Hone Your Negotiation Skills With These 20 Tips

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.

 5. Smile!

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 always think 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!

The Ultimate Public Speaking Guide To Impress Any Audience

According to experts, public speaking is one of the most important and beneficial skill sets for your career. It helps to increase confidence and shapes the perception of others about you when you deliver a presentation.

Despite these benefits, however, many seem to fear public speaking. According to experts, roughly 80% of people get increasingly nervous and lose sleep before a big public speaking moment. Some experts even suggest that the fear of public speaking rivals death. Yet, public speaking is inevitable. Many of us, like it or not, will be put in a situation where we will be expected to speak in front of a crowd and these moments can sometimes be career-defining.

If you tirelessly – and unsuccessfully– have been trying to get the butterflies in your stomach to settle down before a public speech, you’re not alone. Here’s an easy to follow public speaking guide (with all the public speaking tips you need) on how you can overcome your fear of public speaking and impress your audience even if you’re a beginner.

1. Prepare for your presentation

A speaker’s worst fear is to see that the audience is bored or has gotten no value from the speech. This is why thoroughly preparing for your presentation is vital.

Here are a few easy steps to prepare and research for your presentation:

Identify the context of the event

If you’re speaking at an industry conference on AI Technology, you can be sure that your audience will include practitioners and technicians in that space. Recycling basic content that they’re already aware in their industry is definitely a way to quickly lose their attention.

Instead, it’s likely you’d want to introduce big ideas that challenge what they already know about the industry currently, where it’s moving towards or new information about the topic.

When Steve Jobs famously unveiled the iPhone in the 2007 Worldwide Developer’s Conference, he was tackling an existing industry norm of buttons on cell phones. Needless to say, his gamble paid off and set the foundation of the smart phones we now know of today.

With that said, Steve’s presentation style might not be for everyone, it’s up to you as a presenter to decide how best to deliver your speech when the time comes.

Know the demographics of the audience

It’s important to know the demographics of your audience because it determines how you can make your tone suitable for them and make the content relevant.

If you’re speaking to audiences from a particular generation, consider including examples that will resonate with them.

Here’s an example: when speaking to millennials, try referencing recent news on developments in technologies they use every day (e.g. SnapChat or Netflix) to be more relevant to them.

Organising your content

You can have the best ideas and content or feel so strongly for a certain issue that you speak of it passionately, but if they aren’t sequenced in the right order, you’re basically back to square one. You may even confuse the audience at the end of your speech since they may not understand what you’re trying to say.

“An outline is basically a blueprint for your presentation.” 

Creating an outline for your speech is essential because it helps organise your content and ensures your message gets across in a coherent and organised manner. Most experts agree that various presentations follow different ‘story arcs’ where they usually fall within three big acts: the Start (or Hook), Middle and Conclusion.

These structures can exist in all sorts of ways such as a Problem, Solution, Call-To-Action type framework for sales. We see this mirrored by numerous presenters where they establish a cause for concern upfront before addressing these concerns with a product or method.

After you’ve decided ideas you’d like to flesh out, begin organising them in an outline that will keep the audience hinged on your every word.

Here is an example of a speech outline:

Basic speech outline template

1. Introduction

  • Establish topic
  • Key message
  • A short summary of the supporting points that will be discussed in detail later on

2. Body 

Supporting Point 1

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

Supporting Point 2

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

Supporting Point 3

  • Sub point 1
  • Sub point 2

3. Conclusion

  • Recap the main points
  • Summarise the key message
  • Provide a call-to-action

This formula is simple yet extremely effective. It can commonly be seen in novels, short stories, speeches, movies, reports, business briefings, proposals and many more. So, if you’re unsure of how to start, this outline can help you kickstart organising your content.

Here’s a video of Aimee Mulins telling a story about adversity followed by resolution later on in life:

 

Understand not memorise

After organising your content in the best structure it can be, now comes the hard part – To be able to connect to your audience while knowing your content at the tip of your fingers.

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from the slides or their cue cards as they couldn’t memorise their content word for word. Not only is this sure fire way to lose their audience’s interest, you also sound rigid, monotonous. Boring.

One of the ways to prevent that is to understand what you’re speaking of rather than just plainly memorizing your script. This is because according to experts, understanding the content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others. This makes it easier to ‘memorise’ what  you want to say because you know what you are talking about.

As a result, this will then allow you to talk more comfortably – and naturally– with your audience which in turn makes you connect with them more.

2. Develop a presentation that will captivate your audience

Picking a good topic and conquering your stage fright is half the battle won in public speaking. Putting it all together in a presentation that flows well and that engages your audience is what differentiates a blockbuster speech versus a lackluster talk.

Start strong

It’s been said that the first 30 seconds of your presentation determines whether the audience want to listen to you or not.

