Presentations Tip 02 – Begin With the End in Mind

Stephen Covey offers this advice in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The book is a guide to developing your personal leadership. “Begin with the end in mind” is the first habit and thus likely the most important. You can apply this first habit from Stephen Covey’s leadership prinpcles  to your presentation in three ways.

1. Develop your presentation with the end in mind. The first thing that you should do is to write a short simple statement that clarifies your purpose. Then you will develop your presentation faster and it will be better focused. Invest the time and thought to clairify the purpose and desired outcomes of your presentation. Too many people speak just because they were asked or told to speak. Thus, their presentation becomes a chore – to them and the audience.

2. Give your audience a roadmap. Tell your audience, early in your presentation, where you are going. Don’t make them guess – because you might lose, confuse or annoy them. Your audiences needs to know why they should listen to you. They have plenty of others things on their mind and they will not give you the attention you want unless you convince them that you know where you are going.

For example: “By the end of this presentation you will have a better understanding and appreciation of the safety measures that we have put into place for you.”

3. Deliver your presentation with the end in mind. The only reason you are speaking is to achieve your goal. Stay focused on your goal during your presentation so you don’t get thrown by diversions or drawn off on tangents. And if you reach your goal early – they agreed to the deal – then finish your presentation early and sign the contract.

When you know where you are going you will avoid the tangents and diversions that often destroy presentations. When you begin with the end in mind you will waste less time and be more effective. Use the advice of Stephen Covey – Begin with the end in mind.

Home Entertaining and Catering Presentations

When you entertain at your home, it’s easy to show your food in beautiful bowls or on gorgeous platters. If you take food to someone else’s home, most people bring food in disposable plastic or aluminum containers. Plastic and aluminum are not usually eye-popping and your food doesn’t stand out until they taste it. No matter what dishes are used, presentation will make all the difference in the impression that your table will make.

Presentation can mean many things: table cloths, centerpieces, food holders, table accessories. 

1.   Let’s talk table cloths. These can be plain white or colored for the occasion. They can be a single layer or overlaid lace. You can put boxes or other sturdy items under the cloth to elevate some food above others. Food can be grouped on different color cloths for division; ie… a Christmas party may have appetizers on green cloths, entrĂ©es on red, desserts on gold and drinks on white.

2.      As for centerpieces, these can be flowers, candles, fountains, themed vases/pitchers, tiered holders for theme items (such as baby accessories at a baby shower). Your imagination makes these opportunities endless.

3.     Food holders can be a mix of things. I use my cream dishes for an elegant look. But, the majority of my parties use colored aluminum, colored plastic wrap, or non-disposable plastic serving items; all of which give a thoroughly delightful look to a table. Plastic serving items are light, colorful and easy to transport.

4.      Table accessories are unlimited. These can be colorful utensils, name placards for menu items, cut fruit/veggies for eating/displaying, clever holders for silver/plastic ware, or nonsensical theme items (holiday decorations, special salt/pepper shakers, little gifts for guests to take home) placed around the food.

However you wish to display the table, use a theme or color scheme and your guests will rave over the food and presentation. Oooh’s and aahhh’s are just as good as getting paid, well, almost. Please visit my blog at

Unique Anniversary Gifts – Learn to Stay Away From Traditional Anniversary Presents

Year in and year out I have seen people flip through the pages of a gift book, looking for unique anniversary gifts. I have some bad news people, you just are not going to find it in there. Those are for the traditional anniversary presents, and you really need to learn to stay away from them.

First off, traditional anniversary presents are tacky, and boring to the point of uninspired. Those magazines you flip through are designed to have simple gifts, for the simple giver. They could blindly pick something out, give the gift, and move on with their hum drum lives.

If this is you, then here are a few reason why you need to learn to stay away from traditional anniversary presents:

- it might be re-gifted. You might even get it back. I’ve seen it happen, so don’t say it won’t happen to you.

- getting the pained look of fake joy on their faces as they think of how to get rid of this thing as fast as possible.

- finding it in the garbage, and either having to ask them about it, or knowing it’s there, and leaving it at that.

- asking them about how they liked the gift, either a bizarre story about how it was lost or borken, or how they love using it, and then telling you a story about it, and you realize they don’t even remember what you got them.

Those are only 4 possibilities on what might happen if you try to give them something from a cold, lifeless book. Didn’t you ever wish someone else would find something unique for you? I know you do, I feel the same way. Why would they, if you won’t? That is the question you really have to ask yourself.

So now that you’ve learned to stay away from traditional anniversary presents, and to buy only unique anniversary gifts, the next thing you need to know is where to find them. That’s easy, look for a professionally, hand crafted, artisan product. You will not find anything more unique anywhere else. Since it is handcrafted, it can never really, truly be replicated. Think about it, wouldn’t you want a unique gift?