Presentation – Six Strategies For Building Rapport in the Team Presentation

When your firm has the opportunity to make a presentation on some new business, it may be tempting to think it’s in the bag because of your skills and experience. But, while your ability and related experience can get you on that short list, it’s the power of your team’s presentation that may win or lose you the business. You have a double challenge. You need to deliver a comprehensive and compelling team presentation. And the other and often bigger challenge is the effectiveness of your “people skills.” Clients who are in search of a vendor don’t just want someone who can do the job. They’re looking for trustworthiness, commitment and chemistry with the project team. Despite the fact that a vendor search may be based on a rational, objective decision-making process, the bottom line is clients are going to select people they like. No matter how well you meet their criteria, if they don’t like you, it won’t matter. So rapport building is an important strategy in the team presentation.

Here are six strategies to consider in your rapport building to enhance your likability:

1. UNDERSTANDING. How well do you understand not only the client’s business and project needs, but their constraints, their challenges, their difficulties? Be sure to focus on your knowledge and understanding of the client’s needs, not just on your strengths and assets. 

2. ATTITUDE. Having a confident, can-do attitude is extremely appealing. You exhibit confidence when you answer questions knowledgeably, speak positively — “we can take care of that” — and don’t put yourself down and sell yourself short. Clients want to work with pleasant, positive people. The dark side of this coin is “arrogance.” Projecting a sense of “fait accompli,” or worse, criticizing or putting down the competition, could spell a death knell. You want to project a sense that you want the business and can do the job, not that no one else could do it… 

3. LISTENING. Good listening skills are potent. Remember to use “active listening,” the three-step technique of using your EAR — Engage the speaker, Actually hear what’s being said, and Respond appropriately — to engage others and let them know you’ve both heard and understood them. When your prospect talks about their issues, problems, and objectives, your ability to show you’ve heard and understood has immeasurable impact. 

4. NONVERBALS. It doesn’t matter if you feel pleased and proud to be there. What matters is if you look pleased and proud. If you’re leaning back in the chair, with your arms crossed and a bored or distracted look on your face, that’s what the client will believe you feel. So watch your body language — make sure it’s open, relaxed, and interested. Lean forward when someone speaks to you, make eye communication with every member on the team, put some energy in your comments. Show your pleasure at this opportunity. Smile easily, have enthusiasm for the project. 

5. INTEREST. Without a doubt, showing interest in others is one of the most powerful likeability factors. Make sure that the focus of your presentation is not entirely on you and what you offer. While you certainly want to communicate your positive points, keep in mind that everyone else is doing that, too. What will impress the client and be more memorable is how much interest you took in them-as individual members and as a company. This starts well before that final presentation, of course. You want to take every opportunity to meet with the decision-makers beforehand and show genuine interest in their business and their projects. Keep in mind that the client isn’t interested in how tough or difficult it will be for you to pull this off. But they’ll be sincerely impressed if you’re interested in their challenges-and can offer ways to solve their dilemmas. It’s a fact of basic human relations that we’re drawn to people who are interested in us. 

6. TEAM COHESIVENESS. Any time someone’s ego takes over on a team, it’s usually disastrous. You’re there as a team because the prospect wants to see a representative sampling of your expertise and skills and wants a feel for the chemistry between your group and theirs. When one person tries to hog the spotlight or insists on correcting or contradicting team members when they say something wrong, that person — no matter how right or bright — will doom the team to failure. 

People do business with those they like. So exhibit these traits to show your commitment to a project and you’ll increase your “win” factor.

Business Presentations – Are You Scared?

Most people don’t like to stand up in front of an audience to give a talk or presentation. Some are even uncomfortable presenting their information in business meetings, especially in front of senior executives. Stage fright is the number one obstacle in giving a presentation. People feel nervous, get “butterflies” in their stomach, and feel like they can’t remember what to say. But take heart, if you have stage fright you are in the majority.

The most important thing you can do is to simply acknowledge that giving a presentation is an uncomfortable task for you. Notice I didn’t say a weakness; it’s simply an area where you need some help in developing the skills that give you the confidence to talk before a group. The uneasiness you feel just before you talk is really just adrenaline, a natural “energy boost”! Any top athlete or performer has this same adrenaline energy rush that helps them to perform their best. The butterflies you feel in the pit of your stomach are “a good thing”.

