Have you listened to our Podcast?


5 Tips for Selecting the Right Self Help Books

self help books

While some people seek help for problems from their parents, friends, or therapists, many others buy self help books. There are millions of books sold every year within the self help industry on just about every topic you can think of, so it can be difficult to know which ones to choose for your needs. These tips can help you select the right self-help book to help you accomplish your self-improvement goals.

Pinpoint the Improvement

The self help industry is worth approximately $11 billion, with books accounting for about $776 million of that total. So, there are probably dozens of books about the improvements you wish to make in your life. However, before you go to the bookstore, the library, or pull up Amazon on your computer, you should take the time to identify the improvements you want to make.

It’s important to be as specific as possible because if you’re not, then you could end up with a book that doesn’t provide the information you’re seeking about the changes you want to make. For instance, if your goal is to improve your finances, you should determine if that means saving money for retirement, cutting unnecessary expenses, or changing careers so you will get a better salary.

Then, when you determine the improvements you wish to make, you can start shopping for the best self help books available in those categories.

Research Authors

After determining the improvements that you want to make, you can then start looking for books about those topics. When you find some titles that interest you, note the authors’ names and do some research about their backgrounds. Most people who are seeking advice about making life changes want to get it from people who have experience and knowledge about the topic.

The writers of self-improvement books are not required to be experts in their field, and a Ph.D. doesn’t automatically make an author an expert. It’s important to check the writers’ credentials to find out what type of expertise and experience they have in the fields in which you want information.

For instance, if you have questions about running a business or improving productivity, then the author should have experience utilizing the information they’re providing about the business world instead of writing theoretical information. Verifying an author’s credentials will allow you to make an intelligent decision about selecting books about the topics in which you have an interest.

Pick a Format

The top self help books are available in both print, electronic, and audio book formats, so if you don’t have time to read a book, you can listen to one while commuting to work or working out in the gym. Audio formats are further broken down into:

  • Audio tapes or CDs
  • Podcasts
  • Audio book downloads

While you can buy audio books from online book or media stores, there are also websites that offer self help audio books free. Some of these sites include those you would normally listen to music on, such as Spotify, but you can also listen to many of the best books on Audible.

You can also find free e-books online on websites like the Reddit free textbooks forum. On other sites, you can listen to or read books on the site or download them to a compatible device like an MP3 player, your laptop, or a smartphone.

Self help audio books are very popular as over 24 million people in the United States purchase them every year, which accounts for approximately $455 million in sales. Along with information about business ownership and management, the self help industry also includes information on:

  • Weight Management
  • Motivation
  • Changing Habits
  • Leadership
  • Relationship Advice

While women account for about 70% of the sales of books within the industry, there are also thousands of self help books for men.

Read Reviews of Self Help Books

Before finalizing your purchase of a self help book, take some time to look up and read the reviews about it. People who have bought it before can provide information about how well the advice worked for them.

Disgruntled customers are usually eager to share their complaints, which can contain invaluable information. Those who bought the book and found it helpful may also share their experiences about reading it and applying its advice.

The information you get from reviews can encourage you to purchase a book, or it can provide the information you need to avoid it and look for another one. However, if the book is free, then reading or listening to it will not cost you anything but time and you may be able to glean some insight from it.

Most sites from which you buy books will have a review section, or you can go to the author’s website to read testimonials. However, keep in mind that some of the testimonials on the author’s site may have been written by paid writers instead of people who’ve read the book.

Look for Implementation Tips

When selecting the best psychology books or books on self improvement, look for those that provide tips for implementing the advice they contain. Many book sites include free previews or chapter content information, so you should browse through it to find out if the book offers user-friendly instructions about applying the advice for your situation.

Many books will also provide ways to monitor your progress to tell whether you’re meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself. Without keeping track of how you’re doing, it can be difficult to determine how effective the book’s advice is for meeting your goals. Some books will provide worksheets to monitor your progress that you can download from the book’s website.

