On average, an employee spends more than 6,000 hours in meetings throughout his entire career. That’s almost nine months! With all the employees involved and numbers of hours spent in meetings, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd and impress others. Here are some tricks that one can use during a meeting to make you look smart. You may even recognize some which are used by others.
1. “Will it scale?”
This has been voted one of the most asked during a meeting but it’s a question surprisingly few people can answer. Scalability usually refers to the growth of certain areas. It can be used in a technological, social or environmental context. Companies want to grow and innovate, so asking this question is like digging into the future of an organization. Someone has to answer this unmeasurable question, and the answer lies in the department heads.
2. “Let’s take a step back, what exactly are we trying to solve?”
Everyone is contributing ideas to the meeting, and you have gone blank for two minutes with no idea of what is going on. What should you do when it is your turn to speak up? Bring the crowd back to the original objective of the meeting by asking “Let’s take a step back, what exactly are we trying to solve?”. No one will realise that you just answered a question by asking another one.
3. “What do YOU think about this?”
This one is for when you finish a presentation and your colleagues go quiet and avoid eye contact. It’s a conversation starter, and while it can be scary to put someone on the spot, it is a surefire way to make sure that you squeeze additional insights out of attendees of the meeting who aren’t usually one to raise their voice. Do not pick the same person every time though, as it’s the quickest way to make an enemy. Vary the answers. Win-Win!
4. “How can I be of greater help on that?”
By asking this question, it shows that you think independently and are willing to carry more responsibilities. You are outstanding at your assigned duty and are capable of accomplishing more. Moreover, this reveals your leadership skills as you are putting yourself in the CEO’s shoes by asking “What can you do for your company?”. Every CEO wants his/her employees to be engaged and efficient.
5. “I think this is beneficial to our department, however, I want to be sure the same goes to the marketing team. Do we have a strategy to [work with them]?”
Organizational silo is every CEO’s nightmare. HR managers spend hours trying to set up lunch events and happy hours to get every employee involved. Your boss or the CEO would be thrilled if each department asks this question. It shows that you value teamwork and are willing to cooperate.
6. “Whom else have we talked to about this?”
This question is highly appreciated by the managers since departments have their own meetings. There is little chance that different departments have meetings together. Having meetings with different departments helps increase productivity. Sometimes outsiders can spot the key solution for current challenge by bringing in fresh eyes and minds. In fact, studies show that 72% of award-winning projects are combinations of inputs by knowledgeable people and complete outsiders.
7. “Is this the correct direction we are taking?”
By asking is the company is heading in the right direction, it shows that you have thoroughly thought about the plan in discussion. It allows people to reflect on the issues. Also, it shows that leadership skills you have and you are guiding the crowd towards the goal.
8. “What are the milestones?”
Asking someone about milestones allows that person to rethink the sustainability of their plans. It is extremely important to set milestones throughout the process since almost no plan is achieved without adjustments. Therefore, setting up milestones gives employees achievable goals and room for adjustment.
9. “How can this benefit our company?”
Any talk or plan would be useless if the company cannot extract profit. It also shows that you think like the CEO and are concerned about the profitability of the company. After all, individual departments tend to focus on their own operations and may overlook the big picture.
10. “Why are we not doing that?”
The right questions to ask when deciding on a specific strategy would be “why are we doing this” and “why are we not doing that”. When confronted with these two questions, people are forced to think about the merits and demerits of choosing one over the other. It shows your ability to think ahead and guide the crowd as a leader.
11. “Would you mind clarifying that again”
When someone in a meeting uses a relatively technical term that you are having difficulty understanding, ask the person to explain again. Nobody expects you to be a genius. If you are struggling to keep up, ask them to clarify what they mean. You will most likely not be the only one in the room who does not understand. Even you have little knowledge about the term, by asking, you can get the explanation without admitting that you are lost.
12. Use abbreviation “What is our MRR next month? How this helps in reducing our CPU?”
Whenever someone uses abbreviated business terms in meetings, I personally admire them more. It shows their immense knowledge pool and sophisticated mind. Or…you just end up looking like a douche. You can at the same time show off and confuse people, they will be impressed even though they might not know what these terms mean.
13. “I’ll email the summary of what we have discussed”
To make you look extra caring during a meeting, tell them that you are going to send a short summary of the meeting. You can jot down the main points of the meeting as you go along, but also be sure to make an audio recording in case you miss something. It shows that you care about the meeting and value the content.
14. “ Should we be doing this instead of that?”
This question shows that you have knowledge of all the available options for the project. By asking this question, you allow everyone to step back and consider the options and show how much you value the benefits to the company.
15. “WHY is not the question but HOW?”
This question allows your colleagues to re-evaluate the feasibility of the project and focus on the procedures it takes to get it done. Your colleagues may not necessarily fully understand the actions needed to accomplish the projects. Therefore, it is important and smart to ask how to reach goals.
16. “What are the details of this plan?”
When someone puts out a plan that seems too good to be true, ask them this question. It shows whether the plan is merely conceptual or if the presenter has prepared details to substantiate it and show its feasibility. It is a good question to keep the conversation going and get everyone involved.
17. “How can we attract customers that are as influential as our existing ones?”
Ask questions using examples of big customers that ideally were brought in by you and your team. It presents people with excellent work that you and your team have worked hard to secure. Alternatively, you can use other examples to show others that you are knowledgeable about the company’s performance.
18. “Can we have a more detailed conversation after lunch?”
When people raise questions that you cannot answer or do not have the materials to support, use this sentence. It will buy you some time to prepare your response. Others will think that the content is too important or too long to be discussed over a meeting.
19. “It has been proven that our strategy has worked out, there was a 20 per cent increase in…..”
Providing evidence or data about the company’s current situation shows that you are aware of the company’s operations and you are not making up your statements. Your CEO will be delighted that an employee is keeping track of the company’s performance.
20. “I personally consider the other plan more interesting but this one is the most beneficial for the company for now…”
When you have a personal preference for a certain plan but also feel that another plan would be more suitable for the company, you can express the reasoning behind your choice. It shows that you have been thinking critically about the company’s interests and are able to justify your ideas.
