Why Is a Puppy a Bad Christmas Present?

Even though it is the stuff that makes us tear up in movies and television shows, giving a puppy as a Christmas present is rarely a good idea. Despite all of your best intentions, adding a furry family member needs very careful consideration.

The holidays are a stressful time for most people. There is a ton of hustle and bustle about the home every day. There may be family traveling in, or you may need to travel to them. There are presents to wrap and food to cook. Now, add an 8 week old puppy to the mix and someone is going to howl for sure!

Having a new puppy is, well, expensive. There are the costs of acquiring the puppy, plus all the “must-haves” that need to be purchased. There are the expenses for Veterinary care and puppy-proofing the home. Not too mention, replacing anything that little Marmaduke happens to chew on with those baby teeth. Christmas is probably not the best time of year to add on a list of expenses.

Then, there is the little-known issue of whether or not the puppy will be healthy. See, most reputable breeders actually will refuse to sell puppies at Christmas, for fear they will not be accepted or cared for properly. Or, the fact that someone may end up allergic and that would break everyone’s heart. Unfortunately, puppy mills breed their dogs to make money around the holidays. It seems that pet stores make a lot of money and most of it is off of puppies bred solely for profit. The saddest part here is that many are in-bred and come to their new homes with genetic defects, illnesses and many other ailments. And, way too many times, they end up at shelters.

So, before purchasing a puppy as a gift this Christmas here are some ideas that should help:

  • Check with your local shelter about a gift certificate-then, go AFTER the holidays are over.
  • Buy a few books on dogs—fun and interesting for the children to read. This way, they can learn about how to raise a puppy and get ready for the big day.
  • Pet-sit for a day. Borrow a friend’s dog for the day. This will allow the children to have all the fun of playing with a friendly dog, but not necessarily the hard work of it all. Just be sure the dog is kid-friendly
  • Plan for the puppy. Make a calendar of when you plan to go look at puppies. Discuss shelters vs. breeders with the family. Figure out where he or she will sleep, what they will eat, etc. Make it a family affair!
  • Visit your local Veterinarian. Get to know the doctor who will be taking care of your pet. This way, the children get to ask questions, maybe even see some animals, and the whole family is comfortable with their puppy’s new doctor.

These are just some basic ideas. Try to remember that bringing home a pet is almost as important as bringing home a baby. With children, we get 9 months or so to prepare. For your new puppy, at least take a month or two to prepare. In the long run, your holidays will go smoother and everyone will end up with a family member that is loved and cherished for many Christmas’ to come.

How to Pack Some More Punch in Your Sales Presentations

Whenever economic slowdowns occur, the selling field will typically be impacted. This could mean that locating new prospects is somewhat more difficult and an organization’s sales goals could start to slip. In these scenarios getting the attention of potential clients will become more crucial than ever before. With this in mind, many sales companies are discovering new techniques that potentially provide more positive results. Your sales presentations are going to remain a key in determining your success.

Offering Increased Value to the Prospect

Taking care of your clients with no cost services or products, particularly in an economic slowdown, is a highly effective technique. An existing client or prospective buyer might need extra incentives when making final decisions. Many organizations increase sales through price-cutting as well as providing clients with more services and products than usual. For prospects that are undecided, it might be the difference between a sale and a non-sale. This is an effective way of adding more punch to a sales presentation.

Emphasizing Customer Service in Your Presentation

With the increased competition nowadays, servicing clients will play a big role. Sending out thank you cards to clients or prospects can be a great way for maintaining contact on a deeper level. Be certain you take time to contact prior customers each month and assess any needs they have. Always promptly reply should potential problems or issues arise. Many times top professionals can lose sight that a past customer will be just as important as newer ones. Also, increased customer service could lead to the client providing referrals.

Networking as a Resource

Because of the fact that many sales professionals don’t always have consistent lead generation techniques, networking can be a good resource. For a sales organization or individual, having new leads is vital for company growth. Despite how the current economy performs, you’ll always have new prospects available each day; some of these may even be accessible without the salespersons knowledge. This is why it’s vital to put aside time each day to contact existing customers and ask for referrals.