Whether your goal is to improve the relationships between you and your staff or to become a more effective leader within your industry, you should be able to find a plethora of self help books on the topic. Using these tips can help you find the best books to help you meet your goals out of the hundreds that have been written.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

Drive by Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink tells us that most of what we think about motivation is wrong.

Researchers show that the carrot and stick method so often used in the corporate setting is not motivating your staff like you think it is. Maybe that’s what is reflected in the Gallup study with 70% of the workforce disengaged. We are trying to engage them in the wrong way.


Drive by Daniel Pink

Courtesy: Nathalie Magniez/Flickr


There are instances he points out where the carrot and stick method of extrinsic motivators, such as money, works effectively. These situations are when the tasks are mundane and it is just the execution of a simple step by step process. These situations require little creativity and therefore see success with external motivators.

In his book, Daniel Pink points out that financial rewards can create bad behavior: reaching the goal at all costs, causing shortcuts and unethical short-term thinking and behavior. Other challenges are that the financial reward becomes expected and addictive.

When you want to access the creativity, conceptual thinking and problem solving of people and activate their level of engagement, the best motivators are the internal motivators.

Daniel Pink challenges the goal setting process of an organization that provides fixed goals for people. He says they are not always in alignment with our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to live a life of purpose. Daniel Pink points these three areas as the drivers of human motivation:

Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives

Mastery—to advance our skills and knowledge in something that matters to us

Purpose—The need to serve others

Here are some interesting statements around each area:


‘If-then’ rewards require people to forfeit some of their autonomy. Goals set by others diminish autonomy and intrinsic motivation. The less say people have, the less autonomy they feel. It can often create a sense of apathy around the goals themselves.


Rewards, by their very nature, narrow our focus. Rewards take away the desire to master the topic, do their best or rise to the occasion. Rewards create competition and put limitations on people’s effort and motivation to succeed.


Interestingly enough, in a study done around blood donors, when financial incentives were provided people were less interested to serve others as it wasn’t genuine. Instead of increasing the number of blood donors, offering to pay people decreased the number by nearly half.

This goes against what most people think but studies have proven this to be true. Extrinsic motivators are not the best way to engage people and bring out their best.

The premise of the book is to take employees from compliance to engagement. It’s important to understand what intrinsically motivated people and how to connect them to these intrinsic motivators.

When leaders try to use control, it may create some compliance but removes the engagement, accountability, and creativity that comes from employees owning their work. People need to be seen as partners not resources.

In the traditional workforce motivation model, companies use reward and punishment. These external factors also usually come at the end of the process. Accountability and ownership need to be fostered at the beginning of the process.

Read the book and stop using financial rewards and start sparking intrinsic motivators. Share some ways you engage your staff to spark the three intrinsic motivators.

Image Source: Flickr

The One Thing by Gary Keller

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller

Thousands of books that have been written about time management. I even wrote one myself! Of all the books out there on the subject, The One Thing is among my favorite.

This book really resonates with me for the most important time management tips. Many of the concepts, Gary Keller speaks about are synergetic with the concepts in my book: The Productivity Zone: Stop the Tug of War with Time.

Reading the book helped me open my eyes to see what is in the gap for me. I like reading multiple books on the same topic, I pick up nuances and new perspectives that help me create greater awareness and improve myself. It is like golf, a millimeter of improvement can change your game entirely.  Other times you can find new ways of doing things that create explosive growth when you are willing to start over and learn to do something completely different. I experienced this when I learned a new way to punch in karate. It felt awkward, uncomfortable and unnecessary, but when you get it down it is more efficient and more effective.

What I like about the “The One Thing” is it removes the complexity that we create for ourselves. We use “time” and time management as a scapegoat for why we couldn’t do something. We over complicate the situation, avoid setting priorities and allow ourselves to go into a state of stress and overwhelm. Come on, I know this isn’t just me. From time to time, you too have experienced this too, right?

The One Thing has reminded me to keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be complex. We make it complex. Reduce the complexity, reduce stess.

