With Christmas Decorations in Place, We Think of the Presents!

With Christmas decorations in place we turn our thoughts to presents to give to others. If someone has a fancy for cooking a wheel of cheese will be a thoughtful gift. We can give cheese of many flavors to them before the Christmas celebrations and it can be used to cut up with fruit to make a nice appetizer platter.

There are many kinds of cheeses with specialties made worldwide. One cheese is made with buffalo milk to give it a different flavor. The base for other cheeses can be found to be made with goat and sheep milk. For a special someone there are cheeses shaped like pears and dipped in wax to keep it pretty. Some are made with portabella mushrooms and some mellow with wine, this would be special for Christmas. If the cheese you give them is from another country make sure you give the companies time to receive it for your holiday giving.

There is the traditional colby or cheddar cheese that you can use in your recipe for cheese balls. Cheese balls are easy to make using cream cheese with onions and spices of your preference. Mixing them up together to let all the flavors meld together.

You can place your homemade cheese balls in a wooden bowl, or wrap it up and set it on a cutting board. When you get someone a cheese block you can include a cutting board made out of marble keeping the cheese cool til you have the job complete.

This is a perfect Christmas present for anyone that loves to eat. They can use it to make their own grilled cheese or nachos. They will remember you long after the holidays. Most of the cheeses included are easy to keep and some will freeze.

Presents For Moms This Mother’s Day

In choosing a gift for mom, try to find things that are useful to her either at her work or at her mommy job at home. If possible try to personalize the gift items even in a very simple way. You must have a little research on your own about your mom’s favorites and personal details.

Try to pick items that are in style and at the same time affordable. But if you are not that particular about the price, you can easily find great items for mom. There are shops in retail locations and online that specializes in creating great mothers day gift ideas at wide range of prices. You must understand that present for moms are carefully and specially made for mom which means you must order for it in advance. But the convenience of this is that you will not have to rush to the mall in finding a gift for mom and end up getting mom a very generic gift which cannot come up to the worth of your mom’s love for you.

Read through different mothers day gift ideas for mom. Remember, do not just let the gift say the message itself to your mom. Try to make creative presentations together with the gift so that mom will truly feel that you have prepared enough for her.

For new mothers, or mother who just gave birth, it is a good idea to give her newborn baby’s clothes. But do not just shop for it and hand it over to her. It is best if you look for baby’s clothes that are creatively made for moms. A perfect example of it is the Cupcake Body Suit where it is packed in a box of 2, 4, and 6. Make sure that the body suit included in this clothing set is made of 100% cotton to suit baby’s sensitive skin.

It is also nice to treasure memories of you and mom through picture frame sets. It has various designs and colors that you may choose from. The picture frame set is hung against the wall. It is sweet if you surprise mom by designing one side of your wall using all of the varieties of picture frame sets that you may find. You can also get the old pictures that you may see and have them recopied using the modern photo editing technologies. You may find these services in photo shops in retail locations. And you can get your edited photos in just an hour. Also, by recopying and editing the photos, you can save the old photos and still have mom see it frequently as you hang it against the wall.

Also for new moms, you can give them the stylish and functional baby slings. Choose those that have elegant and simple designs like embroideries. Get the baby sling that suits baby’s gender or you may go for neutral colors such as yellow and green. Baby slings are great gifts for moms with babies because it helps mom in carrying her baby and at the same time it keeps the baby safe and warm. Again, choose the material that is 100% cotton or eco-friendly.

Improve Your Presentation Skills: Crisis Communication in Emergency Situations

Crisis communication is a vital part of not only our presentation skills, but of our leadership skills as well. A crisis situation creates uncertainty, leading in some cases to panic. So you need a crisis communications plan to deal with anyone who will be concerned if your group has a major problem, and those problems can range from an unexpected drop in stock prices to a bad production run, product recall, environmental spill, legal problem, critical accident, bankruptcy or natural disaster.

While each of these emergencies benefit from unique handling, the idea in this article is to give you some general approaches which will help you to develop and improve your presentation skills for a crisis situation.

Essential Elements

First and foremost, your role is to reassure your immediate listeners and others who may be significantly affected by the emergency. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Get the word out as quickly as you can to as many affected people as you can.

That means that for at least one person, this has to be top priority when disaster strikes. It is useful to have a backup person somewhere else or with another organization if there is a small staff on the scene.

