if you change into your nicer track suit).

Sit comfortably but not sloppily. If you’re sprawled on the couch with your feet up, your voice will not come through clearly, and your attitude won’t be very lively either. A little tension makes us sharp: they don’t speak of keeping someone on his toes for no reason. If you feel yourself getting tense, take a deep breath and let it all out. This relaxes the chest and throat muscles, which will make your voice come out normally.

Smile as you speak when it’s appropriate. A smile comes through in a person’s voice, and listeners react to it. Of course when you’re nervous you may have a tendency to giggle, but that’s a no-no. You don’t want to come across as childish.

8. Relax and enjoy the ride

It’s probably the hardest item on the list, but think of it this way: once the presentation starts, you can’t change what happens. You’ve thought it out, you’ve prepared, and you’ve considered all the possibilities. The best thing you can do now is relax and follow your plan. You’ll be nervous, but that’s nature’s way of helping us do our best work. You can still enjoy the experience and, if you’ve followed the advice above, you may even want to repeat it at some point in the future!

Create a Lively Marketing Presentation

A lively presentation will impress your prospective clients! This will keep your customers’ attention and it might lead to more profit for you. Follow these instructions to create animations for your next talk.

Step 1: Add excitement, but in moderation. Your talk should be captivating and interesting to your audience. At the same time, it’s best not to overdo it. Moderate the amount of animation and video clips you include to keep your presentation from annoying. You can add color and interesting fonts but ensure that you are able to maintain a professional outlook and feel for your presentation too. As an example, the screen that announces a price increase shouldn’t have lively animations zooming across. Keep it appropriate and limited.

Step 2: Use timed content. It can be difficult for presenters to remember that a PowerPoint or Flash requires a click for every little bit of animated text. Try using timed text on your presentation so that the person presenting it will not have to try to memorize it all. Enter at the right moment in the presenter’s speech. (You might need to practice and fine-tune this).

Step 3: Spice up your graphic displays and diagrams. Other animations, such as charts and graphs, can be added as well. Make sure that facts and statistics that are the most important stand out among the others. Use a bar chart which depicts an ascending bar in order to highlight rising profits. Having a visual representation during your presentation is something your audience will appreciate.

Step 4: To explain a process, use animation. When a segment of your advertising presentation needs to be explained, utilize illustrations to get the points across. The presenter should click to show the first step in the process before explaining it. When the user is finished with the first step, he or she ought to be able to click and have the second step appear, without any further action on their part. The concepts will be easier for your audience to grasp if there are good visual graphics to explain the steps. This is better than one large graphic all at one time.

Step 5: Make a joke. If a presentation has some complicated segments to it, break it up with a little light humor. A heavy part of your presentation should be followed by a funny comic or dancing caricature. This will allow your clients both some laughs as well as the chance to digest the information presented. Plus it will stop them from coming to the conclusion “my, this presentation is long and dreadfully boring….”. Add some humour to break things up.

Step 6: Practice beforehand. If your presentation has cute little clips that require excellent timing or ones that will only show up with a mouse click, make sure that you or the presenter practice the presentation. The audience should be surprised as the graphics appear; the presenter should not. Ensure that the presenter is well prepared for the animated presentation.

How To Exploit Misinformation And Disinformation When Negotiating – Negotiation Tip of the Week

In most negotiations, some form of misinformation is conveyed. That can occur in the form of disinformation, which may or may not be considered misinformation. The way you and the other negotiator perceives the differences between the two determines the path of the negotiation.

“… but I don’t lie!” The person making such a pronouncement, more than likely, just lied to you.

This article delves into how to exploit and use disinformation when negotiating and how you might also consider using misinformation as leverage to enhance your negotiation position.

Misinformation:

While misinformation (i.e. information cited wrong, unintentional representation of the facts, information omitted, etc.) can be disheartening in a negotiation, it can be forgiven if the information was not delivered with malice and/or the intent of drastically dissuading you from your negotiation plan. That’s the marked difference between misinformation and disinformation.

Disinformation:

Disinformation is the clandestine intent to influence an action that makes you question not only what the truth is, but it also makes you question yourself per the validity of your thoughts. That can be devastating in a negotiation. In such a scenario you’re not really sure what reality is. Thus, you negotiate based on the ghosts you’ve assembled in your mind. That’s like helping the other negotiator negotiate against you.

How To Advantage Your Position:

  1. Verify whether misinformation or disinformation is being employed against you. This can be accomplished by knowing the facts before assembling at the negotiation table. More than likely there’s a mixture of the two. In that case, discern which is more prevalent by asking the opposing negotiator to provide the source(s) of his information. It’s very important to make that request because the rest of your strategy will flow from that point.
  2. Seek to catch him in a situation where you know his information is suspect at best and false at worse. If you know he’s ‘on-the- ropes’ while trying to defend himself, let him stew and observe his body language (i.e. perspiring, touching his face, rubbing his hands, etc.) Those will be signs of his uneasiness with the position he’s in.
  3. Challenge him by asking his perception of the truth and to what degree he’s being forthright with you. Based on his response, assess to what degree you’re willing to continue in the negotiation. Definitively state that you won’t tolerate any form of mistruths. Let him know that trust hangs in the balance and the only way you’ll continue is if you can trust him.
  4. Understand that the preceding strategy has a maximum effect when you’re in a power position in the negotiation. Therefore, consideration should be given to the degree of power you have and how it’s perceived by the other negotiator before you attempt to implement it.

With a premium being placed on the truth in a negotiation, you might question why a negotiator would convey some aspects of information and omit others. The answer may lie in how far he’ll go to get a negotiation deal and the possible deceit he’ll engage in to accomplish that goal. Thus, the more you probe to uncover his hidden agenda, his source(s) of motivation, the greater insight you’ll gain into the mind that operates his actions. Once discovered, you can become his puppet master, controlling him and the flow of the negotiation. That will align you for the negotiation win… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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