Recommended Reading to Boost Your Presentation IQ

Recently, a client expressed anxiety about presenting. She said she always over-prepared, obsessing for weeks in advance, losing sleep and repeatedly rehashing what she wanted to say and do.

I asked her, “When do you know your presentation is good enough?”

She responded, “Good enough to do what?”

Her question led me to read TJ Walker’s two excellent books, How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation and TJ Walker’s Secret to Foolproof Presentations.

Walker writes in a quick, easy-to-read, conversational manner with no pretense — his knowledge and experience can help catapult any presentation from boring to bravo. I shared these books with my client and recommend them to you.

How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation

In today’s extreme business environment, you have to balance time and performance. So the challenge becomes, how can you be “good enough” to impact business results?

According to Walker, as long as you find a way to have an impact, you don’t need to be a rock star. Walker’s step-by-step advice can help almost anyone write, rehearse and deliver presentations that he calls “pretty good” – which means good enough to make a difference.

After reading this book, my client pointed to one helpful tip in particular. Walker says it’s important to select a single idea to convey to your audience and to focus your presentation on that message. That helped my client after she was promoted to vice president and, with 30 minutes’ notice, had to address a group in her new role.

She followed Walker’s advice, spoke with confidence and earned a high level of credibility with her peers.

TJ Walker’s Secret to Foolproof Presentations

Using a snappy Q&A format, Walker answers just about every question you’ve ever had – but were afraid to ask – about giving a presentation. Each answer is given in a clear, direct way; each suggestion is easy to understand and easy to implement.

One of Walker’s best pieces of advice is to keep it real and be yourself. As he points out, polished and professional may mean that you are suddenly just like every other presenter. Walker says, “Doing what everyone else is doing is playing it safe…. You must do something, anything, in order to get people to leave your presentation with a positive impression of you and your ideas.”

Walker also offers excellent advice about using PowerPoint. He suggests that you create two separate PowerPoint decks:

  • a streamlined, highly visual version to project on-screen, and
  • a more detailed version with all of your text, data and charts that can be used as a handout or email follow-up.

Both these titles are worthy additions to your bookshelf. Take a look, and you’ll find they are must-have resources that will help you be confident, heard and inspiring whenever you step up to speak.

Business Presentations – The Consultant’s Guide to Quickly Building Effective Seminars

As a management consultant I average about 70-80 seminars per year. In nearly all of them I’m trying to teach information. Until I stumbled across the secret formula for feeding information to my customers’ brains my ratings were poor. Now I know how the pro’s do it, I regularly score 10/10. Read on to find out how you can too.

About five years ago I almost gave up presenting. I’d been asked to run a seminar for a large potential client. I spent two days preparing only to find that had I been reading them the phone book I could have got a better response.

I was depressed. I had no idea how to plan a seminar much less present it so that I engaged my audience. By luck I stumbled across the work of David Kolb, author of 1984 book, Experiential Learning: Experience As The Source Of Learning And Development’.

Kolb explains that there are four types of learners.

1. Those that that need to know “why” something is worth learning.
2. Those that need to know “what” it’s about, i.e. background and theory on the topic.
3. Those that need to know “how”, it’s done this group wants the step by step process.
4. Those that need to know “what if”, i.e. what can they do with this information.

This model, literally, changed my life. Once I knew how to apply it, seminar planning became a breeze, my seminar ratings went through the roof, I felt on complete control when I ran a seminar, but most importantly I was making a difference to my audience because I was helping them learn.

To apply the model to building and running a seminar simply take your topic and then apply each of the headings e.g. if your topic is managing change you do the following:

“Why is managing change necessary?” “If you learn the process for managing change you’ll be able to turn around failing companies fast, you’ll save your clients time and money”

“What is managing change?” “It originates from the early 1900s, The days of Henry Ford and Afred Sloan. The objective is to guide a sick company back to full health.”

“How do I do it?” “Managing change is a three step process, it starts with analysing the business, building a plan for change, and testing your hypothesis. Then the cycle repeats.”

“What can I do If I learn to manage change” “The obvious application is to turn around ailing businesses, do it right and you can help lots of employees keep their jobs.

All you need to do now is spice up the “what section” with a case study or example and you have a complete segment for running a seminar.

Put three of those segments together, call it a module. Build five modules and you have a full day’s course. Once you’ve done this a few times the process will be hardwired in your brain and you’ll be able to do it easily at speed.

