Archive for: June, 2023

Hire Projector to Give Your Presentation the X-Factor

Jun 14 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

With the facility of Hire Projector, today you are able to use this valuable piece of equipment even if your budget does not permit you to buy one.

Here are some good reasons to why you should choose a projector rental for an event:

Quality: All projectors at rental companies are the most recent models, user-friendly with very high specifications. They have sharp resolutions and are very bright featuring a minimum of 3000 lumens.

Checked: Every projector is checked and tested before it is dispatched on an order to a customer. This ensures optimum reliability. When shipped to each customer the package contains a content checklist, cables and manuals.

Delivery: Delivery of a Hire Projector is done the day before the event, giving you plenty of time to set up and test your projector before the inauguration of the event. Same day deliveries are available as well.

Think of a situation when a presentation could either make or break a business deal – this is when you cannot measure the value of a projector. A bad presentation will result in lost sales. Immaterial how you have prepared your presentation – whether it is with the help of images or text, it has to reach out to your audience effectively. You may have put in a lot of effort to do up a good presentation; however, in order to get the best out of it you also need a projector of good quality. Thus, the process of Hire Projector is vital for the success of your presentation.

The price of the rental will depend on the following specs of the projector:

  • Unit weight
  • Screen resolution
  • Lamp type
  • Bulb brightness
  • Projector brand
  • Type of lens

The above requirements should be considered according to the type of presentation. Discuss them with your rental company and choose the right machine for the event. If you plan to conduct your presentation at a number of venues, you then need to select a machine that will withstand transport. A number of features need to be considered before you settle in for a Hire Projector.

Another critical factor in a projector rental is the screen resolution. Resolution is the term used for the amount of light points that are projected onto the screen. To decide on the best projector will need to know the quality and age of the computer that you will use for your presentation. Newer machines will demand for higher resolution projectors, and the in-thing of today is digital projectors. Remember that the presentation will not project at all if the resolutions on your computer and projector don’t match. So make sure that you do your research well ahead of time.

Taking advantage of the facility of a Hire Projector helps you make quality presentations at a far less cost than investing in your own projector. Also, considering the amount of your usage, if you are planning to purchase a projector this is an opportunity to try out which brand in best for you. Cheap equipment will never help you make a quality presentation. Always select the best to retain a good company image.

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Selecting Baby Shower Gifts – 5 Tips To Choose Useful Presents

Jun 13 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

1. Understand that a baby shower is a party held for wishing well to a set of expectant parents and gifts need not be only for the baby, though this is usually the case. You are encouraged to think out of the box of baby layettes, toiletries and soft toys here even as these are never out of form for traditional gifting.

2. For couples who are expecting their first child, the baby shower and new gifts will seem exciting, but if not practical to their lifestyle, will end up not being used at all, which is such a waste! To avoid giving inappropriate gifts at a baby shower, check out whether the couple have made a baby registry as is the norm these days: it involves the couple writing down their most desirable items for the baby and friends and relatives look it up and buy what they can afford to gift, which is a welcome aspect to modern life.

3. Diaper baskets and other assorted toiletries (wipes, powder etc) to keep baby fresh, clean and sweet-smelling are another great baby shower gift idea and really useful for parents that intend using cloth diapers, but may well be charmed with the prospect of using disposables for convenience and cleanliness during traveling etc.

4. Gift a feeding bottle pack complete with cleaning brush and liquid and a bunch of pacifiers to keep baby content and the new parents at peace with their new, changing duties of parenthood.

5. Pick educational games and toys for the coming baby as these will boost his or her development and be an asset to the new parents, who are yet to learn many things about bringing up babies. Smart choices include musical CDS for music to learn and sleep by, baby books with soft covers and educational videos! Increase baby’s chances of using interactive toys to learn faster and grow faster too – and the new parents are sure to love you for these thoughtful gifts of yours!

Apart from the above baby shower gift ideas, there’s tons more baby goodies out there in the marketplace to choose your perfect present from, so rack your brains for something innovative, cutesy and useful that expectant parents are likely to find practical and which will not be superfluous for the baby. Smart choices include soft bathing toys and cloth scrubbers, rubber ducky, soaps and lotions as well as baby clothes in slightly bigger sizes for baby to grow into. And if all else fails, there’s always the true color of gift money – yes, a check can help the expectant parents buy whatever guests at the baby shower missed gifting them, so why not use this as a practical way to celebrate a coming arrival?

