Presentation Design – The Right Graph

Microsoft does not know a heckuva lot about presentation design, but one thing they do correctly in PowerPoint is to make available different types of graphs so that you can match the graph type to the point you’re trying to make with your data. There are twelve different graph types available with PowerPoint 2000, but few of those styles work well in the low-resolution world of computer-based presentations. With few exceptions, here is how you want to use the following types:

o Pie Graphs for Share

o Bar Graphs for Comparative Amounts

o Line Graphs for Trends, Time

Pie Graphs

Pie graphs (commonly misnomered pie charts) are one of the more overused, and hence misused, types of graphs, primarily because they are so easy to make, and easy to make look good. They are misused when chosen to show amounts rather than share. The beauty of pie graphs is that they show so clearly what they are supposed to show, i.e., how much of the whole each element contributes. In most cases the actual amounts – in this case percentages – are actually secondary to the area of the slices in terms of telling the story.

When you look at a pie graph with five or fewer slices, your brain can quickly ascertain which groups dominate. We often see pie graphs with more than 5 elements, but they then become more difficult to comprehend in short order. In most cases, consider whether your story needs to include details about all the players, or whether a group of insignificant contributors can be grouped as “others”.

If you want to show how much volume each element contributes, rather than what fraction, you’ll want to use a bar graph.

Bar Graphs

To show relative sizes of different segments as well as the actual amounts, you’ll want to use a bar graph. Bar graphs are designed to show volumes against a y-axis that clearly delineates the units of measure. By having a series of bars next to each other, we can see how each element compares with the others as well as what absolute volume the element represents.

There are variations on the bar graph, such as a stacked bar, where different elements are stacked on top of each other to form a series, or a 100% bar graph, where all the bars are the same height but are split to show what percent of the whole the volume reflects. In a presentation environment, esoteric options are best to be avoided.

Line Graphs

Line graphs have the unique advantage of speaking to inherent right-brain prejudices about information. That is, when typically conditioned western minds see a graph with no labeling, they automatically assign “volume” to the y-axis, with “up” meaning “more”, and a time-line to the x-axis, with the left side meaning most recent. Just as we read from left-to-right, rightward motion subconsciously means positive motion.

You would want to use a line graph, then, to show a progression in amount from one point in time to another. The elevation of the line at any one point represents the quantity of the tracked data at that moment. Audiences, wanting to be the first-to-know, will automatically make assumptions about the types of values x-axes and y-axes represent. Don’t disappoint them.

Data labels

Graphs are a great way of making complex information easily understood. But graphs work best only when you properly integrate words, numbers and images. Whenever possible, label the elements of your graph directly on the elements themselves, rather than relying on the ever-popular clarity killer, the legend. Legends require too much effort on the part of listeners to discern exactly what each data point is. Just be certain your labels don’t clutter up the otherwise clear “picture” a good graph can make.

If you have a number of graphs in your presentation, you’ll want to avoid dumping a data overload on your audience by over-labeling each one. In fact, in many cases you can tell your story forcibly enough by only the size of your data elements, without burdening their minds with numbers that they’re likely to forget by the end of the presentation. However, it’s also not a bad idea to have what we call “reference slides” that do contain all the data attached to the end of your main slide deck. To really impress your crowd, install hyperlinks to these slides from the ones in your main show, and when some vice-president makes a stink about wanting to know the whole story, zap to your total-info slide and give him what he wants. He probably won’t ask again.

Debt Negotiation – Do It Yourself or Hire a Debt Negotiation Lawyer?

In a nutshell, what Debt negotiation is is an agreement between two parties, you and your creditors, with the goal being the agreement upon a final settlement figure to make your payment final and eliminate the debt. It is a definitive solution to your debt issues or problems and it should be the last resort used in case the situation is nearing bankruptcy. Debt negotiation is very often confused with debt consolidation and debt counseling which honesty, are completely different things altogether.

Getting a Lawyer to Help You On Your Debt Negotiation Efforts

For very obvious reasons, debt negotiation Lawyers can be of a lot of assistance in any debt negotiation and settlement situation although their cost may be prohibitive to many people. The truth is that these trained lawyers are very keen on how to talk the language of your creditors and they have the experience to negotiation great deals that a layman might not be able to achieve. However, it is important to also understand that it is not required that you have a lawyer to achieve a good result on your debt negotiation.

Credit Counseling And Debt Consolidation

Reaching a settlement may normally take several phone calls and other kinds of negotiation so if you are willing to do it yourself, be prepared to deal with paperwork and making such calls.

Debt Counseling

There are many credit counseling firms out there that affirm that they provide debt negotiation services. The fact is that a lot of these companies that sprout on the internet everyday are associated with or straight up owned by the credit card companies or other financial institutions. It is also true that this industry experienced a phase of extreme growth in the last couple of decades as Americans became increasingly indebted. It made it somewhat difficult to find credit counseling companies that can be trusted today. If you need bankruptcy counseling or debt settlement services, your best bet may be to find an associate of friends or family or seek a local lawyer that is specialized in this area of law.

Debt Consolidation Loans

Debt negotiation companies in most cases do not offer loans to consolidate your debt. I have never heard of one which did at least. In fact, these types of loans are not your in your best interest. The costs of such loans can add up and then you still owe the same amount of money.

Whatever you choose to do, be it to negotiation your debts yourself or to find a local attorney who can negotiate them for you, you should be able to get great discounts on your final debt amounts if you can make a lump sum payment.

How To Close Your Presentation Confidently

To close your presentation confidently is not as hard as one would think, remember in my last post we talked about dealing with objections, so if you have dealt effectively with these your close should not be that hard, we really do not want a hard sell situation, in fact if we have prepared the way with our own story, the prospect will be ready to close themselves.

A few things we can say to motivate them to make their decision as we finish our presentation: “And that’s it”. This phrase leaves the next bit up to them, if you felt that they needed a bit more prompting you could finish with “and the rest is up to you” this will put the ball into their court and move them towards a decision, another good phrase to finish on would be “Well, what do you think?”, or for a slightly harder finish, we could put all three phrases together as in, “And that’s it, the rest is up to you, what do you think”. By now your prospect has all the information needed, another test close we could try would be,” In your opinion would this (solve your cash flow situation)(allow you to spend more time at home with your family)etc. Sounds to me like you are ready to join.

Another great question to ask is, “If you were to join now, what would be the best benefit to you?” remember even at this stage you may get objections, always try to turn objections into a question, never be defensive, we could say something like, “I am sure you have a reason for saying that, what is it?” If we get objections about the cost of joining, we could turn the situation around by saying “let me ask you a question, Isn’t it possible for you to get more benefit from this business than your initial investment?”

Your prospect may have been in network marketing before and will come up with, “tried this type of business before, it doesn’t work”, our reply can be along the lines of – “It looks to me that in the past you experienced that it didn’t work for you because you didn’t have your why in place, or financially you were in your comfort zone, would that be right?” We need to dig for their need their why, there must be one otherwise they would not be here, address that need for them.