Should You Customize Your Presentation?

In other words, do you need to make sure that each time you talk about one of your ‘power’ topics, does it need to be custom fit to that specific audience?

Well, yes and no.

In other words, it depends. I’ve seen speakers that go to great lengths to make sure that they are relating to a specific audience.

For instance, when I saw Tony Robbins address the audience at the Natural Products Expo West a couple of years ago, his presentation had a lot to do with that specific industry. But he had a lot invested in it – financially. One of his companies had an interest in new FDA rules that might affect them, so his knowledge of the industry was extremely high. And because of that, his presentation was specifically tailored to the audience – even though his core message could have been delivered to virtually any gathering.

I’ve also seen keynotes that were ‘cookie-cutter’ and could have been virtually cut-and-pasted to any group without changing a single word.

Both went over quite well.

So what’s the answer?

In those cases, the audience was large – a few thousand at least. The speakers were well known, and the audiences quite receptive.

If you’re speaking to a smaller audience, your payoff will be worth it if you can tailor your presentation.

Let’s say you’re speaking to a group of fitness trainers. Before the presentation if you take some time to chat with some of the audience (either in person or with one of the organizers ahead of time) and learn a bit about the group, you’ll have some good ammunition to add to your speech.

For example, perhaps you speak with Carol, who’s been training and helping clients who are recovering from auto accidents. You tell her that an acquaintance of yours was in an auto accident recently and is in need of some direction. In your conversation you may uncover a couple of tidbits that might help your friend. If you find a way to work a few elements of that conversation into your presentation it does a couple of things:

First, it shows that you took the time to talk to and learn a bit about your audience. It shows them that you care.

Second, when you mention Carol’s name, several members of the audience will perk up a bit more because they’re sure to know who Carol is. So you’ve got them paying closer attention.

Both of those elements will make you more attractive to the audience as a good speaker. It wouldn’t surprise me if a number of them took mental notes and remember to call you when a group they’re associated with needs a speaker.

So all the way around, customizing your presentation – whether a full-blown speech written specifically for the group, or adding some elegant personalization touches – makes a lot of sense.

Buying Christmas Presents on a Budget – Tips to Help You Succeed

The Christmas countdown time has begun and with the low economy, buying Christmas presents on a budget is an utmost concern for many. For some, a fearful sense of trepidation seems to overtake the essence of the Christmas season. The joys of the Christmas season can easily become a distant thought as the necessity of buying Christmas presents on a budget loom before us.

Due to the low economy many are seeing their credit card debt increasingly mounting. Even the possibility of bankruptcy for some adds more stress to the upcoming Christmas season. For many buying Christmas presents on a budget becomes a forced priority and the outlook for a joyous Christmas season is dismal.

If you find yourself dealing with money problems and needing to buy your Christmas presents on a budget, then hopefully these tips may help you to succeed and bring back the joy of the Christmas season:

1. You should seek expert help in planning your budget and debt reduction needs. Putting together a workable budget and an effective plan to help you deal with the debt in your life should be a priority. The sooner you start implementing an effective budget and debt reduction plan, the better you will begin to feel. Thoughts of being forced to buy Christmas presents on a budget will no longer appear so dismal. In fact, no matter what your financial status, having a budget is a wise approach to help you effectively manage your money.

2. Look for ways to make some extra money. Sometimes the best way to make some extra cash is right in front of us. Go through your attic and garage and, no doubt, most of us can easily find things we no longer use or even need. Selling them in auctions is a great way to help clear the clutter in your life and bring in extra cash.

Consider taking a part time job during the Christmas season for some added cash flow. Also, doing some odds jobs such as baby sitting, stringing Christmas lights or cleaning gutters are just a few things you can do to earn extra money and most people will be thrilled to have the help.

3. Make saving money a priority. The saying “pennies add up” is true. You should look for ways to save, even if it is only a small amount. This will help put you in the right frame of mind to make saving a priority. Try buying non-brand named products. The grocery store is a good place to start. Carry this concept through with Christmas presents you select. Stay away from high-end department stores and shop bargain stores. You may be pleasantly surprised on the great deals you will find and this will be a big help in buying your Christmas presents on a budget.

4. Don’t feel as though exchanging gifts is mandatory. Since your budget will most likely not permit the giving of gifts to all your relatives and friends, let them know ahead of time. Suggest you do not exchange gifts. Most people will understand fully and may even find it a much-needed help to keep them within their own plan for buying Christmas presents on a budget.

5. Start Christmas shopping early. When you have budget constraints the earlier you start your Christmas shopping, the better. You will have more time to browse several of the bargain stores, or online shops, for the really special deals. It will also be a big stress reducer to get your Christmas shopping done early without blowing your budget. Just remember if you don’t have it to spend, then don’t spend it.

How To Use Questions To Win More Negotiations

Questions are the foundation of negotiations. Thus, the questions you ask, when you ask them, and the way you ask them, all impact the negotiation. To the degree you ask good questions, those aligned with your goals for the negotiation, the negotiation progresses more easily upon the path of success.

The following are insights into how to use, how to answer, and how to avoid answering questions.

Assumptive Questions:

Assumptive questions give the impression that you may have more insight than you really possess. As an example, “In the past you’ve paid $5,000 for this service, correct?” In this case, you’re asking a subconscious and conscious question. The subconscious assumptive question is, you’ve used this service in the past. The conscious assumptive question is, you paid $5,000 for it. As such, you’re conveying the fact that you may have information about the other negotiator that can benefit you. In this case, observe how he answers the question (i.e. body language) and the words he uses to do so (i.e. para-language – words used to convey his sentiments). Both will give you insight, from which you can determine your next step.

Answering Questions with Questions:

Depending on the skill level of the other negotiator, you can answer his question with a question. By doing so, you gain more insight and information. By gaining more insight, you gain a greater perspective of his intentions. The skill level of your counterpart is important, because this tactic can also be used as a ploy to assess how deeply you’re prepared to lead him. If you’re not cautious, you can think you’re leading him while in reality you’re being led (i.e. disclosing your negotiation style and demeanor),

Emotions and Questions:

Emotions play a pivotal role in negotiations, especially when it comes to question. If you’re perceived as overemphasizing a word, a phrase, your question can project an unintended meaning. Negotiation Tip – People won’t always remember what you said, but they’ll remember the affect your words had on them. Suffice it to say, when asking questions be aware of your chose of words, the emphasis you place on certain words, and the speed and pace at which you speak. All of those factors impact the reception and perception of your questions.

Avoiding Questions:

When questions are posed and the other negotiator does not answer it, take note. The question may be hitting a sensitive spot that he does not wish exposed. If instead of answering the question he says he’d like to talk about another subject, you should note this even more; he’s giving insight through his actions that your question doesn’t have the importance to him as his topic. This could also be a ploy (i.e. in a negotiation, the person asking a question has more control). If you sense he’s avoiding your question because you’ve strayed into a sensitive area, you can pursue, or let it go for the time being. Do what’s appropriate for the timing and direction you’d like to take the negotiation.

There are many factors that lend to the importance of questions in a negotiation. Since questions are the heartbeat of a negotiation, in order to negotiate more effectively ask the appropriate question at the appropriate time. If you couple that with using the questioning tactics above, you’ll have a winning combination for more successful negotiations… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!