The New Ultimate Listing Presentation (Part 10)

Becoming the market authority is job one.

Before we get into the listing presentation, it’s important for you to do an honest assessment of your ability as an agent. Can you look into the mirror and feel, deep down, that you are the very best person to represent your seller client?

If you can’t do that (regardless of the listing approach you use), it would be unethical to offer your services to this client in the first place. In fact, you’d have a fiduciary obligation to recommend your fellow agent, the one who is the best, as the right agent to help your client.

So how do you go about becoming that best agent to represent your client? You need to do your homework! You need to study your market. You need to know the market statistics. You need to have clear-cut marketing strategies. You need to have a specific marketing plan that will yield results superior to those of the competition. Otherwise, you have nothing to offer the client!

Doesn’t that make sense? Why should your client list his most valuable asset with you if you don’t know what you’re doing? Would you list with yourself? And if your answer to my last question is not a resounding “Yes!” – then you need to become that ideal agent before you read another word.

Prior to listing my first house, I knew our market statistics cold. I pulled the raw data from our local MLS and crunched the numbers. Was it fun? Of course not! Nevertheless, I needed to know what I was talking about. I needed to be the best prepared agent my client would ever talk to. I needed to be the best agent for the job, or I couldn’t look my seller in the eye.

Trust me about this: your client will recognize whether or not you know what you’re talking about. If you’re bluffing, he’ll sense it. You can’t “fake the funk,” as they say. I wish I could tell you how many times a listing client has quoted an agent on something that I’ve known to be incorrect.

Because I was completely familiar with my market, though, I would be able to explain that the other agent, while very likely a nice person, had his facts wrong. Then I would present the statistics to the seller, and it was quite obvious to both of us who knew what they were doing and who didn’t. It doesn’t take that much work to become an expert, so do it. You owe it to yourself and to your clients.

OK. Here’s the basic market data you need to know before you go to your first listing appointment:

Days on Market (DOM). Average days on market is critical to your seller client for several reasons: it’s important in setting realistic expectations about the time needed to sell a home; it will help you evaluate any offers that come in and make an educated decision about whether it’s advisable for the client to wait for another offer or take what’s on the table; and, if you know the DOM for your market (or, better, yet, for the client’s neighborhood), you’ll be able to guide him or her through the process like a professional – which is exactly what you are!

There’s a problem with DOM statistics, however. Most MLS databases have a very manipulated DOM number which is invariably skewed low. So how can you know what the real number is? Is it possible to determine the actual DOM for your market even if you’re not a rocket scientist? Absolutely! Just use the absorption rate to calculate the true DOM for your area. Let me explain.

Before writing The New Ultimate Listing Presentation, I thought I would pull the latest DOM figures from my local MLS and compare that statistic with the actual calculated DOM. The latest number as reported in my MLS is 77 days. However, when I calculated DOM using the absorption method, the actual average DOM is 240! And believe me, your MLS is off as well – maybe not by as much as mine, but it is typically off by more than 50%.

So why the huge disparity? Because the MLS calculates the average DOM as the average days on market for the listings that actually sold. What it leaves out of its calculation altogether are homes that were withdrawn, listings that expired, listings that were withdrawn for a day and then re-listed to restart the clock, or those that were never put in the MLS until they sold (like new construction where they might list only one home in a subdivision, but actually have 20 for sale). And all of those affect the reported DOM.

Here’s how you get the real DOM. Find out how many homes sold in your market last year and how many are currently on the market. For example, if 10,000 homes sold last year, and there are currently 5000 on the market, what those numbers indicate is that the inventory turned twice last year (10,000 divided by 5000 = 2.0). Now, there are twelve months in a year, and 12 divided by 2.0 = 6.0, which is the absorption rate, meaning that the average time actually on market is 6.0 months.

Then, to convert the absorption rate to days on market, you simply multiply this last number by 30 (6.0 x 30 = 180). And if you figure DOM this way, you’ll eliminate all manipulation in your market by builders and agents who re-list stigmatized homes due to their excessive time on market.

I wanted you to know how to do the math, but I have great news. Now, as part of The New Ultimate Listing Presentation, I have made your job much easier. Because I got so many calls and emails from agents wanting help on the math, I built a calculator for you to use. So try it out. Never settle for those inaccurate numbers from your local MLS again.