Why Meetings Fail

10/14/14 | by Training Games | Categories: Play

By Rowena Crosbie

"If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be meetings."

From Sixteen Things That It Took Me 50 Years To Learn by Dave Barry

We've all been there - captive in a meeting that drags on seemingly forever and nothing is accomplished. What is the underlying cause of the meeting failure and how can it be solved?

Many meeting leaders are not equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively facilitate a meeting. Similarly, many meeting participants contribute to the problem through their own ineffective meeting skills.

According to the Wharton Center for Applied Research at the University of Pennsylvania, the average senior executive spends 23 hours each week in meetings. Sadly, senior and middle managers report that a mere 56 percent of meetings are productive and that a phone call or email could replace more than 25 percent of meetings.

When the resources that are involved in meetings each day are considered alongside of the above statistics, the financial drain to organizations alone is devastating.

But unproductive meetings are not the province of executives and managers alone. Nearly everyone in a professional environment finds themselves, at some time, asked to participate or present in meetings. As careers advance, increased meeting participation (and eventually, meeting leadership) inevitably follows.

At all levels of organizations, individuals employ state-of-the-art process improvement methodologies to streamline activities and accomplish more with less. Curiously, and somewhat ironically, these same individuals who strive for maximum productivity in their work activities wrestle with frustration and set-backs caused by unproductive meetings.

Why are meetings unproductive?

1. Lack of Process and Protocol
They are not strategically valuable. There is limited or no progress against a goal.

2. Lack of Performance
They fail to bring out the best in the people who attend or those who are affected. Relationships are damaged or interpersonal friction is created.

Since meetings are a part of most corporate cultures and are simply viewed as part of business, many people don't consider the cost of meetings. Interestingly, many people don't even consider meetings to be part of work (some people will end a meeting by saying "let's get back to work" implying that the meeting time was not work). Even less frequently is consideration given to the large advantage available to organizations that use meeting time wisely.

The Cost of Ineffective Meetings

When done poorly, meetings are one of the most common barriers to effectiveness in organizations. Done well, they can represent cost savings, higher performance and competitive advantage.

The investment in a training program to improve meeting effectiveness is dwarfed by the savings that are realized by more productive, effective and efficient meetings.

To calculate the cost of time wasted in ineffective meetings and the opportunity that can be realized by providing meeting training to meeting participants and leaders, do the following:

Estimate the amount of time that is wasted in meetings in an average week due to . . .

Meetings that run long or don't start on time.
Meetings that stray away from the purpose.
Meeting participants arriving unprepared.
Meeting attendees spending time in meetings that do not require their involvement.
Meetings dominated by one or two individuals.
Conflict that disrupts meetings and damages relationships.
Little or no follow-up.

Use the following formula to calculate the annual cost to your organization caused by time wasted in meetings:

Time Wasted (hours per week)
Number of Meeting Participants
52 weeks
Average Hourly Wage
Estimated Annual Cost

When these factors are considered, the time and resources invested in improving the skills and knowledge of people in pursuit of meeting effectiveness is well worth the effort and investment.

Meeting Performance

"When people come together to work as a group, each brings certain talents such as high verbal fluency, creativity, empathy, or technical expertise. While a group can be no 'smarter' than the sum (or synergistic) total of all these specific strengths, it can be much dumber if its internal workings don't allow people to share their talents."

Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, 1995

Meeting difficulties are most commonly due in part or in whole to interpersonal friction. In his book, People Skills, author Dr. Robert Bolton reports a study in which it was found that 80% of people who fail professionally, do so not because they aren't competent technically, but rather because they do not relate well with other people. He also maintains that people of all ages can learn skills that lead to improved interaction.

The following interpersonal skills are critical for effective meetings and can be learned:

Behaving ethically
Valuing others
Creatively addressing problems
Withholding judgment
Encouraging participation
Challenging ideas
Being flexible
Non-verbal communication
Resolving conflict
Reaching consensus

Meeting Progress

There are many things that contribute to a successful meeting. Planning starts well before the meeting begins and follow-up continues well after the meeting has concluded.