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Monogrammed Towels Make Great Presents

Jun 12 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

They say that monogrammed towels do not make good presents. However, there are occasions that really call for this kind of gift. Consider the person you are buying the gift for and the event and you will surely find that in some cases, monogrammed things are the best gifts.  Here are some of the occasions where a monogrammed beach towel is an appropriate present.

For some couples, going to the beach is a one of their special activities to do together. If you have friends like this and they decide to get married, you can give them monogrammed beach towels as your wedding gift. In that way, you can be a part of their next beach get away. This will also make a great gift if the couple is planning to celebrate their honeymoon in the Caribbean or the Bahamas.

If you are planning to give a gift to your child’s swimming team coach, a monogrammed beach towel will be appreciated. Or if you are feeling generous enough, you can go ahead and give the whole swimming team this gift. They would appreciate it for its usefulness and the monograms will serve as a reminder of all the happy memories they shared together.

People who loves the beach or who likes swimming will adore a personalized beach towel. It is also suitable to encourage someone who’s taking up swimming lessons. You could give it to your child who is learning how to swim to make it more fun for him or her. A beach towel can also be a reward for someone’s hard work and perseverance.

At first, the idea of giving personlized towels as a gift may seem queer to you. However, if you think about it people will appreciate them because they are both useful and unique. You might even find yourself wanting to receive one as a gift. 

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Presents for the Person With Frontotemporal Dementia

Jun 11 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

What do you buy a man or woman that only reads in small spurts, doesn’t write, doesn’t drive, doesn’t have any hobbies and can’t do anything on his or her own that requires multiple steps? Someone with an advanced condition of aphasia as a part of his or her frontotemporal dementia?

It’s been hard to wrap my brain about it. My mother was – and is – a booklover. She was a writer; she wrote haiku and senryu and all sorts of poems all of her life. She spoke lyrically. She was all about the absorption of information: about learning, about thinking, about the juxtaposition of thought and feeling.

Much of that has been taken from her by this disease. I don’t like to think about it too much. All of those books that she was going to read when she retired, for example. Not so much.

She used to love perfume and lotions and soaps and creams, but they pretty much totally lost their appeal when she couldn’t smell anymore. She sometimes puts perfume on, although I try to help because otherwise she’ll be a walking cloud o’ scent.

So, what you have to do is really look at the day to day existence of the person in question. Last year Dad bought Mom lots of clothes. Clothes are an excellent option.

I’ve started to dig deeper into other areas of Mom’s life. I guess these are things I took for granted but they will come in handy now. She loves soft textiles, fabrics. So this year I bought her socks that are all fuzzy and aloe-infused. I got them in bright colors so that they look pretty and will be easy for her to spot and match up. I got her super-soft pajamas.

Just yesterday I remembered that for many years she wore a necklace with a Taurus bull horn in gold. I don’t know what happened to her necklace but that would be a wonderful gift, I think. She still loves jewelry.

She doesn’t wear her wedding rings anymore because she kept shrinking and there was too great a chance of them falling off and getting lost. So, she wears some cheap rings that she hangs onto and twists. I could go to the jeweler and resize her real rings. Dad would still be afraid that she’d lose them, but she could at least wear them to family events and stuff.

What else have we gotten for Mom? Oh, she loves raspberry jelly. That’s a key one. And she needs slippers, although there’s some question on whether she’ll use them.

Yeah, it’s tough. But doable. You have to think about things that are very in-the-moment.

Someone once told me that the blessing of dementia is that you are forced to live in the moment, forced to abandon all other strings and simply be in the moment. I don’t know about the blessing part, but it’s true. And that’s the key to buying presents for anyone with dementia – if it’s something that can be appreciated without complexities or plans, then it will work.

By the way, I used to wrap her presents in front of her, thinking she wouldn’t remember. But no, she remembered. It’s easy to think with dementia that Mom is not absorbing what’s going on around her. But on the contrary, she usually knows exactly what’s going on although she may not be able to say so. So, now I make her turn around so that she doesn’t see her presents!