Here are some proven ways to grab the attention of your audience:

a) Start with an anecdote

If you can draw relevance to your speech topic – sharing a quick story related to the topic is a great way to appear more relatable and lead audiences into your punchline.

Here are some of the purposes of anecdotes:

  • To lighten the mood

Telling a story can help make people laugh which then brightens their mood. This can prove useful if your audience needs a good laugh before being engaged in your presentation, especially if the topic is a little dry.

  • Caution

Sometimes, the topic we need to talk about are risks and dangers we face. This can be about kidnappings or people falling victim to scams. However, just laying out the rules and regulations for individuals may not be as effective. Sometimes, to get the audience’s attention, we need to hear frightening stories of danger in order to get them to listen. Only then will they follow-up on how to avoid facing these very situations.

  • To Persuade or Inspire

If the topic you are speaking about is a social issue like poverty or sex trafficking, an anecdote can help inspire your audience to do something about it. Of course, anecdotes do not have to serve such specific purposes all the time. They can just be part of a natural conversation with other people.

b) Use an analogy

Analogies are a fun and interesting way to begin your presentation. Comparing two seemingly unrelated things can help build a case for what you’ll say next. Not only that, it can be helpful if you need to explain a complex situation that your audience may not understand.

“Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” 

This analogy, is often used from the film, Forrest Gump, showing that life has many choices and surprises just like a box of chocolates.

Here are also a few examples of analogies:

  • Life is like a race. The one who keeps running wins the race, and the one who stops to catch a breath loses.
  • Just as a sword is the weapon of a warrior, a pen is the weapon of a writer.
  • How a doctor diagnoses diseases is like how a detective investigates crimes
  • Just as a caterpillar comes out of its cocoon, we must come out of our comfort zone.
  • You are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard.

c) Use a memorable quote

Starting with a memorable quote can help enhance your credibility and reinforce your own claims especially if it comes from notable figures or experts. It can also help inspire the audience which will then make them excited about your idea. The end result? It makes them more engaged with your presentation. Killing two birds with one stone!

Use storytelling techniques

Presentations are hardly ever a one-way dialogue. You’ll want to take measures to engage the audience and make the presentation a conversation.

Try to pose provocative questions or use props.

Asking questions to the floor engages your audience presentation and also demonstrates that you value their opinion on things. In some cases, getting your audiences to visualise problems might be more effectively demonstrated than theorised.

Bill Gates is an iconic example of how using props can really drive a message through. During a TED talk, he released a swarm of mosquitos during his speech to communicate how people from countries with a high level of malaria infection feel.

Another example is Cameron Russell, who talked about how she was just ‘lucky’ to become a model because she was born tall and pretty. In her talk, she showed a simple but effective way to change their mind of her as a model in seconds through the use of props:

 

Use visual aids effectively

Visual aids such as presentation slides are an opportunity to enhance and drive your message home. Furthermore, adding visual aids provide 43% added recall for presentations according to Prezi.

This is because most people learn through visuals, maybe even more than through listening. In fact, one study showed that three days after a presentation, people who only heard a speaker remembered about 10% of the information but those who heard and saw visual information remembered about 55% more.

Here are some reasons why you should use visual aids:

  • Engage the audience’s interest

It can be pretty boring to sit and listen to someone talk on and on but having visual aids will help capture and keep people interested in what you’re saying.

  • Show the depth of a story

Compare saying millions were affected and many homes were lost due to a disaster vs saying the same thing but with an evocative image. Which one would sound much more impactful? By showing an image, it helps show the severity or depth of a situation without having much to say. This can leave a bigger impact on the audience.

  • A picture speaks a thousand words

Putting all the information on a slide may steal the audience’s attention away from you as you’re speaking. To prevent that, make use of evocative images. Not only does it support your speech but it does so without saying much that it steals the attention of your audience.

E.g. picture of disaster that is evocative and memorable

  • Serves as a reminder

Finally, visual aids can serve as notes or reminders for the speaker. When you’re giving a speech, it can be very nerve-wracking to the point you could forget what to say. Having visual aids help you remember what you want to say and keeps you from going off topic.

3. Overcome your nerves and stage fright

Picture this: moments before your speech, your heart’s pounding profusely in anticipation for what’s coming next. You step behind the podium and all eyes are on you. The pressure becomes overwhelming and you freeze, unable to utter a single word.

Stage fright. Also known as imposter syndrome. It is an expectation that makes us think we have to perform but we fear that we could make a mistake and embarrass ourselves.

According to statistics, at least 75% of people get stage fright when they present or make a speech. It’s even been long known that public speaking outranks even death as the top fear of most individuals. This then leads to the question – how do the pros make it look so easy?

Stretch

If you are nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. You may find that your body is tense, breaking in cold sweat or you may feel stiff and your muscles are tight. The audience will notice you are nervous. If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen your tense muscles and relax your body.