Effective meetings have the following characteristics:

Goals and purpose
Prepared attendees
Ground rules and protocol

Interestingly, meeting skills are some of the easiest changes to make in an organization. However, like most change, an investment of time in building new skills, challenging old habits and implementing new processes requires effort.

One way to improve meeting effectiveness is to help both participants and leaders alike understand how they can help make the meetings work better. With everyone sharing a common understanding and common knowledge, the result is meetings that are more valuable and productive.

The End of Classroom Training?

09/30/14 | by Training Games | Categories: Play

By Rowena Crosbie

Do you miss your school days? For most of us, the answer remains the same year after year, "I miss the people."

A favorite teacher. A trusted friend. An inspiring coach. The odd kid on the school playground. A first crush. As we grow and mature, even for those individuals we don’t remember fondly, we do reflect and contemplate the impact they had on us.

Relationships matter. Whether at school, home, or work, it is the quality of our relationships that shapes our lives - for better or for worse.

Relationships are also a practical matter in learning. People are social creatures. Beyond the acquisition of new skills and knowledge, at its best, the learning process involves a relationship and a social experience.

The trend toward removing human interactions from the learning process in favor of technological interactions - all in pursuit of expediency and cost-savings, started more than a decade ago as the internet became more widely available and its information capabilities increased.

Along with it came the predictions that classroom learning was a thing of the past. Gone forevermore - the equivalent of a horse drawn carriage on an interstate highway.

Alas, classroom learning is not gone. In fact, according to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), it is increasing in both use and efficacy in recent years. In contrast, after several years of consistent growth, learning through technology-based methods is on the decline. The instructor-led classroom has rebounded and accounts for nearly 2/3 of learning hours in business. While some find this reversal puzzling given the advances in technology-based learning in recent years, there is compelling biological evidence that explains the trend.

The Role of Relationships in Learning

The transfer of facts to learner is important. But, as it turns out, it is less important for learning than we might like to think. Facts might be what we know—emotions determine why we are interested enough to know it and act on it.

According to neuroscientists, "Emotions are a critical source of information for learning." Why? Because emotions help direct our learning to that which is most important to us. Our brain actively ignores information (yes, even factual information!) that it doesn’t perceive as relevant or meaningful. Moreover, emotions give us a more activated and stimulated brain, which helps us recall things better. Plus, emotional information receives preferential processing in the brain.

Simply put; emotions have a HUGE role in learning. Without addressing them, the process of learning will not be as successful as it otherwise could be.

How are emotions engaged in the learning process? Relationships! Whether the relationship is student to teacher, peer to peer, participant to facilitator or employee to manager, the human element is as important in learning as is the transfer of hard facts. It is not likely to be replaced anytime soon by an e-learning environment where learners are required to learn in isolation, void of human contact.

The Efficacy of eLearning

Isn’t there research that shows technology-based learning matches that of instructor-led classrooms? Studies claiming that e-learning delivers the same or better results to the classroom learning experience are most commonly based on research conducted in university settings where the face-to-face learning alternative is an auditorium packed with hundreds of students who are listening to a lecture delivered by a professor who is frequently lacking in facilitation skills.

The only message that matters is the message received. The fact that the professor may possess unmatched technical expertise is often lost upon the students who hear only a drone - similar to the sounds that adults make in the Charlie Brown cartoon shows.

When the comparison is this face-to-face learning environment, it is not a surprise that e-learning would deliver similar results - arguably reading a text book would also deliver comparable results.

Additionally, it is clear that many students fail to complete the on-line courses they begin. It is only the pursuit of certification, designation or degree that keeps many sticking with it rather than the pure interest in learning.

Claims that e-learning involves a relationship by providing the learner with electronic access to a teacher is an equally poor substitute for a real relationship.

