October 2018, Volume 2, Issue 9

Presentations – American Style

Believe it or not, there is no such thing as a bad presenter, okay, some of you may argue with me on this point, because you have had your fair share of bad presenters, but contrary to popular belief, the world is not split into good presenters and bad presenters, there is only those who take their time to organize their thoughts and those who ramble on.

The two most important points on giving a presentation is to have "structure and content," if you have one without the other you will experience problems.

In order to obtain structure, you must look at the following:

  • Give your audience a short one-sentence overview
  • Explain the structure
  • Give them headlines
  • Present each topic
  • Tell them what is next
  • End with a short conclusion

Examples are as follows (fill in the blanks):

Sentence overview:
    "I am here to present ___________."

Explain the structure:
    There are three points I want to discuss. (Then tell your audience exactly the points they should listen for). Giving things a number means to your audience that you are organized and that they should "listen to you."

Give them headlines:
    I will be discussing ________, __________, ________. (Fill in the blanks).

You don't want your audience to guess what your topics are going to be, nor do you want them to struggle to listen to you. Make their work easy, when you give them headlines, you are practically writing their notes for them, which will make listening, while retaining what you want them to know easier.

Present each topic:
Present each topic and cue your audience that you are starting a topic, cover the topic and summarize what you just covered.

    The first thing I want to talk about is __________ (discuss your first topic by filling the blank).

Every topic should follow the same pattern, cue, present, summarize. It may seem repetitive, but this is how your audience will be able to follow you and remember what you want them to know.

Tell them what is next:
Reinforce your structure and direct your audience as you move from one topic to the other. This tactic helps to keep people focused on you.

    Okay, we covered, ______, now I will talk about ________. (Fill in the blanks).

By having this format you are helping your audience to relax. You're telling them that you value their time and letting them know how much longer you will be speaking. How many times have you listened to a speaker and wondered to yourself, "Oh goodness, how much longer are they going to talk?" Frustrating, right? When you tell people what is next, they know you are organized and they will pay attention to you. They will know that you are following your stated structure, and they will know the end is in sight.

The short conclusion:
Remind your audience of what you told them, in as short as time as possible, preferably in one sentence and conclude with a Q and A if time permits. You should always allow a few minutes for questions at the end of your presentation, but you must alert your audience to that fact, for example:

    We have just discussed __________, __________, _________, there are 5 minutes left does anyone have any questions?


  • Skip handouts, never give people things to read while you are speaking, they will read and not listen to you. If you must give handouts give it to them at the end of your presentation, and let them know in the beginning that you have handouts for the end of your talk. (This lets them know they will not need to take so many notes, because you have done the work for them).
  • If you must give handouts, make sure they are clearly organized and easy to follow and that the notes follow exactly everything you are going to say.

The content of any talk should be boiled down to two elements: what is happening and what you are going to do about it.

If your goal is to get people's attention and inspire action, it is important that you add facts into your presentation. Give your audience one major fact, a point of evidence that stands out and that fact will become the "sound-bite," the one important thing you want them to remember.

How to build a fact into your content:

  • If your talk is about numbers, ask yourself – "If could present one number, what would it be?" If you can't memorize the number then it is too complicated.
  • Equally as important as picking the right number; is setting the context in which that number exists. If I tell you I was the track star in high school, and beat others by 10 seconds it could sound like a great achievement, or not, depending on the context. If I mention in the context that those 10 seconds was a school record for that year, that is impressive, but if I state it was only for one semester then that is not as impressive.
  • Give your audience a surprise; it is always a good idea to connect your fact to something specific and detailed. Rather than telling your boss that you lowered costs of your widget by $0.25 it would be far more compelling to explain that you decreased costs by 20%, which for your product it meant lowering the weight of the item to the weight of a single piece of paper, the mental image of a single piece of paper makes your point easy to remember and easy for people to say yes to any request you may have, in addition, it makes decision making less risky.

Creating a surprising fact takes time and effort, which is why so many people skip this important feature of presenting. But if you take the time to add this extra step into your presentations your audience is more likely to pay attention to you, you will more likely be asked to present to senior management, because you are able to make compelling presentations.

And for a conclusion: Please remember, you are not presenting to tell people everything you know, only what they need to know.

I end this piece with the following: "You are a foreigner everywhere, except in your own culture". Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2018.

Halloween – Around the Globe

Halloween, one of the world's oldest holidays, is celebrated in a number of countries around the globe. In Mexico and some Latin American countries, Halloween is called: Día de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead, which honors deceased loved ones and ancestors.

In countries such as Ireland, Canada and the United States, adults and children enjoy the popular Halloween holiday, with costume parties, trick-or-treating, pranks and games.

In many Latin cultures All Souls' Day, which takes place on November 2, is commemorated with a three-day celebration that begins on the evening of October 31. The celebration is designed to honor the dead who, it is believed, return to their earthly homes on Halloween night.

Many families construct an altar to the dead in their homes to honor deceased relatives and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, samples of the deceased's favorite foods and drinks, and fresh water. Often, a wash basin and towel are left out so that the spirit can wash before indulging in the feast.