Stay Connected to Your Existing Clients

Even though an existing client is often very busy and doesn’t return calls immediately, it is necessary to try to maintain contact whenever possible. The more the sales professional corresponds or even meets with clients, the better the overall relationships will be. Additional attention given to prospective and existing customers illustrates a company’s value and added attention to details. Clients with continual contact ultimately will be highly lucrative as sources for even more sales via referrals.

Srila Prabhupada’s Presentation of Sastras

Srila Prabhupada did not present Shastra as a dry academic subject to be theorized and armchair-philosophized about. Instead of giving abstruse explanations, he spoke and more importantly lived the essence of shastra. He repeatedly emphasized the point of all sastra: “You are not this body. Surrender to Krsna.”

Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said that by reading his books we get in touch with the previous acaryas. Indeed, his purports to the sastra draw on the realization of the previous acaryas whose commentaries Prabhupada consulted before composing his own. A special feature of Srila Prabhupada’s purports, however, is that he was the first to show how the Srimad Bhagvatam’s principles can be applied in practical circumstances in the human society. Also for the first time ever, he comprehensively presented Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy, replete with all subtleties and complexities, in a non-Indian language.

Prabhupada’s explanation of Vedic philosophy is simple, clear, and uncomplicated English is an unprecedented achievement in literary history. English is a mleccha-bhasa (language of meat eaters), but Srila Prabhupada purified it. Quoting Srila Prabhupada’s purports is as authorized as quoting from the Original Sanskrit shastras. Infact, the words of the acharya are even more potent because without the acharya’s explanations, ordinary people would not be able to understand the meaning of shastra.

Srila prabhupada’s lectures were simple, straightforward bhagavad philosophy. Prabhupada’s songs are preferable to any of the dozens of styles of melodius kirtans because there is a different level of potency altogether. Srila prabhupada’s presentations whether it is the songs he sung or the purports he wrote, everything was always Krishna centric and at no point were for material sensual pleasure. His intense purity and compassion for the fallen conditions souls manifest in all his work. Being a pure devotee of the lord, his words are infallible, totally correct and spoken for upliftment of all concerned.

His words enter the heart of a living entity and purify it. The potency in his works is so strong that even though he has written for everyone, it seems to the reader that he is speaking personally to the individual reader and whatever he has written makes complete sense to the honest inquisitive.

Srila Prabhupada’s works reflected his inadvertent strong-mind and principles. There were no contradictions or interpretations. He presented the message as it is. Srila Prabhupada make Krsna and the Hare Krsna mahamantra famous all over the world even though non-devotees don’t know much about him. This is due to his presentation of Shastra as a messenger. He never took credit for this great benediction that he was giving and continues to give to fallen conditioned souls through his books.

The philosophy he preached through his books was sound in theory and practically applicable under all circumstances. Srila Prabhupada saw nothing as different from Krsna. He saw Krsna everywhere and in everything, and everything in Krsna. Whatever he wrote is a living example or rather an extension of this premise that he lived by. He wanted to engage everything and everybody in Krsna’s service. His works and method of presentation of shastras are still inspiring thousands of people to take up the sublime method of Krsna consciousness practically in their lives. His objective of developing a Krsna conscious movement, which is not limited to study of literature, however is built on how he presented the message of Krsna and Lord Chaitanya throughout the world.

The New Ultimate Listing Presentation – Creating a Lethal Listing Presentation

A Lethal Listing Presentation

To create a “lethal” listing presentation, you need two pieces. What are the pieces? The first piece is knowing your market statistics so that you’re truly the best agent for the job. Becoming the market authority. Then the next piece is knowing the value of the subject property so that you can get the top dollar for your seller client. By knowing how to prepare the ultimate CMA, your foundation is complete.

Beginning the process without laying this foundation simply won’t work. It’s absolutely critical that you go through these first two steps before you learn the listing presentation, simply because the presentation builds on this foundation! If you’re just skimming through this approach so you can get to the “magic words” to say, you are wasting your time. This approach is not about having magic words. It’s about creating a magnetism that will attract your listing clients to you. That comes from building the foundation.

Without building your foundation on solid ground, you’ll instead be building your presentation on quicksand, and you won’t be able to list properties using this powerful and unique method. Why? Because you won’t have the most important element of any sale: the believability factor.

