The Anatomy of a Great Presentation

What is a great presentation? As a hypnotherapist, NLP and hypnotherapy trainer, as a former top training administrator for 40,000 American soldiers, and as professional speaker, I have some very definite ideas of the structure of phenomenal presentations. I’ve studied many of the most inspirational speeches of the Western civilization and reviewed numerous talks by talented presenters who command $10,000 to $20,000 per keynote. What I’ve learned is contrary to most conventional thought.

The best speeches violate the mold which is typically taught to neophyte speakers. Back when Neil Armstrong was taking the “giant step for mankind” in 1969, my high school speech teacher told us that a good speech has three components: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Back in the late 1970′s we told our young officers and sergeants to “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.” Even the U.S. Army got away from this A-B-C model in the late 1970′s. However, at Toastmasters meetings I still hear that the age-old model is still the best way. So, what is a great speech?

For this article I’m going to concentrate the format of the most inspirational speeches of our time. Regardless, to a great extent my comments will apply to all presentations.

If I was to train a new speaker, I would start out by them just standing in front of a class or audience without saying a word. There would be no need to remember a speech. The only goal would be to make eye contact every individual in the room. While doing this I would advise the “speaker” to just focus on what they felt inside. At this point the only intent is to establish CONTACT and CONNECTION with the audience.

Regarding connection, a speaker must be able to communicate with all learning styles. This includes the slower paced kinesthetic learner, who appreciates slower paced words, and low, below the waist hand gestures. People with this learning style are the first with whom I connect. Next, I speed up my speech slightly, forming every word precisely, and using hand gestures at a level between the waist and chest, I bring the auditory learners on board. And, lastly I will raise my voice, quicken my speech, and use higher gestures to bring those ultra-fast visual learners into the fold. (Visual learners make up about 75% of the U.S. population and almost 100% of corporate leaders.) During the rest of the speech, I will vary my tone, speaking pace, and the range of my gestures so that I continually oscillate between the ways with which people of the various learning styles prefer to be communicated. You’ll know if you have successfully connected by carefully noticing the physiology of the audience and if they seem to be focused on your every word.

The second major stage is developing EMPATHY. Even if your comments are intended to be rather biographical, the goal is to have each and every attendee to associate mentally into your story. When you talk about joy or misery, they are seeing it through your eyes, hearing through your ears, and feeling through your body. Essentially, they become one with you.

Believe it or not, the next stage is to ensure that your audience does not have a clue where you are going with your comments. Even if they are totally in synch with you, if they understand where you are going, you are on the road to giving a forgettable speech. They must not have a clear picture where you are going with your comments. By purposefully using confusion, ambiguity, and conscious overload, you reduce the influence of the “critical faculty” of the conscious mind and prepare the audience for the big message. At this point they are highly suggestible and are ready to be influenced at the deepest level of the mind. No, not everyone will appreciate this style. There will still be the 5 percent of the audience who will not feel comfortable with your departure from a predictable (and boring) presentation. Yet, as most adults over the age of 25 have fully developed frontal lobes behind their eyes, they generally get an enjoyable “ah-ha” experience when they finally figure it out for themselves. This self-discovery gives the more mature learners a pleasurable and unforgettable experience.

Well, I think that I just gave my punch line away. The next stage happens when they are on the verge of this self-discovery, with highly suggestible minds, and ready for you to make the most memorable statements of your talk. This is when you hear such things as “I have a dream”, “Give me liberty or death”, or “Ask not what your country can do for you.” Like planting a flower seed, without the right preparation of the audience, your desired intent will never blossom.

After this point, remember then to slow your speaking, lower your gestures, and lower your volume. You do not want to upstage your own crescendo. This is a time to reduce the audience’s stress and allow them to kinesthetically process your message. Let them down easy. You’ve just created a higher level of stress, now it is the time for leave them with an impression that you have made them feel changed but relaxed. If you ever want to be invited back, don’t leave them with their “fight and flight” mechanisms intact. You want to be seen as a stress-reliever.

I’m fully aware that this process may not exactly meet every presentation need. But, if you give an inspirational speech with any other formula, you should not be surprised by your lack of success. Nevertheless, the principles of contact, speaking to multiple learning styles, balancing ambiguity and revelation, going from creating tension and stress to becoming a soothing and relaxing presenter is universal to all great presentation.