The Air France crash in Toronto is an example of where this could have been useful. The entire local staff went out to help rescue passengers, but it meant that people waiting to greet people who were on the plane had no one to turn to for information or reassurance. Despite the positive outcome of the situation, the company received a strong negative reaction for the lack of a spokesperson.

Most crisis situations are fraught with a lack of information, or worse, a mix of real and disinformation. So when we say “Get the word out,” don’t jump into the latest rumour you have heard.

Even though your listeners may be frantic for facts, they still appreciate you telling them what you are doing to find those facts if you don’t yet have them. “We are looking into it” is more likely to incense than reassure. Tell them, “Our hydraulics engineer is testing the pressure to determine a safe level,” or “The vice-president will meet with all managers and union leaders on October 1 to determine a back-to-work strategy.” Now they have something to sink their teeth into.

Be empathetic.

This is truly the time to “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins.” Whether it’s a random case of product-induced illness or a full-scale natural disaster, people are fearful. They are often exhausted, uncomfortable and angry.

Use a lot of inclusive language (we, us, our). Indicate that you are aware of their collective uncertainty, discomfort or loss, and that your primary intent (along with that of your organization) is to ease their concern as much as you can and as soon as you can.

As part of the overall corporate, association, governmental or political risk management plan, select the people who can best convey reassurance and empathy. Is that you?

If you have nothing else to offer, provide basic human compassion.

Patience, at this time, is truly a virtue.

Give your statement and then allow people to ask questions, even if you have already answered what they ask or are not able to supply the answer they need.

Unless the resolution of the crisis is something your organization can control and knows exactly how to do it, don’t outline specifics of what you plan to do. Simply indicate time frames for steps to resolve it.

Be flexible.

Every situation is unique. An experienced presenter, you know that each audience member deserves a tailored approach. This is especially true in crisis situations.

Plan ahead.

Even if your organization has no formal crisis communications plan, take a look at the possible situations which would call on you to reassure people, then plan ahead.

Improve your presentation skills and your ability to cope with unexpected situations by following our tips for crisis communication. Such situations give you the opportunity to either cause outrage or to display your formidable leadership and presentation skills. Choose the latter options, and with a solid crisis communications plan, your team should be able to handle any situation.

Leading and Managing – 5 Golden Rules For Presenting Technically Complex Information

If you are part of a profession or area of an organisation that is or is at least perceived to be complex, it can be challenging when it comes to presenting information. For example, when I worked in accountancy, there was a perception that it was really complex and in some cases people had a phobia when it comes to numbers. So what are some of the golden rules when it comes to presenting technically complex information?

Golden Rule 1: Think first about the audience

Chances are you will have some people who are pretty comfortable and complex receiving presentations from people in your area. When thinking about the audience, consider what it is they definitely need to know as opposed to the stuff that would be nice to know. When dealing with complex stuff I generally have found that the more you focus on the key stuff the less likely you are to lose people.

Golden Rule 2: Think about something similar that people can relate to

I generally found that if you can relate the thing you are presenting to something that people can relate to then it becomes much easier. I can recall when working in the NHS I had to explain a new funding system called payment by results. Essentially you were paid for the work you did and coded. I used the example of scanning your shopping to illustrate the similarity with coding. If the item does not get scanned the seller does not collect the money.

Golden Rule 3: Keep it jargon free

We all tend to get caught up in the jargon that goes with our particular area. If you are going to use technical terms then make sure you explain them but ideally avoid them all together.

Golden Rule 4: Focus on the key messages

People can only handle so much at any one time so focus on getting your key messages across. If for regulatory or other reasons you need to make people aware of certain things give them a handout and make reference to it in your presentation.

Golden Rule 5: Check understanding and leave plenty of time for questions

With complex stuff less is better than more. At the end make sure that people have understood and build in more time for people to ask their questions.

Bottom Line – Presenting technically complex stuff presents its own challenges and practice really does make a difference.

3 Barriers to Enjoying the Present

There are 3 basic reasons we do not enjoy the present and these brain machinations keep us from enjoying the present and then potentially the future as well.

  • We are living too in the past [memory]
  • We are living too much in the future [dreaming of what is ahead]
  • We have a fear of change

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams,
But that magic feeling never seems to last.

And while the future’s there for anyone to change,

Don’t you know it seems

It would be easier sometimes to change the past.

