Sunday, June 20, 2004

Life is a Series of Presentations... (Jeary w/ Dower and Fishman)

Personnel Management Association of the Philippines
May 2004 Issue

Favorite Books
By Moje Ramos-Aquino
President, Paradigms & Paradoxes Corporation

Life Is a Series of Presentations: 8 Ways to Punch Up Your People Skills at Work, at Home, Anytime, Anywhere
By Tony Jeary with Kim Dower and JE Fishman
Simon & Schuster

The possibility “to change the contents of another person’s mind at a particular time and place” is, indeed, boundless. On a daily basis, there are numerous opportunities for us to advance our ideas, values, thoughts and feelings at home, at work, anytime, anywhere and influence the choices of our listeners.

What are common presentation opportunities that we take for granted?
• Talking to a an officemate in our or his/her cubicle
• Talking to a client on the telephone
• Participating in a meeting
• Leading a meeting
• Speaking to thousands of graduating students
• Delivering an after-dinner talk at a Rotary meeting
• Discussing the value of eating vegetable with your kids
• Saying no to your son’s request to use your car
• Convincing your spouse to switch the TV channel to CNBC
• And many others

In other words, every time you open your mouth to speak or to make a thumbs ups sign you are making a presentation.

In this book, author Tony Jeary writes that unless you’re a hermit living on a mountaintop, your life largely consists of your interactions with the people around you. He adds that whether you call them presentation skills or people skills, his eight essential practices will allow you to master any interaction, whether it involves a roomful of colleagues, a small group, or just one other person.

This book is a useful and handy reference for making a point and reaching out to our audience. More a skill than a talent, presenting, Mr. Jeary asserts, requires techniques and tactics. Instead of dominating or manipulating others, presenters should simply pursue desired outcomes with confidence.

One reviewer suggested the mnemonic IPRESENT to easily recall these techniques and tactics.

I – Involve your audience
P – Prepare your audience
R – Research your presentation arsenal
E – Explain why
S – State management: Achieve proper mental states
E – Eliminate unknowns and turn them into knowns
N – kNow your audience
T – Tailor your presentation throughout

Let us zero in on eliminating unknowns and turning them into knowns (Chapter 7, Essential 3: Conquer the Sum of All Fears). Mr. Jeary raised these very important points.

• Nervousness with regard to public speaking derives from what Carl Jung concluded was the hard-wired mother of all fears: fear of the unknown. Developing what-ifs scenarios will help turn these unknowns into known quantities and help us overcome some of our anxieties and uncertainties.
• By reducing that surprise element we can have a significant impact on the smoothness of our delivery. As the famous prayer goes, make sure to control that you can control, try not to bother with those you can not control and have the wisdom to know the difference.
• Plan what to say. The effectiveness of any presentation of any presentation depends greatly upon our confidence in the quality and appropriateness of our presentation’s content. Do your homework.
• You may use the technique of political mapping which is assessing the importance of various stakeholders in a meeting and determining the impact they may have on your desired outcomes. This technique involves considering every individual’s degree of potential influence on a decision or direction while also taking into account his or her existing position on the matter. This is especially valuable when you are dealing with emotional or highly controversial issues and need to anticipate specific positions or concerns in advance of the meeting.
• Take into account the environment (setting and physical set-up) and the context of the situation in which you are presenting. Bulletproof your presentation by determining the answers to the who, what, when, why, how, how much and what else questions of your presentation.
• Practice your presentation at every opportunity. Parrying with a mock audience may help appreciate how advanced your skill level is and instill further confidence
• If you have to make a team presentation, one of the ways to take the “unknown” of your partner’s performance to a “known” for you is by instilling confidence in your co-presenter.

Life, indeed, is a series of presentations. And we have these tips from Mr. Jeary and enough practice in our daily activities to prepare us for those big or career-enhancing presentations we make at work. Enjoy your presentations

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