Senin, 20 Juni 2016

7 Ways To Unleash Your Presentation Genius

Creativity, eloquence, and authenticity are by far the top 3 attributes in highest demand when it comes to presenting your ideas at work. We live in an age of unprecedented information besieged by data in a knowledge-based society where simply reading your PowerPoint slides to a busy audience is becoming a mortal sin, and thankfully so.
We are entering a new frontier of public speaking and presenting which demands that speakers do a great deal more than just impart information. Whether you are giving your regular quarterly update, briefing your team, or making a sales pitch, you need to capture and hold your audience’s attention in a way that is memorable, compelling, and even entertaining.
If presenting isn’t one of your natural gifts, then how on earth do you satisfy the merciless insistence of your audience to be different, to stand out from the crowd and keep them awake?

1. Think like a “tweet”

Think back to the last time you prepared for a presentation. Did you start by opening up your laptop and heading straight for a PowerPoint deck you have used before? Did you then re-order the bullet points with your new content, change the background, and throw in a few new pictures for good measure?
If you did, then essentially you handcuffed, gagged, and blindfolded your creative genius, and despite what you think, we all have one that is waiting to be unleashed.
Ironically, the future of high-impact presenting is analogue rather than digital.
With a packet of large coloured post-it notes and a few Sharpie pens, begin crafting your own storyboard with a series of “tweets.”
On each post-it note, write down in less than 140 characters:
  • Your message
  • What you want your audience to think about your message
  • What you want them to feel about it
  • What you want them to do when you finish speaking
Now you have absolute clarity of what your objective and intention is, you can use the remaining post-it notes to creatively craft your story.

2. Billboards are best

Imagine you are driving down the street and your entire presentation unfolds before your very eyes in the form of a series of billboards which are each 48-feet long and 14-feet high. Each board contains a colourful and compelling image supported by a very short headline as your story gradually but powerfully unfolds step by step.
Each billboard grabs your attention and makes you want to know more.
Now, take your post-it notes and create your mini-series of billboards by filling them with simple hand-drawn images and headlines. Don’t worry about how well you can draw, it’s not important. Simply sketch what comes to mind, however basic it may look.

3. Contrast is King

As your billboards begin to take shape, give some thought as to how you are going to build contrast into your presentation. As you craft each post-it note with an image or a headline, ask yourself what could help you to bring it to life even more:
  • A story
  • A prop
  • A short video or soundbite
  • A question
  • An exercise involving the audience

4. Take 7 steps

  • Set the scene – What’s so important that you couldn’t send an email?
  • Begin the journey – What’s the message, where are you taking them?
  • Encounter the obstacle – Why do they really need to go there?
  • Overcome the obstacle – How are you going to get them there?
  • Resolve the story – Now they are here, what does it look and feel like?
  • Make the point – Why is it so important?
  • Call to action – What do you want them to do now?

5. Give them their 3 F’s

Your listeners only want 3 things from you, so make sure you include them on your billboards.
Facts – features, benefits, data, logical argument, examples, case studies
Feeling – stories, metaphor, anecdotes, suspense, shock, humour, surprise
Future – 30 years ago, an old boss of mind gave me a piece of leadership advice which had a profound effect on my career. He said, “The only people who need to be motivated are the people who can’t see the future; your job is to help them to see the future.”

6. Shout, sing, scream, and sigh

Your voice is your greatest asset as a presenter, and when stretched, challenged, and tuned like the incredible instrument it is, it can help you to breathe life into your presentation.
It takes effort, discipline, and practice to unlock the enormous potential and range of your voice and the way to do so is to exercise it.
Find a few random paragraphs from your favourite book and practice reading it out loud to yourself in as many different ways as you can; passionate, angry, sad, excited, etc.