[Jackson Browne; Fountain of Sorrow]

Too many of us fail to live in the present because it seems to be the nature of the human brain or mind to skip over what is happening and to dwell on the what-ifs of the past and/or the I-wills of the future.

If we could change the past as the lyrics say – would we? Would we make different choices? It’s an idea to ponder but in reality we can only change the future by changing the present choices – not actually undoing previous ones.

The past is easy to think about precisely because it already happened! We do not need to invent that reality. We replay events wondering what if we had acted differently or had not done a specific action or had done an action.

We can easily depress ourselves via this course of thinking because there is nothing we can do and we feel helpless.

Or we can think about the future and what we will do “when”

  • When we have enough money
  • When we are married
  • When we are happy
  • When we feel like doing [whatever it is]

Thinking ahead about “whens” is different than making actual plans for those “whens” or actually moving toward them.

And there are some “whens” that are too vague or too distant or too unrealistic to get us moving toward them.

Many of our “whens” are actually thoughts we use to protect ourselves from any real or imagined failures.

Which leads to the 3rd barrier – fear of change. We as humans like inertia – even if it is an inertia that keeps us stuck in an uncomfortable place. It is one of the odd conditions of being human that this happens.

So we remain rehashing the past or putting up future “whens” to keep us feeling safe rather than getting outside of our own minds and creating that change for our own futures.

NatLA Global – Groups to Contact for Presentation Opportunities and Leads

NatLA (Natural Life Advantage) is an innovative direct sales company out of Dallas, Texas, with health and wellness products for the consumer. NatLA’s products include weight loss, balanced nutrition, energy, detoxification, immune and sexual performance supplements that contain all natural ingredients. They are sold through a network of independent advisers.

With so much focus on natural health products, this company offers solutions for which consumers are searching. You may be someone who takes supplements along with your food for optimum health. If you are, you probably have a lot of personal information that you would like to share with others. Of course, you receive training from NatLA about their particular products, but having an interest in natural health supplements makes this business not only lucrative but interesting as well.

One of the biggest challenges for distributors in direct marketing companies is finding enough people willing to host an event. Most people are not comfortable with having guests in their homes even though they’ll invite only family, co-workers and friends. They’ll come up with all kinds of excuses such as their home isn’t big enough or clean enough or decorated. Women are especially sensitive in this area.

If you approach groups of people in clubs and organizations, the burden of hosting a party isn’t placed on one person. You’ll be conducting a workshop as a guest speaker. You may even present your products as a fundraiser for the organization that will receive a percentage of the sales.

The following is a list of groups that you can approach for an opportunity to present your products and find leads who may be interested in starting a home based business.

-Church and religious groups
-Community clubs such as the Lions, Rotarians, fraternal lodges and women’s groups.
-Self-improvement groups such as Toastmasters
-Local business groups such as Chamber of Commerce
-Homeowner associations need good speakers and presentations
-Political groups such as Young Democrats and Young Republicans
-Health-related groups
-Sports clubs
-Travel clubs
-Singles
-Senior citizens
-Insurance agents
-Real estate agents associations
-School and daycare organizations

There are three advantages to arranging a club or organizational group presentation:

1) Your products and business opportunity are presented to a larger audience. The more people who hear what you have to say about your products and business, the more opportunities you have for sales and leads.

2) You may find people who are willing to have a presentation in their homes in exchange for free products. Just as there are people who are unwilling to have guests for one reason or another, there are others who love entertaining and will be glad to host an event.

3) You’ll have a greater opportunity to teach others about taking supplements for good health.

Four Persuasive Presentation Secrets

Being able to communicate persuasively with any audience is not just about what you say, it’s also about what you do. Here are four tips for making your communication more persuasive

1. Take Time to Build Rapport

When rapport exists, there is a sense of trust and confidence between people that makes each more likely to respond positively to the other. Although there are techniques you can use to accelerate rapport, it has to be earned.

You create rapport by being willing to meet the other person where they are rather than trying to drag them where you want them to be. The biggest mistake most people make in any type of communication is trying to communicate from their own perspective rather than trying to relate to where their audience currently is.

If you take time to understand your audience, whether it’s one person or a thousand, you will find it much easier to build rapport and communicate with them more successfully. You create rapport when you use that knowledge to change the way you communicate to suit your audience.

