Present Ideas with Conviction to Avoid Being Challenged

Unless you present your convictions and positions with authority, people will walk all over you.
I heard a call where a rep had the sale in the bag. The soon-to-be-customer, grasping for any last minute throw-in asked the rep, “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
I about leaped out of my chair when the rep hemmed and hawed, then said, “Well, we’re really not supposed to do that.”
Smelling blood, the customer spotted an opening: “Really not supposed to, but you do on occasion, right?”
“Uhhh, yeah, sometimes.”
“What cases are those?” inquired the customer
“When we need to get an order.”
The customer pounced. “OK. This is one of those situations. I’m a new customer, and this is what you need to get the order. You can explain that to anyone who would have to approve it, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”

What caused this whole mess? Really. That’s it. Really. The word, “really.” And the rep’s hesitant tone of voice.
When you know you have a deal in hand, you’re faced with a request that is 90% nonnegotiable, or if you have a position that you feel deep down strongly about, it’s imperative that you give the impression that your stance is rock solid.
So what should this rep have said? Easy.

Prospect: “How’s ’bout you guys pick up the delivery on this?”
“(sincere tone) Wish I could. (Matter of factly) Delivery is just going to be $32 on this order. Which location do you want it shipped to?”
Notice there’s no apology for the shipping (“Well, shipping is a part of our cost and if we did it for you, whine, whine . . .”) It acknowledges the request, feeble as it might be, states a fact, the shipping price, then gets on to the business at hand, deflecting the person’s request.
You could even use humor. Act as if you didn’t take the comment seriously, and they’ll realize they weren’t serious about making it.
Present your positions with conviction, and you won’t have them challenged as often.

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Wedding Rings: Past, Present and Future

The rings are very special items in weddings. Though they do not have to be expensive they are priceless, to the bride and groom if to no one else. One of the most special rings that can be picked for nuptials is a 3 stone wedding ring.

They are called past, present and future rings because that is what each stone represents. They are a reminder and a promise to each other that their lives are entwined not just for a moment, but for their lifetimes. Truly romantic!

Three stone rings have literally three stones of an almost equal size and quality. The stones are normally diamonds though some choose to use their birthstones instead. Each stone is meant to be a match to the other two pieces.

The stones are usually placed in a row. The central stone may or may not be slightly higher in the setting than the other pieces. Just as in our lives, it is the present that is the most obvious.

Finding matching gems can be difficult and time consuming. This is why an honest jeweler is important, as well as providing sufficient time to get the perfect ring. After all, your jeweler needs to find the stones and then create your ring for you. That is definitely not a quick thing to do.

Hollywood celebrities aren’t immune to the appeal of the three stone ring. Madonna’s Edwardian style ring was specially designed by husband Guy Ritchie and features three round diamonds in a platinum band. Toni Braxton and husband Keri Russell on the other hand, chose a ring with two heart shaped diamonds flanking an oval center stone.

Lesley-Ann Graham runs [] – a valuable wedding planning [] resource with articles, tips and advice to help you plan your perfect wedding. Visit Lesley-Ann’s wedding blog for more free wedding planning help and advice.

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Are Biodiesel’s Environmental Benefits Being Unfairly Presented?

Since the production of biodiesel fuel requires the expenditure of energy some have claimed that the environmental benefits of biodiesel fuel are being unfairly presented. That, in fact, the production and use of biodiesel fuel actually creates more environmental pollution overhead than is commonly acknowledged.

Typically, these allegations focus on one or or more of the following:

Uncounted environmental pollution occurs in the cultivation of the source crops used as the basis for biodiesel fuel including fertilzers, farm equipment operation, electricity, etc.
Uncounted environmental pollution occurs in the conversion of the source crops to biodiesel fuel including harvesting, drying, storage, adjunct chemical additives and their production and the actual conversion process itself.
Uncounted environmental pollution occurs at the electrical generating plants that typically supply the heat energy used in the conversion of source crops to biodiesel fuel.
The short answer to this is that these allegations are fundamentally true and that the environmental pollution overhead is seldom counted when benefits of biodiesel fuel are being touted.

That being said (some would say admitted), this type of allegation which is usually used in some sort of comparative analysis of biodiesel and fossil fuel, is generally a selective context argument that fails to make a true apples-to-apples comparison. For clarification, let’s address each of these allegations in turn in a proper context.

The first allegation while true, fails to make a corresponding connection between the environmental overhead cost of crop production and the environmental overhead cost of fossil fuel location and extraction. Ask yourself, when is the last time you saw the environmental overhead cost of fossil fuel gasoline or diesel location and extraction included in their pollution figures. And, this question generously ignores the mega-environmental overhead costs of oil spills, habitat and wild-life destruction, etc.