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Making the Fresh Start Presentation

Jun 10 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

So you are out and running your route and have found a homeowner home who wants to listen to a Fresh Start Presentation (FSP). Remember the Fresh Start Presentation is the Homeowner Options slide show that you have. It goes through the advantages and disadvantages of the seven (7) options available to the financially distressed homeowner. They are as follows:

1) Sell on the Open Market

2) Refinance the home

3) Restructure the mortgage

4) File bankruptcy

5) Borrow from friends and family

6) Let it go to foreclosure

7) Sell to an investor

Whether you have scheduled an appointment or have just knocked the door the opportunity to make the presentation will lead to money for you. So what is the best way to make the presentation? Do you start with the overview and then go through each option? Do you ask some preliminary questions and get to the homeowners present position or do you just get to the price we will pay for the home and leave it at that?

The answer depends upon the homeowner and your preparation for your visit with the homeowner. Remember “Information is power and the key to a successful negotiation and purchase of your next home or investment property”. So if you have failed to prepare for your meeting with the homeowner your chances of success are diminished. We try to gather information for you and put it in the notes. Some information can be gathered by going over the pricing of the home when you have a scheduled appointment. The rest of the information will come from the homeowners’ needs and wants and honest eyes.

What follows are typical situations you will run into in the field and what assumptions you should make if you run into these types of situations. They are 1) Research indicates that the home is on the market. 2) Home is vacant; 3) Homeowner just came out of Bankruptcy.

Home on the Market

What assumptions can we make if the home is placed on the market?

1) We know that they are willing to leave the home and move on with their lives.

2) The Homeowners have cut the emotional attachment to the home.

3) They have either eliminated or exhausted the following options: refinance, restructure and borrowing from friends and relatives.

From this we can make the following conclusion: The homeowner is left with the bankruptcy option and selling on the open market or to us. Here is a note from a locator regarding a house that is on the market.

Visited 8/12/06; 1PM. Met HO in driveway. HO’s are divorced and selling the property. Home vacant. Property is listed with Briarwood Realty. Presented the Fresh Start Program to HO’s. Interior of the home is broom swept condition already. Good condition. Husband was ready to give release, wife not willing to give release today. Wife indicated that she would like to take a few days and to talk with the bank on Monday. We agreed to contact each other on Tuesday 8/15/06. I left contact info with them and received their contact info as well. Will take complete set of photos when I get the release. Both HO’s confirm that they have equity in the property.

Now what part of the FSP would you pitch to get the release? How do you begin the process? If I knew the number they had placed on the house, I would talk about market time, home inspections and the possibility of an unsavory investor tying them up until it is too late and purchasing at the auction.

If I did not know the market number I would ask for the price and how long it has been sitting on the market.

This type of presentation should begin with a back-up plan or safety net plan. It should inform the homeowners that we could possibly purchase the property in a quick fashion and net them some money for their fresh start. We would do this by making a deal with the listing broker to continue to list the property after we purchased it. Saving the homeowners the cost of the broker. We could also inform them that they would not have the carrying costs, insurance, taxes, and foreclosure costs that are currently stacking up on the property. All of this may add up to a less stressful conveyance than waiting out a slow market. If you are fairly new at locating just use the making the offer to the homeowner chart to walk you through the offer: This chart is located on the resource page of the website.

When a home is on the market it is fairly difficult to get a homeowner to agree to sell the property to an investor. Reasons are that some mortgage broker has told them that they can sell their home for a number we will not pay. Only time and an auction date will usually make this homeowner come around. A smart locator will make the pitch for the backup plan and wait until it is close to the auction to return for a final opportunity to purchase the property. In the meantime just call the homeowner every week or ten days to check in on their situation. This will allow you to have a continuing dialogue and build some type of relationship with the homeowner.

HOME IS VACANT

What assumptions can we make if the home is vacant?

1) We know that they are willing to leave the home and move on with their lives (they already have).

2) The Homeowners have cut the emotional attachment to the home.

3) That the house is costing the homeowner carrying costs each and every day. We can stop the bleeding by purchasing the home.

4) Homeowner should be happy to unload the property.