21. “[Name] in the product department said that they are having….”
When mentioning or quoting your colleagues from another department, you show your respect and connection with your colleagues. It emphasizes that you have good relationships with other departments and are involved in ongoing communication with them.
22. “Are there any more questions regarding the presentation?”
Always use this question as the ending of a presentation. It gives the impression that you are well-prepared with relevant knowledge and are able to take on any questions regarding your presentation topic.
Meetings can get boring, and yes, it is very hard for us all to stay focused for the entire time. But with a few of these questions up your sleeve, you’ll not be left looking clueless.
Handling a meeting is quite the art, but it’ll be a breeze once you master the skill of asking the right questions and demonstrating your insights and abilities through your speech. Show your skills off at the next meeting you attend and sit back as you see the room listen and pay attention.
With over 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day, this indispensable software has long been integrated into our everyday lives, whether for educational purposes or work. We often turn to this handy software when we need to introduce certain ideas to a group of people, as a thousand-word report can easily be condensed into a visual presentation. The experience a good PowerPoint deck provides can effectively engage the audience; aiding them in quickly understanding the material being conveyed, and easing what would have otherwise been a tedious process for both speaker and audience.
Presentations can also act as notes or reminders for the speaker, and the natural confidence that comes from knowing the script paves the way for a captivating performance. But here’s the thing — most of us know the benefits of having great presentations, the only question is how. How do we make a good PowerPoint deck that is effective, without sacrificing too much of our time?
How To Make a Good PowerPoint Presentation
Trust us, it’s easier than it sounds. We’re giving you 9 hacks to help you get started.
1. It’s All About the Design
Fancy fonts and flashy animations? Pretty cool, but if you’re keeping it professional and stylish, leave that behind for now. Avoid cheesy effects and focus on simple designs as a deck with minimal clutter and distractions work best in capturing your audience’s attention. This is particularly important when what they have to pay attention to, is distinctive. Keep three things in mind:
Use only fonts that are easy to read. Sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri are the easiest to read on screens. If you want to spice things up, use decorative fonts for slide headers, but make sure they’re legible, even from afar.
Use dark text on a light background. Research has proven that dark text on a light background is the best combination as white stimulates focus in the eye, and allows smoother absorption of information.
Align text left or right. Aligning all text to a baseline makes it easier for the audience to follow, gives the presentation a neater look overall.
2. Customize Your Theme
There is a reason why we get bored when we see the standard templates from PowerPoint — they’ve been used far too many times. A slide deck that is visually similar to what an audience has seen repeatedly will not appear fresh or interesting, making information retention and engagement that much harder to achieve. To avoid a cookie-cutter and forgettable presentation, you can either create your own template, purchase professional ones online, or download free ones from the internet (psst, we help companies create templates too!).
Avoid overwhelming the audience with too many things all at once. A good PowerPoint presentation has both visual and verbal brevity, allowing the audience to remain focused on one point at a time. Instead of packing all the information into one slide, spread them evenly across a few slides to avoid distracting or confusing the audience. If you have a lot of information and data that needs to be shared with the audience, prepare a separate set of documents for them to review, or send out the slides with greater detail after the presentation.
4. More Images, Less Text
If someone tells you about a giant chicken crossing a road, in your head, would you think of an animal walking against traffic, or the words itself? Chances are, you’ll conjure an image in your head, as ridiculous as it sounds.
There’s a reason for that. As humans, we generally prefer visuals over text — in fact, the combination of a great visual accompanied by a short list of brief bullet points increases the chances of information making it to long-term memory. Be sure to use only high-quality images as they are the ones that will help you make an impression on the audience. Either resize or replace images that are too small or they might become overly stretched-out.
5. Use the Great Alignment Feature
Properly aligning your images, texts, and anything else that is on your slide instantly makes it look neater and more professional. While manually aligning everything is an option, our aim here is to get the deck done in the shortest amount of time. Here’s where PowerPoint helps you out; there is an amazing feature that effortlessly makes the magic happen.
To align multiple objects:
Select all objects by holding down ‘Shift’ and clicking on all of them.
Select ‘Arrange’ in the top options bar, then choose ‘Align or Distribute’.
Choose whichever alignment works best for you.
That wasn’t hard, was it? Keep this little trick with you, especially if you can’t stand having slide elements just slightly off-centre.
6. Know the Power of Colors
Colors are amazing, and they can do wonders to a presentation. Studies have shown that colors can not only increase interest, but also improve learning comprehension and retention rate. Cool colors (such as blue and green) are better suited to be used for the background as they have the illusion of fading away from us, whereas warm colors (such as orange and red) are better used for objects in the foreground as they appear to be coming toward us. Good PowerPoint presentations make use of colors effectively to achieve various outcomes, such as highlighting messages or ideas that the audience needs to focus on, or pushing less relevant data into the background.
While it is exciting to play with different combinations of colors on a slide, for simplicity, keep it to a maximum of three colors; one for your background, one for your text, and one to highlight any important information.
7. Remember the 2/4/8 Rule
If you’re worried about content and how it should be placed or split up, a simple way to remember is the 2/4/8 rule from Hugh Culver:
No more than one slide every 2 minutes
No more than 4 bullets per slide
No more than 8 words per bullet
This is not a rigid system; if your presentation is only 5 minutes, having only one slide every 2 minutes might not be enough. You’ll need to trust your instincts and modify accordingly, keeping in mind that brevity is key.
8. Use Charts
Data is beautiful, but not when it’s squeezed into a slide that forces your audience to rack their brains in an attempt to comprehend it. If data is a necessity in your presentation, extract only the necessary information and display these numbers in graphic form instead. It is essential to choose the right kind of charts for your data, as different charts bring across different messages.
Look, data can be beautiful too! =)
Pie Charts. They are mainly used to present percentages. Contrast the most important slice either with a conflicting colour or by separating it from the rest of the slices.