Breathe

When you are nervous, do you tend to breathe faster and take shorter breaths? Nervousness is always accompanied by these very symptoms and if not addressed, you may end up mumbling and stuttering your way throughout the speech. To ensure that does not happen, take slow, deep breaths. This is because it helps lower your heart rate and make you focus on your breathing rather than on your anxiety and insecurities.

Fake it till You Make it

The truth is everyone gets nervous, even seasoned speakers. As Mark Twain put it nicely: “There are two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.”

These liars “fake” their confidence despite their insecurities and reservations about themselves till they succeed. This can be through achieving a desired outcome, overcoming a fear or selling an idea successfully.

When you fake confidence, you naturally create a positive impression of what your capabilities are instantly, making you more confident than you actually are.

With that being said faking confidence is not always the best answer because it isn’t real confidence. But sometimes, we need to fake confidence because we don’t have the luxury to build this skillset since it takes time and effort to develop.

Be conversational and authentic

It’s easy to have a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. Public speaking does not need to be that different. Imagine speaking to one audience member at a time when you’re up on stage and you’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

Presenters like Elon Musk sometimes appear comical on stage, but always authentic. He does so by speaking directly to the audience and in a language they can understand:

 

Know your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips help reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. So one way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech. However, you don’t want to memorise your script word by word. It can work against you should you forget your content.

Instead, memorise the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch as it helps you speak more naturally. This will let your personality shine through. Speaking exactly from a memorised script may make you sound rigid and robotic.

Still, if you need to have a reference just in case you forget your speech, it is okay to have prompts in your slides or cue cards.

Mouth your words when rehearsing

Another method that most speakers use to embed their presentations into their conscience is to ‘mouth’ the words as they rehearse.

Not only do you begin to instinctively memorise your presentation each time you practice, it also aids in muscle memory when you need to deliver the speech on stage naturally.

4. Deliver an impressive speech

We’ve gone from prepping for a presentation, to finding ways to engage your audience with presentations and combating stage fright. All that is left with is for the speaker to steal the show by delivering an impressive performance during the speech.

Here are some things you’ll want to take note of to ensure you’re in tip-top shape when it’s show time:

Hand gestures

Seasoned speakers swear by this and amateur speakers use it to great success. Hand gesturing is a great way to avoid looking stiff and awkward on stage. Furthermore, consultant Vanessa Van Edwards who studies famous TED talks observed that popular speakers are the ones that who used their hands the most.

A key tip is to have your hands held high above your waist at all times and let your hands gesture naturally as you talk. This makes you look more confident and also helps you engage well with the audience.

To signify something small, pinch your fingers and if its big, feel free to gesture your hands widely in the air. However, never point. It can be interpreted as aggressive, unwelcoming and off-putting to many in the crowd.

Body language

What great speakers have in common is how confident they are. Just like any other human being out there, these people also get the jitters before every speech – even great speakers like John F. Kennedy spent months preparing his speech beforehand.

Most people struggle to sound confident and it’s okay. This is because, at times, confidence is not all about how you speak but through your body language.

Standing tall with good posture can do wonders for your perceived confidence and your actual performance. Using big hand gestures while standing firmly on your feet, a shoulder width apart, helps even the most nervous presenters open up on stage.

“Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behaviours, and our behaviour changes our outcome.” – Social Psychologist, Amy Cudd.

Small gestures like these give signs to your audience on how to think and feel about you and whether they should listen to you in the first few seconds of your presentation. Hence, it is important to take note of your body language as it is a stepping stone to make you feel or at least look confident – even if you’re not.

Tone of voice

Your voice plays a critical role in your success as a presenter. According to an analysis of media appearances by 120 top financial communicators, the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the content of the message and even an evaluation found one of the most popular TED talks concluded these very speakers have 30.5% higher vocal variety than other speakers that are less popular.

Technical speakers focus a lot on how they train their voice as they articulate words. Some use a higher pitch when communicating an idea with energy and a lower pitch in solemn instances.

In short, it is about matching your emotions to the idea. For example, if you are sharing a sad story, it only makes sense to match that mood with your voice in a lower tone and volume.

Pause and emphasis

Pauses and emphasis are a powerful tool in a presenter’s arsenal. When used purposefully in the right moment, it can create a dramatic flair to further reinforce what you have said, make the audience ponder over a topic or it can provide time for the audience to let the message sink in. It’s basically a ‘full-stop’ used but in spoken word.

Check out how to master the pausing technique from Brian Tracy:

Connecting with the audience

Many understand confidence is essential when delivering a speech or presentation in order to get the message across but many forget that engaging with the audience is also what hooks them to your presentation/speech.

There are many ways to engage with the audience such as asking questions, holding eye contact or even finding out the demographics of your audience to shape your speech’s tone and content to what’s relevant to them.

Practice, practice, practice!