The One Thing. That sounds simple but what does that mean? and… How do I do that? That is what you are thinking right? Me too! Let’s have a look at a few simple points the book makes. I advise you to get a copy for yourself because my summary doesn’t replace you reading it. The time management tips you will get from this will be worth your time and effort. It is an investment in your time management skills.

The One Thing: 5 Key Points

  1. Use Your Goal As Your Filter:

Your goal is the bullseye your targets must hit. Unfortunately, our goals often fall out of sight and we get stuck in the minutia of the day-to-day. We get stuck in mundane tasks, competing priorities, the shiny bells that distract us, and so on. It’s critical that we truly connect with our goal on a daily and even hourly basis and use it as our filter for determining what is most important. When we lose sight of our goal, it’s easier to get caught up in overwhelm.

Overwhelm comes from an inability to prioritize and plan. Overwhelm ultimately stems from a lost connection to your goals. Think about it, when you are highly connected you are driven and committed. It is that drive and determination that gets you planning and prioritizing. How do you stay connected to your goals?

  1. Ask An Impactful Question:

Similar to Keller, I am also a believer that questions are powerful; more powerful than most people think.

Questions are the source of our thoughts and answers.

Most people put focus their effort on the answers but, the truth is, asking the best questions will change your thoughts and produce better answers. Einstein said if he had 1 hour to solve a problem he would spend 55 minutes on coming up with the right question and 5 minutes for the answer.

Keller asks us to use the question..“What’s the ONE Thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”  To simplify that question, I ask “What one thing will have the greatest impact?” This question is about creating leverage.

I use this question all the time in my coaching with entrepreneurs. They always have too much to do and always have many urgent things to be done. It comes down to investing your time in what will create the biggest impact on reaching your goals.

Can it be that simple? To improve your time management skills, to create more focus and clarity, and get faster results, you just need to ask one question? Yes, it can be that easy. Remember we add unnecessary complication. Just change the questions you are unconsciously asking.

What question are you currently asking?

  1. Know When To Move On:

Keller talks about Understanding Pareto’s Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule. If you are effective but not using this rule you are not efficient. This means that 20% of your time and energy investment usually account for 80% of your returns. It is important that you know what that 20% is. He suggests to take 20% of your to-do list and focus on that. By setting the parameters in this way as if you could only do 20% what would you do, you will find the most important aspects. A simple method to get clear on what is really important.

I, also, want to highlight another aspect of the 80/20 rule. After you have focused on the most important thing, you need to know when it is time to move on to the next thing. In my book The Productivity Zone, I talk about the dangers of over-functioning or getting caught in procrastination as it brings your productivity to a screeching halt. You must know when to stop. When is the quality good enough for your purpose, when is the investment no longer providing the same payoff, and when managing diminishing returns will help you know when to shift your focus again. Moving on can also be done by asking the powerful question above again. As you keep asking this question over and over as the answer will change.

  1. Process of Elimination

Sometimes determining the biggest priority proves hard to do.

keep your goal in mind you can ask yourself, “is A or B or important to reach the goal?” It becomes less complex to choose an answer when approaching it like this. You can quickly go through your whole list to find out the most important items.

We simplify things when we follow a process and create structure. While following a process, we put ourselves into action which will break down the overwhelm and put us on the path to clarity.

  1. Proactively Avoid Productivity Killers

The book says “focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re NOT going to do.”  The fact is we often know what we need to do but don’t. Let’s shed some light on what holds you back from Keller’s perspective.

  1. Inability to Say “No”
  2. Fear of Chaos
  3. Poor Health Habits
  4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals

The first section of this article helps us overcome the first 2, so let’s have a quick look at the last two.

Energy is Everything

Keller says that “Personal energy mismanagement is a silent thief of productivity”. I couldn’t agree more as I am a proponent of energy management being the core of our productivity. We can not manage time but we can manage our energy. In addition to my book and the talk about energy management, another incredible book called The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal, that comes at energy management from a sports psychology perspective and how that applies in business.

Most people take their health for granted until you don’t have it. You must be proactive in taking care of your health and your body with what and how you move eat and sleep. The people who say “sleep when you are dead” are burning themselves out and will not have productive long-term success.