Vertical Bar Charts. They can effectively reflect changes in quantity of two groups (or more) over time, but it is ideal to limit the bars to not more than 8.
Horizontal Bar Charts. They are best used for comparison between different groups.
Line Charts. They are used to reflect actual trends, or predict possible trends.
9. Organize Your Slides
The slide sorter function often goes ignored, but in fact, it is extremely useful in organizing the entire flow of your presentation and helping you look out for any extraneous information that might be removed to improve the overall clarity. Take a step back and run through your slides as you would from someone who is seeing it all for the first time. Process all the content being fed as your harshest critic—focus on coming up with the best and most logical flow and remove anything that might prove distracting or unnecessary in helping you understand a certain point.
In a generation so highly dependent on the use of technology, it is crucial that we understand the rules of the playing field and are able to manipulate technology well enough to suit our needs. These simple hacks are what you need to create a powerful presentation quickly and effectively. Just remember:
It’s All About the Design
Customize Your Theme
Conciseness is Key
More Images, Less Text
Use the Great Alignment Feature
Know the Power of Colors
Remember the 2/4/8 Rule
Organize Your Slides
With all these in mind, you’re good to go. Have fun creating your slides!
Say you’ve gone into a negotiation, confident you’d clinch the deal, only to find that you’ve been flat out rejected or worse – the potential prospect suddenly decides they don’t want to work with you at all. What went wrong?
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the best negotiation skills are through dominating or bullying someone into submission. If not, they make the mistake of being too submissive instead.
The result? A recipe for disaster. Hard-bargaining not only ruins deals but future business relationships as well. Being too submissive, on the other hand, incur more losses.
But whether we like it or not, everyone is a negotiator and has something to negotiate every day whether it be haggling over the price of a new car, persuading a toddler to eat his peas or convincing a client why they should choose your pitch. This skill is part of our lives and is inevitable – especially in business transactions and disputes.
There are many effective and different kinds of negotiation strategies and tactics but what makes one a great negotiator is the ability to combine these strategies to provide a win-win solution in the right place and at the right time. All in all, great negotiators are those who are hardworking, have good timing and have a little bit of luck on their side.
Hence, here are 20 tips that will help hone your negotiating skills so you stick out from the average Joes:
1. Plan ahead
According to experts, effective negotiation is 80% preparation. So if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Before every negotiation, it’s extremely important to come prepared with a plan and backup. A good plan consists of thorough research and homework of your opponent and their situation before hand.
This is because when you come in knowing your stuff, you’ll instantly sound much more confident – and that much more convincing. Doing otherwise will only make others take you less seriously and you may also not strike the best deal.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before a negotiation:
What is my end goal?
Are these the right questions to ask?
What questions will my opponent ask?
How do I answer my opponents?
2. Don’t be a pushover
How you sound, act or behave can determine what others will think of you – especially during first impressions. If you let others control your actions or easily give in to them, there is no way you can ever clinch a successful deal. To do so, you must come in confident and assertive yet not too aggressive at the same time. Not only will you convince the other party, you will also get the deal done on your terms.
Although not everyone is naturally confident, the first step is to look the part. A study found that 93% feel non-verbal communication affects their opinion of others. So be conscious of your gestures, your posture and how you hold your head.
3. Asking (the right) questions
Here’s an example: you want to buy the cheapest fish in the market. You ask all kinds of questions like how many shops sell this particular fish and which is the most expensive to the least. You even find out the name of the shop that sells the freshest fish. But, you did not ask the right question which was where you can buy the cheapest fish.
Although it’s good to ask as many questions as you can to gain insight, it’s much more important to ask the right ones. Asking the right questions not only saves you a lot of time, it provides you with the information you need first and foremost so you can negotiate much more effectively. Therefore, always prioritise and think of the questions that will benefit you the most. The other questions will provide bonus information.
4. Lay everything out
As Harvard Business School professor, Deepak Malhotra would say, “negotiate multiple interests simultaneously.”
In his book “Negotiating the Impossible”, it explains that by having several offers or issues laid out by you and your opponent, it makes it easier for negotiators to make wise tradeoffs. This means they can fight for what matters to them most while giving up what the other side values more.
Many of us make the mistake of negotiating one issue at a time which will often lead to everyone fighting hard for whatever that happens to be offered. This will less likely provide what everyone truly wants out of the deal.
Sometimes, negotiating deals can get a little too intense between you and the other party. So what can be done to help deescalate the situation? Showing positive facial expressions.
This is because your facial expression have the ability to influence your emotions and others around you as well.
One of the ways to show positive facial expressions is to smile. It naturally creates a higher frequency of sound in your mouth, changing the overall tone of your voice. And due to the human instinct of mirroring, it will also likely make others smile along with you which then improves the mood of everyone in general. However, it is important to smile genuinely. A forced smile will only end up making you look confused and frustrated.
6. Build bridges instead of walls
The most effective negotiators are professionals who know their business and don’t let personalities and irrational behavior interfere with their mission. While they know it is good to have power in a negotiation, they are also thinking long-term for their company. This means building a good relationship with their opponent and not straining it.
Building good relationships with other parties is essential especially if you are negotiating with them on a regular basis. This is because if the other party was threatened into submission, they probably will make it harder for you in the next negotiation or worse, stop negotiating with you again, possibly cutting off any future business.
7. Focus less on your limitations and more on your opponent’s
Focusing on your weaknesses or limitations too much will naturally make you believe your offer is less desirable than your opponent’s. This then makes you believe you are in a less powerful position which can affect your negotiating. Do not dwell on your limitations as your opponent will be able to sense your concerns and grab onto that weakness to their advantage.
Instead, focus on their’s instead. Asking the right questions and finding out what they’re trying to solve and why they need to solve them, will help you gain leverage in a negotiation. This is because gaining the upper hand when it comes to negotiating is about focusing on the pressures that your opponent face.
8. Know your opponents
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”
By further understanding your opponents better, the easier it is for you to know what their wants and needs are which puts you in a favourable position. To understand them better, always ask as many open-ended questions as possible to gather all the details you can about them.