Like most people, many of us are not naturally talented when it comes to public speaking. Rarely is there an individual who can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation yet many people seem to mistake that it is possible to do so.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

Time management

Ending too early or too late can spell trouble for speakers that are on the clock for an event’s schedule. At times, event schedules get delayed and leave little time for speakers to deliver their full speech.

The key tip to avoid an awry moment is to be very familiar with your content and to practice several versions of your presentation at varying durations.

Summing it up

And there you have it, these four big steps are what will help you ace your public speaking.

Don’t shy away from your next chance to speak in public. Instead, make full use of the opportunity and apply these public speaking tips:

  1. Study your audience before preparing your topic
  2. Develop a presentation that will captivate your audience
  3. Overcome your nerves and stage fright
  4. Never Wing It. Practice Your Voice, movement and time-keeping

 

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

Why Not Every Presentation Should Be Like Steve Jobs’s

Many of us would agree that Steve Jobs’ presentations can be considered to have ‘legendary’ status. We’ve probably come across them in some way, either through watching Apple’s WWDC, or reading articles and books such as Carmine Gallo’s that was dedicated to discussing his speeches.

Ever since the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, the less-text, highly visual and ‘big picture’ style of presentations have grown in appeal to presenters from all walks of life. In fact, if you were to compare it to Bill Gates circa 2000, it would seem that Steve’s unorthodox approach to presentation visuals and their format was at odds with how the rest of the corporate world delivered their presentations at the time.

It stood out amongst text-heavy presentations that put people to sleep, gave audiences the breath of fresh air they needed to remain engaged, and enthralled many with the aesthetic presentation approach. This is why it is now the gold standard of an ideal keynote presentation.

But is that really the best?

Contrary to popular belief, this style of presenting may not always be the best catchall definition of an ‘effective’ presentation. Instead, presentations should be designed according to their contexts.

The problem is, most people tried to follow suit without understanding two things:

  1. Steve Jobs could get away with that style of presenting because he had the autonomy to do it.
  2. This format of presenting may be great for a keynote speech, but might not fit every setting.

Put it this way – if you had to speak to your company’s CEO and a five-year-old child about a topic, would you use the same tone towards both? Similarly, different presentation settings require different styles, and different audiences require different ways of reaching out to them. This is why a Steve Jobs, TED-style presentation will not work in a boardroom, and a text-heavy slide deck may not succeed at a conference.

Presentations that follow the style frequently used by Apple work best for on-stage presentations at large events such as WWDC or TED talks. These situations are occasions where visually impactful slides make a huge difference and help to bring across key messages quickly to numerous audience members in a short timeframe.

However, in boardroom meetings where critical decisions need to be made by the audience, such presentations may end up backfiring as they may seem fluffy and probably lack important information needed to support the decision-making process. Instead, the presentations have to go beyond inspiring audiences and should involve slightly text-heavy slides with fewer images.

In short – Just like how we dress appropriately for different social functions, presentations are most effective when they are designed with the audience and the context in mind. Touting one particular style of presenting as a catch-all method for various kinds of presentations might be a segue towards career suicide.

Regardless of whether you’re using PowerPoint or other presentation software, the principles tend to be the same – you need to cater your presentation towards the setting. We encourage learners in our presentation skills courses to always be aware of the context before developing their presentations.

So let’s talk about the five different styles of presentations you may encounter, and the best approach for each of them.

presentation matrix - HighSpark

The Presentation-type Matrix

1. Keynote Speeches

The typical objective of a keynote speech is to inspire and help the audience retain key points quickly. This is why the content generally focuses more on the “why” rather than the “what”; for example, in most TED talks, speakers pull together stories with the main take-home message that is both insightful and impactful. In these situations, the presentations generally involve fewer words, highly visual and meaningful images, and a couple of key points.

These speeches are commonly also littered with literary devices like analogies, quotes and other tools for presentations. Steve’s presentations are notorious for having lines like: “And one more thing…” and also anecdotes of how customers use Apple’s products.

A good example to check out would be organizational psychologist Adam Grant’s TED talk, ‘Are You a Giver or a Taker?’. He wove in various experiences from interactions with others into a narrative that highlighted his key message: Why helping others drives our success.

2. Marketing Presentations

Marketing decks are generally created with the aim of spreading awareness about a product, organization, or initiative, and hopefully, gain an initial buy-in, hence they’re shared across various platforms such as the internet or social media. One popular example would be SlideShare, a social platform that allows users to upload their presentations on the site.

Like many of the featured SlideShare presentations, the content of the presentation deck is generally structured in a narrative, with minimal text and visually impactful stock images and icons to sustain the interest of the readers.

The general rule of thumb here is that your digital presentations that need to stand alone should have just enough text for it to be consumable without a presenter to walk through it but at the same time brief enough to be skimmed through quickly. Steve Jobs was well-known to have his slides designed to be as brief as possible. The problem with this approach without a presenter is that the audience can’t make meaning from such presentations.

