Interaction: The Key to Successful Presentations

You have an important presentation to make. How will you measure its success?

The goals for some presenters are misguided: “I just want to get through it” or “I don’t want to forget anything.” These goals miss the mark.

Success is best measured with audience-centric goals. “I want my audience to learn;” “I want my audience to be inspired;” “I want my audience to change.” In truth, the highest goal of any presentation is integration of information. A presentation is successful only if an audience both retains the information and applies it or integrates it into their lives.

Failed presentations are costly to organizations. Consider the billions of dollars that are lost every year because audiences fail to adopt a new approach or refuse to be persuaded. How much time and money are wasted delivering or repeating a failed presentation?

Considering what is at stake, presenters and adult-educators should familiarize themselves with the proven assumptions of adult-learning, also known as andragogy. Our presentations will succeed when we consistently craft our messages and delivery styles to fit how adults learn and integrate information. By using at least a few of the following proven assumptions of adult learning (andragogy) to create interaction in your next presentation or meeting, you can maximize attention, buy-in, and retention.

Malcolm Knowles has popularized the following andragogical assumptions[i]:

The Need to Know. Adult learners need to know why they need to learn something before undertaking to learn it.

Learner self-concept. Adults need to be responsible for their own learning decisions and to be treated as capable of self-direction.

Role of Learners’ experience. Adult learners have a variety of life experiences, which represent the richest resource for learning.

Readiness to learn. Adults are ready to learn those things they need to know in order to cope effectively with life situations.

Orientation to learning. Adults are motivated to learn to the extent that they will perceive it will help them perform tasks they confront in their life situations.

Learning and integration are more likely to occur when adult learners recognize the relevance of material and have the opportunity to discuss their experiences as they relate to the material. Consequently, successful presenters actively draw out the past, present, and future experiences of their audience. This type of interaction makes it easier to establish the relevance and applicability of new information or proposed actions.

This explains why audiences prefer discussion-based presentations that are highly interactive, as well as why they dread attending the didactic “show-up and throw-up” type presentation.

The bottom line is that integration occurs best through interaction.

[i] Knowles M S (1990) The Adult Learner: a Neglected Species (4th Edition) Houston: Gulf Publishing

Just Exactly When Does A Negotiation Start?

While working with one of my sales negotiations students the other day I was asked a great question that I don’t often hear. The student had reported that she was feeling frustrated because she was working on a number of deals and when it came time to negotiate, the actual negotiations seemed to drag on forever. “Isn’t there a better way?” she asked. Turns out that there is…

Start Before You Start

If you want a sales negotiation to go quickly, then you need do everything possible to make the actual negotiation just a formality – work everything out before you sit down at the table. Sound impossible? It’s not.

A negotiation actually starts long before the first negotiation session. Chester Karrass, the godfather of negotiating, believes that it really starts when you first make contact with the other side of the table. What this means is that yes, a negotiation can extend over a very long time; however, that doesn’t mean that the actual process of negotiating needs to be lengthy.

The Power Of The Before Time

All too often, what sales negotiators don’t realize is that every moment of contact with the other side of the table is vitally important. When you are interacting with the other party and the negotiations have not formally started, this is exactly when the most valuable information can be learned.

If you are the one doing the buying in a sales negotiation, then this is the time that you can observe the salesperson on the other side. You make casual inquiries into such critical items as how they price their products, who has already bought the product, how the salespersons year is going, where they rank in their organization, etc.

This pre-negotiation time is just as valuable if you are trying to sell something in a sales negotiation. You can determine if this is the right person that you should be talking with, how much they have to spend as well as who really controls the money.

The Gift Of Gab

One of the most important things that you can use the early encounter time to do is to create a relationship with the other side. Ultimately, during any sales negotiation there will be a certain amount of tension on both sides of the table.

If you’ve been able to use your pre-negotiation contact time to develop a relationship with the other side of the table, then you’ll be able to quickly diffuse any stressful situations that pop up.

What All Of This Means For You

Novice sales negotiators don’t realize that a sales negotiation really starts long before either side sits down at the negotiating table. The process of reaching a deal really starts when the first contact is made.

Using the informal interaction time to explore where the other side of the table is coming from is a great way to use this opportunity. Taking the time to build a relationship with the other side will also pay dividends later on in the process.

Smart sales negotiators use all of the time that they have to move closer to reaching a successful agreement. They know that the time before negotiations start is very valuable and if used correctly, then they can make the outcome of the negotiations a foregone conclusion…

Effective Usage of Power Point Presentation

Why we are opting for Power Point presentation often? It’s an effective way of communicating, teaching, and learning. Anything which conveyed through pictures will capture all our minds quickly and reside inside easily. Isn’t it? Now we are going to discuss about how to make this effective communication more effective and perfect.

o First of all selection of background; This is called templates and that should be relevant to the topic or else at least colour of the background should be pleasing.

o Next is foreground option. This should match with background. For example some background with green colour font will be visible while you are creating the presentation, but during the show, the audience in the 5th row inwards can not view the contents. So the background and foreground should be contrast in color. Moreover it should not irritate audience eyes.

o For some text instead of underlining you can go for italic or bold, that make your presentation a neat one.

o Avoid much header and footers. That don’t use more content in master slides.

o A general statement is that for PPTs the rule 7×6 , i.e. 7 slides per presentation which is for one to one and half hours and 6 lines per slide. This rule is to avoid more information in single slide.

o The important and interesting feature is animations. The audience will enjoy the content if it is with text and picture animations. Because of the picture animations audience can easily remember the contents. But these should not be more also.

o You should avoid animations which has more time slice. Animations and text should coincide both in timings and relevancy. Any animation should not take more time to start, exists and exit.

o Even simply you can have picture only to explain content, which will give a great effect to the presentation.

o Don’t always use monotonous text sequence. If you are going to explain different terms, scatter the terms here and there, so that audience will sit straight after the usual show.

o Audio can be used wherever necessary. But it should not disturb your speech.