You Want Me to Do What? – 5 Tips For Presenting a Successful Lunch & Learn

Management recognizes that there is brilliance that resides in the cubicles of your organization. They want to tap into that experience and help others grow. And they’ve chosen you to share your expertise with the rest of the organization. You know your topic well, but are not accustomed to making presentations in a group setting. What you need now is…

5 tips for presenting your next lunch and learn.

Tip 1 – Handling Stage Fright

If you’re not accustomed to speaking in front of a group or are nervous about the prospect, then remember the following.

o Preparation

Being prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself if you’re nervous about being in front of a group. Review your material thoroughly. Use spell check but recognize that spell check won’t catch if you type “you” instead of “your” or “he” instead of “the.” Make your copies of “take-aways” at least one day before the presentation. If possible, check out the room a day or more before the presentation. Test the equipment, get a feel for the room. If you’re doing a software demonstration, actually practice using the computer in the conference room to make sure you can make all the necessary network connections, find all the right files, etc. On the day of the presentation, get to the room at least a half-hour early to make sure everything is in place and the equipment is ready.

o Practice

Rehearse what you’re going to say out loud. You can do this in the empty room where you’ll be doing the presentation, in front of a mirror at home, or in front of a couple of trusted colleagues. It’s different talking through your presentation than thinking through it. Take the time to speak the material aloud and you’ll be much more polished and comfortable during your presentation.

o You’ve Been Where They Are

You’ve been an audience member before so you know from your own experience that your audience wants you to be successful. Don’t apologize a million times, even if you feel like “I’m dying up here!” It’s OK to make a quick apology if there is a problem out of your control, but don’t feel like you need to apologize for the manner in which you are presenting the material. When you start apologizing, you undermine your message. Remember, the audience is rooting for you. Repeatedly apologizing because you’re not presenting the material well is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Believe it or not, you’re not doing that badly. But if you keep apologizing, your audience will start believing you are.

Tip 2 – Provide Information Ahead of Time

Prior to the lunch & learn, provide the members of your organization with an outline of what you’re going to cover. The outline should provide a list of subjects you’ll be covering, the depth at which you’ll be covering the material and the intended audience. Armed with this information, your co-workers will be able to see that your presentation is a good investment of their time.

Tip 3 – Content

There will only be so much material that you can cover during the allotted time. This is another reason to rehearse so you have an estimate of how long it will take to cover your material. Deliver the material in a logical manner and at the appropriate level for the audience. If you are discussing a process, the use of a software application or programming language, consider using examples in your presentation. This allows the audience to take the material from an academic thought to a more practical application of the theory. Better yet, if you have a relevant story related to the topic of your presentation share that. Stories help your audience both understand the material better and help them retain what they’ve learned. Try to remember back to the time when you weren’t the subject matter expert on the topic of your presentation. Explain those things you once found confusing so the audience can learn from your experience. Plan for and provide time in your presentation for questions.

Tip 4 – Provide your Audience a “Take-Away”

A “take-away” is tangible material that the audience can take with them when they leave. The take-away should either support the content of the presentation or provide additional information on the subject. Examples of take-aways are:

o White paper or article – Write a white paper or an article on your content that either reiterates the material covered in your presentation or which goes into more depth than what you were able to provide in the time allotted. This form of take-away can be extraordinarily valuable your audience.

o A list of reference materials – List the reference materials – industry articles, workshops, books, people, websites – you have used in growing your knowledge and skills. This will give your audience the means to further their education as well.

o Notes taking sheet – This could be an outline on which the participant can take notes, a sheet with key words missing that the participants fill in the blanks or a copy of the PowerPoint slides.

o Blended the take-aways above – Blend one or more of the ideas already listed to give the audience the tools and the information they need to grow their knowledge.

Tip 5 – Know the expectations

If you’re not crystal clear about any of the details of the lunch and learn, ask the person who requested you what his or her expectations are. Make sure you know the time frame (date and time, duration), understand the target audience (current knowledge level and desired level of detail), and comprehend what the requestor hopes the audience will walk away with from the presentation. Knowing and understanding the expectations will help ensure a more successful experience for all concerned.

Increasing Value

Sharing your knowledge with fellow employees is a great service to them and to management. Your presentation will increase the value of your co-workers as they learn and it will increase your value as you help the organization meet its mission. While it’s an honor and a privilege to be asked, remember the bigger win is for the organization. So go out there and make the most of the lunch and learn experience!

Have You Determined Presentation Objectives?