Here is a note of a recent vacant home visit:

Visited 8/12/06; 3:15PM. HO not home. Left into letter in the door with personal note. Spoke with the neighbor to get an update on this property. Mailbox is full. Shrubs and vines have overgrown the yard and cover the primary entrance to the house. Lawn has not been mowed in months. Neighbor says that the owner is a great person. He seems to think that the owner has another residence in Marshfield. This property had been up for sale. The HO has been trying to sell it for almost 2 years. He believes that the last listing was $249K. He also has been in the house and said that a lot of work has been done on the inside. Driveway is not paved. Otherwise, nice neighborhood. Dead end street with playground for children. This property is on the quiet end of the street directly across from the playground, corner lot. Looks like a good investment. We will need to track this person down.

Once the homeowner is found the pitch would be straight to the sale of the property to our company. There is little need to go through the rest of the options with this homeowner. It would simply be straight to the sale of the property. Again, this particular note tells us that he had it on the market for 249,000 dollars for two years or so. So we could easily tell him that the price of the property is too high and substitute it for the price that we would sell the property at. (see your manager or the index for the price). Next, I would use the Homeowner chart again to go through the price we could offer on the house and why. Once you as a locator get familiar with the costs associated with a home you can forego using the chart.

This vacant property purchase should be fairly easy once we have tracked down the homeowner. There is no emotional attachment, in fact the homeowner should be relieved to get rid of the property. I would stay on your manager to find these owners and provide you with the means to make a deal.

JUST OUT OF BANKRUPTCY OR IN BANKRUPTCY BUT IS LIQUIDATING THE PROPERTY TO PAY FOR THE PLAN.

What assumptions can we make if the home just came out of bankruptcy?

1) We know that they are finished with most of the options. They can file bankruptcy again but it will not help them.

2) The Homeowners can try to refinance but the cost of the mortgage will be astronomical.

3) That the homeowner has tried everything to save the home and failed.

Here the homeowners have been through the entire process. They have borrowed money from friends and relative, tried to restructure, and refinance the home as well as save it in bankruptcy plan by forcing a payment plan on the bank. Nothing has worked. You need to allow the homeowner a way out with dignity if possible. That may come from you just purchasing the property and giving them enough to begin renting.

They only have two real options left: 1) sell on the open market or sell to us. Your job is to explain to them the problem of selling on the open market with only weeks to go to the auction is not a viable option. The real option is trying to get some equity out by selling to us.

This type of purchase has to be performed with surgical precision. You have homeowners who are emotionally drained from the process of trying to save the home. They trust nobody including the lawyer who took them into bankruptcy and feel like everyone has screwed them. If you are empathetic now would be the time to show it.

Here is a note on a property where this happened.

7/31 note: Relief from stay of auction granted.

11/05 note: In chapter 13 now. He isn’t interested in hearing our option as the thought of selling his home makes him cringe. He did agree with me that selling is better than losing to auction. He has the auction stayed for some time now. Let’s keep an eye on his bankruptcy. This is a good home.

From the note the locator has been watching this house since early November 2005. Long time to check in on the property, but it is getting ready to payoff. The new note indicates that the bank has now received the right to foreclose upon the property. It is usually the step before the bankruptcy being dismissed.

The locator will now need to go out to the home and listen to the story of the bankruptcy and convince this homeowner that it is best to sell the home instead of losing it to the bank. This homeowner really does not want to sell the house in fact he would rather stay in the house. With that in mind it is going to be a tough sell.

Again, this pitch should be a straight up number crunching pitch going through the items on the chart. Remember you are going to have to deal with the emotional tie to this house. From the note it is quite evident that this particular homeowner has this tie. When I make the pitch I usually talk about the house as sticks and bricks which is not really a home. The home is his family and the memories which they get to bring with them to the new house they will be occupying. If you can get through the emotional you will purchase the house.

good hunting

[http://frontgateconsulting.com/]

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Effective Meetings and Conversations – Top 7 Keys to Being Present

Jun 08 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Have you ever been in a meeting or conversation with someone and you could tell that they weren’t really focused on you? How did it make you feel? How did it affect your opinion of this person as a leader?

