Presentations: PowerPoint Is Not Your Autocue

What is it that leads so many presenters to fill their PowerPoint, or other package, slides with an infinite number of bullet points? It may well be that the term ‘death by PowerPoint’ came into being simply because of the number of bullets on offer to the audience at any given time. Recently I received a couple of presentation files to review and it came as no surprise to find each contained over sixty slides for a twenty-minute presentation. That’s a lot of slides for a twenty-minute presentation, especially as there was NOT ONE PICTURE!. Forgive the frustrated shouting, but there are only so many bullet points a man can take.

Presentation slides are really there as a visual aide to support what you are saying and to help your audience get your message and remember it. The clue is in the title. A slide full of text is not a visual aide. At its absolute best, it is a picture of some words that offers no visual stimulus at all. The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ makes clear why we need to use images as part of our presentation. Images are easier for your audience to remember and easier to help them establish context and emotional associations relevant to them.

So why do presenters continue to fill their slides with pages of bullet point text?

In short, the presenters focus is on themselves, and not on their audience. The chances are that they have used their chosen slide package to actually write their presentation. They have captured the key points they want to make and probably then listed any sub topics they plan to cover. Using the slide package makes it easy for the presenter to then play around with the order of their presentation by simply dragging slides around. Their slides are really their cue cards, although they may have those as well, and each point is there to remind them of what they are saying, and what they are going to say next. Unsurprisingly, the result looks like a set of presentation notes. They offer little to engage the audience and the slow boring death begins.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

To help you get the most from your presentation visuals remember:

  • Less is more
  • Make one prime point per slide
  • A picture is worth a thousand words
  • Focus on the needs of your audience
  • Avoid titles and use headlines instead

Preparing For a Great Business Presentation

Great business presentations do not simply happen. Great presenters complete great preparation. Have you prepared? How well? Do you even understand how to prepare? Let’s hit the preparation points hard and get you on the right track.

First, you have to have a great presentation. This begin by collecting the information you intend to present, verifying the accuracy, and ensuring that the information is ready to be placed into the presentation.

Second, you need to have a presentation tool. Today, Microsoft’s PowerPoint is probably the most readily available too. Power point can do a ton of things. Understanding how to use the tool is a big key. We don’t have the time to go into that here, but probably the best way to begin to to begin by opening up a new document, learning how to enter the information, and learning how to modify the appearance. An especially important step is learning to modify the slide master as this will allow you to make one set of global changes that will apply to the entire presentation. You should also take the time to learn how to add graphics and to animate text and graphics. You can probably go from zero to able to prepare a reasonable presentation layout in just a couple of hours. So, you can be afraid, but don’t be very afraid. This is just not that hard.

Next, you should plan to make your presentation on a screen if at all possible. Presenting the presentation around the table works and has some advantages of familiarity. However, this is not the best way to really grab the audience. You want to use the screen. With this mind, try to identify your presentation venue and prepare your presentation accordingly. Venue can effect presentation color, size of text, etc.

Now that all this is ready, prepare your presentation script and convert script to presentation. Next, animate every title item onto the page and animate the bullet or talking points to move the audience along with your presentation. The presentation can effectively be arranged as a feature, advantage benefit format or you can choose a free flow. In my opinion, if you are selling something and if you are giving a presentation you SHOULD be selling something. Don’t bother getting up in front of people unless you know your goal.

The features can be text. Advantages and benefits may be text, but they should have graphic descriptors. Finally, benefits should communicate emotion.

Now, be sure and rehearse. Rehearse using the equipment. Rehearse your talking points. Rehearse hand gestures, adding outside material, planned floor commentary. And, rehearse several times. In many cases, 12X is not over rehearsing. Further, rehearsing gives you the confidence needed to deal with inevitable unexpectedpoints and questions. Good luck and good presenting.

Business Presentation – Your Body Language Can Affect the Audience’s Perception of Your Presentation

When you hear the term “body language,” what comes to mind?

You may have been told that people who cross their arms and legs are “hiding” something. Conversely, you may have heard that those who speak with arms stretched wide are welcoming and open to their listeners.

Well, all that is baloney.

Just like any other theory or set of ideas, the body language mystique may be overused. But there is some wisdom to be gleaned from what is commonly considered to be “body language.” The bottom line is that if you are comfortable in your own skin, you will make your listeners comfortable, too.

When you observe a presentation or presenter, how do you determine that he or she is comfortable with the information being presented? You observe confidence, calm, and command of the topic at hand.