What do you want to achieve with the presentation? Audience need clear guidance about what is expected of your Presentation. A pre-set objective to your presentation helps you and your audience. When asked to make a Presentation, the first thing that often runs through the mind of a Presenter is, “What am I going to say?” A more purposeful response is: “Why have I been asked to give this presentation?” Therefore, the first step in the presentation process, before a word has been put to paper or power point, is to determine the objectives and goals of the Presentation.
Statement of your objectives is a good and safe way to start a Presentation. Here is a caution. Even where it is appropriate to include the objective of your Presentation in the introduction, don’t make this as your opening remark. The Presenter generally chooses one or any combination of the following three forms of Presentation:

(1) To inform or instruct, as one would as an instructional course leader, and is based on thought processes.

(2) To persuade or motivate to action, as would a politician or salesman, and is based on behavior modification.

(3) To inspire, entertain or otherwise elicit feelings and emotions, as would a motivational speaker or stand-up comic, and is based on changing attitudes.

Whatever be the purpose applicable to your presentation, develop clear objectives before you design your Presentation. An objective is the target you want to hit. Your Presentation is then designed to meet the objectives. Be specific. What do you want the participants to know or be able to do by the end of your Presentation? You don’t want them to just know about the topic or you want them to know specifics.

An objective includes an action that can be observed and measured. Be clear and specific about your objectives and what you want the participants of your Presentation to know or be able to do by the end of your Presentation. This approach certainly creates the best form of your Presentation much easier.

Find answers to these questions to determine Presentation Objectives

(1) Does my presentation has core & important objectives?

(2) Is my Presentation objective designed to gain agreement ?

(3) Am I offering new insight of the subject through the Presentation objective?

(4) Does my presentation stimulate involvement with a clear and understandable Presentation Objective?

(5) Am I able to reduce objectives to a single headline statement as YOUR ESSENTIAL MESSAGE ?


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Debt Settlement Negotiation – Should You Negotiate Your Own Debt Settlement?

Many consumers, upon learning that debt settlement negotiation companies are usually for-profit enterprises, decide to attempt their own debt settlement, reasoning that they can save even more by direct negotiations, cutting out the middle man in the process. While on the surface the reasoning seems valid, what ultimately counts are results. The most important consideration any debtor should contemplate is quite simply the bottom line: How much debt relief will you obtain by attempting your own debt settlement negotiation as compared to hiring a professional debt reduction company to do it for you?

While many of us have indeed attempted to perform our own debt settlement negotiations, the vast majority of us have learned the hard way that when dealing with individual debtors, creditors are absolutely inspired to not give a single inch. You will find the occasional creditor will agree to a reduction in principle of 20 or 30 percent in exchange for paying off and closing the account.

Unfortunately, it is more often the case that your creditors will simply refuse to negotiate. Many will even lie and state that their particular company never, ever settle. This is categorically false; all creditors will settle. But many will only do so when dealing with a professional negotiator; these creditors actually have policies in place that instruct their collections department to refuse to negotiate with individual debtors.

The difference in results between negotiating your own settlement and using a professional debt settlement company to do it for you is primarily a matter of knowledge and experience. Debt settlement negotiation, when done by experienced outfits, will have a lawyer on staff or retainer. Their employees are skilled negotiators, and creditors won’t try to brow beat them, bluff, or lie the same way as they do to people who try to negotiate a settlement themselves, thinking they will save money in doing so.

In fact, trying to do your own debt management settlement is usually far more expensive. Instead of reducing debt by 60% net expenses, you’ll be lucky to reduce the overall amount by 20%. On a total debt of $20,000, this represents an $8000 difference, dwarfing any savings achieved by not hiring a debt settlement company. Most debt management and settlement companies will tack on their expenses to the total amount owed, so the 60% you reduce your balances be after their fee.

Another factor to take into consideration is that the percentage of consumers who attempt their own debt settlement negotiation program and fail in doing so is quite high – over 75%. And this is with a standard of success (a 20% reduction) that is much lower than that obtainable by professional debt settlement negotiators, who on average obtain a reduction of 60% or more.

For the reasons stated above, the best course of action for most people is to procure the services of a professional debt settlement negotiation company. It is far less stress and hassle, your creditors will be instructed to end the harassment immediately, and the long term results are almost universally better than attempting to do your own negotiations. People will hire doctors, mechanics, and lawyers, and the same goes true when dealing with a financial situation beyond your level of expertise – it pays to allow the professionals to do their job.