Environment Is Paramount 

In my book, The Productivity Zone I talk about one of the fundamentals of a championship psychology is managing your environment. Environment is paramount. The reality is, you can control many aspects of your environment yet you choose not to. Start to recognize people, places and things in your environment that are supporting you and detracting from your goals and desires.

Simplification can lead to living a more free and happier lifestyle as a result. What is your one thing right now? Write it is the comments and make your declaration.

Upside Of Stress By Kelly McGonigal

Is There An Upside Of Stress?

upside-of-stressKelly McGonigal’s Upside of Stress Helps Reduce Stress by Transforming it. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared stress a worldwide epidemic. Everyone wants to reduce stress. As you would expect, If you were to ask a room full of people “who feels stressed on a regular basis?” the majority of hands in the room go up. That is what Kelly McGonigal did in her popular Ted Talk in Ireland.

Unexpectedly, Kelly McGonigal took the discussion in a whole new direction.. Ever heard someone talk about the upside of stress? Probably not. This is because we all grew up believing that no good can ever come out of stressful situations. We have been taught that stress is toxic and killing us. It is a demon that ends up affecting our health, productivity, and relationships. That’s what Kelly McGonigal used to teach people too.

Stress Not Always a Bad Thing

She was moved by her discovery that science started to prove that this was not the whole truth about stress. She was skeptical about the science and did her own research to confirm its legitimacy. After her confirmation and transformation on the topic she wrote the “The Upside of Stress” to share it with the world. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and professor at Stanford University lecturing on how to reduce stress levels and transform stress. “The Upside of Stress” came out in May 2015 and since then it has been changing perspectives around the world on how we are perceiving and relieving stress. She is also the author of the famous “The willpower instinct”. Understanding how our brains function and how that relates to our behavior affecting our personal well being and the community is her passion. This book came across as a breath of fresh air to me and confirmed my own beliefs about how to avoid stress, reduce stress, and transform stress.

Stress Is Energy And It’s About Energy Management

I speak often about energy management. How we avoid and transform stress is energy management. Stress is energy. It is like second hand smoke and surrounds you when you come in contact with it. You need to know how to clear your way out of it quickly. I was excited about this book and have been recommending it to everyone I know. What is the book about? The book is based on the latest research, which goes on to prove that being in stressful situations is not as bad as we think it is. It is actually good for us. If tackled properly, we might end up gaining more from the stressful situations in our life. Stress creates growth. It is in stress that we find our courage. It is through stress that we learn about ourselves and the world around us. Kelly, supported by scientific studies related in the book, believes that stress has the power to deteriorate our health, affect our work and lower our productivity only because we allow it to do so. That is hard to believe right. Depending on what we focus on and what you believe about stress, will impact our health and productivity in a positive way or in a detrimental way. It is our belief about stress that matters more than the stress itself.

The Effect You Expect To Get From Stress Is One You Get

She says “The effect you expect is the effect you get”. This is almost like Henry Ford’s quote about if you think you can or you think you can’t– you are right. Stress is inevitable your live but there is a way to avoid this mental stress simply by better understanding what we believe about stress and the situation. A specific study she recounts is the shake test. The same shake was given to 2 groups but they were told they were different. One group believed it was healthy and the other believed it was a fattening indulgence. The shake effected their digestive track based on the belief of what was in the shake. Really! Juts like the placebo effect we have heard of. It is one of many studies that prove our mind and body our intricately connected and affect and infect one another. Interestingly enough, she included a study that used the placebo effect and told people it was a sugar pill. Then informing the people why placebos often provide the same results as the medicine itself. The results were astonishing as the placebo still worked. It really is in what we think and how we show up. Science tells us stress also brings out the social component in us which when embraced ends up relieving stress. Stress releases 2 hormones, Cortisol and Oxytocin. Cortisol provides adrenaline and mobilizes energy. Oxytocin is less known and understood. It opens us up to social connection and seek out the support of others. It is a chemical of courage that helps us to rise above our fears. The release of these two chemicals causes us to perform better, to enhance our concentration and wakes up your senses. These chemicals are a built in mechanism to support us in times of stress. How we use these hormones will determine our result and will change the levels of each in our system.kellymcgonigalheadshotweb