How does this come across to the audience? The presenter is relaxed. The presenter is not over-eager, because the presenter knows that she has something to say. The presenter is calm and self-assured.

What does calm and self-assured look like? You already know. The calm and self-assured presenter exudes expertise and knowledge. He is not thrown by questions, but intrigued by them. She is not threatened by challenges, but enervated by them. In other words, he is confident enough in his expertise to rely on it completely, and to be able to share it with others.

Think about some of the body language you’ve observed in presenters.

Many people who have taken presentation skills classes have been told that they need to make regular eye-contact with the audience.

This may be more difficult to do than to recommend! But it is possible to learn to do well. Recommendations for eye contact do say that you should scan your audience and make eye contact with audience members for a couple of seconds at a time, and then switch your attention to someone else.

Like everything else, this skill can be overused. I have seen presenters who put me in mind of sprinkler heads.

They ratchet their gazes a measured tic at a time across the audience. And the audience becomes intrigued with the “sprinkler head” action of the presenter and loses track of what the poor person is saying!

Have you ever seen a presenter who literally reads the slides to his audience? This has to be one of the most irritating habits of presenters.

If the words are up on the slide on the wall, why read them, line by line to the audience? Often it is because the presenter is not completely comfortable either with the material being presented or with his command of that material.

The best use of slides for the presenter is to use them as an outline for what will be spoken. The presenter should never read the slides to the audience.

What about the overly casual or “friendly” presenter. Well, if time has been set aside for a group to listen to a presenter, it’s generally because there is some important information to communicate.

I have seen presenters sit down, lean back, and just sort of flip through the slides. What is this body language saying to the audience? That the information in the presentation is not important.

Let’s go back to the beginning. If you are comfortable and conversant with the information in your presentation, that confidence will come across to your audience.

If you have checked out the equipment ahead of time, you will handle it confidently during your presentation.

What I’m saying is that your body language will quite naturally reflect your command of your subject and of your equipment.

If you don’t know the material well, you will be nervous, and your nervousness will show. If you fumble around with the equipment, you will make yourself uncomfortable, and your body language will reflect your discomfort.

This does not mean that your only body language “homework” is to know your subject and your equipment.

You may have personal habits which show during your presentations, and you may have to work on these.

They could include an unattractive, slouching posture, a tendency to fidget or jingle pocket change, or a failure to make eye-contact.

All of these are important. All can be practiced, and all can be learned. But they won’t do you much good if you don’t know your material! So start there. The body language will follow.

Salary Negotiation And The Interview Process

Salary negotiation is an art that relies heavily on timing; bring it up too early and you may lose out to competition, bring it up a little late and you may be given a raw deal.

Generally, loyalty although revered and appreciated by most employers, isn’t rewarded very well. Existing ‘loyal’ employees often find themselves struggling to even match the salaries given to new hires, let alone being rewarded for sticking with the organization. It’s no wonder that salary ranks the numbers two reason for attrition, second only to working with bad managers.

For all working individuals, even if it isn’t the reason for the job change, salary is a crucial factor that could decide on the fate of the job application. It is this anxiety that pushes many job seekers to get salary negotiation out of the way – not the right approach.

Here are the key points to remember -


The best negotiators are those who can think from the other person’s point of view. Understand that for the employer to make you an intelligent offer, they will first have to gauge your competency and fitment. Asking for a salary number before you prove your value proposition will not yield an accurate number.

Employers understand the importance of a good pay check and once you’ve demonstrated that you are the best candidate for the job, they may automatically be willing to negotiate in your favor. Acing the job interview is the best way to prove your mettle, so keep the salary for after that meeting.


The interview process introduces many names and faces but not everyone has the power to decide, or even discuss, your enumeration. Be especially careful in the job interview where the interviewer’s objective is to assess you, not talk money. If it’s not on the agenda, you can only harm the final numbers by bringing up the topic.

It is safest to assume that the Human Resources contact is the person with whom you should start the talk about compensation.


Do Your Homework

Employees want the maximum possible salary while employers want to restrict; salary negotiation is a discussion that strikes a mutually acceptable deal between these two objectives.

Intelligent discussions are based on facts and a perspective of your ‘market value’ is definitely helpful. While it may be difficult to get precise numbers, try and get a range from peers, seniors or even recruiting agents.

A few aspects to consider should include cost of living, fixed and variable components, vacation and other non-monetary benefits.

Haste Equals Waste

Timing is the bread and butter of the true negotiator. You will most likely be asked, “How much are you expecting” or “What number do you have in mind”. Answer diplomatically with “I know that you are a great employer and I expect you to value me correctly.”

