Presentations – Stand Out Tip – Listen Actively

Standing out is a function of how your present yourself to others and how you react to others. The ability to be a good listener is a strong stand out quality.

However, you need to recognize what good listening is not. Obviously, it is not marginal listening — giving half an ear to the speaker while you’re watching television, reading the paper, or working on your computer. You might be surprised to know it’s also not evaluative listening — where you do hear the gist of what the speaker says, but you’re evaluating the content so you can prepare your response. The dead giveaway when you use this type of listening is when your response starts out with, “Yes, but…”

The best and most powerful form of listening is “active listening.” It fulfills two very basic human needs-to be heard and to be understood. There are three crucial steps to active listening. Think of the acronym EAR to help you remember these steps:

ENGAGE THE SPEAKER. In other words, show the speaker that you’re listening by looking him in the eye, nodding occasionally, showing appropriate facial expressions (a smile for good news, concern for distressing news). Project open and relaxed body language. Also keep in mind that total silence does not imply listening. Give vocal signals such as: “mm-hmm,” “yes,” “really?,” “I see,” etc.

ACTUALLY HEAR WHAT’S BEING SAID. This means you have to pay attention and process the information. You must concentrate on the content of the message, which is what the speaker is saying, plus the intent, which is what she’s feeling or what she means. It may help by repeating to yourself her key words or main ideas and also observing the nonverbal cues she’s giving.

RESPOND APPROPRIATELY. This third step is the key to effectively wielding the power of listening. Instead of saying, “Yes, but…”, you let the other party know you’ve heard and understood him. It can take three forms:

1. Paraphrasing. This means repeating the gist of the message. It’s generally preceded by, “So what you’re saying is…” or “In other words…” or “If I understand you correctly…” The ability to do this lets the speaker know you did in fact hear the content of what he said. The amazing thing about paraphrasing is that once people feel like you heard them, they can be more receptive and open to what you have to say.

2. Probing. This is a particularly important technique in diffusing the tension that comes with disagreement. After the speaker has made a statement, instead of launching into your rebuttal, you probe for more information. “Why do you think that?” “What’s the downside to that?” “Can you give me some examples?” This lets the speaker know you’re interested in hearing his side, which in turn will make him more likely to listen to your side. 

3. Reflecting back feelings. This is the finer-tuned skill of interpreting how the speaker feels about what she said. “You must be so proud,” or “That certainly must have made you angry,” or “I imagine you’re very hurt by that…” are examples of reflecting. This is the ultimate validation a speaker can receive: being heard and being understood. When you give that gift to others, it opens doors, breaks down barriers, reduces anger, decreases resistance.

 Listening actively is a magical skill. Its mastery can have a profound, positive impact on giving you “stand out” presence.

Tips on Making Presentations

For a presentation to have impact, it should be able to keep an audience completely engrossed. You do not need to be a high profile speaker in order to make a great presentation. Just follow these handy pointers to help you develop your presentation skills.

The key to a good presentation is to prepare well in advance. This is because you get just one opportunity to get your presentation right – there are no retakes! Research your presentation before hand. All data that you include should be accurate. Avoid using too many facts and figures in your presentation as they tend to sound too dry and boring.

Rehearse your presentation in advance so you do not need to refer to your notes during the course of the presentation. Make eye contact with the audience while talking so that they feel as if you are talking to them individually. Nod your head, smile and use voice modulation to make your presentation come alive.

At the beginning of your presentation make your audience feel comfortable by greeting them and explaining the agenda for the session.

You will need to deliver your presentation in the right way so that your participants like hearing you. Stress on important points and let your presentation follow a logical flow. Explain any statistical figures so that even a lay person can understand your point. Use real life examples to illustrate your points.

Do not try to make your presentation too technical in nature. Even if your subject matter is complex, try to simplify concepts by using clear, uncomplicated language. Keep away from excessive jargon. Use just those technical terms that you know your audience will be familiar with. Target your presentation for each and every member of the audience, not just a select few. Keep in mind that the audience may come from diverse background or job functions.

Keep room in your presentation for any extempore additions that feel will add to the presentation while you are making it. Pick up cues from the audience response and use them to make corrections to the overall tone of your presentation.

You should intersperse your presentation with visuals as far as possible. Graphics not only enhance your presentation but also add to your content.

At the end of the presentation, ask the audience for feedback and answer any queries they may have. Discourage people from asking questions while you are making your presentation so that the flow is not interrupted.

Be Consciously Mindful of Deception and Deceit While Negotiating

Are you consciously mindful of the perils that deception and deceit have on you and the other negotiator while negotiating? There’s a very fine line between deceit and deception. Therefore, deceit and deception have to be used cautiously, less they wreak havoc on a negotiation.

The problem with using either deceit or deception in a negotiation lies in the manner in which they are perceived. Everyone practices some form of deception when they negotiate. It can be in the form of not fully disclosing your ultimate position, not disclosing information that would detract from your position, or in a myriad of other ways. Deceit on the other hand is outright lying.

The trouble occurs when you or the other negotiator feel he’s being intentionally misled. Then, trust is broken, which causes the bonding process to become stymied, which in turn causes the negotiation to proceed less expeditiously.

If you sense “something’s not right” with information you’ve been given, or you receive quizzical inquiries stemming from information you propose when negotiating, consider the following.

1. Assess what you’re sensing.

a. Try to determine what has caused you to feel what you’re experiencing. Was it the way the information was presented? Did you or the other negotiator do ‘something’ nonverbally that caused you to perceive doubt or be perceived as doubtful, about the validity of the information presented? Once a determination is made, bring it to the forefront of the negotiation and seek clarification. At that point, observe very intently the repositioning of the point. Look for uneasiness and/or the degree the new position changes from the original one.

2. Determine how best to respond.

a. In considering how best to respond, consider how your reframed position will be viewed, or how the other negotiator reframed his position. Compare the new position to how it was perceived prior to its reframing. In particular, consider if the reframed position ‘adds value’ to the negotiation, and if so, who is advantaged by the reframing. It may be more palatable to allow the position to remain unchanged, with an explanation addressing the misperception possessed by whoever initiated the point.

3. Make sure everyone understands the revised information and they agree with it.

a. Once you’ve determined to what degree the information in contention has been addressed, be prepared to move on in the negotiation. Initially, do so cautiously and observe the demeanor of the other negotiator to seek any behavioral differences in his negotiation style. If there’s no change, assume the situation has been addressed satisfactorily.

The presentation of information in a negotiation can become tricky. Regardless of how you address the perception of deceit or deception, be sure to cast your efforts carefully, because those efforts will become the source of your negotiation prosperity… and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are…

· If you perceive deceit or are perceived as being deceitful, address it sooner versus later in the negotiation. You will only enhance your position be doing so.

· Deceit can be concealed in deception. Like in any negotiation, sometimes you have to rearrange what you see, in order to view the situation for what it is.

· No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. When you’re negotiating, determine to what degree a mistake is just that, versus deceit, before acting upon information.