Tips For Topnotch Presentations – Developing an Effective Vocal Style

In learning to deliver powerful, confident talks, one of the best tools to develop is your voice. By your use of words, your tone, and volume you can bring an added sparkle to a presentation that will make it enjoyable and memorable. These are five ways to use your speaking style to help you get your message across.

Tip 1. Use a conversational tone. While many people tense up at the thought of giving a speech, a conversation is much easier. Conversation is personal, calm, and it is not scripted. Being conversational allows you to tell the story at a more comfortable pace for you and your listeners. This mindset also sets you up to be responsive to cues from your audience, and allows the presentation to feel more intimate and more productive. If you are attuned to your audience you will be able to tell if they are fully engaged, when something is confusing, and when they agree with you. In turn, when an audience senses that you are responsive to them, they will be even more attentive.

Tip 2. Use a conversational pace. Another advantage to taking a conversational tone is that many people with naturally rapid speech pattern will speak more slowly in natural conversation than in a prepared talk. For most of us, this means consciously slowing the pace to deliver the message at a rate that allows your listeners to assimilate it. When you speak at a measured pace the audience has time to listen and to absorb your points in a natural flow and can appreciate the story you convey.

Tip 3. Project your voice to the back of the room. It’s no surprise that the easier you are to hear, the better the listeners will follow what you are saying. Making the effort to speak clearly and loudly enough, will often help slow the pace of your speech, which also aids your audience in comprehension. When you project your voice, it projects confidence and enthusiasm, which holds audience interest. This does take some practice to learn how to project without necessarily raising your voice to an uncomfortable volume. However, it is well worth the effort to be able to command a room with just a few well-spoken words.

Tip 4. Vary tone and volume for vocal interest. A flat monotone voice will lose even the most dedicated listener after a while. Allowing your voice some natural modulation (without going into a sing-song) generates interest and keeps the audience attentive. Changing your vocal volume can also be a tool to bring the audience to the edge of their seats as you get a little quieter, or to wake them up a bit as you add emphasis. Some modulation makes your voice pleasant to listen to and that alone will keep the audience with you.

Tip 5. Request audience participation. In settings where it is appropriate, getting your audience to use their voices, or to respond in some other way (show of hands, clapping, etc.), is a great way to increase interest and attention. Ask a question and give listeners time to answer. Take a poll. Ask for ideas. This makes your presentation interactive and fun and allows you to bring in new ideas from your listeners. It’s also a good way to find out if your message was perceived as you intended and to correct any misinterpretations that arise.

Using some or all of these tips will help you hone your vocal repertoire to deliver talks with confidence and your own personal flair. In the next article of this series, I’ll cover tips for the development of visual aids that can enhance your message and add another dimension to your presentations.

Buying a Timeshare – Don’t Give in to High Pressure Tactics at Timeshare Presentations

Timeshares, also known as fractional ownership, is something that has been around since the first extended family decided to save on the cost of their vacation by sharing the cost of renting a cottage or vacation property.

One of the ways that timeshares are commonly sold is through presentations. I was at one of these and was swayed by the gorgeous photos and the eloquent sales pitch and the endorsement of a lovely, well-dressed, middle-aged couple who were owners. There was also the additional pressure on me because a person I worked with had invited me and I did not want to appear to be questioning her judgment.

I actually bought into the timeshare, but the next day my sense returned and I quickly scrambled into action to figure out how I could get out of the deal. Fortunately, most states have protection in place for buyer’s remorse and I was able to rescind my purchase within a couple of days. Eventually I actually bought two timeshares, but on the resale market and not from a developer and the two of them together cost me much less than that one alone would have cost me.

If you do go to a presentation, be aware that these are the types of psychological pressures you have facing you. There is an aura of people with money who have the resources available to jet off to an exotic resort, there is a lot of hype that excites the part of you that wants to be on the glamorous locale that is being sold. Oh and on top of this, there is the reminder that this is a golden opportunity that is about to slip through your fingertips and won’t you feel silly when it does.

While this might be a perfectly legitimate timeshare opportunity, here is rule number one in avoiding being taken advantage of or spending too much money: Never buy a timeshare on the spot. If it is a good deal, it will still be there tomorrow and the next day. It certainly will be there after you’ve had an opportunity to do a little research online. These are perfectly legal presentation tactics, not unlike what you’ll find at your local car dealer, but if you are cautious you will be much less likely to come out of it with a bad deal on your hands and a hard hit to your wallet.

Some other things to watch out for in shopping for timeshares include being wary of prizes. Especially prizes that ask that you only to pay the shipping and handling. Rule number two: Never pay for anything while you are just looking at timeshares. If they are offering you a digital camera as a prize, trust me — it’s going to be a crappy no-name brand camera, not a Sony. If they are offering you a deal on accommodation, you can probably do better using Orbitz or Priceline. Remember, whatever they are offering, it isn’t free if you have to spend money.

Let common sense prevail. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into a decision and take your time before signing on the dotted line. There are literally thousands of timeshares available for resale all over the world so you won’t be missing out on anything by not signing up immediately.

Perfect Football Personalized Presents

I’m always on the look out for something original to give out at Christmas and every year I get thoroughly fed up at having to settle for shop bought presents. The number of hours I must have spent trawling through the shops only to find on Christmas day I’ve bought the same present as someone else for Uncle Fred!

So I was really thrilled when I came across a website which allows you to create your own personalised football themed presents online – and in just a matter of minutes. It was just perfect for all my football fan friends and family. The site allows you to print either football pictures and/or miniature lookalike characters dressed in replica football kits straight onto presents like mugs, keyrings, Tshirts and more.

I can tell you it certainly helped me get through my Christmas list quick – it proved just perfect for cheap and different gifts and offered some great ideas for stocking fillers. Well with prices starting from £5 for drinks coasters and £6 for keyrings you can’t go wrong!

This is how it works. You choose what gift you want – like a coffee mug, boxer shorts, jigsaw puzzle, photo bag and wallets, name plates etc – then upload a football themed digital photo or a character which you yourself create online. These characters are called MiniCools on the site. You basically dress your character to look like the person you’re sending the gift to – so if they’ve got brown curly hair, green eyes, and love Man United, then you add all these characteristics to your MiniCool then select the Man United replica Football kit from the list of top football teams to dress them in and that’s it! You can also add a football, skateboard, golf clubs etc or choose from lots of other accessories, like a coke, ice-cream, Santa hat, cat or dog – there’s so many to choose from.

I ended up with mugs with MiniCools and digital photos for lots of friends, mousemats with just football MiniCools on them for work colleagues, photo keyrings and a jazzy photo bag with my daughter’s famous football action shot! I’m going use this for Secret Santa presents for work this year as well – it certainly will avoid people stealing mousemats from desks and confusing mugs in the kitchen!

There are loads of personalised presents to choose from – really cute teddy bears for the younger footie fans, baby’s bibs in two colours, fridge magnets, and place mats which you can team up with the coasters and mugs to make a dinner set for someone.

Save yourself some time and check out this website – it’s much better than getting presents from any high street shop which everyone has – these presents really are personal and they’ll bring a big smile to anyone you give them to this Christmas.