7. Focus on their SHIFT

Every presentation is designed to create some form of shift in the audience. It may be a change of attitude, understanding, beliefs, or behaviour but at the heart of every speech is a desire to influence others in some way.
It is one thing knowing the direction you wish to take them in, but what is far more important is in understanding the SHIFT they would like to experience from listening to you.
Success – In crafting your presentation, ensure it’s designed to help them achieve some level of improvement in their personal or professional lives.
Happiness – Your audience wants to feel good and everything you say, show, and do should have that in mind.
Insight – You are the expert on the subject and they want you to translate your knowledge in a way that they can really understand as well.
Freedom – Professionals are facing increasingly high-pressured demands at work and if you can free them in any way from some of that stress they will be very grateful.
Time – The one thing we all long for more of than anything is time. How does what you have to say help them to get more?
When it comes to presenting and speaking in public, many professionals live in a constant state of self-criticism.
Each of us has a presentation genius inside of us just waiting to be unleashed and to be heard. These 7 suggestions offer the key to unlocking that creative presentation genius and helping you to find your true voice.


Senin, 16 November 2015

The Three Basic Secrets of All Successful Presentations

I was recently invited to speak to MBA students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business as part of a unique program called the Mastery in Communication Initiative. In its expert speaker’s series, Stanford invites “pioneers in the field of communication” to share their insights and to coach business students in the art and science of persuasion, pitching, communication, and presentation skills.
In my presentation, which you can see here on the Stanford Business School YouTube Channel, I gave students very specific techniques they could use immediately to pitch their ideas to colleagues, instructors, and professional investors. I shared three essential components of all successful presentations. By ‘successful,’ I mean presentations that accomplish their intended effect—to move people to action, to close a sale, to receive project funding, etc.

Successful presentations are understandable, memorable, and emotional.

Understandable. Successful presentations are free of jargon, buzzwords, complexity, and confusion. Although there are many ways to make a presentation clear and understandable, my favorite technique is what I call the “Twitter-friendly headline.” I learned this from studying Steve Jobs and other inspiring communicators. In 2001 the iPod was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” In 2008 the MacBook Air was “The world’s thinnest notebook.” Steve Jobs always described his products in one sentence. Even before Twitter existed, Jobs’ product descriptions never exceeded 140 characters.
The other day I spoke to bestselling author Daniel Pink about his new book, To Sell is Human. Pink is skilled at public speaking and had years of experience as a political speechwriter before he wrote books. When he prepares for a presentation he asks himself, “What’s the one big idea I want people to take away from my presentation?” If you’re pitching a product, what’s the one thing you want your customers or investors to know about it? If you can express it in 140 characters or less, you’ll help your audience make sense of your product and how it will benefit their lives.

Memorable. If your audience cannot remember what you said in your presentation or recall your idea, it doesn’t matter how great it is! Again, there are many techniques to communicate ideas in memorable ways, but my favorite is a concept I’ve discussed in an earlier column—the rule of three. Neuroscientists generally agree that the human mind can only consume anywhere from three to seven points in short term, or “working memory” (This is why the phone number is only seven digits. Long ago scientists discovered if you ask people to remember eight digits, they forget just about the entire sequence of numbers). The magic number—not too many and not too few—seems to be three.
Try to incorporate the rule of three in your presentations. You can divide your presentation into three parts, discuss “three benefits” of a product, or give your audience “three action steps” they can take. Packaging the content into groups of three makes it far easier to remember.

Emotional. There’s a large body of research that shows the emotional component of a message trumps the analytical. Yes, you need to show data and evidence to reinforce your position, but it’s the emotional part of a presentation that often moves people to action.

Storytelling is the easiest and most effective way to make your presentation emotional. I once interviewed a prominent attorney who won the largest punitive judgment against a pharmaceutical company at the time—$250 million. He showed me the slides he used in his opening argument. The first six slides told a story and showed pictures of the person who lost his life. When the trial was over he asked the jurors why they voted the way they did. It seems the drug company lawyers had called to the stand scientists who confused the jurors with mountains of data and statistics. The jurors, however, were more moved by the simple story that opened the trial. They specifically mentioned the story as one of the reasons behind their decision. Stories are powerful, under-appreciated, and rarely used. If you want to stand out, tell more of them.