So if you’re going to ask for something, take the time to find out what motivates that person. Then, make an offer that fuels their motivation. It is important to make them feel as if they are the ones being satisfied as it makes them much more open to giving you what you need.
But, if they still do not want to agree to your terms, don’t lash out and attack them. Instead, think what could possibly motivate the other party while you try to achieve your desired goal as well.
With that said, this does not mean that you give them everything they want – it’s about fulfilling what their basic requirements are while fulfilling yours. Make it a win-win situation.
9. Adapt to the situation
Many of us seem to have the misconception that being assertive, dominant and fearless will be sure fire way to help us clinch the deal. But in some cases, the key to a successful negotiation isn’t exactly about being dominant but rather about finding common ground.
Experts like Researcher Scott Wiltermuth explains this concept over at the Harvard Business Review where successful negotiations are more about finding a complementary relationship than it is about being assertive. This sometimes mean being submissive.
This is achieved when two parties reach dominance complementarity whereby one person in an interaction behaves differently from the other. This means if one negotiator acts submissive the other will act more dominant. Research shows that these individuals who achieve dominance complementarity reached better deals than pairs who are not. In short, this means learning when it is the right time to be aggressive and when not to to be.
10. Listen More than You Talk
“If I listen, I have the advantage, If I speak, others have it.”
Listening sounds simple but it takes effort, energy and patience to do so effectively. Many would be surprise of how impatient others can get while a person is speaking, cutting into their conversation before the speaker can finish.
One of the biggest misconceptions about negotiating is that people feel the need to ramble on and on. They tend to have this perception that more things get done if they talk more.
Instead, of talking more time, listen more instead – Studies prove that great negotiators are those who are able to uncover more needs of others than their less successful counterparts. This finding is important especially for sales people since they make their living by negotiating.
So listen. You can find out what the other party is looking to get out of the negotiations by letting them speak more. This in turn helps you gain insights of what the other party is willing to compromise and where their position stands – The more you know about their position, the clearer it is to for you to offer a deal they can’t resist.
Here’s a video about the power of listening by William Ury, one of the world’s best-known and most influential experts on negotiation:
11. Remain Calm in Dire Situations
It is vital to remain calm under stressful or pressurising situations during a negotiation. A good negotiator is one who does not combust and let their emotions get the better of them. They do not panic and are able to think clearly throughout the process, coming out of the negotiation successfully and unscarred. Bad negotiators on the other hand, end up missing opportunities and creating bad relationships with other prospects which makes it more disadvantageous for themselves.
One way to ensure you do not panic when the other party is pressing you is to alwaysthink positively, focus on your strengths and always remember what your end goal is.
Furthermore research shows we stand a greater chance of success if we focus more on our strengths. When under pressure, try to think of a positive situation, thought or outcome. This will help distract your brain from focusing on the negativity when things don’t seem to be going so well.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. – Han Selye”
This is because thinking positively helps your brain to keep stress in the back of your mind. Just think about it, when you are happy or optimistic, do you ever feel stressed and anxious? Exactly, you don’t. This is because positive thinking shifts your attention to a “stress-free” zone in your brain.
Here’s a video explaining how we can turn our negative energy into something positive:
12. Learn to deal with negative behaviour
Humans are naturally emotionally-driven. But sometimes, letting your emotions get the better of you can end up destroying relationships and businesses. It is evident throughout history that ego and emotions have destroyed many corporations and businesses.The moment you lose your temper, you are in danger of creating bad ties with the prospect when dealing with them in the future or worse, losing them as prospect forever.
Instead, try to detach yourself from your emotions during the situation and focus on closing a deal – something much more rewarding and beneficial in the long run. It’s important to remember that negotiations aren’t personal attacks on a particular person, but rather they are just a form of business.
13. Do not rush a negotiation
One thing is for sure; no one likes to be rushed.
Here’s an example: Imagine being a customer, contemplating on whether you should buy a product and a salesperson is incessantly trying to rush you to the cashier to buy it. The same goes for negotiating.
Nothing will make you look more desperate than being in a constant rush to try and seal the deal. It’s great when a deal is closed quickly so you can reap the profits sown but it’s better to be patient.
Not only do you risk annoying the future prospect, you may also skip over the important points, which can incur losses on your end.
Furthermore, your managers or bosses will not be happy to hear you rushed to close a deal without covering all the necessary bases. Even if you are tight for time, make sure you cover every possible point and not miss out anything important.
14. Have a win-win mindset
The best outcome is when a solution satisfies both you and the other party. To see to it that there are no losers at the end of the deal. This is, undoubtedly, the most preferred negotiation anyone would love to be in.
And this is possible. But it means being willing to put differences aside so you can listen carefully to what both of you want. And then working together to find a win-win solution.
This win-win mindset will not only make you leave the room getting what you want, but it also helps deepen the bond between you and the other person.
This is because you’ve come to appreciate the courtesy and respect the other person has shown you – and likewise with them. If you’re lucky, they may want to work with you again as a future prospect in the long run.
15. Always make sure price is the last negotiation
Never negotiate the price until everything else has been negotiated. This is because money is mostly the only thing your company will ever receive from a buyer.
Furthermore, agreeing on the price first can put you in a disadvantageous position and at risk of a loss. This is especially so if the prospect starts negotiating other terms of the deal after the price has been established.
Ensure that you’re only negotiating the price when it’s the last thing standing between you and a deal.
16. Don’t give in too early
Resist the temptation to give in too quickly when someone asks for a concession. That person is not entitled to anything. And, you shouldn’t feel pressured to meet their needs either.
Giving in too early often results in the decrease of value of your product, solution or services. It may even be the permanent set expectation for future negotiations which can be disadvantageous for you in the long run. This brings us to our next point.
17. Always get something in return
It’s perfectly normal to give concessions in a negotiation from time to time. However, do it in moderation.
The biggest mistake people make is to constantly give something away without getting something in return. This will make your opponent feel entitled to these extra concessions. In the long run, it can make them feel dissatisfied during future negotiations since they’ll start to expect more.