The festivities often feature breads, candies and other foods in the shape of skulls and skeletons. Candles and incense are burned to help the deceased find the way home. Relatives also tidy the grave sites of their departed family members. This can include snipping weeds, making repairs, and painting. The grave is then decorated with flowers, wreaths, or paper streamers. On November 2, relatives gather at the grave site to picnic and reminisce. Some gatherings may include drinks and/or music.

Guy Fawkes Day

On the evening of November 5, bonfires are lit throughout England. Effigies are burned and fireworks are set off. Although it falls around the same time and has some similar traditions, this celebration has little to do with Halloween or the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. The English, for the most part, stopped celebrating Halloween as Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation began to spread. As followers of the new religion did not believe in saints, they had no reason to celebrate the eve of All Saints' Day. However, a new autumn ritual did emerge. Guy Fawkes Day festivities were designed to commemorate the execution of a notorious English traitor, Guy Fawkes.

On November 5, 1606, Fawkes was executed after being convicted of attempting to blow up England's parliament building. Fawkes was a member of a Catholic group who wanted to remove the Protestant King James from power. The original Guy Fawkes Day was celebrated right after his execution. The first bonfires, which were called "bone fires," were set up to burn effigies and symbolic "bones" of the Catholic pope. It was not until two centuries later that effigies of the pope were replaced with those of Guy Fawkes.

In addition to making effigies to be burned in the fires, children in some parts of England also walk the streets carrying an effigy or "guy" and ask for "a penny for the guy," although they keep the money for themselves. This is as close to the American practice of "trick-or-treating" as can be found in England today. Guy Fawkes Day was even celebrated by the pilgrims at the first settlement at Plymouth. However, as the young nation began to develop its own history, Guy Fawkes was celebrated less frequently and eventually died out.

Halloween: Where It All Began

In Ireland, where Halloween originated, the day is still celebrated much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and all over the country, children get dressed up in costumes and spend the evening "trick-or-treating" in their neighborhoods.

After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At the parties, many games are played, including "snap-apple," a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the "treasure."

The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face down on a table with candy or coins underneath them. When a child chooses a card, he receives whatever prize is found below it.

A traditional food eaten on Halloween is barnbrack, a kind of fruitcake that can be bought in stores or baked at home. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake that, it is said, can foretell the eater's future. If a ring is found, it means that the person will soon be wed; a piece of straw means that a prosperous year is on its way. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as "knock-a-dolly," a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened.

I end this piece with the following: "What you may consider traditional in your country; may actually be completely different in another. Take a moment to reflect on how different cultures celebrate or observe the holidays, this way you can learn about new customs, participate in new festivities or sit back and enjoy the show." Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2018.

The Global Work Life Balance Mindset

The people, the laughs, the skills you learn, those are the things you'll take with you for the rest of your life. It is too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama of your life. It is important to keep perspective on what matters and what doesn't.

Work life balance is often treated like the Holy Grail; rumored but never found. You can achieve a balance in your life, but you must plan for it. Begin by deciding what is important for you and your family and build your day toward achieving it. It is that simple, decide what you want and organize it for yourself.

It is important to realize that work, life, balance doesn't only exist at work, but it carries out into your home life too. The concept has no borders. During my recent trip to France I had plenty of conversations with the local Parisians about work, life, balance. They too struggle with time management issues and achieving as much as possible in each day. Only difference between the French attitude and the American attitude is that because people come before tasks they place greater emphasis on getting to know humans. If the process of understanding the people part of their jobs is needed, that comes before completing a task. In the USA, it is completely different; the American mindset is "work before pleasure."

The one thing that anyone from any culture may be able to do is arrive to work 15 minutes earlier each day to get things accomplished. Depending on the culture, you may be able to leave work earlier at the end of the day. In some cultures, leaving work on time or earlier is acceptable if your work is completed. It is not seen as admirable or hard-working to stay at the office long hours, to the contrary, you will be seen as someone who isn't working efficiently.

Every fifteen minutes you spend at your desk before everyone arrives is worth 30 minutes toward an earlier departure at the end of the day. Now that you have those extra minutes you need to decide how you want to use them.

Take time for lunch, most people don't, this idea of working at your desk clutters your brain, everyone needs a change of pace; a different thing to look at in order to refresh and continue with their day. In some cultures, lunch is just as important as working at your desk. At times, a lunch can last two hours or longer, because getting to know people is considered work. Things flow better when you've made a human connection with your potential client, your co-worker, your boss, not to mention to yourself in the form of a break from work in and of itself.

Even if you pack your lunch, don't eat it at your desk, eat it outside or in the cafeteria, but not at your desk. The idea of moving to a different spot gives your mind and body a rest. Rejuvenate yourself and you will be more productive, the point is to give yourself a small break from your day-to-day routine, which will keep your mind and body fresh.

Rule of thumb: "Understand yourself and know what you value, because when things get rough, knowing who you are and what you need can be the difference between health and happiness or death and doom." Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2018.

Reach out to Candida at: 908-625-2267, www.globalarrival.com, [email protected] so that Global Arrival can help you and your organization lead effectively in foreign cultures.

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