Being in the present moment, or “being present”, is a skill that is critical for effective communication and should be in the toolbox of all effective leaders. If you need to improve your ability to be present in conversations, try out these top 7 keys to being present with other people:

  1. Focus on your breath. Be conscious of the pace and the sound of your breath. This in itself has an amazing capability of calming you down, slowing your breathing, clearing out the clutter in your mind, and focusing you on your immediate surroundings. Try this out especially in the seconds after you sit down and before a meeting starts.
  2. Focus on what’s right in front of you. Focus directly on the person or group that you are speaking with. Don’t let your eyes wander to the window or to people that are passing by.
  3. Turn off or block out distractions. Turn off your cellphone. If you are in your office, forward your phone and close your email. Close the door.
  4. Leave personal issues “outside the door”. If you are going into a meeting, this is a great trick to quickly get present. Before you go through the door, think about all of the things that are racing through your mind, such as errands you need to do, an argument you just had, or another project you are working on. Pretend like these thoughts are tangible. Envision yourself placing these thoughts on the ground outside the door. Say to yourself, “I’m going to leave you [the thoughts] here. I’ll pick you up when I get done with my meeting”. Then go through the door with a clear mind and with your issues outside the door.
  5. Make eye contact. If you are in a meeting with a group of people, practice making eye contact with each person in the room multiple times, regardless of whether they are speaking. When someone speaks, ensure that you make eye contact and concentrate on what they are saying.
  6. Reframe what the person is saying. Reframing is when you restate what someone says from your perspective. This allows them to verify that you correctly heard them. You can use some of the following phrases to reframe: “What I hear you say is….” or “So let me see if I got this right….”.
  7. Resist the urge to come up with an answer. Act like your mission is to collect information and digest it. This will prevent you from thinking about an answer when you should be listening to the speaker. Just listen.

Practice these 7 keys during your next meeting or conversation with someone. Be aware of what takes you away from the present moment and use the tips to bring you back. By honing your ability to be present you will be building your effective communication skills.

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Effective Public Speaking in Business Presentations

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Right or wrong, people form a perception about how competent you are by how you present yourself when you stand and speak. They also form perceptions about the company you represent based on your performance. In fact, public speaking is an easy way to set yourself apart from your competition, because when you stand up and say what you want to say, they way that you want to say it, you are doing what 95% of the people in the audience wish they could do. A person who is confident in front of a group gives off an air of competence, whereas a person who fumbles might leave a negative impression.

When I was in college, I had an internship with a major oil company, and at the end of the summer, I had to present a summary of my internship to a group of department managers and vice-presidents. I was the youngest person in the room, just 20. Many of the other interns were graduate students who were much more comfortable in front of a group. When I spoke, I could feel the sweat beads on my forehead, and I could see my hands shaking. The butterflies in my stomach were uncontrollable. After the presentation, I asked myself, “If I were the decision-maker in that room, and I only had one permanent position to offer, would I choose me?” I had to answer “no.” Over the next few years, I trained with some of the most successful public speaking coaches in the country. Since then, I have spoken before thousands of people, and coached hundreds of managers, executives, and other leaders on how to present more effectively to groups. Below are some of the key public speaking tips that I have found that really work.

1) Realize 90% of nervousness doesn’t even show. The audience usually can’t see the butterflies, or shaky hands, or sweaty palms. The problem occurs when we start thinking about these symptoms rather than focusing on the audience and our topic. By human nature, most people are focused on themselves not on you. Focus on them and two things will happen: 1) they will like you more, and 2) much of the nervousness that you feel will go away.

2) Add some enthusiasm to your talk. Your audience will never be more excited about your talk than you are, so give them some energy, and they will give it back to you. Walk about a half step faster. Smile. Let your gestures and voice emphasis come naturally. Don’t over do it, but give more energy than what you normally would.

3) Limit your talk to a few key points. Narrow down your topic to either one key point for a short talk, or thee key point for a longer talk (a talk longer than 30-minutes.) Ask yourself, “If my audience only remembered one thing from my talk, what would be most important thing for them to remember?” The reason this is so important is that the human mind likes to think of only one thing at a time. For instance, think of the Statue of Liberty. What do you see? You probably see a picture in your mind of the statue. Now think of a pink elephant. Again, you probably see a picture in your mind, but the important question is…where did the statue go? Your mind can only truly focus on one thing at a time. As you add additional points, each previous point will become diluted. The more points your presentation has, the less focus the audience will have on each individual point.

