Don’t assume that People Understand

Sometimes we ask someone for something or request a service.  We explain what we want and we assume that people understand.  Amazingly people can misunderstand you very easily.

When a manager is asking an employee to do a certain task, he’d better explain it very well and put it in writing.  You have to make sure that the person you are talking to understands exactly what you mean or else you will be surprised and maybe frustrated by the results. 

A nice joke that serves as a good example for my argument is the one I received from Mr. Paul Sloane (http://www.destination-innovation.com) in his destination Innovation Newsletter:

One of our staff was leaving so I phoned the bakery to order a special cake. They asked what wording I wanted.  I said, ‘Best wishes Suzanne’ and underneath that , We will miss you.’  This is what I got.”

Lessons learnt are: 

1- Be specific not vague.

2- Explain very well.

3- Don’t jump into details without a proper introduction for mind setting, if needed – Don’t assume people know what you are talking about.

3- If you can put it in writing do that (if applicable)

4- Make the person you talked to repeat the task he’ll do in his own words to make sure he grasped what you said.

After all that, all you can do is hope that your message was not misunderstood.


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What is the best opening remark?

PresentationsBig

 

When you are asked to do a sales presentation in front of decision makers, what do you think is the best opening remark to start with?

 

 

http://blogs.bnet.com/salesmachine/?p=5030&tag=nl.e808

I disagree a little bit with his choice of the best opening remark though.  I think that you should start by briefly and quickly introducing yourself and then explaining the aim of the meeting to remind the audience why you are all here.  And then comes the point that he said is the opening remark, Quote a statistic.

What Personal Development means to you…

As part of my MBA studies, I had to answer this question: What personal development means to you….. so I thought I share it with you and hear your definitions of it as well.

The scientific definition of personal development is:

“Personal development should be seen as a constant process involving enhancement and development of abilities, skills and knowledge in order for the individual to achieve their full potential. The acquisition of essential skills and knowledge as part of a self-development programme is essential to the professionalism by which work is undertaken and whose resultant job satisfaction will have a positive impact on both the organisation and the individual.

Personal development planning is a structured and supported process, undertaken by an indivisual to reflect upon their learning performance and/or achievement and to plan their personal education and career development”

What I wrote as an answer to this question is:

Personal Development from my point of view means:

1- Everyone should evaluate himself to know his weaknesses and strengths.  With the aim to develop on the strengths and work on the weaknesses to improve his skills. In that we should be very honest if we really want to achieve.

2- Everyone should know very well what interests him most and what he is most happy at doing and work on developing a career that is focused on these interest zones.
3- It means you should be honest with yourself in knowing what you can and can’t do and what you will and won’t do.  And of course understanding the difference between both.
Personal development is a never ending process that a person goes into to keep enhancing his capabilities, attitudes and personal traits to reflect on both his personal life and career.  Even in a marriage I believe personal development can help resolve marital issues, because you evaluate your own traits and work on enhancing the parts of you that cause the friction in the relation.
Part of self development is improving your knowledge and education and to believe that education never ends.  The more you know, the more you will realize that you need to know more.
Also personal development means to me how you can make yourself adopt to facts of life and to be able to accept them happily.  Some people might have certain inabilities or certain family troubles, accepting them and living with them and achieving the most in your life nevertheless is an integral part of self development.

Personal development from my point of view means a lot of things:

  1. Everyone should evaluate himself to know his weaknesses and strengths.  With the aim to develop on the strengths and work on the weaknesses to improve his skills. In that we should be very honest if we really want to achieve.
  2. Everyone should know very well what interests him most and what he is most happy at doing and work on developing a career that is focused on these interest zones.
  3. It means you should be honest with yourself in knowing what you can and can’t do and what you will and won’t do.  And of course understanding the difference between both.

Personal development is a never ending process that a person goes into to keep enhancing his capabilities, attitudes and personal traits to reflect on both his personal life and career.  Even in a marriage I believe personal development can help resolve marital issues, because you evaluate your own traits and work on enhancing the parts of you that cause the friction in the relation.

Part of self development is improving your knowledge and education and to believe that education never ends.  The more you know, the more you will realize that you need to know more.

