The Significance Of The Present Suffering

“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body”. This is contained in 2 Cor 4: 11. Relevant scriptures for this purposeful topic could be found in James 1: 2-4, Col 12: 4-29, 2:1-5.

Nobody will choose to suffer for nothing, that is, without a reason or attached reward. Christ chose to suffer in order that we may have life and have it in abundance. Paul suffered so that the lost may be saved. Stephen died for Christ. The sufferings of all other disciples cannot be all discussed here. They passed through ‘hell’ but they have their reasons for accepting the sufferings. The sufferings are significant. Nothing good comes without a price. James 1:2-4 sees sufferings (trials and temptation) as a pure joy and the testing of faith that produces perseverance. Paul suffered for the church and for Christ (Col 1:24-29). Whatever you passé through in the course of liberating some souls seen suffering for Christ, if only we could endure, we shall be glorified and receive reward from Christ. Christ is standing at the right hand side of God during your sufferings, trials, temptation, pains, agonies, etc. as in the case of Stephen, to see if you will fail Him and lose heart. The bible says, ‘if you fail in the time of adversity, your strength is mall’. The time allotted for the suffering is small, but the glory is great!

The present sufferings we Christians are passing through are very important one in the liberation of the creation and it is glory-rewarding, soul-winning and Christ- agony-sharing suffering. Our hope in times of trouble should be that our sufferings are not going unnoticed and will be adequately rewarded. More so that it helps us grow unto perfection, grants us in-depth knowledge about Christ and that at the end of it all, we shall have life, be saved and reign with Christ.

Can you take a pause and think on how you have suffered for Christ (if any)? Why did you choose to suffer at that particular time? Paul talked about boasting in his sufferings. What do you understand by that? It simply means that by so doing, we are helping others to grow in faith and be much stronger, encourage them; we give glory to God thus and make others praise Him. In all, our position/submission in times of trouble should be that such is a worthwhile one, it is meant for a short-while, it is needed for better society and in fact, it is our primary responsibility and service unto God.

In conclusion, the word ‘present’ in present suffering (Rom 8: 18a) denotes that the sufferings are just for a short time i.e. for now and more so, in the next few moment it will be story and then the glory and joy of sharing in the suffering of Christ will fill our heart. If Christ suffered to save you, don’t you see it as a great responsibility bestowed upon you to go out there and save others irrespective of the knowledge or unseen sufferings that are attached?

Tips For Making Effective Presentations

Most executives at some point in their careers will have to make a PowerPoint presentation. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I’ve had the opportunity to see numerous presentations both good and bad in addition to the many that I’ve done myself. Based on these experiences, I recommend the following for anyone interested in public speaking:

Know your audience prior to giving your talk. People coming to hear presentations want to know what value will this talk provide them. Understanding your group will help accomplish this task. Provide examples or cases relevant to your audience to make the topics easier for your listeners to grasp.

Visit the room before the event. Knowing the environment builds confidence. Visiting the room before the talk also helps prevent problems related to technology malfunctions, etc.

Smile during the talk. See a nice smile and you’ll see people become engaged. It’s inviting, yet many people seem to have trouble smiling when getting in front of groups.

Use eye contact and avoid reading off of your PowerPoint slides. Eye contact makes people feel like you’re speaking directly with them and engages the audience. Start with the left side of the room, make eye contact for a few seconds, then move your eyes to the middle of the room, repeat the process, and then work the right side of the room. Do this throughout the presentation.

Speak slowly and clearly. Prior to speaking, practice in front of a mirror and tape yourself to hear how you’re coming across. Have others critique you in a dress rehearsal presentation to make sure you’re coming across the way you want. Get a good grade in front of your peers and you’re on your way to a successful presentation when it’s time to go live.

Provide an agenda. People like getting an overview before getting into the details and providing an agenda accomplishes this. It is like serving an appetizer before the main course.

Keep to your allotted time. It is rude to go over or under your scheduled time. If you’re supposed to present for 90 minutes, keep it to 90 minutes.

Use graphics to enhance your slides. Pictures, slides, and charts can all be effective tools to get your points across. Make sure you cite your sources properly. Tools including Flickr and Slideshare can be helpful. Both sites allow free access to pictures and power point slides used by others provided you credit the source.