When e-learning is compared with instructor-led training that is highly interactive, taps kinesthetic learning, builds a relationship between instructor and learner, provides small leader to learner ratio, leverages accelerated learning strategies and brain-based learning techniques, technology-based learning pales.

The Role of eLearning

Does this mean that technology-based learning doesn’t have a role to play in education? On-line learning offers many advantages. It provides learners with access to information at their fingertips, at distant locations and at all hours of the day and night. After an initial capital investment, it is often cost-effective.

When used alone (as has been attempted in many corporations and schools) it fails to leverage one of the most important elements of learning - relationships. When used in concert with an instructor-led complement, it can contribute to even greater results.


If you find yourself being vilified as out-of-touch and outdated - not hip to the changing times - when you express skepticism about proposals that shift K-12 education or corporate learning to a technology-based only format, you can find solace in the knowledge that there is biological evidence in support of your position. Removing the relationship and related emotions from the experience of learning is detrimental to the process.

Not only is technology-based learning, as a sole method, a poor one, it may contribute to the increasing feelings of isolation humans report experiencing. At a time when people boast extensive social networks of friends and frequent connectivity (Facebook, LinkedIn) it is ironic that people, at the same time, report feeling more isolated and disconnected than at any time in the past.

No matter what you possess in life, whether great intelligence, wealth, social status, a powerful job, etc., you will never be truly successful unless you can get along with others, even when it is difficult to do so. While the acquisition of knowledge can be acquired in a variety of ways, including through technology, the skills to get along with others do not happen conveniently on-line and in isolation - they require relationships.

Is the Message You Are Sending the Message Received?

09/30/14 | by Training Games | Categories: Play

Three Case Studies of Communication Mishaps

By Deborah Rinner Godwin

Communications wrought with misunderstanding are nothing new. In fact they happen daily, often very unintentionally. Words spoken can have differing meanings to differing ears and minds. Words once used to applaud someone can be spun into indicators of fault when the relationship is threatened. There are thousands of ways communication can take a turn south, and turn out less than positive. Here are three case studies. The third, being a presidential one, reminds us communication mishaps happen in places you would imagine we would know better. Have you ever seen these in your workplace or personal life?

Case One: Let Me Call You Sweetheart . . .

Has anyone ever assumed too much familiarity in their verbal communication with you or someone you know? Words and the tone they are delivered in have a lot of power, but nothing weakens them more than when they are used inappropriately. Picture this: You are waiting in the drive up lane of a new coffee shop. When it is your turn to order your latte, you are greeted with "What can I get you hon? Do you want skim in that hon? Thanks sweetie, see you at the window." Knowing full well the voice on the other end of the window has never met you, and cannot possibly know if you indeed conduct yourself like someone referred to as sweetie or hon, you begin to feel a bit uncomfortable. What are they up to? Is the familiarity assumed supposed to make me feel like a regular here? Do I want to be a regular here? After paying for the latte and hearing two more hons and a bye sweetie, do you ever want to go back? All you wanted was a latte. Someone innocently and intentionally was trying to be nice with words and tone, but was that the message received? Or did they unintentionally communicate a message peppered with patronizing that was received with mild skepticism - making the latte suddenly seeming less desirable?

Case Two: What Do "You Guys" Think?

Gender issues in the workplace have been examined through news articles, film (remember the classics Nine To Five with Dolly Parton or What Women Want with Mel Gibson?), literature, legal cases and discussion for years. Exposing these issues has resulted in an attention to gender being formally taken out of the workplace as a consideration in how people are treated. Yet it crops back up in business communication. Have you ever received an email addressed "Gentlemen:"? Or "Ladies:"? They are out there and in fact they are "out there" in terms of political correctness in today's business environment. Addressing in a gender specific way in a written or verbal communication is a thing of the past. Rank and precedence rule in business protocol, not age and/or gender. Yet we still hear "What do you guys think? Should we ask the ladies? Do the gentlemen care to go to lunch?" etc., etc., etc., Opening up our language choices to be inclusive, non gender specific, and free of assumptions creates communication that can reach and be received well by everyone, reflective of the value we place on the receiver's professionalism and our own.

