Monthly Archives: November 2015

What You Should Know About Giving Great Presentations at Work – Part I: Beginnings

Open road ahead
Photo by Phil Koch

So you’ve landed that job you wanted; congratulations! Now comes the fun. Whether you’re comfortable in front of a group or have taken a speech class in college, presentations and speaking opportunities are a part of some positions. So if you anticipate speaking before an audience, this multipart series is for you.

Know that with a short talk (eg. 3-5 minutes), you have roughly the first 20 seconds to drive home the action you want the audience to take and the benefit they can expect from doing so. Limit your subject since all you can expect to really get across is 1 or 2 main points. With longer talks, meant to secure action, you can make about 3 or 4 points.

As you prepare, value and develop your individuality and distinctiveness. They’re the spark that will add life and sincerity into your presentations. Let’s look at the other facets of preparing for your presentation in bullet point form.

Where to Begin

  • Imagine success! Never undertake anything you want to accomplish thinking about defeat.
  • The best way to develop courage is to act like you already have it. We’ll talk more about this in part IV.
  • Know what you want to accomplish with this presentation. You’ll be giving a speech to do one or more of four the following things: persuade/get action, inform, entertain, or impress/convince.
  • (Obviously!) Assemble and arrange your ideas beforehand. Assuming you’ll have some visuals in the form of a Powerpoint file, I suggest making a table in Word with column 1 as the slide number. Column 2 includes the points you want to make with the keywords in bold. Each slide number corresponds to the points to be made from the right column while that slide is showing. Bold your text for any questions you’ll ask the audience, and add a special bullet. This will help you easily see the question to ask. Here’s a sample presentation notes sheet I came up with.

Choosing a Subject

  • The only way to gauge the interest value of a subject is to ask yourself how interested you are in it.
  • Fit the purpose and topic of your presentation to the audience and occasion. Consider why you’re choosing a topic and why it has meaning for the intended audience.

Include Stories

  • After introducing yourself, it’s best to open with a compelling story. People like to listen to stories. A presentation will be more interesting if it’s rich with human interest stories, and a top source for those is your own background/experience.
  • You can start a story from your experience by saying, “Here’s what happened to me,” or “…this is my story.”
  • Be as descriptive and visual as possible. Paint a picture with words.
  • Stories have a beginning, build, climax, fall, and resolution/wrap up.
  • Use specific names and a lot of concrete and explicit details.
  • Work a little dialog (from experiences) into your talk—what people said in the course of what happened.

We’ll talk more about the structure of a great presentation and the development of ideas in the next post.

The content of this series is mostly drawn from Dale Carnegie’s book The Quick & Easy Way to Effective Speaking and a bit from Nancy Duarte’s TEDx presentation.

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How Children & Graduates Can Stay Compliant With Obamacare

Obamacare Graduates Children & health insurance
Photo by Russ Allison

If you’re a forthcoming graduate, getting off your parents’ health insurance soon, or moving out of your home state after college, you’re probably wondering what your responsibility is about health insurance in the light of the Affordable Care Act. Avoid wasting money paying the fine you’d incur by going without health insurance. Here are some key questions and answers that can help.

A few definitions/acronyms to know:
ACA – Affordable Care Act
ESI – Employer sponsored insurance. NOTE: Most offers of employer healthcare coverage are affordable and adequate, as defined by the ACA. Affordable employer insurance is defined as “less than or equal to 9.5% of the household income for self-only coverage.” (The cost of adding a spouse and children is not included.) Adequacy is determined by minimum value standards.
MECMinimum essential coverage • See what counts as MEC
SEPSpecial enrollment period – a time outside of open enrollment when you have an opportunity to sign up for health insurance

How long can I stay on my parents health insurance? Until you turn 26—even if you have an offer of insurance through your spouse or employer.

If I move out of their home or out of state, can I still stay on their insurance, and if so, to what age? Graduating or moving out of your parents’ home doesn’t necessarily count as a qualifying life event (also referred to as a triggering event.) You can stay on their insurance until you’re 26 (or enroll in ESI if that is available to you.)

I don’t live with my parents, and I’m not on their health insurance. At what age am I responsible to have my own health insurance? Essentially, it’s not about age. In the event a child is fined, the tax filer (either a parent or other) is responsible for paying the fine. If you are a tax filer, you will be asked about having health insurance when you file taxes, and if you could have afforded health insurance and went without it, then you or whoever is the tax filer will be fined. If you did not have an affordable offer of health insurance and went without it, then you qualify for a hardship exemption. Ideally if you are working and qualify for ESI, you must enroll in that.

What are the timeframes for an SEP and the fine? You can apply for ACA insurance up to 60 days before your qualifying life event. Then you’ll have 60 days after your qualifying life event as your SEP to enroll in a Marketplace plan or secure other health insurance. Remember, if you go 3 months or more in a calendar year with no health insurance, you will probably incur a fine when you file your annual Federal taxes. The sooner you can get on top of this after you know you will not have coverage, the better so you can avoid the fine and/or having to wait until the next year for open enrollment to secure a Marketplace plan.

Anything else I should know? If you have affordable and adequate insurance available to you through either your parents’ policy or through your job, you will not get tax credits (a discount on the plan) on a Marketplace plan if you apply for one. Knowing when your current coverage will end and if you have another offer of affordable coverage available to you will help as you choose new health insurance.

For more information: See or call 1-800-318-2596. Find local help through people and organizations in your community who can help you apply, enroll, and answer your questions. Also, this Reference Chart will provide more information about events that can allow/begin an SEP.

Thanks again to Rachel Clifton at the Tennessee Justice Center for help with the information in this article.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.