Another effective tool that can be used to enhance presentations is humor. Making people laugh eases anxiety for speakers and listeners. Video and music are also effective tools that can be used to engage your group as is asking questions to promote discussion and dialog among the attendees.

How to Prepare for Executive Presentations

The following are tips to help you master preparation for executive presentations. “Executive Presentations” are those presentations intended for introducing new ideas or reviewing performance for management within an organization. These suggestions are intended for optimizing powerful and focused communications.

Be Brief, the Ten Minute Rule

Regardless of the amount of time that you may have scheduled for your meeting, make sure that you can convey your complete message in ten minutes or less. Strip away conjecture, comments or perceptions to convey the core message as quickly, accurately and concisely as possible. If you have additional interesting materials, place it in an appendix for leisure reading. (Do you know many executives who have time for leisure reading? If your audience is not going to read the material on their own spare time, then don’t put it in the heart of your presentation.) Would you rather present to a Board of Directors, or board directors?

Bullet Points, Numbers, Dollars, Graphs, Charts and Pictures

Can you convey your message in five bullet points or less? Can you substantiate your message with numbers, dollars or a graphical representation? Then do it. A picture is worth a thousand words, but dollars can common sense will get the most attention. Graphical and financial representation of data and trends changes what you “think” into what you “know”. Do not waste time discussing opinion, but rather provide substance to generate meaningful conversation about interpretation of the facts.

Who

Be prepared to name the resources required and the individuals, organizations, departments or customers who will contribute or be impacted. Be prepared to respond to the worst case scenario impact by person or area, and the countermeasures.

What

Try to state what you are presenting in seven words or less

When

Be prepared with a timeline, plan, milestones and metrics of measurement. If you are proposing an idea that has fiscal impact, demonstrate the key milestones as points in the process that can be measured and compared for progress. Don’t wait to measure at the end of the project, know how you will measure from the beginning and through the entire process. Identify the critical path elements that could delay a project or strategic direction, as well as points in the process at which a project could be completely stopped, if necessary.

Where

Is your presentation related to specific geographical or demographic area? If so, it may be appropriate to indicate the limit or scope of the topic. It may not be necessary to include this in the presentation, but you should be aware. It is equally important to recognize if your presentation or proposal specifically excludes a particular geography or demographic. For example, does your idea benefit end-user customers at the expense of corporate customers? Is your global strategy equally relevant in Latin America as it is in Europe?

How

This can be included with the ‘When” of your planning process. If you are presenting a plan, proposal or change in strategic direction, then show your plan. How you plan to implement or improve should be integrated with timelines, milestones and measurements. It is much easier to review a plan than to discuss a concept.

Why

Unfortunately, far too many presentations are completely focused on the intent of the message. It is reasonable to assume that the purpose of a presentation is some benefit. The benefit may be associated with reduced cost, risk avoidance, strategic initiatives, revenue generation, compliance or planning. Whatever the benefit may be, it is important to balance the benefit message with substantive facts and responses to the above mentioned details as applicable. The benefit statement in your presentation should also be concise, easy to understand and very focused. State the purpose of your message in one sentence.

Alternatives

Every presentation or ideas has alternatives. The alternative to change is to remain status quo. Although remaining status quo could be a substantial competitive disadvantage for most organizations, sometimes it is better than the risk associated with proposed changes. Enhance the power of your presentation by offering a few bullet points that demonstrate investigation of the alternatives and the potential comparative impact.

Method

Use an appropriate manner of communication to accommodate your audience. This may be a Power Point presentation, a single sheet of paper with bullet points and graphs, or a documented study with an executive summary at the beginning. The most important element of your presentation is the content. Convey your message quickly. Be prepared to substantiate your message with facts, a plan, impact and alternatives. If a conversation erupts about your message, embrace it and use the communication as an opportunity to engage the audience. A conversation is infinitely more interesting than a presentation. Deliver your material in a manner that fosters thoughtful interactive dialogue with active participation for best results.

______________________________________________________

Words of Wisdom

“And, of course, you have the commercials where savvy businesspeople Get Ahead by using their MacIntosh computers to create the ultimate American business product: a really sharp-looking report.”

- Dave Barry

“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

- E. B. White

“I have always found that in preparing for any presentation that the plan never applies, but the preparation does.”

- John Mehrmann, Executive Blueprints Inc

______________________________________________________

John Mehrmann