Instead of giving in all the time, try getting something in return as well. Make them earn these concessions so they’ll appreciate everything you’ve given up to them. This is to ensure they do not take you for granted.
For example, if a prospect wants a discount on the price, make it conditional on a longer contract. Or, if a prospect wants something else thrown in with their purchase, make it conditional on signing a deal immediately.
The arrangement can be made in any way so long as you’re also getting something in return.
18. Be realistic
A study conducted by Forbes found that negotiators who do better than the average have high but realistic goals.
Great negotiators observe, calculate and rely on their gut feeling to get a good read on what might happen and what might not.
They also have a profound understanding of what’s in the field of play and what’s beyond, making them good decision makers. As a result, their trades, ideas and solutions are often a success.
19. Learn to walk away
Sometimes, we know a deal can’t be made and that’s okay. There’s no point wasting you and the other party’s time if both of you cannot settle.
However, many seem to have this misconception that they must clinch the deal which may backfire on them. For instance, if you constantly give large concessions just to get deals, you’ll only be incurring losses at your end.
In short, know when a deal is no longer attainable so you know when to stop. If a deal cannot be salvaged or does not benefit you, it’s okay to walk away. This can be challenging when sales are slow but remember that there will always be someone to sell to if you keep your pipeline full.
20. Practice, practice, practice!
This is the most important and most the underrated strategy. Without enough research on the topic, we can all agree that not many are able to sound convincing when negotiating. Well, the same goes for practicing.
Negotiating like any other skill, requires practice in order for an individual to be good at it. To improve, try to condition yourself to negotiate at every opportunity.
Not only will it help you become more attuned with negotiating, it also increases your success rate over time. In addition, you become much more confident and well-respected amongst your peers, customers and even opponents.
Summing it Up
Overall, negotiation is a mix of art and science. It takes a combination of street smarts, unwavering discipline and dedicated time spent on research, the thought process and execution.
Once you’ve mastered negotiating, the hard work will be worth it. It’ll help unlock your ability to get the best deal possible under any circumstances.
With that being said, negotiating does not have one format or structure that’s always the right answer. Instead, it’s about understanding how to convince your prospects with the tips provided in the right situation. So what method you use will determine whether you successfully clinch the deal.
And there you have it! Make full use of these 20 tips to help hone your negotiation skills. Leave a comment below if it worked for you!
There’s no doubt that a riveting story structure and a visually arresting deck are both requisites of a great presentation or pitch. However, apart from the other presentation mistakes you might make, all your work developing your presentation might be for naught if your audiences don’t trust you. If you can’t establish credibility early on in your presentation, it’s as good as not delivering the presentation in the first place as your messages will likely fall on deaf ears and you can’t influence your audience.
The adage: “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned.” usually rings true here. Problem is, trust is typically hard to earn and sometimes, you simply don’t have the luxury of time to build trust quickly from scratch on the first contact with your audience.
Unlike personal selling, you don’t always get to build rapport with your audience on a one-to-one basis. Instead, it’s likely you’ll only be able to speak to a group of people at a time when you’re delivering a presentation.
From our experience, your credibility during a presentation depends on a few factors
i) If the audiences feel you are authentic and honest as a speaker
Nobody likes a sleazy salesperson. If you appear to be untrustworthy or evasive when delivering your presentation, you can expect to face obstacles getting them to take action or believe what you say.
ii) Whether you are perceived as an expert on your topic of choice
There are way too many people calling themselves gurus in the market and audience members are quick to make snap judgments based on whether you have the requisite knowledge or expertise.
iii) How well you can appeal to your audiences
Even if you hit all the right notes in the other two areas, you might not always be able to appeal to certain audience members that might have deep-seated prejudices which go against your cause.
It’s easy to make sweeping claims like: “We’re the best company in this industry”, but supporting these audacious statements with hard facts and data is where it gets challenging.
Naturally, you won’t always have research papers to back up every assertion or opinion you might have. Here are some ways to reference other people or hard evidence in varying degrees of credibility:
Referencing actual research papers and aggregated statistics
You’d be surprised at the extent of research that has been published. Scientists have conducted experiments and research on anything from cognitive biases on how to be more persuasive to stats on mobile penetration in specific countries.
For example, in a formal business presentation setting, there’ll be occasions where you’ll need to reference quantitative evidence on why certain business decisions need to be made. These obviously can’t be based on your own personal opinion but hard, indisputable factual evidence. Using data in your presentations is essential to building trust.
Quote respected authorities or experts
In some cases where you’re trying to make a case to take action on something that you can’t find quantitative data on, citing a strong ‘endorsement’ or quote from an authority figure is the next best thing.
Similarly to how we trust authority figures purely via conditioned behaviour in our lives (doctors, police, teachers) as theorized by Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence, we tend to lend trust to people whoare considered authorities in their respective fields (aka the Principle of Authority).Principles from Influence also apply in presentations.
For example, Jack Ma of Alibaba has risen to fame as an entrepreneur and business magnate to the extent that his foresight on market climates and the ‘future’ of industries is widely cited. Can we say that his statements are 100% accurate? No. Yet, we still afford his words credibility because of his stature, background, and inherent expertise.
2. Develop your expert identity
A Nielsen research study found that consumers in a marketing setting unanimously seek out information and take action on content provided by companies or journalists they perceive to be experts.
It is integral that when you’re speaking on a topic, you have to be perceived as someone that has the relevant expertise and that you ‘know what you’re talking about’.
A way to do this implicitly is weaving a mix of client testimonials, credentials and relevant awards to signify your deep domain knowledge and expertise.
Show past client testimonials and credentials
A great way to immediately build credibility is having someone else talk about you in a positive light. Testimonials are a quick way to do this without seeming like you’re selling yourself – instead, it’s someone else doing the selling.
In Robert Cialdini’s epic, Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, this effect is known as ‘Social Proof’ where we augment our behaviors to match what is perceived to be socially acceptable or correct behaviour as dictated by the masses. It’s almost like a herd mentality of sorts. He goes even further to talk about the more pronounced effects of it when the source of social proof is similar to the subject that needs to be persuaded.