Case Three: The High Price of Fuel

Even amongst skilled statesmen, rifts and valleys of unproductive communication can ensue. So it was with U.S. presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Although friends in their early careers in 1770, by the close of the century they were rivals. Interestingly enough, the rivalry subsided by the end of their lives and they died close friends once again. Communication added fuel to the rifts and also ended them.

Drafting the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson relied on Adams as a vital contributor. Good communication between the diplomatic Jefferson who preferred to work behind the scenes and the self assured Adams who was direct in speaking worked well in fulfilling the goal. Their communications and friendship developed even more so as they became diplomats in Europe. Many letters between them proved the fact they worked well together and appreciated their differences . . . until their relationship began to strain.

As they began to view the world in differing ways, they began to discredit each other, many times criticizing in each other the very thing they once applauded. Letters to others holding negative comments about the other created a decades long silence and divide, furthered by the unspoken ambition of each of them to hold office. Hold office they did, Jefferson following Adams, but the silence between them prevailed until they had each reached their seventies.

At the age of seventy five, Adams broke the silence by writing a conciliatory note to Jefferson and their friendship and communication revived for fifteen years, all the way until July 4th, 1826, the day they both died. That day was not only the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, but a testament to the power of honest communication. At the end of their lives they were said to have written 158 letters discussing everything they agreed on, not dwelling negatively on the events they held differing views on, and acknowledging where they felt they had been unfair or wrong in their estimation of each other. At the end, their relationship was said to illustrate a clear give and take. One did not need to dominate the exchange. They were in it to understand rather than discredit.

Hopefully it does not take a lifetime for most of us to get it right with regard to communication. One wonders how much more powerful or influential these statesmen might have been if they had been able to communicate throughout their lives the way they did at the end. Would they have accomplished even more for themselves and the country they both cared passionately about?

We can learn from communications gone wrong. What would the effect be if we could address people without respect to gender, or without communicating assumptions or judgments? What message would be received if we were really careful to care about how we were communicating to or about who we were communicating to or about? Every single time? I am going to think about that one over a latte.

Source: Changing Minds, The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other Peoples Minds, Howard Gardner, Harvard Business School Press, 2006

The Key to Productivity and Innovation

09/20/14 | by Training Games | Categories: Play

By Justin Tyme

What's the difference between enthusiasm and gasoline? Maybe, there's not much difference between the two. They both provide the power to drive us forward.

The internal combustion engine of our automobile runs on gasoline. Gasoline vapor enters the cylinder and the spark plug ignites the fumes unleashing the power that can propel our vehicles over one hundred miles an hour.

Enthusiasm in the workplace, properly ignited, can propel your business into success. Motivated employees work harder. They'll even come with ideas to improve the product or service. Motivated and enthusiastic employees are the best kind of employees to have.

Enthusiasm is rare, however. Most employees want to do a good job, but they feel under appreciated. Generally, bad management is blamed for unmotivated workers, but often, good management can still provide unenthusiastic workers. So, what's the secret?

If your own employees aren't acting motivated or aren't acting enthusiastic, then it's time to get your own "act" in gear. You can fire up your workforce in three acts: Act enthusiastic. Act grateful. Act happy.

Psychologists tell us that the best way to change our feelings about what we're doing is to change the way we think of our feelings. The brain tells the body how to feel and the body acts accordingly. We can direct our own feelings and our outlook on life. Writing in Out of Work? Get Into Business!, small business expert and author Don Doman writes about expectations and how that can change the outcome of future events.

"If you are working on a proposal for a client, imagine that client as ecstatic about your proposal. What does the client like about it? Why does he or she like it? How will you handle your successful presentation? Visualize all of the positive aspects of your presentation. Then work on your successful proposal."