This listing approach is counter-intuitive. It is going to fly in the face of what 95% of the other agents are telling your client. As such, it demands that you have credibility. If you don’t have credibility, the listing approach will never sell because you’re asking the client to place his faith in an approach that, in all likelihood, he’s never heard of before. Take the time to build the foundation.

Last year there were more than 1.1 million Realtors in America, so I guess you could say that there are 1.1 million ways to sell a house. But the truth is that there are really only two ways to sell a house: you can sell it by price, or you can sell it by traffic. Every other sales method is a subsidiary of one of these two. We’ll explore the two different approaches at length and discuss how they differ and how one of them will yield far better results for your client while making you more money.

The Traditional or Price Approach. I’ve read dozens of books – probably hundreds of books – on the subject of real estate. Many of these books speak of the importance of listing real estate, and all of them describe nearly identical listing approaches, with only slight differences. Now, the reason for all this sameness is obvious: it’s the way listings have been done since the beginning of real estate. It’s the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” thing. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is broke! If you expect to make a lot of money in real estate, you need to determine what everybody else is doing and then do the opposite.

Okay, here’s the basic formula for the “traditional” or “price” approach. As you’ll recall, we talked earlier about building a CMA, or comparative market analysis, for your client. The traditional approach teaches us to find the “reasonable range” of value and then try to list the property on the low end of that range. That’s why we used closed comparables only, and not active listings as comparables. It’s why we aren’t taught to adjust upward for the list-to-sale ratio. We start as low as the client will let us.

If the home doesn’t sell within a month or so, we’re all taught to…what? You got it! To ask for a reduction in price. Then if the property still doesn’t sell, we lower the price again, and again, and again, until eventually we find a buyer for the place. Think about it: we’re selling the house by price. We’re using the price as our marketing tool. That’s why we continue to lower the price, or wait for appreciation in the market to lower the price for us, until the house eventually sells.

One of the reasons this approach works well for the agent is that it places the entire burden of selling the home on the seller! Another reason for using the traditional approach is that the agent doesn’t have to spend a lot of money marketing the house. He doesn’t have to spend a lot of time or effort devising a marketing plan or promoting the property because the price is doing the selling for him. There’s no doubt that this approach will work, of course: it’s been working for decades with good and bad agents alike. However, there are a few drawbacks to the traditional approach that are seldom mentioned.

First and foremost is the agency issue. It’s your job as the listing agent to represent the seller’s interests, which include getting the absolute top dollar for the property. However, most agents don’t get top dollar when they use this approach, and the reason is as simple as supply-and-demand. When there are fewer buyers competing for a home, the sale price may need to be discounted substantially in order to attract interest. In economics-speak, “with a fixed supply and a scarce demand (i.e. fewer buyers), prices drop.”

Another drawback to using this approach is lack of speed: several months may pass before the traditional approach begins to have an effect. In the process, the home often becomes stigmatized. After several reductions, it’s not even shown to potential buyers because it’s been on the market “too long” and is now assumed to have something wrong with it. If the agent starts the process too high and then reduces the price too slowly, the home becomes very difficult to sell at any price.

Many times, listing agents unwittingly become de-facto buyer sub-agents. Even though I don’t know a single listing agent who would intentionally sell out his client, it’s entirely too easy with the traditional listing approach to help the buyer rather than the seller. And, yes, I realize that my judgment may sound harsh, but if you’ll honestly examine this method, you’ll have to agree that, very often, it doesn’t yield the best results for the seller.

Special Delivery – Giving Talks, Presentations And Speeches With Awesome Delivery – Part 1 Of 2

It can be so frustrating. You hear a comedian tell the absolute funniest joke in the world. It’s so funny that you’re on the floor for ten minutes, shrieking hysterically. The next day you tell the same joke to your friends and their reactions are, to say the least, more subdued.

Now you’re devastated. “Don’t you get it?” you ask. They tell you they did get it, but it just wasn’t all that funny. “I guess you had to be there,” you mutter.

You know, often it’s not so much the joke itself that puts you on the floor, but the way it’s told. Comedians are masters of expression, voice-tone, timing, and all the subliminal little things they do that makes their renditions sparkle. Without these, yours will most likely fall flat.

It’s the same with any form of public speaking. It’s not just the words you say, but how you say them and how you send them to your listeners.

In short, it’s all in your delivery.

