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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wanted: Feedback on my Blog

Over the last one week, I received strong feedback from 3-4 people very close to me around the content and style of writing in recent posts which got me thinking.

I totally enjoy writing (just for the heck of it) and I'd write most of these posts even if my blog had no readers (There are more unpublished posts than published posts on my blog :-)). This blog has had nearly as many visitors/page-views/comments in the last 6 months as it had seen since its inception (back in 2005) to start of this year. This has helped inflate my already inflated ego :-).

I am seeking feedback from you - the esteemed readers of my blog to get me back to level-ground and validate the feedback received. Please click here to provide your feedback on how you want this blog to shape up. It won't take you more than 2-3 mins to do so (I promise!!!) and I also promise to act on your feedback.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

6 Worst Presentation Mistakes you must avoid

I got this in the mail today as a follow-up of a webinar recommended to us. While I do consider myself a Powerpoint & Presentation Expert of sorts, this is still a good checklist of mistakes to avoid. Paste it infront of your desk and look at it when you are putting your next deck together or going into your next live presentation.

Preliminary work before you start creating content… focus on avoiding mistakes #1 & #2.  To do this, design your deck outside of powerpoint, maybe OneNote or a whiteboard, and then use that to create the deck. If there was one great habit I took away from Mu Sigma (in the early days), this was it.

Mistake #1 - Failure to learn about your audience.
Tip - focus your time on your audience/customer and not about your ideas. Actually answering this question will help make sure the deck has an impact. This will also help you decide if a deck or a meeting is worth your time. 

Questions to ask...research prior to building your deck
1 - Who will attend?
2 - What do they really want?
3 - Why are they participating?
·         The learner, here to learn.
·         The vacationer, good hour to burn/hang out.
·         Prisoner of wars, someone else made them come so they have to be here.
4 - Do you need to establish credibility?
5 - How much time?
6 - Specific measureable benefit?
7 - Likely objections?

Mistake #2 - Lack of a clearly defined objective. (very, very hard)
Tip - if you don't know what you want other's won't know either
Tip - state your objective first & include reasons for meeting.

Possible reasons…
What do you want - what will you ask for?
What's in it for the listener - what do they get?
Example, 'By purchasing this software your company will save $1.3M a year'.

Mistake #3 - Too much data (and I am guilty of this when time with the client is limited and am trying to communicate a lot of good work we have done: Note to Self: Break those into two separate presentations if you have to, don't mix them up and of course synthesize key messages and communicate)
Tip - all presentations should be built around max 3 things only - THREE (or 4,5 … you get it.)  These TALKING POINTS are the pillars/framework for the presentation.

Why 3 things and nothing more?
Memory & Impact.
Distill many into few (Summarize)
Lead with your best stuff!

Mistake #4 - Failing to excite.
Tip - script out what you want to say in the beginning and end (especially), and rehearse it

Excite by …
A gee-whiz fact, a powerful story.
Focus attention on key issues
Grab their attention

Mistake #5 - Death by PowerPoint (put as little as possible - no more than 6 words across, 6 lines down).
Tip - three things to use PPT for … HINT the preso isn't the deck you ARE the preso, otherwise just email.

Main things to remember about powerpoint...
1 - visualize ideas (it's a visual aide) … use imagery and not words
2 - used to highlight key points only;  it's not a data dump
3 - impress people since lots of decks are pathetic (so, why don't you just email to your audience?)
4 - never use powerpoint in a handout?  If so, why are you presenting it?

Example - how big is an acre of land?  Visualize with an image vs. just stating a metric, etc.

Mistake #6 - Ending with inspirational deficit.
Tip - end presentation with a simple question aligned with objective.  Ask someone to agree with you, make a decision, to do something. A presentation/meeting/deck that doesn't get acted upon is a real waste of your time and theirs. This is a great way to ensure action.

Example - what, if anything, would prevent you from going with my recommendation?

While I did attend the webinar, thanks to my colleague Kevin C for putting this great summary together (italicized content above) and saving me the work of putting this together from memory.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What are the documents required before buying a plot in a Community?

I am currently doing some research on the real estate market in Bangalore and some good sources tell me that there's a good 15% drop in recent times in Market Prices. The two developers I spoke to over the weekend totally denied it and said their sales were going better than ever. Anyway, ss I start looking for plots, here is a quick check-list I put together of documents required before parting with the cheque/cash.