In Don's example, he says that we should see events as being successful. We then act accordingly as we work towards that success. If we tell ourselves that we are going to be successful, we begin to believe it. We can see it. We can feel it. We can plan for it. Those expectations drive us forward with enthusiastic zeal. It's the same with our employees. We need to see them as successful and they need to see that managers see them as successful. Successful workers are motivated and enthusiastic about their jobs.

"Drive your horse with oats, not with a whip."

-- Jewish proverb

Here are six ways we can fire up unmotivated and under enthusiastic workers:


When you see someone doing a good job, the time to tell them about it is right then. Don't wait for tomorrow or next week. Who knows? You might forget about it. If you tell someone they are doing a good job, they won't forget about it.


Don't be an old stone face. Everyone has feelings. Show yours. If your workers are doing a great job, then shouldn't you be excited? Shouldn't you be proud? Let those emotions show on your face. Share your enthusiastic feelings. Your feelings will boost moral and encourage the same feeling among your workers.


An old friend and I were talking about our days as Jaycees. We both had boxes of trophies and plaques in our basements from over twenty years ago. The tangible evidence of achievement was stored away, but the feelings of being appreciated had stayed with us. Awards and accolades should always be given out in front of people. Everyone shares the appreciation that way. They applaud, they cheer, they laugh. . . and they in turn congratulate the recipient afterwards. Awards and accolades keep on giving. Recognition comes in a variety of guises. A pat on the back, a kind word, a certificate to hang on the wall, or a trophy to put on the mantel -- all build enthusiasm.


Nothing builds enthusiasm like trust. When you give someone a task to accomplish it shows that you believe in them. If you believe in them, can they believe any less? You don't even have to make encouraging statements. The task alone speaks volumes.


Think of new ways to show trust and enthusiasm. Send a postcard. Tell others about the great job being done by someone in your department. Drop names and achievements at meetings, in newsletters, in general conversation. Find ways to spread the word and encourage motivation, enthusiasm and appreciation for a job well done.

Restauranteur and author Bob Farrell knows that cheering employees on in an enthusiastic way, builds their enthusiasm. In his book Give 'em the Pickle Bob writes about using appreciation to help build enthusiasm and motivation.

" . . . being a cheerleader involves more than leading in cheers. Whenever I eat in one of our own restaurants I always try to go back to the kitchen and thank everyone for providing me with such a wonderful meal. I walk around the entire restaurant personally thanking every employee. I never eat in one of our places with my family as though I had been elected king of the hill. The people who work in our restaurants aren't subservient to me. I know I couldn't succeed without them, but they could without me. And I never want them to forget how much I appreciate them."

As you start encouraging others in a quest to build enthusiasm, you'll also notice a change in yourself. You will become more enthusiastic and more motivated. Your clients, co-workers, and even your family will notice the difference. Life is fun. Business is exciting. Work is something to be motivated about. Filled with enthusiasm your business engine should be hitting on all cylinders.

20 Tips for Engaging Your Audience

09/20/14 | by Training Games | Categories: Play

By Rowena Crosbie (http://www.tero.com)

Without the interest and attention of your audience, you cannot accomplish your objective. Your challenge is not only to make the audience want to listen but to help them understand, remember, and act on the information or ideas you share.

Nothing is more powerful in persuading your audience than your own commitment and enthusiasm for your topic. But, in addition to your own conviction, there are several techniques for ensuring the IMPACT you make is a positive one and you hold their attention and interest throughout your presentation.

Most presenters have given very little, if any thought, to how their audience members learn. The ability to deliver presentations in which true learning takes place is more critical now than ever before. With recent discoveries in the fields of biology, physics, neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive science, neurology, genetics and others, it is also easier than it has ever been before.

