Design a Good Business Presentation

Presentation skills development begins with designing an effective presentation. Below are four simple things that you can do to make writing a speech and delivering your presentation much faster and easier. These presentation tips will also help your audience better understand and retain your content.

  1. Create a Clear and Specific Title or Topic: If you create a vague or general title, you will have a vague and general (hard to deliver) speech. Get specific and focused. For instance, instead of talking about “Last Year Financials,” talk about how “Cost Saving Measures and Increased Sales Led to Higher Profit”. Remember in High School when you had to give book reports? It is really boring to hear 32 versions of “Book Report about Julius Cesar,” but “Julius Cesar is a Metaphor to High School Peer Pressure” is much more interesting.
  2. Limit Your Support to a Few Most Important Points: Once you have a good topic, prove that your point or conclusion is true by using just three, four, or five key support items. Spend more time proving your few points versus adding more and more and more additional points. Your audience will only remember a few items that you cover, so make sure they are the most important points. If you have trouble determining what points to use or narrowing down to just a few points, go back to tip number one and adjust you topic.
  3. Add Stories: Stories are easy to remember and easy to deliver to an audience, so your nervousness will drop as you relay stories to you audience. Examples also help you prove your bullet points in a way that makes it easy for the audience to remember.
  4. Use Stories as Facts and Figures: Most presenters like to create long list of bullet points with facts and figures. Instead, give your audience the story behind the number. For instance, (1) revenue increased 10% (2) closing ratios went up 3% (3) advertising costs decreased 15% and (4) profit went up 15% is easily forgotten and will take up a whole PowerPoint slide. However, “At the beginning of the last quarter, we changed our advertising strategy and focused more on repeat business from current clients versus spending money to attract new clients. We stopped sending mailers to the mailing list that we used in the past, and we sent multiple mailers to past customers instead. We were able to cut the mailing cost by 15% in this move, and since the sales team had fewer leads, they were able to spend more time developing repeat business and increased their closing ratios by 3% and total revenue by 10%. Since cost were down as well, the combination of increased revenue and decreased advertising cost let to a 15% increase in profit.” Much easier to remember, much easier to deliver, and no bullet points needed.

So create a clear and specific title, limit your support to just a few of the most important points, use stories, and make your facts and figures memorable, and your audience will love you.

Understanding the Spanish Present Subjunctive

The subjunctive in Spanish can be described as a “mood”. It is often hard for the student of Spanish to know when to use it. This article deals with the present tense, although there is commonality as to when the subjunctive is used in all its tenses.

Firstly, to explain what I mean about commonality, the subjunctive is used with certain types of verbs, of which there are seven categories:

1. Verbs that express a wish (for example, deseo que, quiero que)

2. Verbs that express doubt or uncertainty (for example, dudo que)

3. Verbs that express possibility or probability (for example, es possible que)

4. Verbs that negate facts (for example, no creo que)

5. Verbs that express feelings (for example, siento que)

6. Verbs that express necessity (for example, necesito que)

7. Verbs of advice (for example, aconsejo que)

Alternatively, it may be easier to remember the WEIRDO formula:

W – Wish, desire, E – Emotion, I – Impersonal expressions, R- Recommendations, D – Doubt, O – Ojal√° (meaning “hopefully”).

Secondly, the subjunctive is always used in the “negative imperative”. Also deemed as a “mood”, the imperative in the affirmative means, for instance, “Sit down”. In the negative, this changes rather obviously to “Don’t sit down”. The difference is that to express the imperative in the affirmative, we use the present indicative tense as our basis and change the endings to imperative ones accordingly. As the imperative is an “order”, it is generally used in the you informal forms in both the singular and the plural. If it goes into the negative, the present subjunctive is applied, as explained. Note that if you need the formal form of you (usted or ustedes), the subjunctive is used automatically.

Thirdly, the subjunctive is also used if there is a change of subject. Let me demonstrate this by example:

Yo quiero que ella haga la cena – I want her to make the dinner. This sentence includes a change of subject from “I” to “her” and thus we need the subjunctive. Note how we also have a verb of “wishing” (querer).

Compare this with:

Yo quiero hacer la cena – I want to make the dinner. There is no change of subject in this sentence, thus the conjugated verb can simply be followed by an infinitive (even though we are using a verb of “wishing”).

Fourth, there needs to be a subordinate clause followed by “que” for the subjunctive to be used (but only if we are using the type of verb out of the seven categories above).

No creo que ella sepa cocinar – I don’t believe she knows how to cook. This answers the question of “what”, i.e., you do not believe what? (Answer: that she knows how to cook). Therefore, the first part of the sentence is the subordinate clause and the second part the main clause. If, by contrast, you wanted to say that you did believe she knows how to cook, you would not use the subjunctive because no doubt is being expressed and whether or not there is a subordinate clause followed by “que” is immaterial.

Cleaning Products: Friend or Foe?

For good reason, we are often conscious of the quality of food that we consume and with maintaining an active lifestyle, but what about ensuring we have the healthiest, cleanest air to breathe inside our homes? We can live a few weeks without food, a few days without water, but only a few minutes without air. With indoor air pollution levels weighing in at around 5-100 times higher than outdoor air, it is paramount that we make healthy selections on the products we use inside our homes. Much like water, which can be either a source for life or a cause of death, cleaning products, can either be a source of clean air or a source of indoor pollution, depending upon your choice of product. For example, a conventional cleaning product may well take away the dirt, but can leave a chemical residue and/or offgass in its place. My philosophy is “if nature put it there, nature can take it away again”. However, getting past the decades of conditioning predominantly since the 1950′s of “if it doesn’t burn it off, it doesn’t work” mind-set can be difficult for society to embrace and adopt. After all, the world was flat right? It is up to you whether you decide to stick with convention or go out on a limb and trust the idea that you can have a beautifully clean home using products that won’t put you in the emergency room.