4) Tell stories. Don’t tell little white lies, but do tell anecdotes and personal experiences. Stories build rapport with your audience, and they give you more credibility. Your audience will remember your stories a lot longer than they will remember your talking points. I heard Les Brown, a famous motivational speaker, years ago, and he told a story about how a man in his hometown went around the town square holding two baby dolls and squawking like a chicken. Kids in town made fun of him, but Les found out that this man’s house had caught on fire, and his two baby girls died in the blaze. The man attempted to go in and save them many times, but the heat was too great. When his brother-in-law showed up, he verbally assaulted the man calling him a chicken for not going in to save his girls. Ever since then, the man has not spoken a word — instead he just clucks like a chicken. I heard this story years ago, and I can’t remember the specific point Les Brown was making on stage. I do remember the “chicken-man,” though, and I frequently think about how I should get all the facts before passing judgment on people. Les Brown’s stories have longevity, and your stories will have that type of impact as well.

5) When in doubt, speak from the heart. Let your audience see the real you, and you will have a great speaking performance.

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The One Present Christmas – 1956

Jun 06 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The 1950s were a great time to grow up in Tacoma, Washington. My family was the first on the block to own a television. I was glued to the TV as I watched Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, and Roy Rogers.

It seemed just in time for Christmas when the Sears and Roebuck catalog arrived in the mail. As soon as it came I would lie down on the floor and look at the toy gun sets. There were pages and pages of them. I drooled over one gun sets, two gun sets, pistols, rifles, and derringers.

Christmas was a wonderful time of year. Besides dreaming of what I was going to receive I also got great comfort and joy by shopping for my mom and dad. I was a latch key kid. My dad was an office manager for a plumbing contractor and my mom was employed by the Boy Scouts. I was a Cub Scout, of course.

At home I was familiar with every closet, every drawer. Nothing escaped my attention. I knew every hiding place in our home. Although a lady next door kept an eye on me, I had the run of the house each workday afternoon. It would be rare to have a present for me and me not know it. I knew where everything was . . . well, almost everything.

One Christmas morning, as we were opening presents, I un-wrapped a plastic wallet. On the front of the wallet were two crossed pistols and a pony. I smiled knowingly. I had found two long-barreled six-shooters weeks before and played with them daily and then returned them to where my parents had originally hidden them. When I actually saw the guns that Christmas morning I acted surprised. I felt pretty smug.

After breakfast we went outside where I was introduced to my new Shetland pony. I was surprised. He kicked me in the knees the first day.

Our home was located only a few blocks away from Allenmore Golf Course. Between my home and Allenmore there were swamps where my friends and I captured polliwogs and an open field where both the circus and Oral Roberts put up their tents when they came to town.

When Cocoa, my spirited pinto Shetland, got loose and ran away he would run past the swamp and the big open field and head to the green grass on the fairways of Allenmore.

My two dogs, Pal, a collie-German shepherd mix, and Cindy, a black cocker spaniel waited for me to return from school at the front gate . . . patiently sitting and looking down the road. Cocoa waited in his little corral under the carport and faced the front gate. Sometimes, I would come home the back way. Walking silently down the alley I would approach the carport until I could see all three of them and then I would yell, “Hey” and startle them all.

My mom’s twin sister claimed I was an ornery little snot, but she didn’t say snot. My mom knew I was perfect.

On my own, I almost burned our kitchen up cooking bacon one afternoon when I was in second grade. Flames climbed the wall. Smoke coated the ceiling. I cleaned it all up before my parents came home. They never knew about the incident until I told them years later.

I still bear a scar from one afternoon’s play. I was whittling like the cowboys did. The butcher knife cut deeply into my thumb. I couldn’t hide all of the blood.

And one afternoon my two best friends (David who was four years older than I and Kathleen who was two years older) played with matches and burned most of a hill overlooking the Nalley Valley.

I like to think I was just curious and adventuresome.

In 1956 we sold my pony and we moved to Lakewood: 9511 Maple Avenue.

Although we lived in the suburbs, we still shopped downtown. My favorite places to shop were Woolworth’s, Kress’s, and Sears. They were all within a block and a half of each other on Broadway.