What this means is that if you quote clients that are similar to your audience during your presentation, you’ll have a much easier time establishing trust from the get-go. At the same time, showing a list of past clientele can also help to assure listeners that others have put their trust in you prior and this can improve your image of trustworthiness.
Look the part
We tend to make snap-judgments on different unconscious signals by salespeople or presenters. It could be a hint of contempt in their microexpressions or the way they shake hands, but half the battle is sometimes won by simply looking the part. The visual aspect and first impression lends to build part of your expert identity.
If you try to make someone pay for an expensive meal that’s wrapped in cling wrap in a dingy little store versus a posh, clean and well-designed restaurant, you’ll definitely get push back. In most cases, presentations aren’t too different.
First impressions can be affected by anything from sloppy dressing to cluttered slides. Venngage put together an excellent resource on expert presentation design styles you can adapt for your next presentation.
Have an unconventional opinion
True experts are expected to have original ideas that sometimes go against the grain of commonly touted advice or industry norms. It’s not to say that you should actively seek to be contrarian for the sake of it, but being able to hold your ground and have a clear stance is indicative of an expert that knows what he/she is talking about. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk can be considered a prolific and polarizing figure because of his irreverent way of speaking as well as his contrarian opinions.
An easy way to do this is to identify a common, but misguided belief that the industry has and logically debunk it with your own theory. Having an original stance and supporting it with evidence can quickly help you become perceived as an expert.
We buy into the brand of industry moguls like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk precisely because they seem to offer ideas that are novel and unique. At the same time, because their ideas are at odds with the current status quo, we’re drawn to their narratives because of either the Underdog Effect(e.g. when Apple is up against conglomerates like IBM) or the protagonist-antagonist dynamic of their vision(e.g. Elon Musk fighting against pollution and innovating beyond the public’s current perception of what’s possible).
Share relevant credentials that matter to your audience
Different audiences have various ways that they use to evaluate speakers on trustworthiness. Being aware of these early on will give you an edge in establishing trust with your audience.
For example, if you’re aware that your audience values globalized insights, having a slide that validates your experience in a global setting can help you develop a strong position of authority.
Hence if you’re speaking at a tech-related event, it might not be the best strategy to try to boost your credibility by boasting about your age via public speaking. Being prepared for the right context can make or break your presentation.
Only after establishing the needs in #1 should you “formally” introduce yourself or your company to make yourself relevant
3. Have genuine intent to add value to your audience
Remember that the presentation is never about you, it’s about your audience. It’s about what they want to achieve and how you can help them get there.
As such, it’s imperative that you find out as much about them as possible prior to developing your presentation and work towards adding value to them, instead of force-feeding them a solution that they don’t need.
The best way to do this is to put in a couple of extra hours to deliver timely, relevant content coupled with effective presentation design that’s obviously tailored to your audience.
Use examples that your audiences resonate with
Think back to when you were back in school, listening to your lecturer offer examples that didn’t interest you in the least bit. Similarly, if you were speaking to a group of millennials today, they would have specific areas of interest that you can take advantage of.
Referencing recent trending news and drawing relationships between what you’re speaking about and what they might find relevant is an easy way to build rapport quickly. If you’re talking about a business-related topic, try referencing popular companies like SnapChat or Instagram that they interact with on a daily basis. You can be sure they’ll sit up and listen if it hits close to home. That way, you’ll have their attention and appreciation for taking the time to put together relevant examples.
4. Have a process for execution
According to an Accenture study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. This makes it difficult for you to try and breeze through the sales conversation without any real substance.
In another study by Bain, 375 companies were asked if they believe they delivered a superior value proposition to clients. Eighty percent said yes. Bain then asked the clients of these actual companies if they agreed that the specific company that they bought from actually delivered this superior value proposition. You know what’s funny? Only eight percent agreed.
Buyers that need to make purchases quickly now rely on how believable you are rather than make logical comparisons on the actual value proposition.
For those that are selling a product or service, a great way to quickly establish trust to get you closer to buy-in is to detail a process of execution especially for sales presentations or investor presentations. Generally, when we’re buying anything in today’s age, we have unlimited access to information online to make comparisons that lead to an informed choice.
Showing that you or your company follows a repeatable process helps to put your buyer’s mind at ease. Instead of putting their trust in a single individual doing guesswork, they can now rely on a proven methodology or framework rather than just the words of the person they’re speaking to. In some cases, this is communicated at the end to conclude your presentation and to suggest next steps.
Whenever you’re in doubt as to whether your presentations will establish trust during your sales pitch or presentation, ask yourself if it fulfills these four criteria:
Have you ever faced a situation where you have invested time and effort into preparing a presentation for your client, but they are somehow just not convinced?
“How can I win them over?” you might wonder.
The New York Times bestseller, ‘Influence: The psychology of persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini shares six formulas in persuading your customers. Here’s a summary of how you can translate these ground-breaking persuasion techniques into a more persuasive presentation by design.
Think about the latest blockbuster film you’ve watched recently. Got it? Awesome. Now think about why you paid attention to it in the first place.
It’s likely that you saw the countless recurring trailer ads on YouTube or heard your friends talking about the movie. Maybe you were interested in it, yet unsure if it was worth the watch.
What most people do next is to switch over to Google and start searching for some reviews. That’s where you’ll find polarizing sentiments on whether a movie was a blockbuster hit or miss. Did it influence your decision on whether the movie was worth it? Well, that’s social proof in action.
Life is too complicated for us to evaluate every element during decision-making, so we use shortcuts to help us decide on what’s reliable in a snap. To explore the power of social proof, social psychologists conducted an experiment in 1968.
First, they stationed a single person on a street corner and had him look up at an empty sky for 60 seconds. Only a tiny fraction of passers-by stopped to observe the man and his actions.