Three Steps In Transforming Stress

Kelly McGonigal outlines three steps in the produce to reduce stress and transform it: Acknowledge it, welcome it and use the energy to your advantage. There was a time when we believed the world was flat and it severely limited our outlook. You may have had beliefs when you were young that kept you from living your life to its fullest. It is time to change what you believe about stress. It is time to see the Upside of Stress and how this can truly change the way you live your life and the results you get in life. The choice is yours.

Click to get your copy of The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

Think and Grow Rich By Napoleon Hill

Focus: Personal Finance – Wealth Management, Think and Grow Rich

Consider This:
• Don’t be seduced by short-term failure. Success often lurks in the shadows.
• Create wealth in three steps: 1) visualize; 2) believe; and 3) walk into success.
• Dreams, hopes and strategies increase wealth.
• You don’t have to be a victim of bad luck.
• Don’t give up when early attempts at positive self-talk fail. Persist and push on.
• Create vivid mental portraits of your success.
• You don’t need higher education to earn higher degrees of knowledge and wealth.
• Nothing beats a mix of passion and discipline.
• Avoid negative friends, well-meaning relatives and others who put a damper on your dreams.


What You Will Learn:
1) How to use your imagination to produce real assets;
2) Why you should tap into the power of daily affirmations;
3) How to avoid the traps of failure; and
4) How to create strategic plans that will make you successful.

The Secret Wealth Generator
Author Napoleon Hill explains that his formula for financial success was given to him by Andrew Carnegie, the legendary corporate leader. When Hill “was but a boy,” Carnegie shared his secret wealth-generating formula with him and challenged him to create a book that would explain this secret approach. During Hill’s 20-year journey to fulfill that challenge, he studied the habits and philosophies of hundreds of corporate stars. This honor roll includes Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, F.W. Woolworth and many other household names who built large fortunes based on Carnegie’s wisdom.

It begins with this simple idea: Your thoughts are real objects. With passion and purpose, your thoughts can evolve into wealth. Edwin C. Barnes demonstrates this principle. Barnes – an impoverished “nobody” – passionately wanted to launch a partnership with Thomas Edison, the great inventor. At their initial encounter, Edison said Barnes looked like an “ordinary tramp.” But behind the rundown appearance, Edison detected promise and determination which prompted him to offer Barnes a low-paying job. Barnes seized the opportunity. Naysayers had rejected the “Edison Dictating Machine,” but Barnes had faith. He used it as a vehicle to launch his successful partnership with Edison. Barnes created material success from abstract thoughts, based on faith, determination and persistence.

The Role of Desire
If your goal is to become rich, don’t just wish for your dreams to come true. Desire is “the starting point of all achievement,” but to bring it to fruition, commit yourself to executing a plan to attain your objective. To create wealth from desire, follow this six-step plan:

1. Take a mental snapshot of the amount of money you seek.
2. Name your price. Be specific.
3. Create a deadline. Fix a date by which you will achieve your goals.
4. Start a task sheet with a definite strategy.
5. Write a brief mission statement.
6. Make a declaration: Twice a day, read your mission statement aloud.

It has to start with a dream and vision. Dreamers or Visionaries have overcome major obstacles. Beethoven composed music despite his deafness; Milton, the writer, was blind. Author Helen Keller was blind and deaf. But lit by the fire of desire, they worked on their goals and achieved epic greatness.

Faith is the “visualization of and belief in the attainment of desire.” Develop faith in your ability to succeed by telling yourself that you will overcome. With the right tools, you can fill your mind with success or failure. Recite your mission statement daily to prepare your mind for success. This process, called “autosuggestion,” lays the groundwork for mental success. It works because your mind will believe anything you tell yourself repeatedly. Dangerous thoughts also can take root in your mind. Doubt, fear and negative emotions can impede your success and uproot the fruits of your labor.