Also personal development means to me how you can make yourself adopt to facts of life and to be able to accept them happily.  Some people might have certain inabilities or certain family troubles, accepting them and living with them and achieving the most in your life nevertheless is an integral part of self development.

Did you ever try assessing yourself? …… did you ever do this excercise whether in your personal life or in your professional career to see whether you achieved your full potential?
I would like to read your discussions and would love to see what personal development means to you as well, please post your comments and discussions

Boring Technical Presentations… Not True!

People usually tend to believe that technical presentations have to be boring. They are too detailed, too technical and need all the listeners to be from the field to be able to understand it. Well, not necessarily true! It really depends on the speaker.

If you want to attract your audience and you know they come from different backgrounds and that not all of them are technical, here is what you need to do to make sure you don’t loose them:

  • Never use field jargon and acronyms:

If you think you have to, then you have to explain it first and then use it throughout the presentation. It would not hurt as well if you remind your audience of its meaning in the middle of the presentation just in case someone came in late

  • Help your audience understand what you are talking about.

In your introduction explain clearly what you will talk about, introduce the issue properly and brief them on the content of your presentation. Go step by step to make them able to follow you through. The better you introduce your topic the higher your chance your audience will not slip away from you in the middle of the presentation. It is really annoying to attend a presentation and time passes and you feel confused or you still can not grasp what we are talking about.

  • Do not include too many technical details.

confused-man-pop016.jpgJust explain enough to deliver your point without getting into too many boring details that can cause your audience to sleep. Do not drift away in too many technical details and forget the main aim of your presentation. Most probably you are trying to sell a new idea or introduce a new tool or system or promote a new way of working, not teaching a technical course to technical students. If you are explaining in details how something works and how to program it then you must have technical only audience.

  • Provide hand-outs if possible that are very simple and can act as a guide for the audience throughout the presentation.


  • Whenever possible provide real life examples that will help make the idea closer to human minds.


  • Visual help is the best tool you can use.

Use graphs, pictures, maps, charts and anything that would visually present the idea to the audience. The less the text and the more the pictures the better your idea will pass through. And the more confident you are that your audience will remember what you were talking about after they leave.

  • In your conclusion wrap up by repeating the key points you mentioned and emphasize on the main theme or aim of your presentation.

Make sure no one leaves your presentation saying: “Why did I attend? What did he want to say?”

Successful presentation hints and tips

Presentations are meant to deliver a message to your audience & you might also want to reap a benefit out of them (like sell your new product). To be sure your presentation is a success, use the following tips:There are two factors that affect the success of a presentation: The speaker & the presentation material itself.

I. The Speaker:

1- Prepare long enough before the presentation time.

2- Conduct timed rehearsals at least twice before the presentation. (Even better if you can do it with some of your colleagues or friends to collect feedback & enhance your presentation)

3- Make sure you are well dressed, clean and looking bright. The Speaker’s appearance is a critical factor in making the audience willing to listen.

4- If number of speakers from the same company will conduct the presentation, it is better if they wear a uniform, a dress code or at least a badge with the company logo (to give a uniform appearance).

5- Speak clearly & surely.

Not too LOUD Not too FAST

Not too LOW Not too SLOW

6- Control your body language. Do not make unnecessary movements that could distract your audience. Point only when needed and use your hands only when needed. If any point needs acting to elaborate on it, do so.

7- Have Eye contact with your audience. This reassures people that you understand and is sure of what you are talking about. This makes your speech more convincing.

8- Avoid Jargon or abbreviations unless explained.

II. The Presentation:

1- The topic has to be defined and clear.

2- The message that you want to deliver has to be defined and clear.

3- Visual aids are very important. Use more images, videos and effects than text. One image can explain much better than 100 words and your audience will remember it much easier after your presentation is over.

4- Divide your presentation into: Introduction, Body and Ending. Prepare your audience in the introduction then make them understand when you reach the body of your presentation then wrap up to remind them of the important points in the end.

5-Leave room for interaction with your audience, whether in the presentation or through questions and answers at the end.

6- Distribute handouts if needed.