The second allegation is also true but likewise also fails to make a corresponding connection between the environmental overhead cost of crop conversion and the environmental overhead cost of operating fossil fuel cracking and refining plants as well as storage. For a valid comparison, the environmental overhead cost of operating these plants and the energy they consume should have to be included. Again, even this comparison generously ignores the mega-environmental cost of having a hazardous chemical and pollution generating plant. Any resident who lives near such a plant can tell you stories of repeated hazardous waste alerts both in the air and ground water; fires, etc.

The third allegation is true; but in this case there are two context offsets to be considered:

Biodiesel fuel production is not alone in its consumption of electrical power. Certainly, fossil fuel cracking and refining plants use megawatts of electrical power and I have yet to see this source of environmental pollution overhead included in any fossil fuel pollution calculations.
Electricity generating plants typically have carefully controlled environments with high efficiency fuel consumption; smoke scrubbers, etc. so pollution created by electrical generating plants is almost certainly far less per watt of power than pollution generated by on-site or rolling-stock engines. And this latter point generously ignores the fact that large amounts of electrical energy comes from hydro-electric plants with near zero pollution production.
So the next time you hear these allegations regarding biodiesel; be sure to point out the selective “factual” source of these allegations and hold any such alleger to a proper presentation of all evidence in full and complete context.

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Attending the Monthly Meeting at the Newcomers Club – A Presentation about Human Impact on our Plane

This morning I got up early and had a nice breakfast in the inner courtyard of La Nuestra. Shortly before 9 am Andie and I left for her monthly meeting of the Newcomers Club, a group of about 170 mostly English-speaking expatriates from all different countries who have settled in Cuernavaca. Andie Grater has been the president of this volunteer organization for the last 4 years. We didn’t have to drive very far and arrived at an Episcopelian Church where several people were already setting up chairs and coffee for the monthly reunion. Two staff members from the American Consulate in Mexico City were setting up a table with information about taxation, voting and other issues relating specifically to US Citizens living in Mexico.

The Newcomers Club often invites speakers or experts on topics related directly to the expatriate community. I had a chance to speak with a few of the club members. There was a gentleman roughly in his late 50s who had emigrated from Israel three years ago and was now working in real estate and providing catering services for Middle Eastern foods. I also chatted with a young gentleman in his 30s who had emigrated from Poland and now had a wood-working company with his partner, making special wood toys that they sell throughout organic food stores in Mexico. Then I connected with a lady who was originally from Germany, and she and her husband have been working for a long time for a German charity helping blind people all over the world. She has lived all over Latin America as well as Pakistan. Cuernavaca’s Newcomers Club is definitely a very interesting and diverse group of people. Most of the members I saw were in their 50s, 60s and up, although I saw a few younger people. The majority are retirees who have settled in Cuernavaca permanently. After the initial refreshments were taken, the group settled in and Andie, as the President, made a variety of announcements. Then a lady by the name of Ana Gonzalez, talked about the special project run by an NGO called Caminamos Juntos para la Salud y el Desarollo (“Walking Together for Health and Development”).

The project was founded by Susan Smith, a Canadian woman, who has adopted a very poor Mexican village. One of the greatest problems of this village is that its water has been contaminated with arsenic, so drinking water is a real issue. The people of this village are very poor, and every month Susan asks the Newcomers Club to donate different items, from pots and pans, to blankets, toys, school supplies and much more. Then after a few more announcements, Bob Vockerath, a distinguished looking gentleman in his late seventies, originally from Vancouver, Canada, got up give a special presentation. He talked about several books he had read (Plan B and Limits to Growth) which talk about human impact on the planet and the sustainability of our human activities. He talked about population growth, resources, industrial output, pollution etc. and showed several charts of projections of where our future might take us. Limits to Growth was first published in 1972 and several experts modeled the development of these key factors and projected them well into the 3rd millennium. From about 2050 onwards their models predict a stark drop in population as resources get depleted, pollution takes on an increasingly destructive level, and industrial output multiplies. He mentioned some interesting statistics: between 1950 and 2000 the global population increased from about 2.5 billion to 6.1 billion. Average incomes tripled and so did the demand for grain. Economic output multiplied 6.6 times from $7 trillion annually to $46 trillion. The demand for grain is interesting because 1 ton of beef, for example, takes 10 tons of grain to produce, a very resource-intensive form of food production.

