Presentation Skills – What, Why and How to Use “Signature Stories”

It is hard to believe that there are still presenters who will start their presentation with, “Thank you. I am so pleased to be here,” or they tell a joke that bears no relationship to their topic. Much stronger is the presenter who has developed strong and effective “Signature Stories.”

What Is a “Signature Story?”
A “Signature Story” belongs to you. It can be a personal story about your own experience or experiences. It can be a story about someone else’s experience. It can be an original story that embraces the topic and/or points of your presentation. Or, it can also be a traditional story or fairy/folk tale that has been updated to fit your presentation. I have used all, and with proper preparation, they have all worked to my benefit.

Why Use “Signature Stories?”
Remembering that our “Signature Stories” need to be riveting and topnotch, we will find that as long as we make them unique and “our own,” our listeners will react to us and our stories. Good stories are easily internalized, so we as listeners will be able to think back and remember the points made in the presentation. I also enjoy hearing a good story again and again. I remember and love re-hearing Zig Ziglar’s cafeteria story, Jim Rohn’s Girl Scout cookie story, and Stephen Covey’s use of the traditional “Golden Goose” story.

Developing the Personal “Signature Story”

  • The advantage of developing and using your own personal story is that it happened to you. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t seem plausible and even bring to mind similar stories that your listeners have experienced — this is even better, because they will relate more to you and your topic. It is OK to embellish a bit, but my warning here is to share your struggles rather than your triumphs. People like to hear about times when you are the “bug” rather than the “windshield.”
  • Don’t be afraid to expose some of your weaknesses or fears. I have a story that everyone loves called “Bat in the Bathroom.” It gets lots of laughs and many of my listeners rush up after my presentation to share similar challenges with nature’s creatures.
  • One other caveat about personal “Signature Stories” is that you are not using them for your own therapy. I have heard speakers who think they are touching the hearts of their audience, when they are actually making them uncomfortable. I tell a positive story about my son’s bout with cancer, but it took me several years before I could tell it without crying. Once I had control and started to tell it — it is called, “I Believe in Miracles” — I have had many relatives of cancer patients thank me for sharing it.

So, get busy and develop your “Signature Story.” You will be amazed by the presentation power of using it.

Egyptian Cotton Bedding, The Perfect Christmas Present for The Person With Everything

As the freezing winter nights begin to draw in, it is in bed when most of us begin to feel the big chill. And if this Christmas time is as chilly as last then we’re facing icy toes and tossing and turning all night, getting up in the small hours to source a blanket to put on.

Ask yourself honestly; when was the last time you bought brand-new bed sheets? Many people keep their bedding for years on end, slowly wearing them down in the wash and ruining their warmth and softness. What you thought were good bed sheets 5 years ago might not be anymore.

Maybe you’ve been putting off buying new bedding. Coming to loggerheads in a shop with a partner over prospective sheets or the mumbo jumbo about thread counts and various types of cotton may have put you off. But you spend almost a third of your life between the sheets; surely you deserve some great bedding after a long, hard day? High-quality bed sheets are definitely worth investing in, they will provide a good night’s sleep and durability. And choosing from the wealth of styles and materials on the market might not be as confusing as you first thought.

Cotton is the most common bedding material. There are various types of cotton of different finishes and qualities. 100% cotton is a general term used to describe cotton of a non-premium quality. Organic cotton is an eco-friendly alternative to regular cotton, as it won’t have been produced using fertilizers or pesticides.

Egyptian Cotton has been the most sought after bedding for years because of its luxurious soft feel and its durability. But just 8% of worldwide cotton produced is from the same species as the plant used to make Egyptian Cotton. The long fibres in this cotton make yarns that are smaller in diameter yet stronger than other cottons. Smaller yarn means that there will be more threads per square inch, creating a durable fabric which is light in weight and breathes well. Egyptian Cotton can be purchased in a sateen finish which gives a subtle gloss to the fabric.

Silk sheets have a strong shine to them and a delicate feel. They are very pricey however, and not as warm as Egyptian Cotton sheets. Mulberry silk is where the silk worms which spin the silk are fed a diet of Mulberry leaves, which creates a much softer feeling material. Satin sheets offer the same sheen as silk but are less costly and less durable. They are also quite cool to touch however, so unless you have a very warm home both of them are ideally suitable for summer use.

Modal is a tough fabric produced from beech pulp blended with cotton. There are also bamboo bed sheets, which blend the fast-growing Asian plant with cotton for an eco-friendly bedding.

In cotton sheets the thread count shows how many threads have been used to create fifty four inches. A greater thread-count usually indicates a more luxurious and smoother feeling fabric. Greater thread counts are typically warmer, and experts recommend looking for sheets of no fewer than a 200 thread count.

Crisp new bed sheets are the ideal Christmas present for that person who has everything. They are the home furnishing used the most, yet least often replaced. Or what about treating yourself this Christmas? Bedsheets are the present nobody ever receives yet we all need. Snuggling down in some high-thread count Egyptian Cotton bed sheets makes a great way to stay warm this winter.

How To Negotiate Better With The Devil And Win

Negotiating with anyone that’s tough can be bedeviling. If you’re bedeviled when negotiating against tough negotiators (hard nose), inconsistent negotiators (say one thing and do another), and/or with those with whom you’re very close to (friends, associates), you can have a devil of a time negotiating with such people and still win.

The following are tips, tactics, and techniques you can use when negotiating in situations that can be devilish.


When negotiating with friends, the negotiation can be deviling because you may not want to risk the friendship due to a hard negotiation. This in turn can cause you to acquiesce to requests that you otherwise wouldn’t commit to.

Negotiation Tip: When negotiating with friends, close associates, or those that you place more value on the relationship versus the outcome of the negotiation, set the groundwork for the negotiation ahead of time. This is something that you’d normally do when framing the negotiation (setting the agenda as to what will be discussed). With people that fall into the categories mentioned, take extra care in framing the negotiation by informing your friend or associate that you really don’t want to get into a give and take, because you place more value in the relationship. Thus, you don’t want harm to befall it. You can also jokingly say, “… and I don’t want you to take advantage of me, either”. With the negotiation stage set from that perspective, both of you should be able to negotiate amicably and do so while preserving the relationship. By framing the negotiation from this perspective, you will have taken the potential devil out of the negotiation.


I’ll discuss two tactics that you can employ when negotiating with someone that bedevils you. One is mirroring, the other is appearing to be led while leading, or leading from behind. These two tactics are closely tied to one another.

You employ the mirroring, or leading from behind tactic by mimicking the requests, actions, and tactics of the other negotiator. If he’s being devilish in the negotiation, he’ll quickly recognize that you’re replicating his actions. This will have one of two effects on him. One, he’ll realize that he’s in for a very long negotiation that might be a waste of his time, as long as he maintains his negotiation tactic. Two, he’ll recognize the devil in you and change his tactics. In either case, you will have altered his perspective, which will be to your advantage.


When negotiating with someone that employs tough (I win, you lose) techniques, play hard ball (don’t give anything unless you get something of value). With this type of personality, if you display weakness, more than likely you’ll be treated like a lamb and be led to slaughter.

While the negotiation may be daunting, if the purpose of the negotiation is worth the effort, stay engaged. Watch the time you invest in the negotiation. The more time you invest, the more you’re likely to stay engaged for the conclusion of the negotiation. Doing so could cause you to make concessions that are not beneficial to your position.

You may not be able to turn all of your bedeviling negotiations into angels, but by adopting the suggestions above, you can make your negotiations more heavenly… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!