2. Model Successful Communicators

One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to notice what works well for others and then to incorporate elements of what you see into your own behavior. Modeling is not about copying people. That’s often illegal and it doesn’t usually work. However, if you learn what makes other people good at something, you can use that experience to improve your own performance.

The key to successful modeling is that it’s not just about watching what people do, it’s as much about understanding how they think and what they believe. Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to speakers you admire and read as much as possible about them.

3. Always Be Authentic

To become a great presenter, you need to be yourself. One of the secrets of the best speakers is that they appear natural. They are the same on stage as they are in person. Too many people try to invent a persona that they use in presentations as they think that’s what is needed. And many people hold off from speaking because they compare themselves unfavorably to other people. The truth is it doesn’t matter. People are interested in what you have to say not in your speaking abilities.

Former US President Ronald Reagan is now called the Great Communicator but that’s as much for the way his natural personality shows through as for great public speaking skills.

You can improve your speaking skills by enhancing your abilities. But speaking successfully is about using your existing abilities to their full advantage. Just be yourself and you will get the results that you want.

4. Value and Respond to Feedback

Like most things in life, giving presentations is a process of constant improvement – no matter how good you are.

In order to be able to improve, you must:

- Be willing to accept feedback constructively: If you want to improve, listen to what people say and incorporate it next time. Accepting feedback doesn’t mean you have to do what others say but all feedback helps you be aware of what works for you most of the time and what doesn’t.

- Actively seek opportunities for feedback: If you seriously want to improve your presentation skills, you should actively encourage feedback. Hand out surveys at the end of a presentation or ask someone you know well in the audience for some comments. Try to find people who will be both honest and encouraging.

- Keep doing more: The best way to improve is to keep getting more practice so that you improve your skills, incorporate more of what you learn and build your confidence.

Following these four secrets will help you build your persuasive presentation skills easily and confidently.

A Guide For Effective Presentations

An effective presentation should have three major things: Substance, style and supporting materials.

Having these elements in place is the start to giving an effective presentation. The following guide will give you everything you need to know on how to conduct your next presentation.

1. Be Well Organized. Your presentation should flow in a logical sequence. Additionally, your major points should connect in an orderly manner.

2. Get to the Point. Your speech should be direct, clear and concise. Your audience should walk away remembering and understanding the key points.

3. Exude Confidence. You should express yourself with certainty and credibility. In order to do this you have to make sure you have done research on your topic.

4. Be Sincere. This goes along with being confident. You must be able to come across to your audience with care and concern.

5. Sound Positive. You should display your points in the best possible way. Make sure that what you say verbally matches your nonverbal communication.

6. Relate well to the audience. Understand your audience and convey your message in such a way that speaks to them. Your presentation should be useful and relevant.

7. Have enthusiasm. You can come across animated in your own style, whether low-keyed or full of energy. Sound as if you are interested in what you have to say.

8. Use visual aids to support your presentation. Visual aids enhance your presentation and can be used as talking points.

If you follow this guide, you will give an effective presentation.

The Secret to Powerful Presentation Skills? Stay Present

“Be present. I would encourage you with all my heart just to be present. Be present and open to the moment that is unfolding before you because, ultimately, your life is made up of moments. So don’t miss them by being lost in the past or anticipating the future.”
~ Actress Jessica Lange, speaking at the Sarah Lawrence College graduation ceremony.

Being lost in the past and anticipating the future is exactly what was making Suzanne so anxious.

I had helped her write her speech for the national sales meeting and she had been practicing with me for the past week. I knew she was ready. She had doubts.

“What are you worried about?” I asked.

She first answered with her concerns about the future. “My boss and all the other executives will be there, to say nothing of the 150 sales reps. What if I forget what I’m going to say?”

“What if” is a question I hear a lot. “What if I’m asked a question I can’t answer?” “What if I don’t persuade the audience?” What if I look foolish?” “What if they don’t like me?” “What if I’m nervous?”

I make my living helping people answer “what if?” questions. This is the job of all trainers, whether the training is for war or the workplace. People attend training classes to help them practice dealing with future “what if?” situations, hoping that the real world will at least approximate the training class.

Close behind Suzanne’s “what if?” questions were her “why didn’t I?” memories of what had happened in the past. She recalled the time she forgot what she was going to say and worried that this might happen again.