The following day, the psychologists added four more people staring into the sky and this time, there were four times the initial number of people who stopped to gaze at the empty sky. At the end of the experiment when 15 sky-starers were placed on a street corner, more than 80% of passers-by stopped to look at the empty sky. From this experiment, it was observed that people have the tendency to make an assumption – if many people are doing something or sharing a common belief, there must be a good reason why.
Presentation tip: Applying the theory, including positive reviews and testimonials from your customers in your presentations gives you an advantage in winning your audience over. It leaves the impression that many have enjoyed your service or product, hence your audience would be more inclined to what you have to say.
Having star-studded endorsements from your clients makes your presentation much more credible and trustworthy. Ultimately, it funnels down to a simple concept: The more people do something, the safer the option would seem.
When doing so, remember to make it tie in with your overall message seamlessly. Don’t make it seem too desperate or egotistical – your audience will not be as impressed by that.
“Reciprocity is a part of every society,” Cialdini says. A classic experiment from the 1970s found that people bought twice as many raffle tickets from a stranger if he first gave them a can of Coke — this is proof that even tiny favours can work to your advantage. Likewise, your buddy is more likely to help you move that couch if you’ve ever given him a ride to the airport.
When we were growing up, we were conditioned to give back to those who give to us, and not doing so would make us feel uncomfortably rude. Applying this concept, we can instill a sense of obligation within our audience by giving a simple gift that will cause them to feel indebted towards us. This increases the chances of the audience complying with your request.
Presentation tip: Say you’re pitching to an investor about your latest business idea. Providing him with a sample of your product would not only make your pitch much more memorable but also help him absorb your pitch better. Additionally, giving him a physical gift in the form of your sample instills a sense of indebtedness towards you. In essence, your gift of a free sample may not cost you a lot but can invoke reciprocative action from your prospect.
3.Commitment and Consistency
The hardest part of all is getting your audience to say yes. Invented in 1966 by Freedman and Fraser. The “foot in the door” technique gets your audience to agree to a small request first, before, slowly making your way towards a bigger idea, which they will eventually find harder to refuse.
Evidentially, in a research study by Sherman in 1980, she called residents in Indiana and asked them if, hypothetically, they would volunteer for the American Cancer Society. Three days after, a second experimenter called the same residence and there was an increase in 4% as compared to the first day.
When your audience complies with your small yet reasonable requests, it makes them more receptive towards the larger request afterward.
Presentation tip: For example, if you’re proposing a new campaign to your bosses, start off by getting them to agree on something small, such as the campaign idea or tagline. Ask for buy-in at different junctures of the presentation, then follow up with something bigger such as the venue and lastly, the budget. This greatly increases your chances of gaining approval for the overall project. An important pointer to take note of is that you have to get their agreement in all the segments for this to work.
Using this tactic helps you to convince your audiences as well as gain their approval, leaving you with hardly any objections to your proposal. After all, if people commit to an idea or goal, it is likely that they would stand by their commitments.
Doctors are great examples of everyday authority figures we encounter. Think about it. Do you ever question the medicine that they prescribe you?
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll pay close attention to their diagnosis and heed their advice.
We’ve been conditioned to listen and be more easily influenced by people whom we consider to be authorities and the symbols that they carry.
Just like our everyday authority figures, you want to seen as the expert in your respective field.
Having confidence and the trustworthiness of your content is essential in invoking authority. Being an authority figure reflects your expertise in your idea or topic, and gives you the credibility which persuades your audience that you are the right guy to turn to in the sector. For example, think of the most prolific motivational speaker you know. 9 out of 10 times, Tony Robbins comes to mind. He’s perceived to be the expert in his industry and for that same reason, people part with thousands of dollars during his presentations because they trust him and his words.
Presentation tip: To portray confidence as an authority figure during your presentation, you first have to believe in what you are pitching. It is essential to be sure of what you are preaching and keep your nervousness at bay. The outfit that you are wearing and your postures can say a lot about you and how prepared you are. Interestingly, confidence is not something you can just manufacture. It’s a combination of many little things, from the way you dress to the way you give eye contact to people.
The second factor is the credentials or titles that you hold. In order to prove your credibility, introducing yourself as the Founder, CEO or even (Dr.) would make you seem like you have the expertise and power in your field. There are two ways in which we can go about doing this.
Presentation tip: Firstly, it could be having someone else to introduce you and your past experiences. Amateurs often rely on superficial cues, but having a title would instantly boost your dependability on the topic or idea. The second method is to introduce yourself. Simply having 1 or 2 slides about you before your pitch would do the same trick. The chances of your audience being persuaded by your presentation with the use of credentials will increase due to the perception of your reliability.
Here is a link that shows how President John Hennessy introduced Steve Jobs in a Stanford Commencement Address.
Presentation tip: Lastly, you need to appear knowledgeable, competent and certain when communicating your ideas. Having information and statistics to back up your assertions shows that you are certain of your pitch. It increases your perceived trustworthiness on the topic and makes it much easier for you to influence your audience.
Authority is displayed through your confidence, credentials, and competence in presentations. These three factors contribute directly towards persuading your audience, as you are seen as someone who understands the topic intimately.
People often append a higher value to scarce things than those that are more abundant. What do I mean by that?
“Limited stocks available, get yours now!” Does this ring a bell?
If your answer is “yes”, then you have encountered one of the most common phrases of scarcity in your life.
Generally speaking, people are loss-averse creatures, we are more likely to take action when we are aware of what we will lose as opposed to what we can gain.
This tactic leverages on the visceral sense of urgency which scarcity creates. When trying to sell at the end of a presentation, try offering a discount only for a short period of time. It’s likely you’ll notice prospects who were on-the-fence suddenly spring to life to act on your offer.
Presentation tip: For example: during your presentation, you may want to emphasize that the offer made will only last for a certain period of time. Seasonal holidays such as Christmas or New Year’s special can be used to “justify” your limited time offer. Even memorable events such as company anniversaries can have the same effect. With the notion of time running out, it invokes a sense of urgency for fear of losing out on the better deal.
It can also be done by pitching your presentation as an exclusive business which only a few have the opportunity to work with. For instance, limited products available.