The first step in improving your presentation skills is to stop thinking of it as a negative task or experience. Master these soft skills and all you’ll have to fear is fear itself:

• Organize the presentation properly – There are three clear-cut parts to any presentation. The introduction, the main body and the conclusion. Make sure you have all three or your presentation will not be cohesive.
• Introduction should tell the purpose – It’s important to let the audience know at the start and during the introduction the reason for the talk. Also make sure you grab their attention in the beginning. Start with a related story, quote an expert or statistic, or ask a question, such as “Did you know that Twitter already has 86% of the internet Social Media market? ”
• Main body – There should only be three to five main points. That’s about as much as the audience can absorb and process. Back up each of the points with stories, pictures, facts or details.
• Conclusion – Make sure the close is effective. Briefly recap the main points and end on a positive note or call to action. Following the conclusion, take questions if appropriate. Always repeat the question before you give your answer.
• Practice – “Practice makes perfect”, so take the time to practice the presentation out loud and in front of a mirror. The more times you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will be with the delivery of the material.
• Physical Considerations – Dress appropriately for the audience you are addressing. Posture is key. Stand with your legs 4-6 inches apart to help with weight distribution and make sure to keep your shoulders back. Watch your hand gestures. Vary the volume, rate and pitch of your voice. Make eye contact with the audience. Never point a finger at the audience; use an open hand, palm up instead.
• Other Things – Be careful with humor. Arrive early to check room set-up and audio visual equipment. Keep Power Point slides simple – use a title and 3 bullet points per slide and go easy with the graphics.

Remember, when you act well, you do well.

The Present Statistics On Single Parents Show Parallels To Married Folks

It is a well known fact that the instance of single parent households is on the rise, without an end in sight as the divorce rate continues to hold steady at slightly above fifty percent.

However, single parent homes don’t come about solely as a result of a divorce situation. In other words, there are those scenarios where a custodial parent becomes the only one raising a minor child because his or her spouse has recently passed away. Others become single parents because they don’t want to get married at any time in their lives, but they still wish to raise a child for the fulfillment and satisfaction that doing so provides.

Unfortunately for single parents, a majority of those individuals who are married feel they have the freedom to pass judgment on why their single counterparts are living without a spouse.

Opinions such as these translate into the stereotypes that single parents raising children are branded with, such as that it is these folks who apply for food stamps or other public assistance because they are without the benefit of a spouse to help support them or they just don’t want to get a job.

However, as the statistics on single parents has shown, this sector of the population has more similarities than not in common with those adults who are currently married with children.

For instance, contrary to the general belief that parents in the singles category are the ones who are sucking up all the public assistance resources available to the United States at large, single parent information has shown the truth to be otherwise – as approximately seventy-nine percent of single mothers hold employment of some kind, while ninety percent of single fathers are also working for a living.

Meanwhile, according to single mom statistics only twenty-seven percent of custodial maternal figures are using public assistance, while less than twenty percent of custodial single parent fathers ask for government help at some point.

Other false information about this group of parents abounds that is amply proven wrong by the statistics on single parent households.

For example, many point to single parents as the reason the teen pregnancy rate is so high. Though it is true that many teenagers who become parents themselves come from a single parent household, this family situation does not in turn automatically cause a youngster to run out the front door and become promiscuous.

As statistics have shown, minor children raised by a single parent are no more likely to have substance abuse issues or disciplinary problems in school and elsewhere than those children growing up with two parents in the same house.

Yet, falsities that do make their way into the public’s stream of conscious have to originate from somewhere, and those regarding single parenting are no exception. And when considering the circumstances of divorce and single parents from many decades ago, it makes sense that the married half of the public has come to believe what they do about parents without partners.

What are some of the more grim figures which existed years ago that have given people a reason to form the opinions they currently hold about single individuals raising children?

To start, as far back as the year 1995 almost six in ten children living with their mothers only had to endure a lifestyle on or close to the poverty level – thereby causing most of these single mother families to require public assistance.

In this same year, many children were living with a single mother who had never before been married – a phenomena that presented its own challenges to the single mother parenting crowd.

For instance, two-thirds of the children living among this group of mothers found that their parent didn’t finish out her high school years, thus setting a bad example in the educational realm. In addition, these children were forced to suffer the effects that unemployment of a parent brings about, as unmarried single mothers were twice as likely to be unemployed or not even intending to become a member of the labor force at all.

Four million children lived with their grandparents during this mid-nineties decade. But sadly, thirty-seven percent of those four million adolescents did not have either parent also living in the home along with their grandmother and grandfather – making those children have to cope with the idea of an absentee mother or father.

Despite the pitfalls of the past, many single parent families have been able to rise above it as the current statistics show. For example, back in the nineties a majority of prison inhabitants gave single parent households a bad name since much more than fifty percent of inmates came from an environment of this type.

Today, that figure stays right around fifty percent, which means that one out of every two persons sitting in jail comes from a family where the parents are still together in a marital capacity – thus proving the point that in this day and age, growing up in a one-parent environment is not a precursor to a life of crime and whiling away the years behind the walls of a penitentiary.

From the information that has been gathered regarding single parenting, it is easy to conclude that this group has it harder when it comes to raising children and staying financially afloat at the same time. But as the most recent statistics on single parent households have demonstrated, there are more similarities than not to the manner in which each set of children grows up and turns out as an adult.

Sometimes all it takes to get through the divorce process is to know that there is a person who is on your side to help you from start to finish – a person who can answer your questions and even guide you when it comes to filing your marital dissolution documents with the local family law court.