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5 Must-Have Tools for Highly Effective People

5 Must-Have Tools for Highly Effective People

If you don’t consider yourself to be a highly efficient person, you are not getting the most out of everything that you are doing. It is particularly important for business owners to be efficient, and it isn’t always easy because there are always so many things to do. That is why there are apps and tools available that will help anyone to become more efficient and productive. But, which tools are the best to use? To help you become more efficient, we have compiled a list of our top five favorite efficiency tools.

1. XMind

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xmind

    This is the most popular mind mapping tool available today, and now it comes with the Cloud. It is fast and easy to synchronize files across Macs and PC’s. Also, it allows you to view and even edit your mind maps in your browser. XMind has Idea Factory brainstorming mode and over 60,000+ pretty icons to help you clarify thinking and boost your productivity. This is a great tool to use when you want to get input from various groups so all voices can be heard equally. The more you can learn, the more efficient you are going to be, and more will get done. XMind has a free version, and the Pro version only costs $99 now. And, the latest good news is that XMind for iOS will be soon released.

    2. Realtime Board

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    realtime board

      Having to wade through dozens or even hundreds or more emails daily can bog you down, and diminish your effectiveness. This tool will help to change all of that. You will never get lost in endless email chains and many messengers when you are using this tool, and you can gather feedback, give comments, mark things up, and see real-time updates. Basically, it will be taking the place of the traditional office whiteboard, and you will be much more efficient.

      3. MarketCircle

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      marketcircle

        This app is going to greatly increase your productivity as a small business owner, and the productivity of your business. This is a business app that has been specifically created for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. You can get a free trial, so there is no risk at all, and you will likely end up paying for this service that is going to help you immensely. Use this app to manage customer relations, schedule meetings, sales, projects, opportunities, emails, and a whole lot more. This is going to help improve your efficiency, and improve productivity in your business, which of course leads to improved sales.

        4. Basecamp

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        basecamp

          It can be really difficult to keep a team interested in a project, and have everyone working on the same page. This app makes things a lot easier. You can use this tool to keep everything organized altogether. Use it for managing multiple emails, chats, and more. This tool has been popular for more than 12 years, and more than 100,000 companies are using it because it is proven to work and increase efficiency and productivity. If all of these companies are using this app, what are you waiting for? Try it today and see just how much it can do to improve your efficiency.

          5. Trello

          trello

            Working with a team can be difficult, but it is a lot easier when you are using this awesome tool. The boards, lists, and cards will let you get more organized, faster. It will also let you prioritize all of your projects in a way that is fun, flexible, and ultimately, rewarding. You can sign up for free, so you have nothing to lose. Enjoy being able to drag and drop cards between lists so you can show progress. Add people as needed and drag them to the cards, and add reorder lists when you need them. Everything you need to know about any current project can be seen at a glance, and updates are in real time.

            Featured photo credit: Matthew Dix via unsplash.com

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            Last Updated on February 11, 2021

            10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

            10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

            Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

            You have to work hard to develop the right skills

            If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

            1. Make your presentation short and sweet

            With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

            JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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            2. Open up with a good ice breaker

            At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

            • Joking
            • Tugging on their heart strings
            • Dropping a bombastic statement
            • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
            • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

            You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

            3. Keep things simple and to the point

            Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

            4. Use a healthy dose of humor

            Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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            It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

            5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

            Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

            6. Practice your delivery

            Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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            7. Move around and use your hands

            Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

            8. Engage the audience by making them relate

            Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

            9. Use funny images in your slides

            Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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            10. End on a more serious note

            When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

            As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

            Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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