These are the list of documents required to make sure that a plot you are buying (from a Gated Community) is a good deal (No potential litigation or cheating involved):
  1. Sale Agreement between You and Developer (Verify Developer Name and Signatory)
  2. Flow of Title should be clear / Mother Deed
  3. Sale Agreement of Property (Note Survey No.) from Original Owner to Current Owner
  4. Family Tree (If it is an ancestral property)
  5. No Litigation / Best to issue a paper notification
  6. Joint Development Agreement between Owner and Developer (Make sure developer name in JDA and Sale Agreement) - Make sure it is registered and the signatory is correct
  7. RTC - Record of Rights (for 30 Years upto date)
  8. Up to date Tax Paid Receipt both on the original land (before the developer bought it and your plot)
  9. Mutation Registry (MR) Extract Copy (Latest)
  10. Latest EC / Encumbrance Certificate (Runabaara Rahitya Patra in Kannada)
  11. DC Conversion Approval (Mentioning Survey Nos where the approval is valid and note conditions under which the approval is given) - Approval to convert agricultural land to residential land
  12. LSR (Legal Scrutiny Report) - A report where a lawyer looks at all the documents and confirms that everything is in order. This is a must and should even if you are going to get your own lawyer to look at it.
  13. Approval from Competent Authority with Layout Plan (Note Survey Nos and Plot Nos - Preferably should be one of DTCP or BMRDA)
  14. Bank Approval Documents - Some proof that the Bank has agreed to provide loans
  15. Talk to a few customers of previous properties to get the credentials of the developer verified and last but not the least
  16. Like I mentioned in my previous post, do a basic check online for the builder (name), developer company and property name as well to see if you find any history of cheating / not living upto promises / etc
Is there anything else that is required to be verified? If yes, let me know either on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section below and I'll update this post so it remains a quick checklist for me and of course anyone else looking to buy a plot.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I bought an i10?

After a lot of thought, research, seeking opinion from friends (on this blog too) and tons of test-drives, I finally decided on an i10. I made the payment and took delivery last weekend. Here she is in all her splendor outside the showroom.

My reasons for doing so as against a bigger car such as a SX4 Diesel which I had almost decided upon a few days back:

  • Easier Driving: I can't tell you how much easier it is to drive this car when compared to my brother's Swift Dzire which really is not as big as the SX4 I was considering. I still can't sneak through gaps as I used to with my bike. But this is probably gets me as close to that as I probably can with a car.
  • Will be a lot easier for Bhagya to start driving as and when she does start doing so.
  • Lower Cost: At 5.5L (On-Road), it is at half the 10L that the SX4 would have cost.
  • Two other big cars at home: My brother's SX4 and my dad's Ford Ikon are still there for me to use whenever we need a bigger car. The choice for me was between this one and probably a SUV.
  • Easier Maintenance: Lower the cost of the car, I was hoping lower the maintenance expenses. I did consider other small cars but decided to go with Hyundai for just service promise being better.
  • Petrol vs. Diesel: The lower promised maintenance of Petrol Engines along with of course the fact that the premium charged for Diesel cars being too high for me considering the number of miles I will probably drive in a year because of my short commute to work. 12k miles (max) translates to 800liters and 24k INR in savings per year. The diesel options I considered were 7L+ atleast meaning that it wasn't that great a saving considering the supposed increased maintenance costs.
  • Last but not the least, this is not going to be my last car. Let's start small and move up rather than start big and move down was the philosophy!! 
I am sorry if I disappointed friends who'd suggested other options on my previous request for suggestions. Did I?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Google plus plus

Google Plus is up!! While its still lonely out there right now, there are some cool features of Google+. Better integration with my other Google Apps (Chat, Picasa, Youtube, etc), Circles, Hangout and most importantly Sparks makes sure you don't leave Google+ ever. 

If someone can do an update FB and update Google + plug-in soon, we can probably start having some activity in Google Plus and a real fight might just take place in the Social Networking Place. Here's what Hitler thinks of Google Plus. He wants an invite and he wants one real bad. 

 Do you need one too? Ping me if you haven't already got one. :-)