How to Stay in the Present Moment

Many people live in the future. Why? Most people have a future that doesn’t mirror their present so they’d rather be in the future. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because Law of Attraction states, “…that which you give your attention to will manifest in your life.” However, staying in the future means your present is passing you by.

Staying present is easy. All it takes is for you to stop, look, and listen. Stop and look at the environment that surrounds you. Where are you at? What are you doing? Be present even when you’re washing the dishes. Listen to the sound of the water whooshing down the drain. Washing the dishes can be quite meditative if you let it.

Tips to stay present

1. Stop and pause. Take a couple of deep breaths and notice everything around you from the trees to other people to cars. This will keep you grounded in the present.

2. Stay out of the future by focusing on today which is all you have. No one knows for sure if tomorrow will ever come. You may as well enjoy today because tomorrow may not show up.

3. Be grateful for today. If today you can walk, run, and speak without assistance from medical devices, be grateful for that. Many people would give anything to breathe on their own without the assistance of an oxygen machine.

4. Go for a walk and notice everything in nature. Feel the sun on your skin, notice the howling of the wind, and listen to the birds chirp. This is great way to become grounded and centered.

Being present is all you have. Remember the saying, “…live for today because tomorrow may never come.” This could happen. If you’re caught up in the future you’ll miss out on opportunities today that could help you tomorrow.

Today, many people are stressing about their jobs and finances. In fact, most marriages break up over finances. If you step back and assess the situation, perhaps it’s not that bad. Maybe it’s a good lesson for you to go through a “cleansing” of some sort. This could mean staying at home and cooking with the family versus going out to eat all of the time. Perhaps the family that begins to cook together will grow closer. Cutting back can actually bring you closer together if you let it.

Don’t take today for granted because tomorrow may never come. Enjoy the music of life and focus on the positive and what’s working in your life such as your great health. Without your health, you couldn’t do what you wanted to do such as travel, run, or whatever it is that you desire to do. Be present, be grateful, and just be!

Present Statistics In Context

“I didn’t have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1600 pairs.” Imelda Marcos

Everything’s relative. A million dollars sounds like a lot of money to someone who
makes an average salary, but it’s a drop in the bucket to a Warren Buffett or a Bill
Gates. Running a hundred metres in a few seconds seems like a miracle to ordinary
mortals, but a track and field athlete will work hard to shave even more off that
time.

Yet presenters often quote statistics without benchmarks, so the audience doesn’t
know how to evaluate them. Is $10,000 a lot of money? Well it is for a bicycle. It’s
not much for a house, unless that house is in a small village in a third world
country, where it might be exorbitant. If you quote numbers this way, you will lose
the audience while they try to decide whether $125,000 is good, bad or indifferent
in this context. Your statistics lose their power.

In a presentation skills workshop for a group of lawyers, one participant was
practicing his delivery of an address to the jury in an upcoming trial. He was asking
for damages in the amount of $750,000, and hoped the jury would consider it
reasonable. It’s quite a large sum, and most ordinary folks think of that kind of cash
as a lottery win. He needed to put it in context for them.

He might, for example, ask the jury to suppose they were thirty-five years old and
earning a salary of $40,000 a year. By the time they reached the age of sixty-five,
allowing for reasonable increases, they could expect to have earned a certain
amount. (He would do the arithmetic and insert the actual sum.) That amount would
be what is called their “expected lifetime income”. However, if they were involved in
an accident and suddenly unable to work any more, that amount now represents
their “forfeited lifetime income”. That is what happened to this claimant, and the
amount he would have lost was $750,000. So in fact, counsel was asking no more
than the amount the man would have earned, had he not met with this unfortunate
accident.

Don’t you think the jury is more likely to agree when given this background
explanation?

Here are three ways to put figures in context for your audience.

1. Compare them to something to which they can personally relate, as in the
courtroom example.

2. Compare them to a similar situation. If a new manufacturing process takes fifteen
minutes, mention that the old one took two hours, so we save 1-3/4 hours.

For
even more effect, tell them how much time this will save in an average shift or on a
certain number of product units. Go further and translate that time into money and
the statistic will now be a strong argument for change.

3. Create vivid word pictures to illustrate size: That’s the equivalent of five football
fields. That’s enough to fill ten Olympic-size swimming pools. If laid end-to-end
they would stretch from New York to L.A. and back again.

Statistics can be great persuaders, but only when the audience has the means to
evaluate them.

How Influential Are Your Business Presentations?