I used to take the escalators up and down at Sears and each time I came to the bottom floor, where they sold shoes I would put my feet inside a machine that showed where my toes where inside my shoes. I must have x-rayed my feet hundreds of times.

The toys and sports equipment were on the third floor of Sears and it was on the third floor in 1956 that I found my new heart’s desire. Forget guns, well, okay I still liked guns, and still like guns today, but there on the third floor next to the escalator were the bicycles.

I don’t know why they were called English Racers, but I knew what I wanted. I kissed my old heavy, balloon-tired bike good-bye. The bike I wanted was a sleek, three-speed, skinny-tired bike made in Austria. It was black with white and gold striping.

There was a little black bag behind the seat just in case I wanted to bring along a tool set for a ride. There was a little generator you could adjust so that forward motion of the front tire powered the headlight and there was a red reflector on the rear fender. There was even a tire pump. To my little fifth grade heart, the bike was perfect.

I told my parents about the bike in plenty of time for Christmas, and it was then they explained their finances to me. The move to Lakewood had depleted the family bank account. There was not much money left over for Christmas.

I was told that I should pick ONE GIFT I wanted for Christmas. I chose a flintlock pistol like the Pirates of the Caribbean or Davy Crocket might use.

I continued my shopping, my dreaming and kept up a happy face. I was un-concerned.

On Christmas day I got my toy gun. After we unwrapped all of our presents I was playing in my bedroom and I heard a “click, click, click.” Now, knowing the circumstances some people might have thought it was my dog Pal walking across the hardwood floors, but I knew what it was.

The sound was the ratchet noise of a European bike when it was just rolling. There in the living room was my brand new English Racer from Austria.

Did I have faith that my parents would buy me the exact present I was longing for? No. Faith had nothing to do with it. As I rode up and down the escalators at Sears I would look at my bike on each trip. One day there was a sign on the bike: Hold for Don Doman, 9511 Maple Avenue.

I wound up with both my toy gun AND a new bike . . . but I said this was a one present Christmas. The toy gun and the English Racer have both everything and nothing to do with Christmas. So, what was the one present I got?

Was it Jesus? No. We were not a religious family. Actually, I was appalled when we moved into 9511 Maple Avenue and my parents told me that they expected me to attend the Methodist church, which was only three blocks away . . . by myself.

That spring, each Sunday I left home on my English Racer, but would ride only two blocks and stop on the shores of Lake Steilacoom and read.

Was the one present love? Hardly. We didn’t use the word. This was the 1950s. My family was never demonstrative. I only learned about hugging people after I married my wife Peggy. To this day my youngest sister runs the other way if anyone attempts to hug her.

What was the one present that really stood out in 1956 . . . and every Christmas before and since then? Joy. Simple joy.

Sharing and giving. Isn’t that the essence of Christmas? And what we all look for? Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

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Super Preparation – Keys to Getting a Great Start to Every Presentation

Jun 05 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Novice and expert presenters alike have had the experience of feeling a little (or may be a lot) nervous before giving a talk. In working with hundreds of people to help them improve their presentation skills, one consistent theme has emerged: once people get started, assuming things go relatively well, they begin to relax, become more natural, less self conscious, and therefore more effective.

Since the opening of any presentation is critical to the message and the presenter’s credibility, and since this is often when presenters are most nervous and cautious, it makes sense to have strategies to make that opening the best it can be.

I call the strategy “Super Preparation”.

How to Do It

Here are the steps to Super Preparation:

1. Design a dynamite opening. This article isn’t focused on how to build the best possible opening, but that is where you need to start! Make sure your opening is clear, focused, attention getting and full of audience benefits. You want the people listening to become truly interested in what you have to say. When you have a great opening planned, your excitement and confidence will rise, already making you less apprehensive.

2. Practice the opening. You need to “own” the great opening you have developed. Practice the first 3-5 minutes of your talk thinking about everything: the words, vocal inflection, gestures, movements, pace and more. Know the flow of your words, find the best places to pause for emphasis. Your goal is to have the first few minutes so well prepared in your mind and heart that your nerves and apprehensions about getting started are greatly reduced. You won’t reach that goal without practice.

3. Visualize success! Spend some time thinking about how successful the opening will be. How engaged and interested your audience will be. How confident and relaxed you will be. Visualizing those things are a big step towards making them happen.