Remember, in the digital world, most of us have extremely short attention spans. Think of your marketing materials as a hook – provide just the right amount of information to arouse interest, so that the audience is motivated to find out more. If there are too many details, it is difficult for them to maintain interest.

3. Sales Decks

Like what its name suggests, sales decks are generally used by salespeople to present their product to a client, with the aim of closing a deal. Chances are, you’ve gotten a foot-in-the-door beforehand with your marketing materials and numerous follow-ups, so your audience already knows the big picture. Now that they’re in the buying-decision process, what they want are the key details.

Here, both information and visuals hold equal importance, as the audience needs to visualize in order to be persuaded. At the same time, details should be included to add credibility, and concrete case studies of the products will help to paint a clear picture in their mind on how they can benefit from what you’re offering.

There are three main pillars of a sales presentation: Problems, Solutions, and Benefits. You need to show your audience that you understand the problems that they’re facing, how you can be their solution, and what are the benefits of choosing you instead of your competitors or sticking to the status quo. So when you meet your prospect for the first time, command their attention by addressing their key challenges, before ever talking about the solutions you offer.

In these presentations, technical aspects and details of your solutions are not required during the first stage of discussion. Instead, leave them until the end, when your audience is at least half-invested in what you’re offering. Unlike a ‘Steve Jobs style’ presentation where you speak about most topics at a high-level, sales presentations sometimes require you to get into the nitty gritty of your solutions.

Auston case study highspark presentation design

Example: Auston Institute Sales Presentation

4. Internal Review Presentations

Mostly used in corporate settings, the main objective of an internal review is usually to align goals amongst the stakeholders and propose areas for further improvements. This is where slapping an image onto a slide without any text just won’t cut it – details are key in this situation.

This can be said to be a polar opposite of Steve’s style of presenting. In many companies, especially larger firms, gathering stakeholders can be a challenge, and not everyone may be able to turn up for the meeting, increasing the likelihood of the presentation deck being disseminated after the meeting. Without sufficient details, the reader will not be able to understand, hence rendering the deck useless. If you try sending something out of Steve Jobs’ presentation during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference, it’s likely you’ll get a mouthful from your boss and colleagues.

In this case, information including ‘Why’, ‘What’, ‘Who’, ‘When’, ‘Where’, and ‘How’ are extremely important, and should be presented in order for stakeholders to make a decision.

This doesn’t mean that your slides have to look wordy and cluttered – your content can be arranged in a fashion that draws your audience’s attention to the key message, and be designed with visuals that add value to the communication of the content.

Internal reviews might not always look pretty, but they need to first and foremost ‘work’.

5. Investor Decks

This is more relevant for startups and new companies on the rise. To reach into the deep pockets of your potential investors, you have to be extremely clear and specific about your strategy to be a highly profitable and successful company. Details need to be shown to give the investors confidence in both your idea and your team.

However, many investor pitch decks (notably the public ones during Demo Day) are required to be delivered in 5-7 minutes. This is why you’ll need to keep your text minimal to allow them to focus on the key message of your pitch. At the same time, every important detail must be shared and highlighted.

So think of it as an elevator pitch – if you only had a minute to convince someone to buy into your idea, what would you say? That’s where your key message lies. When in doubt, have a look at some of the successful pitch deck examples online and you’ll get a good sensing of what’s required.

This is why (similar to keynote speeches) investor decks include fewer words and more images. The emphasis is on getting your audience to see your vision, and envision the same things you want to achieve. The only caveat is if you need this investor presentation to be read by others – then you might need a separate version to stand on its own. In some instances, Steve’s style might work on Demo Day, however in closed doors situations, you might want a little more data on your slide to back you up and support your pointers.

There you have it, five types of presentations for different situations apart from the Steve Jobs ‘TED style presentations’. Remember that those techniques we highlighted above aren’t always the gold standard, you’ll need to apply them correctly for it to be effective.

For your next presentation, keep your audience and purpose of the deck in mind. From there, you can figure out the appropriate style, and apply the right balance of text and images.

Have fun and all the best!

Psst – Which of these styles work best for your presentations? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Top Sales Techniques and Why They Work

No matter whether it’s the classic Pac-Man or a mind-boggling Sudoku puzzle, there is a technique to win in every game. The same goes for sales. There are certain techniques that can help one achieve unreachable targets. With this list of top sales techniques, you’re all set to turn those impossible targets into reality.

1. Internal Evaluation

The top mistake that most sales teams make is jumping straight to selling services and products. Making profit. Little do these teams know, understanding your teammates and company from the inside out goes a long way. Without the fundamentals of a proper sales structure, and how your team works, you may encounter many difficulties in the sales process. In order to avoid such mistakes, here are three questions to assess your team’s dynamics and progress – What are the methods to monitor sales results? Has your team been hitting the sales target? How is your sales compensation system like?

a) What are the methods used to monitor sales results?