Bob Vockerath also went into a brief description of the book Plan B and that its author expounds on 6 basic social goals:1. Basic universal – primary education2. Adult literacy programs3. Family planning4. School lunches5. Assisting pre-schoolers6. Universal basic health care In addition these social goals are supplemented by earth restoration goals:1. Reforestation2. Protection topsoil on croplands3. Restoring rangelands4. Restoring fisheries5. Protecting biodiversity6. Stabilizing the water table. Social goals and earth restoration together are forecast to cost an additional $191 million per year over and above what is being spent already. This contrasts to annual military spending of $975 billion, apparently in the US alone every year $475 billion are spent on defense. So if we simply reallocated our spending we would be in a position to effect tremendous social and environmental change for the better.

The crowd in the room was listening attentively and asked many questions. I was really impressed by this meeting since many people in the audience were in their 60 all the way into their late 80s or beyond and they showed such a strong interest in this topic although the future consequences of these issues will have a much stronger affect on their grand and great-grand children. As someone with an interest in ecological issues, I found this presentation very informative and concluded that the immigrant community in Cuernavaca is involved in some pretty interesting things…

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Stress – Present Day Maladies And Remedies

Stress affects everyone in this day and age. It occurs through living our lives day to day, through traffic on the freeway, our inability to pay a bill that is due, or through our body’s illness. It also affects people of all ages, from children, teenagers, adults and seniors. It seems no one is exempt from this present-day malady.

Stress today seems to come first from the psychological rather than from the physical areas of our lives. Since we no longer face the perils that we used to in our human history, such as dangerous animals or other matters that may have threatened our life, we now contend with a myriad of emotional upheavals such as learning how to get along with our in-laws or co-workers. Our bodies are still responding to stress in the same way they used to ages ago, with increased blood pressure and other responses that are automatically produced as a response to stress.

Other ways stress can enter our lives is through grief, being lonely and depressed. Stress can affect our body through our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to colds and other physical breakdowns.

It is worth the time and effort to learn how to deal with stress in our life. Stress management is a valuable tool that we can use. There are many ways we can combat stress. First of all, we need to try to find out what the cause of the stress may be by keeping a journal and writing down our thoughts when the opportunity arises in order to monitor our stress. Second, we can get our body moving in order to exercise our muscles. The stored energy in our body needs a way to release. Third, we can learn how to meditate with various techniques in order to relieve our brain. Fourth, we can learn ways of responding differently to others, such as assertiveness training.

Fifth, we can learn how to better manage our time so we can relieve our self-induced stress. Do not expect more from yourself than you are able to do. Analyze your schedule to see if you are expecting too much from yourself. Sixth, aromatherapy massage is becoming a popular way to combat stress in our life where we learn how to synergistically work through our body and our mind and emotions at the same time. Taking the time for ourselves is learning how to be responsible for ourselves and to keep ourselves free from stress. Seventh, if you feel yourself becoming too stressed out and you are feeling angry and out of control, take a time out. You can walk around the block, or the old adage of counting to ten, anything to focus your mind and body away from the stressor.

These remedies are just a few ways that we can relieve our stress from our lives. It is definitely worth it in order to have a more quality life as well as a longer life. The more we learn how to cope with the ever-present stress, the happier we will be.

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Need of Admirable Presentation in Wedding Catering

Wedding is an important event in a person’s life. All the fun and frolic and the excitement of a new beginning is enriched and made more special with the love and support of friends and family. Such grand events need the dash of perfect catering and delicious food to remember for a long time.

Wedding catering is a different kind of catering altogether. It requires the right menu, the right taste and of course, the right presentation. When serving a host of people and ensuring that they enjoy every moment of the ceremony or event, presentation plays a key part. There is nothing more assuring and more enticing than good presentation and how it can allure you to a plate of appetizers even without batting an eyelid.

The first and foremost need of presentation is matching up to the occasion. Weddings are special and so are the items on menu. Therefore, one cannot settle down with just about anything. From the bride’s and groom’s favorite recipe, to season’s favorite and then to the caterer’s specialty; one can find all sorts of delicacies dished out in the most brilliant of colors and the most delightful of textures.

One of the common examples of good presentation is easily seen in appetizers or starters, one can find skewers sprinkled with salt and pepper with a stick pierced into them. This is both handy and each guest can just pick up one stick with the skewer and relish the taste. One does not even have to take off their gloves or use cutlery to eat the appetizers. Similarly, there are fresh fruits with sticks and cakes, pie slices and even cookies with wafer at the bottom so that they can be picked up easily.