I also hear these questions a lot. Sometimes, as with Suzanne, I hear them before a talk has been delivered but more often afterwards. “Why didn’t I make better eye contact with the audience?” “Why didn’t I take more time to prepare?” “Why didn’t I speak louder?” “Why didn’t I think of an answer to that question?”

A better question to ask than “what if?” or “why didn’t I?” is “what’s so?” What’s so is that your hands are/were shaking. What’s so is that you forgot what you are/were going to say. What’s so is that your slides can’t/couldn’t be shown.

The answer to the question “what’s so?” is what is happening in the present moment. The quote from Jessica Lange suggests the value of this question.

Stay present. In reality, there is no past and there is no future. In reality, there is only the present. Delivering a powerful presentation requires staying present. As I told Suzanne, if you stay present, you’ll find a way to deal with whatever happens, with whatever is “what’s so?”

When you stay present, you’ll find that, when you don’t know the answer, you naturally say, “I’ll find out and get back to you.” When you can’t show your slides, you apologize and read from your notes, putting what you can on a flip chart or board. If your hands are shaking, you let them shake without telling yourself how embarrassed you are. If you lose your train of thought you say, “I forgot. Give me a moment to check my notes.”

When you stay present, “what if?” and “why didn’t I?” go away. Even the question “what’s so?” is replaced by “so what?” Whatever happens is no big deal.

Audiences don’t care if you’re “lost in the past or anticipating the future.” Their sole concern is whether you care about them and their needs.

Be passionate in the present and “what if?” or “why didn’t I?” won’t make a bit of difference.

8 Tips To Make Your Business Presentations More Memorable

Are you creating a “slideument” for your presentations and wondering why you’re not getting the impact you want? What is a “slideument” you ask? Well, you create a great value proposition for your product and then launch right into a PowerPoint presentation that includes lots of text slides to support your message. The merger of a document and a slide presentation is what Garr Reynolds, author of Presentation Zen calls this a “slideument”.

I’m sure you’ve been the victim of one of these presentations where the room is darkened and despite efforts to the contrary, everyone is nodding off to sleep. This is definitely not an effective way to capture the attention of the audience, especially today when everyone is so into pictures and video on their tablets and smart phones. Yet, you think, “What am I to do? This is business, I must show facts, storytelling is for children, for the movies and for social occasions. I must show ROI information and sales forecasts to be effective.”

Not so! Storytelling has been an effective means of communication for over 2,000 years. And it’s becoming more and more important in business. We think in pictures, video, and stories – so to make your presentations more memorable, you must learn to make these elements central to your presentation. Yes, you must include facts, but there are ways that are more effective than a slideument to communicate and support your message. A simple chart can convey the main message. A takeaway document with the details or a website link can provide more depth if necessary.

We’re learning from experts like Steve Jobs, Nancy Duarte, Garr Reynolds, Bo Eason and others that telling a great story makes a message stick. That’s exactly what Chip and Dan Heath tell us in their book Made to Stick and what Gary Klein relates in the chapter titled “The Power of Stories” his book Sources of Power. So how can you make your next presentation more memorable?

Here’s a few tips to get you started:

1. Start with paper and pencil – don’t start in PowerPoint or Keynote

2. Note why you’re speaking and what is your main point

3. Structure your message with an attention-grabbing beginning, a middle with supporting information, and an ending that tells your audience what you want them to do when you’re done speaking.

4. Start by describing the current situation and make sure your audience resonates with it. Then tell them what the future could be by painting a compelling picture and getting them to imagine having a role in the picture. The key to remembering and taking action is to envision participating in the action. The unconscious mind records it and remembers it as if it were real. Visualization is how many sports stars improve their game.

5. Once they have the picture, tell them what action they should take. End on a high note with the audience knowing what they should do and feeling compelled to take that action. Be sure to include a description of the reward they will receive for taking action. Also, tell them that it is not always easy but the reward is worth the effort.

6. Once you’ve outlined your story, select pictures and short video segments to support your message. Use full screen photos and video for the majority of the presentation. The fewer the words, the better. Some key messages or quotes should be sufficient.

7. As you write the details of your script, be conversational. Your audience will pay more attention if you’re conversational. They will also feel more a part of the story or presentation.

8. Study the experts. Visit YouTube and view presentations by the people mentioned in this article. Buy their books and make notes.

Continue to practice and refine your skills using these tips. You will find that you get more attention and interaction from your audience.