Delivery is everything in a talk or presentation. Okay, maybe not everything. Of course its content matters greatly as well.

But … if you want to really WOW your audience, keep in mind that your content – your words – need to impact the listener.

Now, the word, “impact” may seem to suggest a ranting and raving not unlike a pep rally or a political speech a-la Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, certain talks call for this sort of highly-charged, impassioned delivery. But even if your talk is of the lower-key sort – a business meeting or a class, for instance – you certainly don’t want to bore your listener.

Great delivery is, above all, a matter of:

1. Intensity

2. Expression

Today we’ll cover intensity. By this I mean, first of all, to speak intensely. Keep your voice strong and clear. Speak up! Don’t say you can’t. Of course you can! What would you do if your child just doused the cat with half a bottle of your $60 cologne? Mumble? Whisper? I don’t think so. No, you would use those lungs of yours! Do the same in your talks. Push, push, push! Belt those words out! Listeners love it.

Second, speak as if you are very interested in your subject. It would help if you could find your way toward becoming very interested in it. But even if you can’t … fake it! Like the saying goes, “fake it ’til you feel it!”

A good speaker can get an audience fired up about nearly anything. Even the most mundane subjects can, if delivered with intensity, come alive. Think of the announcer on a commercial for a “New!” tortilla chip. How does he talk? Pretty intensely, right? We’re talking about a bag of salty, greasy fried corn here. But the way this person is speaking, you’d think they’d found a cure for cancer.

So I don’t care if you’re presenting a quarterly sales report, or giving a lecture on upholstery repair. Present that information with as much intensity as you possibly can! Make the subject interesting. Make the content stick in the listener’s mind. Make an impact upon your listener. Make them glad they came.
Conjure up as much infectious enthusiasm for your subject as you possibly can. And let it show on your face.

In fact, exaggerate. By that I mean, whatever mood you’re trying to express, exaggerate it. Don’t just sound interested, sound very interested. Don’t just sound encouraging, sound very encouraging.

You see, more often than not, the intensity with which we speak arrives at the listener in a weakened state. I don’t mean just the volume. It’s as if traveling through twenty-five feet of airspace simply dilutes half the energy right out of it. So, to compensate: Put more intensity, interest, and energy than you think you need.

Don’t worry that you might go too far with this. I’ve never seen a speaker who I thought was too “into it” – with the exception of a few over-the-top politicians, perhaps. More often than not, the opposite is true.

Ask yourself: How many speakers have I heard who were too excited? Or who made me feel too excited? Then ask: How many speakers have I heard who weren’t interesting enough? (i.e., bo-o-ring!)

To be interesting, be interested!

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In Part Two of “Special Delivery” we’ll look at the truly fun component of great delivery: Expression. Until then, I wish you the best with your public speaking endeavors!

Don’t Forget This on Your Next Trip – Tips For Traveling Trainers, Speakers and Presenters

Several years ago, I watched Teresa, a director at a large company, begin to give a speech. Her career was on the fast track. She was making a key presentation at an executive retreat. This was a make or break moment for her.

But, her Power Point presentation would not work. As she stood there in front of her company’s senior management, she tried rebooting her laptop, changing projectors and fiddling with the laptop display settings. Finally, she discovered the root of the problem: the battery on her wireless mouse was dead.

So, 10 minutes after her scheduled start time, she began her presentation using a regular computer mouse. By this time, the damage was done to her career.

What’s the morale of this story? Avoid embarrassing yourself and hurting your career by forgetting key items for your next presentation.

You have enough anxiety about public speaking without letting travel problems sabotage your presentation. Here are five simple tips to help you prepare.

