Presentation Skills: Do You Know Your Audience?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea of public speaking – be it from nervousness or excitement – that we often do not have a clear idea about those to whom we will be addressing. In truth, you cannot even begin to create your presentation until you know about your audience. And, the best way to gain that information is to ask.

Someone is going to email you, phone you, or send you an actual letter with an invitation to speak to their group or at their conference. Your job is to then ask questions. Speak directly to the individual inviting you. If the person inviting you is calling you on behalf of someone else, ask the questions anyway. Make a list of the questions for which you need answers; refer to them throughout your conversation; and, if the individual inviting you does not know the answer, make sure he or she gets back to you.

If a company is hiring you to speak to their employees, find out the level of the employees. Will it be just the managers and/or the top level administrative staff or will it be a particular department within the company?

If you are speaking at a convention, find out who is invited to attend. Is it a real estate convention in which your audience will consist of realtors who have paid hundreds of dollars for a Vegas weekend or is it a flower show in which your audience will pay at the door to browse the displays?

Should you be invited to speak to a local club or organization which meets monthly, for example, ask the same questions. The more information you can gain about your audience, the better prepared you will be.

After you have gotten your answers, go to their website and do more research. Whether it is a convention, a business, or a local club, read all the literature you can about that organization or company especially press material. You may find something in your research that could be very advantageous to know before addressing that group.

Even if you are speaking to a local chapter of a club, search the internet for any press coverage they may have had recently. Businesses and clubs will be impressed if you are familiar with their firm or organization. Being on top of current events makes you more knowledgeable and thus increases your level of credibility.

No matter how much money you are being paid, or whether you are doing it for free, no matter where and when your presentation, no matter if it is 10 minutes in length or 40, no matter what your topic, no matter why you are speaking, the most important question you must answer is: to whom are you speaking?

4 Steps To Successfully Negotiate With Your Client

So what are the best ways to approach a negotiation? Well there are essentially four steps to most negotiations; preparing, setting up, negotiating and closing.

So if you’re negotiating with your client, here are a few tips for each stage of the process:

1. Preparing

  • Take time to familiarise yourself with all the details of the deal to help build your confidence during the negotiation
  • Decide three things before going into the deal: a) what your ideal outcome is b) what you’d be happy with and c) the point at which you’ll abandon the deal
  • Work out what the ‘worst case scenario’ impact (financial or otherwise) would be to you/your business
  • If possible, try to get an idea of what’s important to the other side and even try to test their position before you go into the negotiation itself (knowledge represents the upper hand)
  • Always aim realistically high and hold this position as long as you can. You can always come down but you won’t be able to push it back up
  • Be prepared to justify your starting position and also be prepared to say no
  • Prepare what you have to ‘trade’ with – and prioritize these things in order of value to you.
  • Remember that what you decide during this negotiation will set a precedent for what happens in the future i.e. once you make ‘allowances’ for no reason, expect your client to ask for similar concessions in the future – you’re making a rod for your own back if you do!

2. Setting up

  • Try not to be intimidated by the other side’s demeanour, data, facts, stats etc. but try to anticipate what they will begin with and what you’ll respond with
  • Lay out the agenda for the negotiation but try not to be the one who reveals a starting position first
  • Be inquisitive and use intelligent questions to garner more information. Don’t try to convince the other side to come round to your way of thinking and don’t be over-emotional
  • Sound ‘sure’ when you state your position and have the confidence to request clearly what you’re looking for.
  • Anticipate that the other side will be challenging your position/pricing
  • Decide that you will stay strong if the other side decides to play power games such as ‘good cop bad cop’ or aggression to force their position

3. Negotiating

  • Never give something without asking for something in return. Take your time and don’t be too quick to change your position when the other side pushes.
  • If you lower your price then the scope of what you are providing for that fee should change in accordance e.g. “if you’d like to reduce the overall cost, we can replace the X element with X (i.e. a cheaper component)’ or “how about we only allow for one round of amendments rather than two, which will reduce the overall cost by X” etc.
  • If a question or point comes up that you haven’t anticipated, don’t feel pressured to decide on your response then and there, take time to think before you answer.
  • Don’t be inflexible, aim to be as co-operative as possible throughout the negotiation
  • Ask questions “What is important to you about… ?” “What if we gave you X and you gave us Y in return”? “What is most valuable for you/your company?”
  • Don’t undervalue your position by agreeing to split the difference
  • Focus on the value you bring, not the price (find out what the other side values)

4. Closing

  • The end of the negotiation is where most concessions are made, stay logical and don’t be fooled by ‘last minute’ tactics to throw the negotiation off course
  • Aim for a win/win position but at least ensure the other side feels they have gained something valuable from the negotiation
  • Don’t be forced into a bad deal. It’s better to walk away than accept something that hasn’t been thought through properly

Have you founds these points useful? What other negotiation tips would you offer to someone who you’ve found helpful?

Success Secret – What’s More Important, The Present Or The Future?

Successful people have found a success secret that allows them to reach unprecedented levels of success. It’s time that you know just what this success secret is so that you can begin to apply it to your own life.

The first thing that you need to know is that most successful people don’t have any more talents or abilities than you do. The reason why they are so successful is because they know and apply certain success secrets in their lives. So if you found out what these secrets are and begin to apply them to your own life you will be able to reach great levels of success in your own life.

One success secret that almost all successful people understand can be found in a quote by Jerry Seinfeld who said, ‘I was in the drug store the other day trying to get a cold medication…Not easy. There’s an entire wall of products you need. You stand there going, Well, this one is quick acting but this is long lasting… Which is more important, the present or the future?’

Here’s the success secret: most unsuccessful people focus on the quick acting, quick fix, remedies that merely put a band-aid on it, where successful people are more concerned about the long-lasting well being of not only their own life, but the lives of their families as well. Successful people are willing to go through upfront discomfort and pain in able to have the long-term benefits of success. On the other hand, unsuccessful people don’t want to suffer so they find the quick fix only to find out the problem was merely covered up and will keep coming up again and again until it is dealt with properly.

An example of this success secret in action can be found in the way many people handle their finances. Many financially successful people today were willing to live below their means in the early parts of their life so that they could build true wealth. As a result, they can now buy whatever they want, live however they want, and travel wherever they want.

Other people just throw this success secret out the window because they want to have everything right now. So they buy the most expensive car, house, clothes, and vacations that they can but never get ahead financially in life. They are more focused on the present than they are on the future.

What will you do with this success secret? Will you throw it out so that you can enjoy the brief relief of success now or will you apply it to your life so that you can live a life full of success and leisure in the future?

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