It is the job of the presenter to make learning easy for the audience members. With many things going on in their busy lives, being a passive participant, rather than an active learner in meetings is often the choice made by meeting attendees. There are many things the presenter can and should do to improve the learning and ultimately the effectiveness of presentations.

Audience attention and interest naturally drops during a presentation. It is greatest at the beginning and end of a presentation. How far the attention drops depends on the skills of the presenter. The challenge for presenters is to continue to engage and re-engage attention and interest throughout the presentation.

Following are twenty techniques skillful presenters use to engage the emotions and learning state of their audience members:

One. Learner Prep

Preparing the learner for the learning experience has been shown in study after study to enhance learning readiness. By exposing learners to the material prior to the learning event, assimilation, thinking and recall time are all dramatically increased.

Two. Posture and Movement

On average, standing increases heartbeats by 10 extra times per minute. That sends more blood to the brain, which actives the central nervous system to increase neural firing. When learners find their energy level dropping, get them to stand up for 2 - 3 minutes as an energizer.

Three. Repetition

We learn through repetition. Habits, beliefs, values and self-image have been learned through repetition. Skillful presenters use the technique of repeating key points throughout their presentation. Naturally, a skillful presenter looks for creative ways to revisit the same point - simply saying the same thing over and over again can be frustrating for audience members.

Four. Use Threes

People remember the points in your presentation better if you speak in threes.

Consider such well-known phrases:
▪ Duty, God and Country
▪ Faith, Hope and Love
▪ Up, Up and Away

What happens when we do this?
▪ Duty, God, Country and Friends
▪ Faith, Hope, Love and Kindness
▪ Up, Up, Away and Gone

Something is lost in the rhythm, meter and power.

Five. Alliteration

A sequence of words beginning with the same sound seems to register with us. What you say does not have to be big, bold and beautiful for it to be as attractive as a warm welcome on a winter's night.

Six. Inside Scoop

You've got their immediate attention if you can give them the inside scoop on something, particularly when it hits close-to-home. Know your audience!! Show them that they are receiving the most recent, relevant information available on the subject.

Seven. Personal Experience

Support the point you're making with first-hand experience. This not only enhances your credibility with the audience but proves your knowledge on the subject.

EIght. Questioning Techniques

Your audience will remember less than 30 percent of the sentences they hear during your presentation. But they will remember more than 85 percent of the questions you ask. By asking questions, you deepen audience understanding and conviction. The best questions are ones that get your audience thinking, shock them to attention or get their agreement.

Rhetorical questions work as well as questions that require a response. Simply by turning your audience members' brains from passive to active you are encouraging engagement in your presentation.

Nine. Analogies and Metaphors

Analogies and metaphors permeate our lives. Advertising uses analogies and metaphors to get attention and further understanding. Analogies and metaphors can be single words or expressions. The more complex your subject, the more important it is to use analogies and metaphors. Know your audience!!! Using a complex analogy to support complex material is frustrating for your audience.

For years, physicists discussed an important phenomenon: the gravitationally completely collapsed object. The physicists knew these objects had profound implications - they might answer the question about how the universe began and how it might end. However, no one cared much about this until a creative physicist called the gravitationally completely collapsed object a Black Hole. Suddenly everyone was interested. They made movies about it. Your words matter. If you are presenting something complex - simplify it with a metaphor.

Ten. Storytelling

You can get your point across in less time, with better understanding and with longer retention if you use stories. Stories are so effective that people will sometimes remember them forever. Stories give people an emotional frame of reference on which to relate personally. Stories are effective because everyone has their own story and can imagine or envision themselves participating in the story to which they are listening.

ELeven. Startling Statistics

Numbers and statistics can lose your audience quicker than anything else. By handling them carefully you can not only prove your point, but also surprise your audience. Present only the numbers and statistics that are necessary to make your point. Where possible, round to the nearest whole number. Graphs and charts should be simple. Detailed calculations should be provided on a handout.