Another important way of presentation is with the seasoning, garnishing and dressing. One can add different seasonal spices and flavors to a salad, toss the salad with fresh cream and seasoning, add fresh lettuce and veggies to a sandwich or BBQ platter and also use colorful and tangy dressings for wraps, kebobs, fillets etc.

One of the finest presentation ideas used by most event catering companies is that using fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting them into life-like forms of birds, animals, and other caricatures. The use of watermelon as peacock, or carving out a cute little puppy on a creamy chocolate cake with vanilla is one of the few examples of presentation.

Overall, one can experiment with different colors and styles for presentation. One can also use creative and matching table tops, table cloths, cutlery and buffet arrangement to gel with the event theme or the other accessories such as drapes and furniture used at the event.

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Giving Presentations

The key to giving good presentations is by being confident. You may feel nervous about talking in front of a lot of people but you must strive to eliminate this feeling because it would be most likely to cause a poor performance. A presentation that reeks of uncertainty and lack of practice will definitely be a mess.

In giving presentations, preparation is very important. Consider who your audience will be when preparing your presentation, and what effect it is going to have on them. Take note of your limitations such as how long the presentation should take, is there a format you need to follow, and where the venue will be. It would be good if you could decorate the venue a bit to enhance your presentation. It depends, however, if this is applicable or not.

Keep your presentation complete but concise. Do not waste time on unnecessary words that would simply make your presentation boring and redundant. When composing a draft of your presentation, make sure that you will be able to convey your point to the audience in a clear and understandable manner. Review the presentation you have made to check it the message you want to get across is met. Refrain from making a very long presentation. It must also be interesting and relevant for it to have a lasting effect on the people listening to it.

Practice giving your talk with a friend so that you would be comfortable and you could get useful inputs from your friend. Talk as if the rehearsal is the actual presentation and you are in front of your audience. Use your props and visuals as if you really are doing the presentation. This will boost your confidence and will give you a better chance at giving an excellent presentation.

Introduce yourself at the start of your presentation and check if they can see and hear you clearly. You may give the audience an outline of your talk and allow them an allotted time to ask their questions. You could also use visuals such as PowerPoint slides, charts, graphs, slides, video clips or hand outs to make your presentation more interesting.

Make eye contact with your audience and maintain the proper posture so that you will exude an air of confidence. This will also help keep your audience interested and responsive. Avoid unnecessary movements with your hands or across the stage (or the place where you are giving the presentation) for this will communicate to the audience that you are nervous and unsure. Speak loud enough so that everyone can hear but keep your voice calm by speaking slowly and clearly.

At the end of the presentation, give a brief summary of what you have discussed and then make your conclusion based on the facts you have presented. Questions are best raised at this point or a discussion could be done to give the audience a chance to interact with the presenter and clarify points about the topic.

Proper research, adequate preparation, and confidence are important factors in giving a presentation. Complete these prerequisites and you will be sure to give a presentation that will capture your audience.

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Be Present Now – Have a Dog Day

What can you learn from a dog about consciousness?  

Well, yesterday I learned to see things through a dog’s eye view and to remember there is nothing more wonderful than being in the moment. 

Kicked Back With The Pack

The three of us sat, lay and rolled in the grass partially shaded by a Juniper tree. Our neighbor Maddie, a lovely 8 month old Golden Retriever, was laying against my left hip and Eddie, a new member of our family, adopted less than 24 hours earlier, was on my right. My two pack members were close enough to each other to play, giving lazy bites and tugs at each other across my body. I entered their world and the three of us doggies just hung out and chilled or you might say relaxed together in a calm easy way. 

Staying in contact both physically and energetically, we savored every slow moment. I observed my two pack mates in a very focused way, appreciating their mouths and manes and muscles and their way of being – as though seeing them for the first time. I matched their rhythm and took their lesson, seeking nothing more than to be present. 

Doggone Peaceful

We sat and lay almost still for nearly two hours while dappled sun warmed our bodies and singing birds entertained us. It was doggone delicious, and…the calm and presence is still with me. Everyone I have coached or talked with today has benefited from that presence, and I am at peace and content. 

It is easy to intellectually appreciate the power of now. It is quite different to experience it. We quickly get caught in the rhythm of doing-ness or busi-ness and we forget – There’s only one thing that is real, and that is this moment. 

Have A Dog Day

Here’s a thought for a change: Give yourself a dog day – an opportunity to enter the present through a different door. Spend some time with a dog, a cat or an infant. they have no agenda other than to be. Let go of the past and the future and simply be. 