The A-B-C formula that I was taught back in sixties is obsolete, yet still prevalent in many management and speakers instruction. While it has served its role at one time, I have presented a much more powerful formula that has been used to inspire nations and change lives.

How an ISO Consultancy Can Assist You in Getting ISO 55001 Certification

Assets are invariably the elementary elements of a business. The assets’ functions or the value realised from them are the basis for a business. Those assets, whether physical, human, capital, or intangible, help to deliver the desired products/services. A strong Asset Management System (AMS) is necessary to take care of every asset and to make sure that they perform effectively in the best interest of the business. The ISO 55001 certification is the ultimate key to create and establish a good and practical AMS. By specifying the requirements of the AMS, it ensures proper coordination, planning, selection and classifying of the assets which helps in maintaining them throughout their lifecycle.

Despite the significance of this AMS certification, most businesses still have their AMS improved and certified because of the complexities and higher expenses involved in the certification process. However, without giving up, they need to get a dedicated ISO consultancy that can help them to obtain the ISO 55001 certification in the smoothest possible way. The next section explains how an ISO consultancy assists your organisation in getting your AMS ISO-certified.

Agile Certification Process Followed by ISO Consultancy for ISO 55001 Certification

An ISO consultancy takes you through the following stages to make sure that your AMS is ready for the certification.

Initial Consultation/Discussion

The process begins with an open discussion or consultation where the agency will seek to understand your needs or expectations for the certification. Their expert consultants will then want you to learn about the requirements of the ISO 55001 standard. They will help you to understand how the AMS should be developed depending on your organisation’s size, processes, and types/sizes of assets. Together, you can then define the objectives and specifications for your AMS.


The consulting agency then performs a pre-audit of your organisation’s current asset management framework. It is a gap analysis that helps in uncovering the strengths and weaknesses in your present AMS compared to the ISO 55001 standard’s requirements. This helps in assessing the areas that need improvement. Accordingly, the agency will plan with your managers and decide together the actions needed to mend the gaps and reform the AMS to comply with the requirements.

Planning and Implementation

The consultancy will then provide a detailed guide on improvising the AMS and initiating the certification process. They will provide tailored services, such as documentation instructions, employee training, implementation support, etc. based on the improvements required in the AMS. They can also agree to provide ongoing assistance to help you maintain the ISO certification compliance in the long run.

Stage 1 Audit

Once the implementation of a revised AMS is complete, some assessors from the consultancy start with the process of audits to ensure your readiness for the certification. The first stage of assessment includes reviewing the AMS documentation, measuring the goals, and assuring the role of your management in AMS. With this evaluation, the consultancy can declare whether your AMS is competent and eligible for the certification. The assessors also explain their observations from the audit and coordinate any actions necessary to further enhance the AMS for final certification audit.

Stage 2 Audit

The same assessors or a specific team of auditors from the consultancy then again audit your AMS on-site. They first examine it to ensure that the applied management system is at par with the documented system. Then, they will evaluate the effectiveness of the AMS in managing and optimising the assets, based on the inspections, asset data or relevant records, on-site observations, and interviews. The auditors then present the findings from this second stage audit clearly in a report and discuss them with your management team in a closed meeting. They highlight the areas that need improvement or can be improved for better effectiveness and compliance assurance.

Registration and Certification

The consultants help you get a good certification body or a registrar to apply for the certification. They can guide through the certification registration process and help at fulfilling all requirements before achieving the certification. Following that, the certification body does an external audit and after being convinced that every ISO 55001 regulation is met by your AMS, they will provide the certificate.

Surveillance Audits

After the certification has been achieved, the consultancy can conduct surveillance audits on semi-annually or quarterly basis to ensure that the AMS maintains its compliance with ISO 55001 standard. As the certification is valid only for 3 years, surveillance audits are to be carried out to check your ongoing conformity to the standard’s requirements. They will also conduct on-site surveillance audits to help you discover potential areas of improvement and to focus on sustaining the efficiency of your AMS.