Autosuggestion is a dose of self-talk delivered to your subconscious mind via your five senses, the roadways from your conscious mind to your unconsciousness. Feel the message. Jumping from printed words to passionate feelings is not easy. Close your eyes. Create a mental snapshot of the money you want to earn. View it daily. To visualize your goals, use the six steps above in tandem with this three-stage program:

• Retreat to a quiet location from distractions. Create pictures of monetary success, possessions and achievement. Visualize your date with success.
• Take a daily double dose of faith. Don’t stop until you achieve your financial goal.
• Look at your mission statement twice daily. Seeing is believing. Read your mission statement first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

“Specialized Knowledge”
Knowledge is just numbers and facts. But through organization and planning,
facts can become powerful. Harness that power to create wealth. Many wealthy people spent little time in traditional classrooms, but had rich experiences. Through specialization, organization and networking, he gained the power of a well-educated mind. Specialization is organized knowledge applied to a specific purpose. Gain this practical know-how from apprenticeships, night schools and other targeted training programs.

Imagination, “the workshop of the mind,” operates on two playing fields. “Synthetic imagination” arranges existing ideas, concepts and strategies into novel formats. “Creative imagination” bridges the definitive mind of man and the universe of “infinite intelligence,” the land of gut feelings and intuitions. The top performers in business, music, art and literature operate in the domain of creative imagination, fueled by desire and faith. Work it, develop it and create a written plan to convert your dreams into concrete wealth. Constantly review your plan. Repetition works.

Happy loving family. Father and his daughter child girl playing

“Organized Planning”
Strategic planning, “the crystallization of desire into action,” is an art and a science. To develop your success, you need the right team. Do not skip this stage. Take these steps:

• Surround yourself with “master mind” allies. Cultivate a support team.
• Fine-tune your plan with regular support group meetings.
• Establish harmony with each member of the group.

Don’t accept failure. If your initial plan fails, adopt a new strategy. Identify attractive opportunities. Study the field, the company and the individuals involved. Inventory your talents and skills. Write a detailed strategy for achieving the right job. Target the appropriate channels and people. Make your resume concise, thoughtful and relevant. Know your marketplace value. Nurture success by avoiding symptoms of failed leadership which include: failure to structure details; inability to perform small tasks; insecurity; absence of imagination; lack of discipline and trust; over-reliance on force and authority; selfishness; and insistence on titles and honor.

Overcoming Procrastination
Procrastination, a top cause of failure, is your enemy. Successful leaders make quick, meaningful decisions. Being decisive gives you “mastery of procrastination.” Consider the advice and insights of your support group. Avoid anyone who undercuts your drive. Dodge the trap of public opinion by revealing your plans only to your small circle of advisers. When you indiscriminately broadcast your strategies, ideas and goals, you lessen your chances of success. Keep quiet; keep the faith.

Remain committed to your goals and mission statement.  Avoid a “poor consciousness” in which negative feelings become self-fulfilling. End the cycle of poverty by creating and believing in “wealth consciousness.” Everyone falls into doubt and depression, but you can liberate yourself using perseverance, “the sustained effort necessary to induce faith.” Keep moving even if you must go slower.

“Power of the Master Mind”
The mind has many layers. When a group works together, the energy of their combined individual thoughts, ideas and plans becomes a powerful “driving force.” Multiply your brain-power by tapping into the infinite wisdom of the group mind, a master mind far greater than the mental powers of each individual.

Applied Sexual Energy
Sexual desire creates a unique force in business and creativity. Properly applied, it is a powerful stimulant for success, wealth and creativity. Your passion enhances your sensitivity to the “infinite wisdom of the universe,” and the whispers of insight from your gut. History is filled with people who were pushed to greatness by lust or love. Through discipline, planning and “will power,” sexual energy transcends the body, and generates success and creativity.

“The Subconscious Mind”
Your subconscious is a “connecting link” that operates outside of your controlled thoughts. Use autosuggestion and planning to employ your subconscious mind. Repeat affirmations. Stay in the moment. Shun negative thoughts. Cultivate faith, desire, sex, love, energy, hope and romance. Avoid jealousy, fear, greed, revenge, anger and hatred. Remember the power in prayer.

