PowerPoint Presentations – 7 Steps to Writing Killer Scripts For Online Business Presentations

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

With travel budgets slashed and off-site meetings at record lows, the demand for online presentations is stronger than ever. Whether delivering live presentations using webinar technology such as WebEx or Citrix, or recording them with tools like Brainshark or Macromedia Breeze, a good script is not only critical to an effective presentation, it is the foundation.

Why, then, do we spend most our time dreaming up fancy visuals?

It’s easier. It’s more fun. And a mistake. The element more likely to make or break your success is the script itself-your choice of words, the sequence of arguments, how you make your message stick.

Visuals are important, indeed. But the script even more so. In fact, some of the most persuasive presenters-in person-use no visuals at all. They know that PowerPoint can be PowerPoint-less. When delivering online, however, they follow this secret: The ratio of time invested on scriptwriting versus visuals should be at least 3:1.

Scriptwriting may look easy, but, like any craft, it’s a specialized skill that can take years to perfect. This 7-step scriptwriting process will shorten your learning curve and help you close that deal or promotion you so well deserve.

Step 1: Set Clear Objectives.
Is it to inform, educate, persuade, or motivate? Talk to 3-5 viewers directly and ask them what they need. The more explicitly your script addresses those needs, the better it will be received. Nothing kills a good presentation like extraneous information.

Step 2: Analyze the Audience.
Who are they? What is their experience with the subject? Do they know a little bit? A lot? Nothing? Find their sweet spot. Get too technical and you’ll lose them. Too basic and they’ll be bored. Remember, every audience member is always wondering, WIIFM – What’s in it for me?

Step 3: Brainstorm Content.
Old fashioned yellows pad and white boards work best. Electronic brainstorming tools may suit you as well. Using index cards and sticky notes this early allows your logical left brain to bleed into the process, which can slow the flow of ideas. Save those for step 4. Let your mind work freeform.

Step 4: Create an Outline.
Next, identify your best ideas. Add some, delete some. Consolidate into main points and sub-points. This is where index cards and sticky notes come in handy. Spread them out on your desk. Put them in a compelling sequence. A brilliant decorator friend once told me his secret to success: “Move the furniture around until it looks good.” Do the same with your ideas.

Step 5: Write a Sloppy Copy.
Turn off your editor. Open the spigot. Write fast. Don’t stop to edit and second-guess yourself or your best ideas may never come. I recommend writing in Word first and pasting into PowerPoint (notes section) later, after the script is finished.

Step 6: Edit, Edit, Edit
Richard North Patterson said, “Writing is rewriting.” Review your sloppy copy. Keep the good parts. Delete the rest. Then expand, shape and clarify. Refine. Say things in the fewest words possible. William Zinser, author of the bestselling book, On Writing Well, said, “Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.”

Step 7: Polish
The best way to polish is to first test it on your audience. Deliver it as if it were the final performance and get their candid feedback. Writers often find that entire sections can be deleted. Remember, with every word you cut, your impact increases exponentially. Hold off on writing your intro and summary until the very end, as it’s impossible-and frustrating-trying to write those when you haven’t yet figured out what you’re going to say.

6 Steps To Quality Negotiating!

Whether, one, dedicates himself, to serving, and representing, others, as a real leader, and/ or, as their agent, such, as being, a real estate professional, one of the most essential, necessary, skills, and abilities (assets, aptitude/ skill – set), is being ready, willing, and able to professionally, negotiate, in the best interests of others, in a well – considered, experienced way! Many, seem, to believe, they are superb, qualified, negotiators, but, few are! After, over four decades, of identifying, qualifying, and training, actual, and/ or, potential leaders, and, having, personally, negotiated, numerous contracts, agreements, etc, as well as negotiating real estate deals, for over 15 years, I have come to believe, there are, 6 key steps, to quality negotiating. With, that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, these.