The very first step is to understand your own sales results. The crux of this understanding lies not in values and numbers but a consistent variable to measure results. This variable will be used throughout a long period of time in cohesion with the company’s goals. Besides the usual KPI, a constant variable can be calculated using distinct formulas such as the percentage of revenue, close ratio or productivity level.

These statistics are important as it will provide valuable insight for the following your team’s performance as well as identifying key areas where some extra help could come in handy for your company/product.

Having a consistent measurement also ensures to aid your sales team to compare and contrast sales results currently and results from months or years ago. It also helps the team to focus on a clear goal.

For example, your company is trying to drive up sales from new customers. One way to go about doing this is by using the number of sales closed. With the help of a supportive compensation plan, your sales team will be driven towards closing sales from new customers. With the fundamentals of identification covered, a sales dashboard can be very helpful in managing them. It aids your team in measuring and tracking sales results, as well as giving them a specific direction to aim for.

b) Has your team been hitting the sales target?

If the answer is no, the reason is because your team has not identified their ultimate goal. Here’s an example: Say you want an A for that test. In order to do that, you need to achieve a goal like 80 marks an above to get the grade. However, to reach that goal, you need to make a plan to study consistently every day before the exam – likewise with sales.

A goal is the primary result you and your team wants to achieve.
The plan or objectives are the measurable strategies used to achieve this ultimate goal.

Fitzhugh Dodson once said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

Without a specific goal and plan, your team will be heading aimlessly into the abyss of the corporate world. Discuss and ensure the team’s goal is aligned and then once this is established, make a plan to achieve that goal.

Having a target set, be it for individuals or a team, helps to give a gauge of the progress made. Using details such as the difference between target and actual sales will provide a better differentiation between salesmen.

With your newly found information, you are now able to strategize your other sales techniques better.

Forming sub-teams is an alternative to this problem. Pairing the lowest performing members with the best performers can motivate them to do better while giving your top salesmen a chance to mentor and lead others.

c) How is your sales compensation system like? Does it promote the right attitude at work?

Different cultures in companies may affect what kind of benefit staff are motivated by. To do so, company must know their staff and how they work. For example, Company X motivates their employees through compliments and acknowledgement vs Company Y that motivates their staff by providing bonuses/promotions.

The truth is, people are motivated by benefits presented to them. However, knowing what type of benefit motivates them is another story. For some, a compensation plan can help. Be it team dinners or commissions, it has to be attractive enough to propel your team towards self-driven sales.

Besides keeping them hungry for sales, it is also a good way to keep aligned with the company’s goals as mentioned before. For other companies, they maybe be motivated differently.

2. Value Parity V.S. Value Wedge


https://corporatevisions.com/value-proposition/

Value parity is that overlapping space where you realize that your business holds similarities with others in the same industry. Putting yourself in that tier makes your product a dime in a dozen. Why should customers buy your product when it’s the same like every other product out in the market?

On the other hand, value wedge is something that differentiates you from your competitors. Something that makes your product/company stand out from the crowd.

Thus, it’s natural to focus on your value wedge. This difference between you and your competitors acts as an advantage. But how do you know what your value wedge is?

First of all, your value wedge has to be unique. It has to be something which only you will have or be able to provide. Aside from that, it has to be important to the customer. It doesn’t make sense to have a value wedge without a unique selling point or something your prospects could care less about.

Second of all, your value wedge has to be defensible. When customers start questioning the different options available, those who fail to justify their uniqueness will always be at the losing end. For instance, most companies in the interior design industry are able to provide similar services. If you are the owner of an interior design company which can provide services at a lower cost, try tapping into this selling point as your value wedge and prospects will be keener to choose you over your competitors.

Being able to differentiate yourself through a value wedge will help you in narrowing down the unique strengths that you can use in encouraging prospects to choose your product amongst the many in the market.

sales technique number three be an effective listener-

3. Be An Effective Listener

Being an effective listener is always harder than it seems to be. When we jump straight into getting the prospect to understand our value wedge, we tend to get ahead of ourselves and miss out important details about the prospect.

The moment someone thinks you’re not listening, you’ve lost them. Besides the importance of being heard by you, an effective listener has to sieve out information from your prospect. Through the different cues given, you will be able to craft your pitch better. These hidden clues such as how they’re feeling or thinking can only be spotted by listening.

Being an effective listener will generally help you in bringing about a positive impression to your prospects while gathering hints from them regarding their business. When they know you’re listening, they usually go one step further telling you more about them.

Source: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/active-listening.html

So what is active listening? Active Listening is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.