Imagine yourself in the cleaning product aisle at your favorite store. On the shelves you see many products with dazzling colors and tempting phrases such as “sparkling clean”, “non-abrasive”, “effective” and perhaps you even see the phrases “all-natural”, “non-toxic”, and “environmentally-preferred”. The choices are so many that you may easily find yourself confused, so you start looking at the prices and I’ll bet you’ve even taken some of those products off the shelf and unscrewed the top to give them a good sniff (you know who you are).

So which products should you choose? Don’t leave it to chance, price or smell. Instead, arm yourself with some useful information to help narrow that search and make a selection that makes good healthy and clean sense. Consider the following tips during your next visit to the store:

READ THE LABELS, ESPECIALLY ON THE BACK.

1. Is there a way of contacting the company with concerns and feedback? A toll-free number and/or website to contact should be present.

2. Beware of the disclosures “WARNING” “CAUTION” AND “DANGER”. If it is necessary to warn the consumer, it may not be the safest product to select.

3. There should be clear instructions on how to use the product for best results.

4. Is there any symbol to indicate “no animal testing”– ideally look for the leaping bunny symbol which is a known standard.

5. There are no regulations for the term “Natural” along with some other terms. Organic, Environmentally-preferred etc can be used without much policing, and because they are popular at present, they can and do show up on labels. Look at the ingredients– I’ve seen products that claim to be “eco” and still contained chlorine bleach!

KNOW WHAT IS IN YOUR PRODUCT.

1. Try to select products which have their ingredients listed.

2. Chose products that are plant-based, which means they will biodegrade.

3. What’s NOT in the product is just as important as what is. Look for the following:

NO Parabens,

NO Petroleum,

NO CFC’s

NO synthetic materials and/or fragrances

Anything you suspect may be unhealthy, research it.

4. Natural doesn’t always mean safe! Example, silica is natural, but is a suspected carcinogen and found in some products on the shelves touting to be a safer, eco-friendly choice.

PACKAGING.

1. The packaging should be made from recycled and/or recyclable plastic ideally. Look for the recycle symbol, normally on the bottom of the bottle.

2. Selecting a concentrated product reduces the size of the container, making it a more eco-friendly choice.

3. Selecting a product that offers refill pouches helps reduce packaging even further. Less transport, less waste, overall a better choice for the environment.

4. Ease of use. The product should have an easy-to use dispensing system, perhaps a trigger spray or a squirting bottle, measuring cap, etc.

5. NO aerosols. These are not good for the ozone but also put out finer particles making it easier for you to breathe into your body.

6. Size matters. This will depend on your family and how much product you will be using. You don’t want to buy a size too small due to more packaging use, but also if you purchase something too large, it may not remain effective during it’s time spent in your cupboard as the more natural products tend to have a shorter life span since there are no chemicals to preserve them.

THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES AND EQUIPMENT.

1. Microfiber Cloths. These are a wonderful product. They are designed to attract dirt and bacteria and hold it in. They also reduce the need for any product at all. For light maintenance, you can get away with just plain old H2O!

2. Microfiber Mops. Again, these reduce the use for product, but believe it or not, a study showed the microfiber mop used with water was more effective at bacteria removal than a traditional mop with bleach! In part, this is owing to the fact that they leave less wetness post application and less likely for mold, bacteria growth. The other benefit is the head detaches and can be washed making it more hygenic.

3. Scouring pad/sponge. This can lend a helping hand in reducing elbow grease and product use, plus can provide an overall better result, but be careful on delicate surfaces and always test first! Pumice Stone. This is a great tool for the removal of those rings you find in the toilet. Rather than using something harsh, you can rub with a WET pumice stone to remove those hard water rings.

4. Bucket. Mixing up your solution in a bucket can help reduce the amount of product and water required to get a job done, plus reduces your time and effort of having to continually return to the sink.

5. Duster. These come in microfiber, feather, and lambswool. Choosing one on an extendable pole means you can get to cobwebs, plus you can detach the head and use on your eye-level things. Again, this tool will help you to eliminate product use and is best used for light maintenance and not necessarily heavy dust build-up.

6. A High Filtration Vacuum. This will help minimize the amount of dust going back into the air in your home, and therefore reduce your maintenance and of course will improve the air quality.

WHERE TO SHOP.

1. Check out the natural section in your local grocery store as well as the healthier food stores around.

2. Online can also be a great place to buy green cleaning products while simultaneously allowing for research.

Hopefully these pointers will assist you with selection during your next visit to the cleaning product aisle. However, product selection is merely the first step. Next, you will need to put them to the true test for their efficacy once you get them home. This will be a process that you will be able to fine tune to the way that you use your home and for the types of finishes and furnishings you have within it.

For many, much time is spent in the home. It is where we sleep, eat, and relax as well as a place that holds memories and many treasured belongings. As the saying goes… Home is where the heart is, but it should also be where your health is.