“The Brain”
Your brain is a unique “broadcasting and receiving station for thought,” like a radio station that transmits and receives signals. Learn to listen to the “intangible forces” in your life. These forces – gravity, electricity, thunder and other elements – surround you. Use faith to stimulate your mind and reach your goals. Believe in the power of thought and belief.

“The Sixth Sense”
The sixth sense, “the door to the temple of wisdom,” is the direct connection between your subconscious mind and the infinite light of the universe. This link represents the home of your creative imagination, intuition and premonitions. Use this force to bring you wealth, success and creativity. Constantly repeat and review your goals. Let the universe deliver insight to your subconscious mind. Don’t be hampered by the “six basic fears,” fear of being poor, fear of reproach, fear of becoming sick, fear of being unloved, fear of getting old and fear of dying. The power of your thoughts gives you mastery and can give you money.


The Seven Strategies of Master Presenters By Dr. Brad McRae

Focus: Career – Presentation Strategies & Skills
Consider This:
• Master presenters follow seven basic strategies.
• The first strategy is talk to the audience. Learn all you can about them beforehand.
• The second strategy is to have something worthwhile to convey.
• The third strategy is to organize your material well and appropriately. The
organization should fit the subject and the audience.
• The fourth strategy is powerful delivery and good content, from strong openings, through smooth transitions to smashing endings. Avoid clichés. Use humor and suspense.
• The fifth strategy is to leave the audience with something to think about, talk about and do.
• The sixth strategy is to keep yourself controlled and roll with the punches.
• The seventh strategy is to continue to hone your skills.
• Use audience participation to involve people and help them remember your content.
Be aware of your internal dialogue and keep it positive.

Man presenting to coworkers

What You Will Learn
You will learn:
1) The seven strategies that make presentations excellent; and
2) How to put them to use.

Seven in Sum
Although North Americans spend about $6 billion a year on presentations, they do not get a commensurate return on that investment. But Master Presenters are worth top billing. Their seven strategies are:

1) Talk to the audience.
2) Have something important to say to them.
3) Organize your presentation well.
4) Deliver it powerfully.
5) Give the audience something to remember, act on and pass along.
6) Control yourself, manage difficult people and cope with bad circumstances.
7) Keep improving.

Impressive speakers are:
• Able — They convince you of their competence quickly and hold your attention.
• Believable — They are honest and modest, not egotistical.
• Connected — They establish a connection with the audience.
• Dedicated — They care and you know it.
• Energetic — They deliver like dynamos.

Are You Talking to Me?
You must know what kind of an audience you are addressing. You will address an audience of intense specialists differently than you would talk to an audience of curious generalists. Use these eight techniques to develop a better understanding of your audience:

1) Survey them before you present.
2) Interview them face-to-face.
3) Interview them by phone.
4) Read case studies.
5) Visit them at work.
6) Shadow them on the job.
7) Read annual reports and other material that discusses them.
8) Look them up on the Internet.

What Do You Have to Say?
To hold their attention and not waste their time, you need to have something to say that matters to them. Different people have different priorities, styles and vocabularies. If you were talking about health, you probably would not use the same language to make a presentation to physicians as you would to talk to a group of teenagers. The content of your presentation is partly the material, partly the style and partly the delivery. To make sure that your content is outstanding:

• Take a strong, unambiguous and forceful stand.
• Use titles that arouse curiosity.
• Make sure your introductions and conclusions pack a punch.
• Use great quotations.
• Tell stories to illustrate what you say.
• Remember the three “S’s”: stories, simulations and science.
• Write a draft where you simply capture everything you might want to mention.
• Consult a board of advisors.