4. Rehearse. I know, I already told you to practice. These rehearsals are the final mental run-throughs that incorporate both the practice and the visualization. These rehearsals might be in your car, the shower, as you lay in bed, whenever!

5. End with a “make.” When shooting baskets after practice my basketball coach always said, “Don’t leave the court on a miss. Always finish with the result you want.” That is my advice to you on your mental rehearsals. Always finish with a rehearsal where the opening went great! This will solidify the result you want in your brain and add to your growing confidence and excitement.

6. Don’t memorize! All this talk about practice and rehearsal may lead you to think, “I just need to memorize my opening.” Nothing could be more wrong. When we memorize, we focus on the words. If we mess up the words we’ve lost it! Super Preparation is about preparing for a super result – and super results in presentations are always focused on the audience, not ourselves. Forget the memorization. Remember the audience. Focus on the message, your approach and your desired outcome.

Results

The results of utilizing Super Preparation include:

o Greater confidence
o Less apprehension or nerves at the start of your talk
o A much more credible first impression of you, your skills, and message by the audience
o An opening that has great impact

Aren’t those reasons enough to try it?

The Rest

Will take care of itself. You will have set yourself up to succeed with greater confidence and energy, which allows you to build on the great opening, rather than trying to recover from a poor one.

Try the Super Preparation approach to your next presentation and prepare to persuade with greater effectiveness than you ever have before!

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Presentation Skills Grow With Training in Use of 4 A’s

Jun 04 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Experienced presenters, and those who have taken presentation skills training, use the 4 A Approach for structuring opening remarks. This article will give an overview of the 4 A approach by explaining each element and how to use it in a professional presentation. The 4 A’s stand for Audience Hook, Answer, Agenda and Action Request. Together they provide an invaluable tool to logically frame remarks for your listeners.

Audience Hook

The Audience Hook is designed to engage your listeners by tapping into WHY they would want to sit through your remarks. This portion of your presentation needs to hook into pain or pleasure – specifically pain the listener is experiencing or pleasure they would enjoy. Now in a work context the pain might be a tough problem that needs resolution, whereas the pleasure might be improved confidence in a skill set. Either way, the trick is to use an engagement device such as a question, a statistic, or a story to hook the audience into listening. For example you might ask “Have any of you ever been caught off guard by negative comments during your annual performance review?. Have you ever worried that your job might be at risk due to poor communication with your boss?”.

Answer

Once you’ve hooked the audience, now you need to let them know the answer to their problem – and why you’re just the person to reveal it. The Answer section of your remarks is the time to reveal your solution, your name, and your credentials. For example, you might say “Today we’ll be discussing how to ensure open dialogue between you and your boss to ensure there are never any year-end surprises. My name is Suzanne Guthrie and I am a master consultant in communication skills and conflict resolution. Over the past 10 years I have consulted with dozens of organizations including Fortune 500 companies on workplace communications and published numerous articles on how to avoid communication screw ups at work”.

Agenda

Now that you’ve established you have a solution (and the street cred to back it up), it’s time to give more details of your agenda for the rest of the presentation. We recommend that you use a three point approach to your agenda to help your audience remember key words. The three agenda items should related to the overall solution and provide a framework for your consequent remarks. For example, our speaker might say: “During the course of the next hour we’ll look at three essential aspects of workplace communications so that you’ll never be caught off guard again:
1 – Timeliness,
2 – Transparency,
3 – Totality.”

Audience Takeaway

Once you’ve revealed the agenda you need to highlight explicitly why this will help your audience. This is time to reinforce what’s in it for them (the audience) and what will they takeaway from your talk. Of course the audience takeaway ties back into the previous three A’s and should not be a surprise to either you the speaker or the audience. Our speaker might wrap up this 4th A saying “By the end of this session you’ll know how to use Timeliness, Transparency and Totality of workplace communications to ensure you have open dialogue with your boss so that you’ll never be caught off guard in important meetings again!”.

Using these four A’s provides invaluable structure and support to your remarks. It also helps listeners engage more deeply, follow your comments, and take away important learning tools. While learning this 4 A Approach takes practice, and frequently requires formal presentation skills training, it is well worth the time invested.

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