Presentation tip: By highlighting the limited amount of stocks available, it persuades your audience to take action now. Ultimately, it rides on a simple psychology effect that things are more valuable when they are less available. This puts pressure on them to get theirs before everything runs out. Eventually, you are encouraging your audience to take action now rather than tomorrow.
With almost anything in life, we prefer doing it with people we like and enjoy being around with. The same concept applies when we’re doing business. More often than naught, clients are more inclined to work with someone they have positive feelings toward versus a stranger. So how can you get your clients to like you more? Here are 3 different aspects of the liking principle which you can use in your next presentation.
Let’s be honest here, we all enjoy compliments, even if it is as simple as praising an outfit or receiving an award. By complimenting others, it will naturally make them like you more and helps you get into their good books while remembering you. Don’t forget to make it seem natural – avoid anything that appears too forced.
Presentation tip: A simple way that you can compliment your audience: “it is an honor to be here today, and thank you for taking your time to travel here for this presentation.” This makes them feel important and connects you instantly to the audience.
Ever wondered why people with the same music taste seem to have a natural connection? Having commonalities during your presentation helps you to build a bridge of comfortability between you and your audience. Sharing the same preference over something allows for the creation of an instant connection with your audience. It helps them to relate to you and your presentation and gains their interest in the topic you’re covering.
Establishing similarities can be done by building rapport before the presentation starts. Get to know your audience and use it to your advantage. It could be as simple as having similar sports interests or travel experiences. These common similarities will help you get them interested in the topic you’re covering.
Presentation tip: With the help of your new-found knowledge, you can insert a story or experience at the start of the presentation that is relevant to your audience’s interest. After all, we tend to be much keener and attentive towards people who have the same preferences.
Have confidence, prepare your credentials and know your topic well
Gather positive testimonials or reviews
Provide tangible gifts
Create scarcity through limited time or stocks
Leverage on similarities and give compliments
Get them to agree on something small first
Presentations that persuade effectively can be really tough to craft, but with these six persuasion techniques, you are now equipped with the skillsets and some new presentation ideas to convince your audience. All the best and don’t forget to smile!
You know you have to give a presentation. You cringe just thinking about it. Between coming up with a unique way to present your information, engaging your audience, and keeping yourself engaged, it’s enough to make you scream. Not to mention that sometimes all the knowledge you’ve garnered from presentation courses previously might seem to not give you enough of an edge in such circumstances.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can supplement your presentation with various branding tools to make it more exciting for both you and the audience.
After all, the whole point is to make sure the audience learns and retains the information you present to them.
Furthermore, these branding tools are very useful if you want to build a strong brand identity. These tools are an extremely important factor since it can help build your reputation, make you stand out from your competition and project your values and unique selling propositions (USPs) which help to attract future prospects.
Hence, check out these 5 branding tools to give your presentation a boost!
A great way to open your presentation is with a video, and you can use it to introduce the audience to your brand. Include your logo at both the beginning and end, and incorporate your color scheme and typography throughout.
Do keep it short, as you still have a presentation that will follow up. You can consider using catchy music to keep the audience engaged. In addition, include imagery that illustrates the points you plan to discuss and appeals to the audience in a way a simple slideshow might not. This will help you build an emotional bond with them. If you aren’t confident in your ability to make a high-quality clip, work with an expert to edit your video and add other post-production elements to make it stand out.
Just like the video, you should design your slideshow to match your branding, including colors, typography, imagery, and logos. Keep your presentation to three key points so that it doesn’t become too lengthy, and your audience will have an easier time remembering your topics.
Remember, the slideshow is a supplement of your presentation, so do not read directly from the slides. This will put your audience on the fast track towards boredom (you may even see them fall asleep)! Instead of using it as a substitute for your notes, the slideshow should help tell your story or highlight facts and figures. Be creative and keep it simple.
3. Brochures and Infographics
It’s easy to direct the audience to your website and social media, but it’ll be good to send them home with something too. A professionally designed brochure will help build credibility with your audience and illustrate your key points. Be sure to use images and charts to break up the text and make it easier to follow.
Your brochure should pique audience members’ interest in your products or services. It also has a longer shelf life than the other elements of your presentation as the audience can take it home and use it as reference material. Leave a few extra behind for people who might have missed the presentation.
Alternatively, if you prefer keeping things digital, you can create an infographic that the audience can refer to after the presentation has ended. A good infographic design should contain the main elements of your presentation or summarize the information in key points. You can distribute it via email if your audience registered their attendance, or place a link to it in your slides.
Another way to get the audience’s attention is to bring along a mascot. Of course, this does not work for every business and is more effective for industries that are less serious. However, if your brand allows for it, a professional in a fun, colorful suit is a great way to get audiences excited.
A mascot will not only break up the monotony of your presentation, it’ll also help create more brand awareness. You’ll probably want to wait till you approach the end of your presentation to bring out the mascot, and make sure it can help illustrate one of your key points. Otherwise, it could be more of a distraction and end up backfiring.
Mascots add a fun element to your presentation while making your brand as a whole more personable. The audience can hang around after the presentation for photos with the mascot, which could create a buzz on social media and get you more followers.
An effective way to engage your audience is to have a competition with the promise of prizes at the end. Create a three-question quiz to reward the people who paid attention. Alternatively, include a few special Easter Eggs throughout your slides that audience members can keep a lookout for, and award prizes at the end. You could even have your mascot hand them out!
As for the prizes themselves, this is where your brand comes in. Giving out items such as custom T-shirts, tote bags and keychains with your logo and colors on them will build more brand awareness when the winners take your swag out and put it to use. You can also include gift cards or coupons for your products or services.
Developing a presentation can be rough. You want to make sure your audiences walk away with more knowledge about your products or services and hope that they are as excited about it as you are.
Coming up with ways to get your points across and integrate your brand without giving the impression of a sleazy salesman is the hardest part. Using some of these tools will help you create an exciting experience for your audience, and make you feel like you’ve knocked it out of the park.
Do you have other cool branding tools to boost your presentations? Let us know what they are in the comments below!