  1. Test all of your equipment ahead of time. Bring spare batteries for every one of your electronic devices. Also, prepare a backup plan in case of equipment failure.
  2. Load a backup copy of your presentation and handouts onto a CD-ROM or USB flash drive. Then pack it in a piece of luggage other than your laptop case. That way, if you laptop is lost, stolen or crashes, you can load your backup copy onto a rented or borrowed laptop at your destination.
  3. Print maps or driving instructions to your destination. That makes it easy for you to find your off site meeting location or executive retreat. Also, always plan to arrive early at your destination. While an attendee can be late and not derail the presentation, if the speaker is late everyone is kept waiting.
  4. Inspect the meeting room or trade show floor the night before to get a look at the room layout and the sight lines for your Power Point projector, overheads or flip charts. I learned this lesson the hard way when I failed to look at the room ahead of time a few years ago. When I arrived to do my seminar, there was a huge pillar right in the middle of the room that blocked the view of one-third of my class. I had to hastily re-arrange the tables and chairs so everyone could see the screen.
  5. Make sure people can find your room. Check the hotel’s signage to see it is easy for attendees to find your meeting room. If not, use masking tape to place signs or arrows leading to your classroom (with the hotel’s permission, of course.) Remember, leave a trail of breadcrumbs so people can find your room.

Use these tips to prepare for a successful presentation at your next off site meeting, conference or trade show.

© 2008 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Toronto, Canada

Use the Stars as Your Guide To Finding Great Birthday Presents

Having trouble deciding which birthday presents to get for friends and family? Never fear, astrology is here! You can be sure that the recipient will love the birthday presents that you give him or her if you follow his or her astrological sign.

Here are some great ideas for birthday presents for people of particular signs:

· Aries – March 21 – April 20. An Aries loves both challenges and oppositions. Because of this, a good board game makes an excellent birthday present for an Aries. Try to get one that is especially challenging and competitive like Scrabble or Settlers.

· Taurus – April 21 – May 20. A Taurus, on the other hand, does not appreciate challenges or oppositions and naturally gets along well with others. A Taurus loves peace and harmony. A great gift for a Taurus is a day at the spa or a yoga class. A Taurus is always helping other people – give him or her a chance to relax and be helped by others.

· Gemini – May 21 – June 20. Gemini are very analytical and yet still easy going. They are also very attracted to all things modern. Because of this attraction to modern things, Gemini tend to like gadgets. A great birthday present for a Gemini is a new gadget like an mp3 player (or any mp3 player accessories), a unique travel alarm clock, or even a kitchen gadget like an fancy electric can opener.

· Cancer – June 21 – July 20. Cancers have a very deep sense of humanitarian values. Because of this, you can get away with giving one a donation in his or her name to a favorite charity of his or hers. This is not necessarily a good idea for other people, but a Cancer would truly appreciate the thought.

· Leo – June 21 – July 20. Leos are born leaders. One of the main downfalls of Leos, though, is that they are not always good with money matters – they are very willing to share their wealth. In fact, a Leo is very likely to give money to charity. A great birthday present for a Leo is a gift certificate to a restaurant or a store… it is much harder to simply give away, so you know that the Leo will have to use it to treat himself or herself!

· Virgo – August 22 – September 2. Virgos are very observant and can be described as perfectionists. Virgos also have a keen interest in the arts. Give a Virgo two tickets to a play or opera. Take a Virgo to a museum. Give a Virgo a book on art!

· Libra – September 23 – October 22. Libras have a very high sense of Justice and they often take the side of the wronged. They have a natural affinity to the Arts. Because of this affinity to the arts, a great gift for a Libra is an art set. Give a Libra some paint or colored pencils, etc.

· Scorpio – October 23 – November 22. Scorpios are always willing to accept something new. Therefore, you can take a Scorpio out to a new restaurant and to try some unusual food for his or her birthday.

· Sagittarius – November 23 – December 20. Sagittarius people love sports and are happiest when out of doors. Get a Sagittarius a new golf club, a Frisbee, or a ball. Take a Sagittarius on a picnic or on a hike, etc. All of these things make great birthday presents for a Sagittarius.

· Capricorn – December 21 – January 19. Capricorns are generally very hard workers. Give a Capricorn a break and give him or her a gift certificate for a massage or make dinner for him or her. Give a Capricorn a relaxing novel and a bath set.

· Aquarius – January 20 – February 18. Aquarius or both honest and tolerant. A game like Balderdash is very fun to play with an Aquarius because it requires him or her to lie! Of course, Aquarius are always thinking ahead, so they end up being quite good at board and card games. Any sort of game makes a great birthday present for an Aquarius.

· Pisces – February 19 – March 20. Pisces are talented in music and or fine arts. Give a Pisces concert tickets or some sheet music or a guitar. Sign him or her up for a pottery class!