Going through all these stages of the ISO 55001 certification by yourself can be complicated and challenging. However, you cannot deny the need for a good AMS in your organisation to maximise the active life of your assets and ensure greater returns from them. It subsequently helps you to ensure continuously increase your financial performance. Therefore, getting a reliable consultancy that can assist you throughout the certification process is always recommended.

The Domestic Side of International Trade Negotiations

The politics of many international negotiations can usefully be conceived as a two-level game. At the national level, domestic groups pursue their interests by pressuring the government to adopt favorable policies and politicians seek power by constructing coalitions among these groups. At the international level, national governments seek to maximize their own ability to satisfy domestic pressures while minimizing the adverse consequences of foreign developments. Neither of the two games can be ignored by central decision-making so long as their countries remain interdependent, yet sovereign.

Robert Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-level Games,” International Organization 42:3 Summer 1988

Numerous governments have embraced the neoliberal economic ideology, in which the market determines economic growth and stability. As a result, countries are forging formal trade ties through free trade agreements. However, not everyone agrees that free trade provides mutual gains for countries or that the benefits of free trade outweigh the costs. For this reason, some domestic groups have called on national governments to intervene in the global economy to protect local production, consumers and workers. Domestic groups are doing the same in response to the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.

The pressure that the governments of the TPP member countries face both at home and with their international counterparts reflects the two level game aspect of international negotiations, highlighted by Harvard professor Robert Putnam. In other words, free trade negotiations are not only between countries. Rather, they also take place between the national government and its domestic constituents.

In the case of the TPP negotiations, various domestic interest groups work to insert their voice into free trade negotiations even though they cannot sit at the actual bargaining table.

U.S., Japan, Autos and Food

As the 18th round of TPP negotiations took place in July, U.S. automakers demanded that Japan offer serious concessions. This was the first round of negotiations for Japan since it officially joined the TPP trade talks in March. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors voiced their concerns about Japan manipulating its currency so that its automobiles are less expensive in the global market.

Additionally, U.S. automakers have been concerned about Japan’s closed market. Although Japan does not place tariffs on car imports, it places a 2,000 unit cap on these imports. As a result, in 2011, Japan exported $41 billion worth of auto products to the United States compared to only $1.5 billion worth of U.S. exports of auto products to Japan. On the other hand, the United States has import tariffs of 2.5% for cars and 25% for trucks.

The Japanese government also faces domestic pressures as it negotiates the TPP. Japanese farmers and consumers are concerned that opening Japan’s agricultural market will lead to an influx of food imports. Increased food imports may threaten domestic producers and food safety, according to the same two aforementioned groups.

US, Vietnam, Labor and Human Rights

Several U.S. interest groups have called on President Barack Obama to end trade talks with Vietnam, another country that is a part of the TPP negotiations. It is important to keep in mind that free trade agreements are not just about tariffs but also issues such as freedom of association, environmental standards and good governance.

The Teamsters, Citizen Trade Coalition and Human Rights Watch share their concern about Vietnam’s record in terms of labor rights and the protection of those who criticize the government. The criticism of Vietnam follows on the heels of a May 2013 report published by the Worker Rights Consortium. The report highlights a number of labor violations in Vietnam.

Notably, free trade agreements consist of labor provisions. The degree to which labor standards in existing free trade agreements are effective remain under scrutiny. Without much public data about the TPP negotiations, it is difficult to assess what is being discussed pertaining to labor rights for all member countries.

The Take Away

Free trade agreements are not just negotiated between countries. Rather, pressure from domestic groups, must also be taken into account. Domestic groups may not influence the specific rules within the free trade agreement. Yet, they can influence the agenda to emphasize labor and environmental regulations. Domestic groups can also play a key role at the state level to influence their U.S. Congress representatives and senators to either support, stall or outright vote against a free trade agreement. The U.S. Congress’ ability to vote against free trade agreements once they have been signed make negotiations between the White House and the U.S. Congress just as important. One such example was that of the interaction between President Obama and members of the U.S. Congress regarding the approval of the long-stalled free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s statement in an interview sums up the two level game idea nicely:

As much as I enjoyed representing the United States around the world, if we were going to be moving forward with an aggressive trade agenda, we’re going to have to not just go to Geneva, Paris and Beijing and Africa; we were going to have to go to places like Detroit and Pittsburgh and Maine.