Another way to demonstrate active listening is through questions. It is the easiest and fastest way to get quality answers from your prospect. The most important part of this interaction process is to learn more about their pain points and help them solve it. It provides better insights on the issues and how you are able to play a part in it.

Observing Body Language is also another form of active listening. By observing their body language, one can understand how they feel and think as well. One example is mirroring. If you catch your prospects mirroring your actions, it can be deduced that they are comfortable with you and keen to know more. However, if their feet are facing in an outward fashion, they might be indicating that they are feeling uncomfortable.

Provide a summary

After gathering information from your prospect through listening and questioning, you may want to do a summary in your own words of the things covered. During this process, you will be able to clarify any doubts or misconceptions while aligning both visions. Doing so will bring you across as someone who is attentive to details and willing to take time to understand the pains of their business.

sales technique be empathetic

4. Build sustainable long-term business relationships with clients

No one likes to be sold to – buyers prefer to be guided to make their own decision. As a salesperson, you’re meant to facilitate the sales process, not dominate it. With the constant need to meet targets within tight time frames, many sales professionals struggle to empathise with their clients.

To overcome this, sales professionals need to understand that the only way to build sustainable long-term business relationships with their clients is for them to first buy you as a person. Only then, will they be willing to buy what you sell. One of the best ways for your prospects to buy into you is empathy. This is the sales professional’s’ ability to understand a given pain, situation or challenge from the prospect‘s point of view and provide on point solutions and responses that build trust.

There are many ways to exercise empathy in the sales process with your prospects, which can range from body language to verbal expressions. One other way a sales professional can exercise empathy is to understand the D.I.S.C personality model which provides a very simple but effective understanding of the 4 main personality traits and how people with different traits like to deal with people, challenges, and tasks. Understanding this allows the sales professional to prepare their appointments and information in a way that their prospects’ will be receptive to.

sales technique have a script for calls

5. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections

Rejection should not be a foreign word to salespeople. You may be wondering how you should deal with it or maybe how can you turn those objections into yes-es.

This is when you will identify the common reasons for rejections. Gather your team, list them down and start brainstorming for solutions. Some things which should be covered during this process include:

a) The cause of rejection (eg. too pricey, do not need the service now)
b) What are some problems they face?
c) How can we turn that around?

Here is an example of using this sales technique:

The cause of rejection?
Limited budget set aside for the service.

How can we turn that around?
One way to counter this is to offer an installment plan or to provide reasons for the high price. You can justify the price by showing how it includes premium services or service customization, and mention that the customer is paying more for something that is of better quality and tailored towards their needs.

This may be a very tedious process which could take up to a few days to complete. However, through this, you have formulated the ultimate cheat sheet for your sales team. With the script in your hands, you and your team will be much more prepared for any common objection and be better equipped to tackle these difficulties.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to tackle rejections, you might want to cover the different approaches towards different personality types as well.

sales technique number five follow up

6. Follow-Ups

According to a research done, 80% of sales requires at least 5 follow-ups. This shows the importance of building a continuous relationship when it comes to sales. You may receive empty replies or rejections, but it is always good to continue working on building rapport with your prospects.

The beauty of follow-ups is the personalized customer service each prospect receives, which makes them feel important and valuable to the company. Even if you receive an initial ‘no’, doing follow-ups provides you with leverage over your competitors as the prospect is likely to think of you first when future opportunities arise.

Follow-up methodologies in the sales process vary from one industry to another. Suffice to say, it’s important for sales professionals as it allows them to keep in constant contact with the prospect in hopes that somewhere along the way, the prospect will convert into a client. Many times, longer sales cycles are due to industry-specific trends and not particularly affected by the quality of the salesperson. In these cases, following up religiously is a salesperson’s best bet for securing a sale.

One challenge many sales professionals face is asking for a follow-up. Studies show that the chances of closing significantly increases during the 5-8th appointment. The only way you can have that many appointments is if the prospect wants to meet you and for him to meet you, you need to have something new to offer or give every single time. Hence be sure not to “reveal” everything that you have or know in the first meeting, this will give you an opportunity to schedule another appointment with the prospect.

Having this in mind, here are some age-old principles that you can use to evaluate the quality of your follow-up so that you eventually get the opportunity to convert your prospects to clients.

a) Be consistent – Ask for permission to follow-up, determine the frequency and do that consistently unless the client requests an earlier response.

b) Value – Each follow-up should be different and progressive from the one before. It should respond to a NEED or WANT

c) Consolidate – After every follow-up meeting, consolidate what was discussed and indicate next steps

So here you have it, the top sales techniques right at your fingertips. Remember to keep on practicing and perfect those persuasive techniques of yours.

  1. Internal Evaluation
  2. Value Parity VS Value Wedge
  3. Be an Active Listener
  4. Crafting scripts to counter commonly faced objections
  5. Follow-Ups

Leave a comment below if it worked for you!