Poor communication and presentation skills can sink your brand and your career. I see it happen all the time. I’ve also seen way too many great ideas go undiscovered because the people who have those ideas fail to communicate effectively. We need big ideas to solve big problems, and we need inspiring leaders who can present those ideas so they are understandable, memorable, and make an emotional connection with their audiences.


Kamis, 12 November 2015

15 Small Things Successful People Do Every Day

There are certain people that come to your mind when you think about success. Perhaps they are people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or Larry Page. Yet the frenzy around these people can be so noisy that you start getting bewildered on what it actually takes to achieve success. The truth is that what successful people do daily, the things that define them, are actually discreet and little actions. Here are fifteen small things successful people do every day.

1. They focus on being productive rather than being busy
According to Tim Ferris, the author of the The 4-Hour Workweek, “Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

2. They wake up early
Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, wakes up as early as 3:30am to deal with the European market. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple Inc., starts his day as early as 4:30am to send emails. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, says he wakes up by 5:30am for his daily workout routine.

3. They focus on being with the best team
Renowned basketball coach Phil Jackson said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Successful people know that they have to be with people who will complement them. Company and management expert Ken Blanchard says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

4. They focus on making small and continuous improvements
There is a concept that you cannot eat an elephant all at once. You have to take it one bit at a time. Henry Ford once said, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.”

5. They meditate
According to Oprah Winfrey on meditation, “the results have been awesome. Better sleep. Improved relationships with spouses, children, coworkers. Some people who once suffered migraines don’t anymore. Greater productivity and creativity all around.” Successful people take time to meditate. The founder of Def Jam, Russell Simmons, says Transcendental meditation changed his life.

6. They take care of their bodies
Regular exercise doesn’t only keep the body physically healthy, but also helps with your mental state. The chief of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Frits van Paasschen, starts at 6am and runs 10 miles per day. President Barack Obama runs 3 miles or exercises 45 minutes per day, six days a week.

7. They have balanced lives
To achieve wonderful things in life, you need to maintain balance. Successful people keep a balance with making money, spending time with their family and loved ones, and achieving personal goals.

 8. They focus on the positive
In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor explains that a recent scientific study showed that doctors who are put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis consistently experience significant boosts to their intellectual abilities compared with doctors in a neutral state. Because of this, they are able to make accurate diagnoses almost 20% faster. Successful people are always optimistic about situations.

9. They keep track of their progress
Eminem, Oprah Winfrey, and J.K Rowling all keep journals. They are able to keep track of their progress, set goals, reflect, and learn from their mistakes. They understand that they need a map to accomplish great things. Sometimes, this notebook or journal is the map they need.

10. They create their success
They understand that they are responsible for their success and that good luck is not something that magically happens. They know that you have to earn the right to be successful. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill states, “You are the master of your destiny.” You can influence, direct, and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.

11. They have successful friends
According to Jim Rohn, you are the average of your five closest friends. Successful people know this, and that is why they keep company with mentors and other successful people. In Tribes by Seth Godin, you are encouraged to find your tribe and make a difference in all of your lives.

12. They inspire others to be successful as well
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a way of helping others to cultivate their creativity. According to Steve Jobs, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile.”

13. They have a consistent schedule
Rameet Chawla, founder of Fueled, believes a consistent schedule helps with prioritization and focusing on what is important. With a consistent schedule, you are better driven to achieve success.

 14. They have a detailed plan
Before leaving the office at night, Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, writes down top three things he wants to accomplish the next day. He begins each day with this list.

15. They never procrastinate or make excuses
Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Successful people do not take chances, they take action and get the tough assignments done first.