Just over a year ago I attended a large Sales Force Effectiveness conference and was attracted to attend for a number of reasons. Firstly, I like to keep up to date with progress within the sales industry, particularly within sales representation and sales management. Secondly, it gave me the chance to network and meet new contacts; and thirdly, as I have a very keen interest in the power of effective presenting, this would be a chance to learn from two days of watching a total of around eighteen presenters. The purpose of this article is to highlight that based on what I observed over the two days, I now believe that the level of influential presentation skill is not what it should be and to that end, I will offer a framework for sales representatives and managers to work with in order that they can develop their business presentations.

Of the eighteen presenters (all of them at a fairly high executive level in the sales 7 marketing industry) there were only two who I would consider to have above average influential presentation skills. One executive was excellent, spoke with passion and had me listening to his every word while the other, although not quite so passionate, presented in a very effective, cool, calm manner which had me engaged due to the stories that he related. The other sixteen were at best average and at worst totally ineffective.

The most common failures were:

o Too much data and information crammed on to unreadable slides.
o Talking too fast and rushing through the slides.
o No attempts to engage the audience.
o Death by Power-Point. One person attempted to go through over sixty sides in twenty minutes!
o Lack of preparation was very evident in some cases.
o Some presentations were almost identical to the previous speakers.
o Some presenters came across as ‘arrogant’ experts.

I was not impressed and wondered exactly why such senior executives were not able to present effectively. In my twenty years in the sales industry I attended numerous presentation skills courses and I felt that at the time that most of them were effective with the result that I was a good presenter. It has only been in the last few years that having to present for a living as a self employed consultant that I have realised my level of skill was not exactly what it should have been. This has been reinforced in that since becoming an elected member of the Professional Speakers Association and now having seen some serious professional speakers in action, I needed to develop further my skills. I now believe that perhaps the traditional approach to developing presentation skills may be slightly flawed. Let me explain.

On all the skills courses I have attended much of the focus of the training has been on the speaker or presenter themselves, in terms of their body language, voice pitch and tone. There has been a huge emphasis on the use of video so that participants can see themselves on the ‘replay’ and in ‘slow motion’. A coach or trainer will assist in the video analysis thereby reinforcing that the presenter has some unique ‘mannerisms’ that desperately need changed! The end result of this is that I believe the presenter remains focused on their various body movements or ‘mannerisms’ such as what they do with their hands or feet and as such this switches the focus away from where it really should be – the audience. The best presenters I have seen concentrate fully on the audience, engaging them with both the content, their energy and their enthusiasm. Some of the best presenters I have encountered would have been ‘destroyed’ by the video analysis in that their hands were doing this or their feet doing that! In terms of the excellent presenters, these ‘mannerisms’ were not picked up by the general audience because they were not evident to them due to the nature of the presenter’s content and the overall skill and energy that they projected. One aspect of presenting that every professional presenter agrees must be a priority is that of planning, preparation and practice. This is a must for anyone who presents and the old adage, ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’ is very apt! Planning, preparation and practice builds confidence and with confidence comes the automatic reaction of focusing on your audience and not on yourself.

I have developed my E5 Presenting with Influence formula and this I believe will give sales executives and managers a framework to base the preparation and execution of their presentation around, whether it is to a group of customers or within a team business meeting situation.

ENGAGE How do you engage your audience from the start and how do you keep them engaged?
How do you manage that engagement and still keep on track?

ENLIGHTEN What does the audience know about you?
How will you manage their expectations as to what you are going to present?

EDUCATE Does your content meet the needs of the audience?
How are you going to present new information?
What evidence do you have to back up your claims?

ENTERTAIN Even the most ‘serious’ audiences want to be entertained, perhaps not through jokes (dangerous tactic!) but through real life stories and anecdotes. Do you have real life scenarios to reinforce your key messages?

ENCOURAGE In every presentation you will want the audience to react in a way that is positive. If it is a sales presentation you want at the very least a follow up meeting to discuss the opportunity further, at best, a clear commitment to buy. Your presentation must deliver encouragement to act.

The best way to deliver presentation skills training is not to emphasise the use of video but to create a learning environment whereby a training course is based around regular practice in front of peers. The feedback from peers, in the role of the audience, is far more powerful than reviewing the video footage with a trainer or coach. Presenting is about planning, preparation and providing your audience with a powerful, passionate message that will make them feel motivated to act as you would like them to. So, if you have had feedback that you stroke your nose, twiddle your thumbs, or stand at the ‘wrong’ side of the stage then provided your audience is engaged, enlightened, educated, entertained and encouraged to act then so what!