A surprising fact is that many of us undermine ourselves and by quoting a figure first, the negotiation starts at a lower level than where the employer would have begun.

Once you’ve done your research and know your minimum, stick to it. You may really want the job, but employers also really really want good employees.

Your Negotiating Power

Employers want great candidates and although they may try to strike a bargain it is important that you highlight your key strengths to substantiate your negotiation.

These are helpful pointers to build on -

  1. Key achievements
  2. Relevant professional skills
  3. Ability to take on more responsibility
  4. Soft skills such as communication and teamwork
  5. Flexibility to travel or work shifts
  6. Long term perspective (loyalty)


  1. Act desperate
  2. Seem indifferent (you have to show enthusiasm)
  3. Cook up fake offers with inflated salaries

Remember To

Weigh Opportunity vs Pay Check

Many job seekers err in judging a job only by the salary that they take home. Employment should be viewed as a long term engagement and before deciding on the offer consider factors such as job profile, organization work culture, growth and travel prospects, and learning opportunities.

Get It In Print

A job offer is a contract and like any other deal you must ensure that the promised terms and conditions are comprehensively reflected in writing. People and situations can change rapidly, and ambiguity will seldom work in your favor.

Not Burn Bridges

Know what you want and go for it; just in case things don’t work out, act gracefully. There are many considerations that determine the appointment of a candidate and several are not in control of the job seeker. The candidate cannot influence factors such as budget cuts and changes in management strategy.

If the decision is not in your favor thank the team and reiterate your enthusiasm towards the organization. Good candidates that are not selected are often kept in mind for future positions.

Negotiating salary is not solely about getting a higher number, it is about ensuring that you grasp a great opportunity and get rewarded well while converting the opportunity to success.

Credit Card Debt Negotiation Provides Relief to Consumers

Any large debts, especially those involving credit, are a huge headache for the consumer who might need debt negotiation to ease their financial burden. Credit card companies bury consumers with late payment and annual charges, high monthly payments and skyrocketing interest rates. One of the most popular methods of relieving this burden is to turn to credit card debt negotiation.

While many people think that there is no way to reduce their credit card debt, there is a solution. By reaching out to professionals who can aid assist in reducing your debts and maintaining your positive credit ratings, your financial life can soon become stress free and manageable.

In our modern world, credit cards are abundant everywhere and give the consumer more protection and convenience than cold, hard cash. Plastic money have revolutionize the banking and finance industries, and provided the consumer with purchasing power they might not readily have at any given moment.

Consumers sometimes overextend themselves and wind up in increasing financial straits because of the ease and simplicity of using plastic cards. This is where a debt negotiation might be necessary to prevent a consumer from filing for bankruptcy and ruining their credit history.

Bankruptcy might not always be the answer for every financial problem, and few consumers even know the laws regarding bankruptcy. It is, perhaps, best to try and contact a debt negotiation professional to ascertain if your financial situation warrants such drastic measures as bankruptcy.

Credit card debt negotiation settlements are arrangements made with a bank in which people present their case concerning their dire financial conditions, as well as other reasons why they cannot meet their monthly payments.

Consumers attempt to negotiate their debts in order to reduce monthly payments to a more manageable, minimum amount, while also trying to decrease their total remaining debt. A debt negotiation also might deem it necessary to pay off the late payment and annual fee penalties.

In order to prevent filing for bankruptcy, credit card debt negotiation will aid the consumer in rescheduling their credit card debts and keep interest rates low, while at the same time, save good credit histories and credit scores for the consumer.

Credit card debt negotiation gives consumers a light at the end of their financial tunnel. Consumers’ monthly budgets and savings will remain stable and manageable because of healthy and prompt negotiations with the banks that issued the consumer’s credit cards.

Banks do not want consumers filing for bankruptcy either. They would rather that the consumer attempt to repay their debts and remain a customer rather than going to drastic measures such as filing for bankruptcy.