50 Powerful Quotes To Start Your Presentation

When was the last time you attended a conference where the speaker didn’t just say: “Oh hi, my name is XYZ and today, I’ll be speaking to you about Topic X”?

Great stories possess riveting narrative arcs that begin strong and end strong. We’ve written at length about some of the best ways to end your presentation, but how does one design a presentation to start without sounding too cliche?

One of the most powerful ways to begin a presentation is to start by sharing a powerful and memorable quote that relates to the message of your talk.

Powerful quotes have so much power on your presentation. Not only does it help reinforce your message, it also helps boost your credibility since it implied the quote is ‘agreeing’ with your statement.

Take this TED talk by Andrew Solomon for example. Notice how he skilfully uses a quote from a book by Emily Dickinson to set the stage for his numerous anecdotes regarding the topic on Depression in his presentation:

 

Hence, if you’re looking to follow suit and start your next presentation strong with a powerful quote, we’ve got you covered. Here, we compiled a list of 50 quotes that you can use to boost your next presentation.

50 Powerful Quotes To Start Your Presentation:

1)  The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

2) “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” – Babe Ruth

3) “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

4) If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.” – Susan Fales Hill

5)Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

6) You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.” – Steve Jobs

7) Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” – Jack Dorsey

8) Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey

9)Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” – Jay Danzie

10)  “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett

11)  “Some entrepreneurs think how can I make a lot of money? But a better way is to think how can I make people’s lives a lot better? If you get it right, the money will come.” – Richard Branson

12)  “When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, ‘Nah, what’s wrong with a horse?’ That was a huge bet he made, and it worked.” – Elon Musk

13)  “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth

14)  “Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles F. Kettering

15)  “People rarely buy what they need. They buy what they want.” – Seth Godin

16)  “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

17)  “The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden

18)  “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”  David Brinkley

19)  “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Einstein

20)  “The problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”  Lilly Tomlin

21)  When you run a part of the relay and pass on the baton, there is no sense of unfinished business in your mind. There is just the sense of having done your part to the best of your ability. That is it. The hope is to pass on the baton to somebody who will run faster and run a better marathon.” – N. R. Narayana Murthy

22)  “Whatever you’re thinking, think bigger.” – Tony Hsieh

23)  “When you find an idea that you can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James

24)  “What would you do if you’re not afraid?” – Sheryl Sandberg

25)  “Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston

26)  “When I’m old and dying. I plan to look back on my life and say ‘Wow, an adventure’ not, ‘Wow, I sure felt safe’” – Tom Preston Werner

27)  “80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients.” – Vilfredo Pareto

28)  “You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.” – Russell Simmons

29)  “We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.” – Pete Cashmore

30)  “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzy

31)  “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas

32)  “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar

33)  “Words may inspire but action creates change.” – Simon Sinek

34)  “It isn’t what we say or think that denies us, but what we do.” – Jane Austen

35)  “Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be someone; get action.” – Theodore Roosevelt

36)  “There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton

37)  “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

38)  “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.” –  Frank Lloyd Wright

39)  “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

40)  “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley

41)  “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.”  – Seneca

42)  “If you think you are too small to make an impact try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” – Ekaterina Walter

43)  “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” Mark Zuckerberg

44)  “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

45)  “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln

46)  “Don’t build links. Build relationships.” – Rand Fishkin

47)  “100 percent of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.” – Wayne Gretzky, Hockey Legend

48)  “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.” – Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram

49)  “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE

50)   “You must be very patient, very persistent. The world isn’t going to shower gold coins on you just because you have a good idea. You’re going to have to work like crazy to bring that idea to the attention of people. They’re not going to buy it unless they know about it.” – Herb Kelleher, Founder of Southwest Airlines.

There you have it!

Phew! – now you have an additional 50 powerful quotes that you can add in your presentation arsenal. Leave an unforgettable impression on your presentation with these quotes starting today!

Comment down your favourite quote. And let us know if you have any that we didn’t add to the list!

6 Persuasive Presentation Techniques From The Science Of Influence

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.

1.Social Proof

social proof persuasive persuasion robert cialdini

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.

2.Reciprocity

Reciprocation persuasion persuasive robert cialdini

“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

commitment consistency persuasion persuasive robert cialdini

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.

4.Authority

authority persuasion persuasive robert cialdini

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.

Confidence

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.

Credentials

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.


Competent

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.

5.Scarcity

scarcity persuasion persuasive robert cialdini

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.

6.Liking

liking persuasion persuasive robert cialdini

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.

Compliments

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.

Establishing Similarities

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.

In summary:

  1. Have confidence, prepare your credentials and know your topic well
  2. Gather positive testimonials or reviews
  3. Provide tangible gifts
  4. Create scarcity through limited time or stocks
  5. Leverage on similarities and give compliments
  6. 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!