ToolsI decided to take matters into my own hands this week. The ugly, half-dead dwarf spruce had to go. After six years of tolerating it, I had reached my limit. Subtle (and then not-so-subtle) hints to the “man of the house” fell on deaf ears.  It was clear the task would fall to me.

Getting rid of the branches was easy. I just needed pruners and a yard waste bag. Done and done. The hard part was getting rid of the tree stump and roots. That job would require more macho tools. Back to the shed I went for an axe and a shovel.

After the first few throws of the axe I finally got my aim, and slowly but surely, I began to notice the stubborn root base giving way. Talk about instant gratification. I felt my motivation increase and my commitment to reaching my goal was stronger with each swing.

After fifteen chops, I was able to switch to the shovel to pry up the root base. I worked it this way and that way with a few expletives thrown in for good measure.  Suddenly, I found the fulcrum – the leverage point – the point where you don’t have to work as hard because the laws of physics take over, and voila! – spruce tree gone.

If you are preparing for a presentation this week, think about your leverage point. What will give you the most traction with the least amount of effort?  In other words, what topic, message, data point or finding can you use to maximum advantage? To answer that question, you have to know your audience and what they care about. What keeps them up at night? What one question could you answer; what one problem could you help solve that will grab and keep their attention?

Once you have their attention, you simply have to capitalize on the momentum you built.  They don’t call it the “Big Mo” for nothing. Momentum can carry you through the often less-sexy middle of your presentation and allow you to bring it all home with a clear and compelling conclusion. Keep one thing in mind: momentum is often the result of your non-verbal communication. It’s your genuine interest in the topic and the audience. It’s your commanding posture and meaningful gestures. It can also be sustained by your vocal delivery – your tone of voice, your intonation and your volume.

Oh and, yes, it helps to put a little muscle into it. If your presentation muscle Musclehas gotten a bit flabby, it will help you immensely to practice at least three times before the actual event.

What do you want to accomplish this week?

– Barbara