Consumers average about $14,000 in credit card debt! It’s no wonder why working couples and singles fall behind in their payments to credit card companies. Most find they fall behind in payments and become victim to collection calls from creditors, as well as increasingly greater interest fees on the original debts. Here are some ways to protect you from personal debt pitfalls:

  • Talk to your credit card company the moment you feel yourself falling behind in your payments. Your creditors are more than willing to talk to you. Begin the channel of communication early on, be honest and you might find yourself surprised at how far creditors are willing to go to help you maintain your credit status and history.
  • Never become irritated or angry with your creditors. Stay calm and clear-headed, and remember that the creditors are there to help you. And you can sour a debt negotiation by your attitude, arrogance, threats and foul language.
  • Doing something positive by contacting your creditors will pay off in the long run. You will be able to pay off what you owe while, at the same time, the interest on your credit card might be frozen, in most cases.
  • Do not let a credit woe get to the point where it is completely out of control. You might end up owing more money than you originally owed. Credit card debt negotiation will promote a healthy financial relationship with your creditors, and relieve a stressful situation for you and your family.

Role of Body Language in Business Negotiation

I believe you always desire the best in your business negotiations. I know that you want to achieve your negotiation goals and objectives, and have winning scenarios. Aren’t these your negotiation aspirations? For a start, we know that body language is the unspoken or non-verbal mode of communication. It comprises the poise, feel, movement of hands and objects, smiles and frowns, eye contact and numerous other gestures and wordless cues that we exhibit during communications. In real life situations, the greater part of the messages that we convey to other people are transmitted through body language. Now, what is the value of body language in business negotiation?

  • Body language is part of emotional intelligence. It relates to the heart. The heart and the head are two minds – the emotional and rational. These two minds operate together and you need to appeal to both to win negotiations.
  • You can attune and connect to people you are negotiating with through body language. You can successfully establish a sense of rapport and later a good flow of discussion by matching body patterns. Haven’t you ever felt that emphatic accuracy that makes you understand people’s thoughts, feelings and intentions? Are you able to recognize and respond fittingly to people’s feelings and concerns? The answer partly lies in your ability to read and interpret this language.
  • During business negotiations you may unknowingly send wrong signals to people through your non-verbal communication. For example, you may manifest absence, lack of authority and confidence, deceit etc and these may negatively affect negotiations. People can also know when you are hiding something. What do people read in your gestures?
  • Similarly, by reading and understanding the other team’s mode you can get signals being sent to you. For instance, they may be signaling to you that they have tabled their best offer, or alternatively they are thinking or possibly need reassurance from you. Do you know that a simple thing like being time barred is clearly manifested through body language? You can even read the urgency to conclude the deal and this can give you a negotiating leverage. Now, if you can’t make use of these then you may not be a good negotiator.
  • You can successfully see and diffuse stalemates in business negotiations through the use of non-verbal communication. Don’t you think so? When you notice stalemate-causing tension building up by the way people are sitting and avoiding eye contact, for example, you can initiate a shift in sitting which most likely will be followed by the others. Through such wise approaches you can diffuse stalemates and continue negotiating.
  • You can also deploy the art of body language to persuade and influence people. You can also develop trust and confidence through the same.
  • Proper reading of this communication mode can also enable you know when you have crossed safely guarded and preserved boundaries. You may then need to exercise more courtesy and slow down on some aspects. When negotiating with people from different cultures for example, certain signs are red flags of cultural mistakes.
  • You can also use body language to manifest and confirm fairness and consideration of the interest of both parties in your negotiations. Through this you can also know when your partners are happy with the deal, can’t you? In negotiation, if you don’t work for a win-win situation you will eventually lose.

To be a winning negotiator you have to deploy the above techniques. These issues even go beyond an individual in the negotiating team. All team members need to understand and appreciate the above principles. I believe you agree with me, don’t you?

You can also visit The Wise Entrepreneur for more resources on enterprise management.

Till then,

Clayton Mwaka

5 Successful Negotiation Tips

Most of us negotiate on a daily basis without knowing it. Any time we enter into a discussion where we try to find common ground and agree an outcome with the other party, we are negotiating.

If we think that we have to bargain for something more than we are being offered, whether it is something that you want to achieve in your career, when you are buying something or just dealing with other people as you go about your daily business, we negotiate to get to a favourable outcome.

Whilst many people say that negotiation is an art, it can bring out the best and worst in people, depending upon how important the subject of discussion is to each individual involved. Whilst it can also be fun, negotiation is not generally a game that people can play anytime, as it usually means a dispute or tension of some kind. This is why so many people view negotiation as something to be avoided.

Since it involves two-way communication, the outcome of every negotiation is influenced by the mind-set, abilities, and techniques used by the parties to the negotiation. However, learning the right way of negotiating will vastly improve your chances of achieving a successful outcome and the following five tips for successful negotiation will help you:

1. Time it right
The outcome of any negotiation is dependent upon getting the timing right. To achieve this you should try to organize and plan the circumstances for the negotiation beforehand. This also involves considering the possible outcomes of the negotiation so that you can understand the variables that are most important to you, such as bonuses, price, delivery times, credit terms, guarantees, etc.