These are just a few ideas for birthday presents to help you out. It is amazing how accurately astrology can often describe a person. It only makes sense to pick out birthday presents for that person based on his or her sign!

Three Steps to Good Presentation Skills and Public Speaking

Good presentation skills and public speaking begin with preparation. Like any other written or visual communication the key here is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

There are a lot of good books available. It is a good idea to join a public speaking practice group like the International Toastmasters for example. Doing it is the best way to learn.

Here are three keys to preparing your presentations and public speeches which I find have worked best for me.

1. Identify and organize what you will be presenting on a sheet of paper.

2. Break it down into 3 major headings with 3 sub-headings under each.

3. Write the content of your sub-headings then edit to fit on 3×5 or 4×6 cards as needed.

1. Identify and organize what you are presenting on a sheet of paper:

Identify your topic and give it a name, a title, ex.: Four Steps to Good Presentation Skills and public Speaking.

Identify the time frame you will have for your presentation or speech — let’s use 45 minutes for easy sub-dividing.

2. Break it down into 3 major headings with 3 sub-headings under each:

Your 45 minutes will give you 15 minutes for each of your 3 major topic headings.

So under each of the 3 major headings and 3 sub-headings write what you want to tell your audience to fit within the 15 minutes for each major headings.

For example, your three major headings will be sub-titles and will only take a few seconds to mention as you move to your sub-headings content.

Then your 3 sub-headings will have the actual content that you want to deliver to your audience. Time these to be about 4-5 minutes each (3 x 5=15 minutes).

3. Write the content of your sub-headings, then edit to fit on 3×5 or 4×6 cards as needed:

Once you have this organized, re-write them on your cards. You might have 1 card per 3 sub-headings if you only use key words that you will elaborate verbally.

Or you might need 3 cards, 1 for each sub-headings, if you write more information to guide your verbal delivery. Do what works best for you.

Personally, I usually write everything down that I will be saying, and highlight the key points I want to make sure not to miss, with a yellow highlighter; then I just glance at the overall content as I move from one sub-headings to the next. So I end up with 1 card for each of my 3 sub-headings.

Do not read from your card. Highlight the important words that will trigger your memory to speak to your audience.

Then practice your delivery beforehand as many times as you need to, timing the whole to fit within your 45 minutes (or whatever the case may be). If you are going to use transparencies or power-point, make sure to use them in your practice run also. You might need to trade a couple of minutes of your verbal content for the handling of the equipment.

When you do the real thing, simply follow your cards, moving each one to the back as you deliver your material. Don’t focus only on the cards, use the cards to keep you on track. Look at your audience, scanning through every one from left to right, front to back. Don’t stare in one area longer than in another, unless you are answering a specific person’s question.

There are many good books on presentations, with samples. A good one is Leading Workshops, Seminars, and Training Sessions; by Helen Angus, Self-Counsel Press, which includes models of room arrangements and other technical information on equipment, etc.

Often our competition can be a good source of the latest examples of what’s in at the time. Check out what the top companies are doing, and better it! For example financial institutions who give free seminars on their service offerings are a good place to get ideas on presentation skills, while getting some education on financial investment!

Give free seminars to friends, co-workers and family members to sharpen your presentation skills and public speaking. Tape yourself and listen or watch yourself back, making notes of habits you might want to omit or change, etc.

Always be prepared, you never know when you might be asked to do a presentation at work, at church or in a community group!/dmh

Understanding the Importance of Your 60 Second Presentation

I am often asked the question; “How important is a good 60 second presentation?” People sometimes gasp at my answer. They look at me as if I am a little crazy because my answer is simple and very straightforward. The value of a good 60-second presentation is only as high as the importance you place on it. However this does not show you’re the importance of this marketing tool.

I go on to say that, if people place little value on creating a good introduction for themselves, they will usually wing their 60-second presentations. By always winging their presentations, they lose their perspective. They will never know the value of a good 60-second presentation, and they will not reap the rewards associated with delivering them. The way I see it, three things create value in your 60-second presentations. Your efforts, (time spent on it), the feedback you receive from your trusted peers and the measured results.

To start with, good presentations are created, (i.e. thought out and written down), practiced and then refined. It does not matter if you are great at winging it, you will always present better if you have a focused clear message that is tested and practiced. A little hard work on your part will add value to your message by clarifying and focusing it.

