Add Value in the Perception, the Package, and the Presentation

What would the world do if it wasn’t for “buzz words” – those sort of “shorthand” words that denote much a much larger meaning condensed into a short phrase or singular word. Somehow we all know the meaning of these words and phrases in their larger context or sort of know the meaning of them. One such “buzz word” is “Value Added.”

I have heard this used time and time again but wonder what people mean when they say it or what they understand when they hear it and nod knowingly. I take it to mean “adding something of value to a product or service to differentiate it from other, similar or even identical, products or services.” So, how does a business add value to a product or service to separate it from the pack and make it more desirable?

Many books have been written on this fascinating topic so in the short space of this column we’ll just be touching on the subject of adding value. It’s all about changing the buyer’s perception of value. In other words, giving the purchaser something they feel has value without adding substantially to the cost or lowering (gasp!) your prices. It could be the manner in which people are treated in person, on the telephone, or in written communications – friendliness and pleasant surroundings adds value. It could be in the package such as an attractive report cover, sturdy shopping bag, or careful packaging of a fragile item. Added value can be perceived from your integrity and policies – guarantees, the manner in which returns are handled, and convenience factors like extended hours or reminder services. Value can be added in the manner products or services are presented such as the way wine is presented with grace and showmanship at a fine restaurant or the way a hair stylist positions you to look in the mirror when finished cutting your hair.

When I hear someone tell me they sell a commodity, I pull out my buzzword and ask, “What are you doing to deliver a “Value Added” experience? I’ll ask the same question of you!

Building Confidence – How to Present Yourself Well and Get All the Goodies You Want

Recently, I’ve come to understand something more strongly and clearly than ever before: presentation matters.

I have always considered myself a very lucky person. People around me have a tendency to take me seriously and respect me as a professional and as a person. People tend to have great faith in my abilities, and offer me opportunities. They also tend to give me the benefit of the doubt any time they can.

Why is this the way it is?

Is it because I’m attractive, intelligent, or hard-working? Maybe to some extent. But there are many other attractive, intelligent, hard-working people who do not get this same treatment.

The main reason I get the recognition and credit I get is presentation.

Building confidence with presentation

I care about the way I physically look, smell, and even feel. And I care about the way others perceive me – my looks, my actions, my attitude.

At work, I make a conscious choice every day to look and behave professionally. This has formed such a strong impression in my colleagues that, when I show up at a casual or athletic event, they are shocked to see me wearing sneakers.

In general, I make a conscious choice every day to at least look put-together. Unless you catch me just letting my dog out to do her business, you’ll see me wearing clean clothes that fit and are appropriate for the situation.

While I would rather be over-dressed than under-, it surprises me when other think my style is “fancy” or “glamorous.” I don’t see my style that way at all. I focus on being appropriate and put-together.

It’s, of course, not a bad thing if people think of me as fancy or glamorous. What matters is that I get the results from my presentation of myself that I want – which I clearly am.

Building confidence with style

The key to giving others a strong impression of who you are and what you stand for is to be focused and consistent in your style.

The idea is not to restrict yourself, because trying new things with your style can be exciting and fun, but to have a few guidelines to stick with.

I like to use three adjectives or words to describe myself and my personal style.

For example, my style is currently:

  • sophisticated,
  • body-conscious, and
  • energetic.

Using these three adjectives to ‘vet’ potential wardrobe additions helps me stick to the right flavor and tone for my life and wardrobe.

However, it still allows for experimentation. For example, I can play with the ideas of hard and soft, without allowing myself to veer off (for example, into a decidedly un-sophisticated hoochie look). This helps to keep my wardrobe focused and consistent with who I am – and who I’d like other people to see.

It’s also important to behave in a focused and consistent manner.

Building confidence with behavior

The ideas of organization and self-management are paramount. While we all know this, many people do not practice personal responsibility.

Again, the key is to be focused and consistent. Know what’s important to you, and make consistent improvement on those things. Don’t worry about the things that aren’t important to you.

If you want to get goodies like I do, remember that presentation matters!

Top 7 Presentation Skills For an Interactive Generation

Have you ever struggled to keep an audience awake and attentive through a presentation? Do you want to be the kind of speaker that engages an audience and makes them remember your message? Whether you need to polish your speaking skills for meetings, addresses or speeches, large or small, formal or informal, the seven simple skills listed below will show you how to engage and inspire an audience throughout your presentation.

Most of us spend a great deal of our professional life listening to other people explain things to us and we know that, even with the same material, a great one can make all the difference. An audience instinctively appreciates someone with polished presentation skills and is more likely to respond enthusiastically to them. But have you considered what techniques a great speaker uses to accomplish this?

As the demographic of the work force changes, what an audience expects from a speaker changes as well. Gone are the days where a speaker could count on an audience passively receiving a presentation. A younger audience, brought up on interactive media and video games, expects more engagement and interaction. President of the National Speaker Association Kristin Arnold explains, “a stand-and-deliver style of presenting just doesn’t work well with today’s audiences.”

So for a quick boost in your presentation skills, try the following 7 techniques:
Using inclusive language – Using words like “You”, “Yours”, “We” and “Ours” emphasizes the bond between participants rather than the speaker herself and gets people on your side.

Connecting with your audience personally using their names and jobs – Another technique is to foster a sense of community and get the audience on your side by engaging them on a personal level. Talking with members about their jobs and referring to their names and occupations throughout your speech is a great way to keep the audience receiving your information on a more personal level.

Communicating the speaker’s passion – Nothing excites people more than listening to what makes other people passionate.

Taking questions as you go – Stopping periodically for questions or even creating small groups to come up with questions is a great interactive alternative to saving questions for the end when they might be forgotten or ignored.

Letting the audience help direct the flow of the presentation – Inviting the audience to help set the agenda by engaging with them online and inviting questions before the event helps involve the audience and gives them a personal stake in the success of a presentation.

Tell interesting stories, examples and case studies – A good technique for bringing a dry collection of facts to life and make them personally relevant to an audience.

Using “Power Point” to its full effect – To keeps your audiences full attention, consider inserting video clips, cartoons, graphs, color and photos throughout your speech – especially during information sections that are important yet many could consider boring.

The time and effort a speaker puts into their presentation shows. Incorporating these 7 presentation skills will help you better engage your audience and get your message through as your audience will be more attentive to and remember the information that you are presenting.