2. Manage yourself
Before you enter into a negotiation, you should evaluate yourself first. Are you able to manage your own feelings? Keep in mind that when emotions run high about the topic under discussion, the outcome is less likely to be as productive as it could be if the discussion is business-like.

3. Know what you are getting into
Do you know who are you dealing with? What are the traits, attitude, and beliefs of the person you’re going to negotiate with? Are they the type of person that is likely to work with you to achieve a win-win situation, i.e. one where both of you are satisfied with the outcome?

4. Be attentive. Learn to listen well!
One of the reasons why negotiations are unsuccessful or turn negative is that many people do not practice attentive listening. People are so busy stressing their points and stating their desires that they forget to listen properly to the other side of the discussion. Keep in mind that negotiating has to be a two-way communication to be effective – it will never work if the discussion is one- way traffic.

Experts say that in order to have a successful negotiation, people should learn to apply the so- called 80/20 ruling. This means that people should spend 80% of their time listening and only 20% talking. If you use this guideline you will definitely be able to understand the other side of the story, and be much more likely to achieve a successful negotiation outcome.

5. Be ready to walk away
Never be pressured to win a negotiation. Keep in mind that it may not always be a win-win situation for you. In fact, one of the greatest mistakes people commit is that they are too determined to achieve their own goals, such that they create an all or nothing scenario in their own minds.

You should always try to be open to alternative outcomes, so that you always have a choice. But, never assume when you negotiate that there is a point of no return. In your own preparation you should establish your own point for walking away if the negotiations are not going well for you and you have no chance of achieving the outcome that you are seeking.

Remember that successful negotiations always follow a logical pattern and if you use the above tips to plan your own approach you will definitely increase your chance of achieving the successful outcome that you desire.

Bullying Can Be Scary, But Good When Negotiating – Negotiation Tip of the Week

Have you ever felt bullied when negotiating? Did you find it scary? Bullying can be scary when negotiating but it can also be good. It all depends on which side you’re on.

The following are thoughts you can implement to project the persona of a bully when negotiating, along with how to thwart a bully’s efforts if you’re the target of bullying.

Good Cop – Bad Cop

This tactic is old, tired, and used excessively, and yet it still works. When you know the opposing negotiators are using this tactic, call them on it. Tell them that you know what they’re doing and ask if they’d like to change the tone of the negotiation. If they dismiss your accusation as folly and/or refuse to alter their tactics call your own bad cop into the negotiation. If you’re forced to do so, make sure your bad cop is bigger and bolder than their bad cop.

Negotiating with subordinates can suck.

Be on guard when negotiating with the other negotiator’s subordinates. This can be the setup for the good cop – bad cop tactic and/or used to soften you up. Some negotiation teams will use several layers of subordinates for you to negotiate against; this process can also be a mild form of bullying because you’re being mentally manipulated throughout the negotiation process. If you suspect you’ll be in such a situation, set time frames for how long you’ll negotiate. Don’t spend more time than you’ve allotted in any one aspect of the negotiation. You want to get to the real power source that you’ll eventually be negotiating with as quickly as possible.

Know the target of a bully’s negotiation efforts.

Have you ever felt used? Most people have at some point in their life. When negotiating, there will be times when you’re not the end target of someone that’s attempting to bully you. Instead, the bully will be positioning himself for a potential negotiation confrontation with another entity; that’s another reason I say you’re always negotiating.

You can gain clues regarding whether you’re the intended target by observing if the bully appears to be committing overkill on his pronouncements, or if his behavior seems to be over-the-top. Once again, bring your perspective to his attention and note any change that occurs after that. If he continues to be obstinate, leave him to negotiate with himself. Never place yourself in an unintended position where you must subjugate yourself to his bullying efforts to obtain what you need.

Leave the back door open.

Always leave a back door through which you or the other negotiator can escape to save face. When negotiating with a bully, that back door can be in the form of you bringing in a different negotiator, a bully of your own; therein lies how you can also use the good cop bad cop tactic.

As you can tell, bullying can be scary when negotiating, but you can turn a bully’s efforts against him and use his tactics to your advantage. The next time you’re in a negotiation, understand what the bully’s intent is, who he’s posturing for, and what his real efforts are geared to obtain. Having that information in your repertoire will allow you to address the negotiation more adroitly… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.