Business Presentations – Build Faster, Clearer Business Presentations by Asking Questions

Most people who have to build a business presentation do it wrong. They start by making a note of everything they want to say in the presentation; dead wrong. All that happens is a lot of rambling with no points and no structure. So if you’ve got a blank page and you have to turn it into a presentation what do you do? Easy start with questions not answers.

As a management consultant I must have built over 300 different presentations over the past ten years. About five years in I got fed up spending hours and hours building business presentations that literally sent my audience to sleep.

Then one day I was given a brief by a client for their presentation. But the brief was different, rather than telling me what they wanted me to say, they sent me a list of questions.

And guess what. It was the easiest presentation I’ve ever built in my life, it practically wrote its-self. But it gets better, the client loved it. The audience gave me 10/10, and look at what they said:

“The clearest presentation I ever heard.”

“It was like reading a good book chapter by chapter right to the sizzling conclusion.”

Since then I’ve never done it any other way. And I’ve taught it to hundreds of trainers and consultants, they all report faster to build, clearer presentations.

So here’s the, nothing held back, secrets.

1. Start by writing out the big question you’re trying to answer, just like a term paper e.g.
“What are the two most important skills a leader needs in business today?”

2. Answer the big question e.g.
“To understand her customers’ problems and know how to fix them.”

3. Write out all the sub-questions you now have about the answer to the big question e.g.

  • “Why should you start with looking at the business from the customers’ perspective?”
  • “How do you identify what angers and frustrates customers?”
  • “Having got the information, what should you do with it?”
  • “How do make sure that the organisation has the capability to meet the customer need?”
  • “How do you engage your staff in the exercise?”

4. Now you make a note of the answers, with supporting evidence for each question.

5. Finally, based on the information name your presentation, use each question as the agenda, get some cool images, drop them into power point and you’re good to go.

Now do yourself a favour. Stop doing hours of presentation planning. Stop buying expensive speaking programmes. Instead, work on your structure.

If you have a look at all the articles I’ve posted on this site you can get everything you’ll ever need to build outrageously good business presentations for free.

And start with this: stop looking for answers and start asking questions.

Six Important Negotiation Tips for Homebuyers

You’ve finally found a dream house. But have you closed the deal yet?

When it comes to buying a house, the one thing you should know is that everything in the world of real estate is negotiable. Real estate brokers and developers tend to throw words like fixed price and no negotiations at you, but they aren’t being honest. Don’t get intimidated by them. Keep these 6 tips in mind to sail through the negotiation process with your agent or seller.

1. Know the Real Estate Market

Real estate is a huge market, and knowing everything can get a little difficult. But, being well informed about the general property trends in the market, such as property prices in a neighborhood, can give you an upper-hand in your negotiations with an agent or a seller.

2. Always Remember, It’s Business

In business, you don’t just look for the best. You also look for what’s most profitable. Sometimes, a property might have all that you’re looking for. But showing your desperation towards buying it can burn a hole in your pocket. Staying calm and composed in such situations is the best way to set up a table for negotiations.

3. Let the Seller Make An Offer

While being the first one to start is considered ideal in debates, it is just not the case with real estate dealings. As a smart negotiator, you should always let the seller make an offer, so that you can decide on a midpoint. There are chances that the first offer made by the seller turns out to be better than what you were going to make.

4. Try to Identify the Seller’s Motivation

Everyone has a motive to sell a property. The motives might be financial, death in the family, job related, or other such family situations. Ticking on a seller’s motive can help you decide on a negotiation approach. If the seller seems desperate to sell, you could get the property for a good price. However, if you find that the seller is in no hurry to sell the property, your negotiations might not be as effective.

5. Show Your Interest and Give Them a Date

Make sure to clearly show your interest in buying the property at the offer price you’ve made. Close the discussions with giving the seller a deadline. Communicate to the seller that any delay in responding back to your offer might cost him or her a prospective buyer.

6. Be Quick With the Counter Offers

Timing is essential in bagging good real estate deals. If the negotiations are completed and the seller has given his or her final quote, too much delay in responding would allow other buyers to step in. This will only make you a part of the bidding war. It is advisable to avoid such situations.

Losing Your Head In a Negotiation Can Be Deadly

Do you ever lose your head in a negotiation? Most people have done so at one point or another. Losing your head can come in the form of not addressing a situation such that you maximize it. It can come in the form of saying something that alienates the other negotiator. It can even come in the form of implementing the wrong strategy. Regardless of the cause, it can be deadly. The point is, when you lose your head, get it back into the negotiation as quickly as possible. The following are ways to do so.

Understand what caused you to lose your head:

  • Knowing what caused you to lose your head puts you a step ahead of where you’d be if you were not aware of its cause. Being aware of such allows you to reel your emotions in. What that means is you can mentally shift your perspective. The degree of time it takes to do so will be the defining factor that determines how long your head is out of the negotiation.

Assess the impact of your actions:

  • In some cases, the appearance of losing your head can serve as an advantageous act with some negotiators. It can also be a distant death kneel with others. In either case, if you’re at fault and the cost of repair is not too great, give a reason for your lack of control, apologize and indicate it won’t happen again. Take note of the mental temperature of the other negotiator from that point to determine how he’s settling back to normalcy.

Determine viability of corrective actions:

  • Aligned with ‘Assess the impact… ‘, you can seek the input/advice of the other negotiator as to what he would have you do to make the negotiation better (i.e. as the result of you losing your head). Since a good negotiator always attempts to benefit from any position he finds himself in (i.e. maximize the upside and minimize the downside), seek insight from which you can gain an advantage. At a minimum, you’ll gain insight into the other negotiator’s demeanor and a sense of direction in which he’d like to take the negotiation.

Observe the flow of power:

  • There are several aspects of power that can cause one to feel exhilarated or subjugated. If you feel you have the power in a negotiation and then it’s taken away, especially as the result of something that was unforeseen, you might lose your head. Since power ebbs and flows in a negotiation, if a loss of power is the cause of you becoming dismayed, focus on what you can do to regain it.

The determining factor in one losing one’s head is usually associated with a negative occurrence that was unexpected. The catch-all would be, always expect the unexpected. Since that’s fairyland and we’re dealing with the real world, as you plan for the negotiation think of anything and everything that might cause you to lose your head. Then, prepare to deal with it. You may not think of everything, but to the degree you think of situations that might occur and they do, you’ll be prepared for them. As such you’ll be less likely to lose your head… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!