Twelve. Humor

Humor can be one of the most effective attention-getting techniques when used naturally and appropriately. Humor keeps the audience alert and awake. Laughter triggers the release of adrenaline and increases long-term retention of information. Humor makes audiences more relaxed, responsive and creative. The body reacts biochemically to laughing. Laughter increases the white blood cell activity and changes the chemical balance of the blood which may boost the body's production of neurotransmitters needed for alertness and memory. A good laugh can lower stress and low stress makes for better learning. Dr. Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness, reveals his laughter therapy which he claims was instrumental in his battle with cancer.

It is important not to confuse humor with comedy. Nothing is more uncomfortable for an audience than a long, awkward, drawn-out, unnatural joke. Some of the funniest people never tell jokes. Many of them merely comment on how they see what's going on around them. It's their unique perspective that's humor. Stay away from sexist, ethnic, religious, political or racist jokes. The only person you should make fun of is yourself.

Thirteen. Games and Activities

If people sit too long, their brains start to operate in a passive mode, not in an active mode conducive to learning, understanding and retention. Get them involved in activities that help them get to know one another or help gather information.

Fourteen. Note-taking

Encouraging your listeners to take notes will also help increase their attention. Encourage audience members to be creative in their note-taking - rather than simply writing sentences on a page from left to right. Key words, pictures and color all help to stimulate the brain.

Fifteen. Handouts

Handouts are a tool to supply your audience with complex or additional information to support your talk. They can also be a tool for getting your audience involved. You'll likely create a heads-down audience by distributing handouts at the beginning of your presentation. If not too disruptive, distribute them as your audience will use them.

Sixteen. Be Brief and Finish Early

Our fast-food, TV, information society has set new standards for all presenters - we must be concise and brief. People were once willing to listen to a speaker for an hour. Today, even the clergy has to limit its messages to about 20 minutes or less. Interviews on talk shows ran 15 minutes at one time. Now they rarely last more than 7 minutes. TV interviewers used to allow a guest the luxury of a one-minute response. Today that has diminished to less than 25 seconds.

How many presentations have you attended that finished early? Compliment your audience by finishing five minutes early. Be aware of time management from the very beginning of your presentation. Plan how long each stage of your talk should take and stick to it.

Seventeen. Brand Your Presentation

Treat your presentation like a product you are selling. How can you brand your presentation so audience members will see greater value in it? What title can you give your presentation that you can repeat several times throughout the presentation?

Eighteen. Show Your Flaws

In the mid-1980s, researchers at Cleveland State University made a startling discovery. The researchers created two fictitious job candidates - Dave and John - two identical resumes and two almost identical letters of reference. The only difference was the John's letter included the sentence "sometimes John can be difficult to get along with". Who did managers want to interview? John - apparently the criticism made the praise more believable. Enhance your credibility by disclosing something (a flaw) about yourself that makes you seem more believable to the audience.

Nineteen. Halo Effects

People naturally associate. We tend to think that attractive people are smarter, friendlier, more honest and more reliable than less attractive people. We associate on positive thing - attractiveness - with many other good things.

Similarly, we assume that poor people lack initiative and intelligence, are less trustworthy, and are less concerned with cleanliness and appearance, when few if any of these characteristics are displayed by one poor person we may see. We associate. We automatically link one negative thing - poverty - with others.

The next time you think, "but I have to say this, and this, and this, and this in my presentation - it's all important", remember the halo effect.

Twenty. Each One Teach One

Learners are people with whole lives. They will relate to you on an emotional level if you convey caring for them as individuals. They will also appreciate the opportunity to relate to each other. Give them time to talk with one another about what they are learning/experiencing.

A word of caution. When preparing a meal, chefs know that some spice and herbs will make the difference between an average meal and a great one. They also know that too many herbs or too much spice will turn an average meal into a horrible one. It is the same with these twenty techniques. Overuse them and your presentation will likely not achieve the results you hope for. Use them sparingly and your presentation will be powerful.

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