Presentations – Stand Out Tip – Look ‘em in the Eye

The remarkable thing about having powerful presentation skills is that they “trickle down” to all of your interpersonal communications, whether in meetings, interviews, or even phone calls. So mastering the tough skills of standing up and standing out in front of a crowd also means you’ll have the ability to stand out in all your interactions. There are a handful of qualities that consistently do give you stand out status. Doesn’t matter how smart or talented or attractive you are-universally, these attributes can make you the kind of person that other people want to know, work with and do business with.

One powerful such attribute is “look em in the eye.” In our culture, eye communication is correlated with trust and credibility.

What do you think about those who can’t look at you while talking to you? At best, you might assume a lack of confidence or knowledge about what they’re talking about. At worst, you may think they’re lying. Neither are particularly desirable assessments! And turn it around. Suppose you’re the one talking and your listener is not looking at you. How does that make you feel? At best, you might feel like you’re not being listened to; at worst, it sends a signal of disinterest and disrespect. That’s certainly not conducive to good communication.

I do an exercise in my training workshops where I pair everyone up into partners, A & B. Each pair has a conversation where A talks and B listens. However, at a signal from me, B must break eye communication. What happens next varies from workshop to workshop, but it always has one of these results: (1) the room goes silent as all the As get so derailed, they stop talking, (2) the volume level increases substantially as some of the As talk louder to get the attention of the disengaged Bs, or (3) there’s hilarious laughter as the As realize they can’t communicate with B if B isn’t looking them in the eye!

In a workshop I did for a printing company, a participant, who happened to be the group’s manager, spoke up during the debriefing of that exercise and announced, “This was a life-changing event for me.” Wow. I asked her to explain.

“Well, I have always prided myself on my ability to multi-task. I could be proofing a galley and typing a memo, and if an employee came into my office, I could still listen to whatever they had to tell me without breaking stride on the other stuff. But what I just learned is, it doesn’t matter whether I’m listening to them or not. The perception is that I’m not. And I don’t want to make it hard for my team to communicate with me.”

The rest of that story is, several years later, I ran into this manager at a social event. I told her what a strong impression her admission had made on me all those years ago and asked her if it had truly guided her communications after that. She assured me that it had. And, by the way, she had in those few years, become one of the partners of the company. All due to being able to look people in the eye? Who knows? But it’s clearly an important “stand out” skill.

Here’s a great way to remember its value: “eye communication” insures you’re not having “I communication.” The ability to look someone in the eye — whether you’re talking or listening — conveys an interest in the other party, which makes that person feel special, appreciated, listened to. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about a stare-down. It’s natural to occasionally break a gaze, to glance at notes, to raise your eyes in thought. But when your eyes are primarily focused elsewhere, it’s a huge disconnect. Eye communication is a strong connecting behavior. It instills confidence and trust.

Ideal Ways to Present Gifts

Gifts are not only meant to be given during a special occasion but it is a way of appreciation and love to the people you love or even have affected your life in a small way. However, choosing the best gift can be quite a challenge in these days with the amount of varieties we have from.

Fret not, you are not alone in this dilemma of choosing the perfect gift, how about a nice hamper with a variety of gifts. The attractiveness of gift hampers has been increasing significantly. It does save all the trouble and provides the convenience of choosing the best gift. Pampering your loved ones is definitely an internal bliss which is meant to be felt. This is the best way to get around if you aren’t aware of the recipient’s taste and the assortment of gifts which makes it perfect for families or a group of recipients.

Some even find it extremely boring and have the stereotyped gifts to corporate events or simply a lazy and a convenient way of sending gifts to someone. Gift hampers is an ideal present for a corporate event however it can also be personalized with some tweaking. It will be extremely good if you know the corporate culture such as this will ensure what type of gift you should put together without upsetting anyone. As some companies maintain a very conservative culture on the other hand you get some ultra modern companies who are open to anything.

Gift hampers can be presented from wedding anniversaries to birthdays. They are not meant to be dull it can always be personalized to suit one’s preferences. The themes of the hampers can be made into elegant, sweet, funny and romantic; all these depend on how the gift hampers are being customized. The most appealing aspect of gift hampers would be it’s vibrant persona and most importantly, it does make one feel extremely excited and prominent upon receiving a hamper instead of just a present.

Although they can be an excellent gift for any occasion, not everyone will have the patience and the much needed creativity to create a perfect hamper. The best would be to seek a professional touch on it. And none of us can deny the obvious fact that a professional help will definitely come with a amount to pay for. But none of us can deny the far-fetched prices which come along with the gift hampers. It is very essential to look around the internet for different websites and their options as the prices might not match up to the quality of the hampers. Choosing the right professional to express your motives, thoughts into a gift hampers is very vital. Therefore, break free from the norm and get a gift hamper for your loved ones or even a colleague to show your appreciation.

Three Steps to Presenting With Confidence

Do you dread public speaking? Do you avoid situations where you might have to stand up in front of others? You are not alone! Research once found that people feared public speaking even more than death!

I was a particularly shy and quiet child. When I started work and had to speak in front of groups, I was filled with terror. I I learned ways to overcome my fear and present successfully. Now I work as a management trainer/facilitator, standing in front of groups on a regular basis. And I feel fine.  I want to share with you what has worked for me. If I can speak with confidence, so can you!

Step 1: Tune in to WII FM Radio

You will be presenting to a group of people. Why should they listen to you? They will be thinking:”Whats In It For Me? Put yourself in their shoes. What information do they need from you? What concerns do they need addressed? You may have different interest groups in your audience so give them what they are looking for.

Decide what you want them to do or remember as they leave the room after your presentation. Use that as a starting point to put structure into your presentation plan. Remember to KISS (Keep It Short And Simple)  – put the detail in a handout or softcopy so as not to confuse your audience.

Think about how you are going to hook them in with your opening sentence. If you feel your subject  may be boring, find some interesting angle to bring it to life. Tell a story, show a photograph, ask a question, give a surprising statistic – anything that relates to your subject. And when you close at the end of your presentation, end with a bang and not a whimper.

Step 2: Get Creative with your Content

Often when people have to present, they play it safe and build a series of text slides on PowerPoint. And then they hold a “Read With Me” lesson with their audience.  Also known as “Death by PowerPoint”. This is usually quite swift, as a person’s attention span is only 20 minutes even with a good presentation!

So think outside the box and make your presentation an enjoyable experience. Experiment with different ideas that relate to the topic. Tell personal stories. Use PowerPoint to show photographs or simple diagrams. Bring physical objects into the room and pass them around. Show video clips (YouTube is a great source) or play sound bites. Arrange your audience into small groups and get them to answer some good, probing questions.

Step 3: Get into The Zone

So, you have sorted out what you are going to say, and decided how you are going to get your message across.  In the few days before I present, I mentally “get into the zone” to banish the nerves.

For me, that means visualising myself in front of the group, presenting with passion to a delighted audience. I can see it, hear it, feel it. Any negative thought is forbidden. (Your brain is like a computer; tell yourself you can’t do something, and it will comply).

Then on the day, I put on my best clothes (to give me confidence) and my best smile.

Follow these three steps and find opportunities to present regularly. You will find your confidence will grow in other areas of your life too. As Susan Jeffries once said: “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!”

See my presentation skills audio guide, presentation planner and delivery tips checklist on my website for more help on this topic.