And my final word….Woof.  

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Holiday Present For Your Beloved

Looking for great, reasonable and good-quality Christmas gifts for your beloved girl friend or woman is a hard obligation for majority of the men these days. You think, consider, plan, prepare, cancel plans, create another plan again and then purchase a present that you imagine the girl would not like or appreciate. Why not stop and think ahead of time and then act to it accordingly. You are going to consider in the thinking process what the girl wants or what is the thing that is very special to her or what things she find herself smiling and happy. Just like for example, if you think that she likes to venture in new fashion fad and colorful clothing, then you can have a magnificent scarf for her. Also sweaters, shawls, stockings are just few of the things that the girl would like to have.

Try also to consider the things that might be helpful for them in the house. Majority of the women would like to have a Christmas present that can be very useful in making or decorating their home, particularly the bedroom and kitchen. They love to make an effort in trying to use new machines, blenders, choppers, juices and the like. These equipments can surely prove to be best gifts for girls. For the bedroom, women would love to receive pleasing to the eye lamps and mirrors. They also like to get smaller and more classy and trendy decorative stuffs, like candles and fresh and scented flowers. Even body scent and accessories are loved and appreciated by a lot of them. Big gifts especially to the newly wed women are also favorable. You can have furniture ordered like contemporary bedroom sets and metal bar stools. These would surely make them even happier.

Funny or entertaining gifts also inform girls how much you love them to be able to think such an idea of making them smile. It is extraordinary most of the time to hand something from your very own possession that girls may have accepted, admired and cherished at some instance. Polish and enclose it in an attractive Christmas gift wrapper to provide it a great look. Acquire something pleasant for the living room or bedroom and assist them in choosing where will be its place. Make an effort to have the whole thing in perfect combination and harmony so that not anything may appear disoriented or look out of location.

Lastly, an idea every single girl would like, is to be given a Christmas present of shopping check. Most of the women are shopaholic. You can astonish your loved woman by a surprise dinner in her much loved restaurant. Women like it when men are able to remember their preferred places to hang-out with and the things they love that women might have told men at some instance of the relationship. If you can look back to the times where both of you had fun, you can get back to that moment by making the whole thing appear the same again. Believe, this would make her heart sing out loud.

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Star Power of Preparing for Your Presentation

Last night as I celebrated my daughter’s birthday at a Darius Rucker Concert at Bayside at the beach in Delaware, it struck me how much a great entertainer is similar to someone making a great speech or presentation. Let’s take a look at the similarities that lead to success.

1. In the first 30 seconds on stage, you knew he would deliver what was promised. Darius entered the stage with high energy; he was fully present and immediately connected with the audience. He said “Don’t worry if you miss anything, this lady up front is filming the whole thing on her iPhone. See her after the show” Everyone had a good laugh. The background flashed familiar street and route signs of the area, our favorite football team symbols and photos of the beach. He spoke of taking his children to the beach and mentioned local attractions. He was right out at the front of the stage speaking to everyone and moving around to connect with the audience. Do you connect with your audience or are you following a script? Connecting with the audience early puts both them and you at ease and gets things going.

2. As he sang the first several songs, I noticed that he danced while music played between verses but he came back on the exact correct note often turning in unison with the lead guitarist or the banjo player and making a face-to-face connection. That took lots of practice and it showed. How often do you practice your speech? Do you know just where to pause or to emphasize an important point?

3. Darius choose several songs that were very familiar to the audience and asked them to join in singing the chorus. This got everyone involved, young and old. I am sure people heard us down on the boardwalk in Ocean City. The participation made it exciting and more memorable. Do you get your audience involved? No, it may not be singing the familiar chorus to a tune but it can be asking a question, getting a person to participate in a demonstration, telling a story that creates a vision and connects or ask them to do something.

4. I took a look at the media control area, this was clearly a well coordinated multimedia show with flashing lights, colorful background graphics and mixing of the music from Darius and the band. Your presentation probably will not call for this elaborate orchestration of media, but your media should be rehearsed. Are you presenting with PowerPoint, including a switch to a website, or perhaps a video? Practice switching media helps to ensure smooth transitions. Yes, in today’s world there can be snafus with technology, but practice enables the best possible result and the opportunity to create a backup plan.

5. Darius ended on a high note with lots of energy. He sang a familiar song and there was an explosion of music, graphics and lights. The crowd was thrilled! Then he said thanks for a great time, drive safe and come back next year. We all left satisfied and knew exactly what to do next.

Take a tip from an expert and prepare like a pro!

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