Another way is to ask for feedback. Ask someone you trust to summarize what you said. This person should be skilled at doing 60 second commercials, (at least better than you do). Ask them for constructive criticism. If they can’t tell you what you said in two or three sentences you know message is not clear and it’s defiantly not focused.

The best way to see the value of a good 60-second presentation is to track the results. What should you track you ask? Well here is what I track; I always track the name of 60-second presentations, (yes you should give your 60 second commercials names), I always track the venue I attend, the venues date, the people I talk to, whether a person showed interest in my product/service and who I closed business with. Tracking your results is the only objective way of knowing whether your efforts are bearing fruit. What’s amazing about this is that most people never track their results.

Take the time to write out and practice your 60-second presentations. Ask trusted associates for feedback and finally track your results. Doing these three things will get you more referrals and make you more money. The value of a good 60-second presentation will become clear as fine crystal once you see the money coming in.

That’s my opinion, whats yours.

How Lawyers Can Win More Business With Their Client And Conference Presentations

Presentations are one of the most common avenues for lawyers to communicate their expertise and convince potential clients to hire them for legal work. These presentations may be in conference settings or in a client office. After a recent review of ten presentations (with a total of over 450 slides) posted on the web sites of top law firms such as McMillan Binch Mendelsohn, Gowlings, Cassels Brock and Aird & Berlis, some areas for improvement are apparent. By improving the communication of their message to clients and potential clients, lawyers can increase their billings.

The common issues found in the presentations can be separated into two categories. The first are design issues such as templates and use of slide layouts, which can be solved by marketing and administrative staff. The more critical issues are with the content and can only be solved by the lawyers who specify the content and what format it should take. Here are solutions to five problems that were seen over and over in the presentations.

Use less text
Lawyers are so familiar with text on printed documents, that it seems they think that slides should be filled with text as well. There were some instances where points were made using graphics or visuals, but generally few and far between. Prof. Richard Mayer in his book “Multimedia Learning” found that visuals combined with explanatory text increased the understanding of the audience. To have better impact, lawyers should look for more visual ways to present some of the information they have. It will break up the long periods of text that the audience sits through and help the audience remember the topic better.

Make the message clear
In many cases the text on the slides is a statement of relevant law or statute, which is important to support what is being said. But relatively few times did the slide also include text stating the key point, leaving the audience wondering what the message really was. It is necessary to include references to the law, but lawyers must also give the audience an explanation of what that law means to the audience and their business if the audience is expected to act upon the presentation. Meaningful text should also be short and concise, instead of the full sentences and paragraphs observed far too often in legal presentations.

Use diagrams to increase visual impact
One of the easiest ways for lawyers to start replacing text with visual formats is to use simple diagrams. Many times a table could replace a text list. On one slide the lawyer listed examples of two types of documents by creating a long sentence. It would have been more effective to create a simple table listing the two types of documents in columns, which would have better visually differentiated the examples. One good use of tables was shown in a chart that contrasted how a particular law is applied in different jurisdictions. Diagrams are also a better way to show relationships than simply paragraphs of text. A Venn diagram is a good way to show where items overlap and where they are distinct.

Group ideas instead of continuing ideas over multiple slides
When there are a number of items to be discussed in a section of the presentation, it was good to see that lawyers no longer use the annoying former practice of reducing the font size to squish all the text on a single slide. But what has now happened is that the points are split across multiple slides with each subsequent slide title saying “(continued)”. By the last slide in this group, the audience cannot remember how all the points fit together. A better approach would be to consider how the ideas can be grouped into sub-groups and present each sub-group with its appropriate slide title.

Use callouts to highlight scanned documents
Lawyers use scanned documents as examples in their presentations, but too often the scanned image was put on the slide and was virtually unreadable due to the small size of the text on the image. The lawyer is then forced to use a laser pointer or try to explain something the audience can’t really see, leaving the audience frustrated. A better approach is to use callouts that take the salient point of a scanned document and superimpose it on top of the scan in larger readable text, highlighting the key point the lawyer wants to make.

By integrating more visual representations of ideas into their presentations, lawyers can stand out from the barrage of text that usually represents a presentation and clients will be more compelled to act upon the presentation, resulting in higher billings.