Organizing for Effectiveness
No matter how strong your material may be or how powerfully you can deliver it, your presentation will fail if you do not organize it well. At the beginning of your presentation, tell people what you are going to say and describe your plan of organization so they know at each point where you are coming from and where you are going. Develop clear, helpful transitions and time yourself. Select a framework, such as one of these eight organizational structures:

• Historical-chronological — Recapitulate a series of developments over time.
• Geographical — This is appropriate when you are talking, for example, about building a pipeline or tracking the advance of an army.
• Logical-analytical — This presents a series of logical steps leading to a conclusion.
• Explanation of function — Tell the audience, step by step, how something works.
• Compare and contrast — Pursue an analysis of pros and cons.
• Conflict — Every story needs a conflict struggling for high stakes. Use a defining conflict to shape your presentation.
• Metaphor — Organize your presentation as an extended metaphor, that is, compare a marketing campaign to a military campaign.

The Power of Delivery
You have good content, and you’ve organized it superbly. Now don’t lose your audience by mumbling, stumbling or muttering. To energize your presentation:

• Swear off clichés! — Don’t open your presentation the way everyone else does, by saying, “I’m happy to be here” or “I’d like to thank you all for inviting me.”
• Use forceful words and phrases
• Go with a flow — Make sure it’s clear where you’re going and keep moving.
• Use mystery and suspense — Use foreshadowing and flashbacks. Pose interesting questions and make the audience wait for the answer.
• Get some stage props — The right props can engage the audience’s attention and underscore your point.
• Ham it up — Add a dose of drama to your style.
• Master the pregnant pause — Pause briefly between words, so that the audience hears each word clearly. Pause at the end of a sentence, so the audience can reflect on what you’ve said.
• Kid around — Use a little humor, but be careful.
• Get the audience involved — Use exercises that invite the audience to stand up, play a role or work on a problem. Offer listeners a chance to comment or ask questions.
• End with a smash — Never end on a cliché. Never talk longer than you have to in order to get your point across.

Offer a Memorable Message
Give the audience something to remember, act on and pass along. Master presenters use these 11 proven tactics to help audiences remember a message, so they can act on it and share it:

1) Repeat, restate and recapitulatepicture of light bulb bursting with ideas
2) Learning by doing
3) Keep their attention
4) Mnemonic tricks
5) Stories
6) “Aha” moments
7) Anchors
8) Metaphor
9) A play in three acts
10) Music
11) Games

Control Yourself
Self-control is necessary to overcome a fear of public speaking. Most people are nervous when they think of giving a presentation. They procrastinate, put themselves down and perpetuate their own nightmares when they face an audience. Beware of negative self-talk. Don’t be a perfectionist. Good enough is good enough. If you make a mistake, learn what you can from it and put it behind you. Remember, you will never have a better past, no matter what you do. But you can have a great future. When disturbances disrupt your presentation, don’t get flustered. Use humor. Try to resolve the problem by incorporating the noise in your presentation, closing a window, moving to another room or getting help from the facility manager. Be careful with difficult people in your audience. Sometimes the person you think is least attentive, least interested and most hostile is, in fact, your biggest fan. The woman who is frowning while everyone is laughing at your joke may be pondering the deep significance of a point you made. Of course, audiences can include people who will try to drag you off course with irrelevant questions or heckle you. If you stay loose and relaxed, you can often address them with wit. If a joke doesn’t work, slowly escalate your response. Sometimes you can let the other members of the audience do the disciplining for you.

Keep Improving
The best presenters rehearse, practice, rehearse, practice and rehearse. They never consider their presentations so good that they cannot be improved by more practice. They monitor audience response to their stories and make improvements. Do these five things to get the most from rehearsing:

1) Tape your presentation — Record it and listen to it. Listen to yourself early and often.
2) Try a simulation — Find a room like the space where you’ll be presenting, and if possible recruit some people like those you’ll be addressing.
3) Drill — Practice parts of your presentation when you’re doing things utterly unrelated to it.
4. Take a trial run — Try your presentation on an audience unlike the one you’ll be addressing.
5. Ask for feedback — Have someone else watch your presentation and make recommendations.

Master presenters are self-made, not born. Tap into numerous organizations, books and resources to improve your presentation skills. Among the best are Toastmasters International and the National Speakers Association (NSA).


Pin It on Pinterest