1. Listen effectively, and learn: Perhaps, the greatest, deterrent to effective negotiating, is, for most people, they enjoy hearing the sound of their own voice, instead, of having the discipline, and commitment, to listen, effectively, and learn, from every conversation, and experience. The more one knows about others, and knows, the other party’s needs, goals, perceptions, and priorities, the more capable, he becomes, of creating a true, meeting – of – the – minds!

2. See things, from another perspective, etc: In order to create, a lasting agreement, it takes a willingness, and commitment, to proceeding, with the knowledge, of what, might be needed, to make a deal! When, you consider, how, your negotiating adversary, perceives things, and what he needs to achieve, the possibilities, are expanded!

3. Seek win – win negotiations: Inexperienced negotiators, often, perceive this process, as trying to win, while experienced ones, realize, and recognize, the only way, to make it work, is to seek, win – win, negotiations! When, both sides, feel, they have achieved, their needs, etc, there is far greater chance of a lasting agreement!

4. Know your objectives/ needs/ priorities, from the start: How can anyone, negotiate, successfully, unless/ until, he knows his group’s (or client’s) objectives, needs, and priorities, from the start? To address, the best way, to proceed, proactively, requires, keeping these, in mind, effectively, and consistently!

5. Address concerns/ Answer questions: While, some seem to fear being asked questions, or hearing concerns, experienced individuals, realize, when they effectively, address concerns, and answer questions, to the other party’s satisfaction, it is one of the most important paths, to agreements! Remember, this must satisfy others, and, not, just, you!

6. Close the deal, effectively: As a sales – trainer, for most of my lifetime, I tell others, unless, you ask, for the deal (also, known as, closing the deal), it will rarely happen! The previous steps, set – the – course, but the close, creates the desired results, etc!

Don’t believe you are a good negotiator, unless/ until, you pay attention to these steps, consistently, and effectively! Quality negotiating is an art, and a science!

Are You An EFFECTIVE Event Negotiator?

Most organizations today have come to realize that, while they often need events to garner their much needed revenues, they often fail to optimize their potential results because their initial negotiations are far less than optimal from the point of view of their priorities, needs and perspectives. More often than not, groups utilize either their volunteer leadership or staff members, who often are superb at other aspects and abilities, but fail to possess the experience, expertise or nuanced approach that differentiates how a quality negotiator approaches the process. Therefore, it would generally help if organizations, their leadership and those responsible for negotiating, learned and understood what it means to be an EFFECTIVE negotiator.

1. Nothing concrete or productive will occur during this process unless a negotiator sets out from the start to earn the trust and respect of the party on the other side of the proverbial table! One cannot be phony, pretentious, or avoid reality, but rather must be absolutely earnest throughout.

2. Find and focus on the intent and purpose of the most desirable agreement, and set out to communicate this openly and clearly from the onset.

3. Forget personality or any other sort of petty differences. Negotiating must never be controlled by emotions or feelings.

4. Emphasize your commitment to quality and excellence, and put needs and priorities first.

5. Don’t assume that the other party knows what you seek, or what you are going to ask for. Rather, understand that it is incumbent upon every quality negotiator to clearly articulate his position and needs, and do so in an honorable manner where his claims are legitimate and impactful. Begin with creating categories for every aspect of what you are requesting, and address each area completely and in a comprehensive manner.

6. Maintain your integrity and commitment to absolute trustworthiness. When you do so, you generally will maintain the basis for a priority – driven discussion. However, one needs to avoid the temptation to either take shortcuts or rush, but rather commit to take the time to get it done in a meaningful manner.

7. Begin your discussions by explaining your priorities, and frame the discussion by explaining the most significant or important matters first. Remember that the actual task of negotiating is not to be the time for initiating.

8. There must be a overall commitment to value, and views, while maintaining your honor, integrity and quality of personal values.

9. Negotiating always involves at least two parties, if not more. It is never solely about your, or your party’s needs. Therefore the professional negotiator approaches his tasks in an empathetic manner, because when one can clearly understand what others’ needs are, you can best address achieving the proverbial win – win scenario.

Negotiations should generally be left to the professionals or at least those with extensive expertise. Remember that mere experience, however, is far different than being a real expert!