Jumat, 21 Desember 2012

Balance of Threat Theory

In 1985, Stephen M. Walt (from Foreign Policy and The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy) published an article in International Security titled "Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power".  Speaking to idea that states either balance --join with another state against a growing threat-- or bandwagon --join with the threat to guarantee survival--, Walt's theory of international relations (IR), now called Balance of Threat theory, postulates that 4 distinct threats shape alliance formation in IR:

1) Aggregate Power- total combined resources of a state greatly exceeds others
2) Proximate Power- location of a threat shapes alliances for neighboring states
3) Offensive Power- military capabilities of a state
4) Offensive Intentions- an aggressive/expansionist foreign policy

When these threats are applied to the balancing/bandwagoning argument Walt proposes two different hypotheses:

Balancing- "If balancing is the dominant tendency [in IR], then threatening states will provoke others to align against them... Credibility [of allies] is less important in a balancing world because one's allies will resist threatening states out of their own self-interest, not because they expect others to do it for them."

Bandwagoning- "If states tend to ally with the strongest and most threatening state, then powers will be rewarded if they appear both strong and potentially dangerous. International rivalries will be more intense, because a single defeat may signal the decline of one side and the ascendancy of the other... Moreover, if statesmen believe that bandwagoning is widespread, they will be more inclined to use force to resolve international disputes. This is because they will both fear the gains that others may make by demonstrating their power or resolve, and because they will assume that others will be unlikely to balance against them."

Following this, Walt goes on to say that, historically, balancing is the norm (example- France/Russia vs. Germany/Austria-Hungary in WWI); however, bandwagoning occasionally occurs (example- Finland/USSR during the Cold War).

The balance/bandwagon argument becomes complicated with the addition of ideology. In much political rhetoric, especially during the Cold War, ideological birds of a feather, indeed, flocked together; yet, through the examples of international communism and pan-arabism Walt also notes that birds of a feather can fly apart:

International Communism supposed that Moscow was the vanguard, and it exercised it's global influence accordingly; however, as China became more powerful it began to break away from Moscow's influence culminating in the Sino-Soviet split. In Yugoslavia, Tito also split from the Soviet Union with the idea that there are many roads to socialism.

Likewise Pan-Arabic ideology, despite the obvious cultural commonalities between middle eastern countries, could never really take off.  Pan-Arabism required states to relinquish their power to become part of the larger picture, but the problem was to whom would power be relinquished? Nasser's Egypt or Saddam Hussein's Ba'athism?  In the end no consensus was reached, and with Nasser's death the experiment also died.

I wish to apply the two above examples to our modern international climate.  More specifically, I want to address how the United States, by subsidizing the defense of Europe with NATO, has elicited a bandwagoning response by EU nations and others.  I must give credit to Walt in his assertion that balancing against power is the historical norm; however, norms do change with time. Starting in 1945 through the collapse of the Soviet Union to present, bandwagoning has been the normal response to the United States in it's alliances.

Much of this argument extends from other portions of Walt's paper.  He cites "bribery" as a leading cause for states to form/remain in alliances.  To quote Walt on bribery, "the provision of economic or military assistance will create effective allies, either by demonstrating one's own favorable intentions, by invoking a sense of gratitude, or because the recipient will become dependent on the donor." He goes on to highlight the big problems with buying allies:

1) That in a world with multiple superpowers a recipient who is displeased with the aid it is receiving can get it elsewhere.
2) Recipients will try harder to get more aid because they are weaker than the one providing it, and if the provider feels that stopping the aid will lead to vulnerability, they are more reluctant to cut the funding.
3) The more important the ally is to the provider; the more aid it will receive. This gives the smaller state a substantial advantage for bargaining when it knows it's own importance.
4) By providing aid, the weaker state gains more strength and, eventually, has less need to follow the provider's wishes.

Throughout the Cold War, the United States was the sole protector of Europe.  At the time it made sense for the United States, being relatively unscathed by the second world war, to defend Europe.  It allowed European nations to place a limited amount of resources in defense spending freeing up the funds for rebuilding their economies.  It made the dollar, based on gold, the international standard, propelling the US to new heights of wealth and prosperity.  Finally, it took away much of the perceived threat from the Soviet Union because, if one American were killed, it would be all out war.

However, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact left NATO in an identity crisis.  It's use as a balancing force against the Warsaw Pact ended. So instead of completely restructuring itself, allowing the EU to take over the function of collective defense; it expanded becoming an offensive instrument of Washington's foreign policy with Europe bandwagoning because of dependence.

This can be seen by NATO's roll in Afghanistan. If troop commitments to a conflict are taken as a test for bandwagoning behavior in an alliance, coalition forces that are not US military personnel account for a minimal number of soldiers on the ground. As of 6 Jan 2012, 90,000 (69%) of the total 130,386 soldiers in the ISAF are US forces. That means the remaining 40,386 (31%) of the total are from the other 49 nations in the coalition. Naturally many of these nations can not afford to contribute more; they are artificially weak from dependence on American personnel for 67 years.

In the Korean War 341,600 men made up the United Nations Security Council force; 300,000 (88%) were US personnel. In Vietnam the total international troop count was 601,100; of this, 536,100 (89%) were US personnel. In both cases, the governments of Europe bandwagoned with the US as it balanced the communist threat on their doorsteps.  With the removal of that threat in 1991, international support for US foreign policy objectives has plummeted.

This is where the failed examples of bribery --international communism and pan-arabism-- enter the discussion.  When subordinates of the Soviet Union or unified Arabic states had enough power to "fly apart" or step out of line with the ideological leader, they did.  That split is happening with our allies now.

Despite the economic woes of the Eurozone, the EU economy remains larger than that of the United States. According to the 2011 CIA World Factbook, the EU's economy is 15.39 trillion dollars compared to the United States' $15.05 trillion. Without threat from communism they no longer need us, the only reason we have not yet fully lost their support is because we give them a free ride on defense spending.  In order to be a member of NATO, states are supposed to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.

In a 2011 article to The Daily Caller, the Cato Institute's Ted Carpenter highlighted the problem caused by bribing Europe:

"...even before the economic crisis led to drastic budget slashing, spending levels in several countries (including such major allies as Germany and Italy) were closer to one percent of GDP than two. And matters have gotten worse in the past two years. The $700 billion US defense budget now accounts for an astonishing 74 percent of total spending by NATO members.  The other 26 members of the alliance spend a mere $220 billion-- despite having a collective economy larger than that of the United States."

So, if Europe bandwagons with the United States because of dependency, and if we believe Walt's theory that a bandwagoning world is substantially less safe than a balancing world, then we must evaluate whether NATO is costly or beneficial to the United States.

As seen above, financially, it is not. And in these economic dire straights, that reason should be paramount. Beyond that and within the last two years, we have also witnessed a new phenomenon: Europe championing regime change, but expecting the United States to fight the battle, as was the case in Libya and will soon be the case in Syria. Yes, in each case the leaders are/were terrible men; however, if Europe wants the fight so bad, let them do it without our help.  The United States needs to get its economic house of cards in order domestically before spending itself into oblivion by policing the world.  Moreover, (and repeating Walt's argument) if we really want a safer world, we need to let our birds fly apart.

One would think that this is easier said than done, but really it could be accomplished fairly easily keeping Europe safe and allowing the US economy to recover.  The biggest problem is appeasing our own Military Industrial Complex (MIC), but even that can be done.  If we sold our European bases, and their subsequent fighter/bomber/support wings this whole problem would be solved.  The aircraft we field in Europe are all outdated, built in the 70's and 80's.  However, each year we spend billions refitting and updating them.  If Europe took over their maintenance, then the MIC would be satisfied as they would still receive revenue for parts and maintenance.  Europe would be safe because all of a sudden it would have it's own military capabilities again.  The United States would be more secure economically, and again, the MIC would be satisfied because we could focus efforts at home on building more advanced aircraft, making our own nation even safer than it is now.  We would not necessarily have to leave NATO, but our membership as well as Europe's would finally reach a point of balance and safety for the first time in 67 years. This is the logical step, and one that should be taken before our house of cards collapses
Resource: Foreign Fallacies