Christmas Gifts for Toddlers – Make the Presents Last More Than a Day

When I go through the toy store or a Wal-Mart with my three year old, I know exactly what he will say. “Oh,” he’ll exclaim with a mix of excitement and surprise. “I want THAT for Christmas!” What toddler boy doesn’t want a new train, truck, racecar or fighter jet? It’s a safe guess your toddler has a long list too. The question is, how can parents make the Christmas gifts last? How can you help your toddler enjoy and appreciate his new things for many days instead of five minutes of glory? Here are a few ideas that have worked for us and our friends:

1. Enjoy 12 days of Christmas. Do you have presents stacking up from grandma, grandpa, aunts and uncles? Or perhaps you’ve purchased 5 or 6 presents for junior yourself. Try starting Christmas on December 13th and allow your toddler to open one present per day until Christmas. This will spread out the excitement and allow your toddler to enjoy each gift. Why just have one day of Christmas when you can have twelve?

Now many of us don’t have enough gifts piled up to begin opening on December 13. Try opening a gift a day starting on December 20, or just open one on Christmas Eve, most gifts on Christmas day, and save one gift for New Year’s. The idea is to spread out the Christmas cheer.

2. If you’re traveling, open some gifts before your trip and after. If you’re headed to grandma’s house, the last thing you want to do is load your already packed suitcase with your toddler’s new bike. You can open your gifts at home before or afterwards. It’s always fun to save a gift at home so when you need some incentive for your toddler to behave well during that plane ride, you’ve got something to offer.

3. Do something special for someone else. Teach your toddler to give gifts to the less fortunate so he can be more grateful for the avalanche of things he will receive. This year, our family packed a shoebox full of toys for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. That shoebox will be delivered to a boy who may live in a slum in Calcutta, or an orphanage in Johannesburg. Your toddler will remember the shoebox and begin to understand that there are many children in the world who have very little.

4. Re-gift! Search for a forgotten toy around the house, something your toddler used to love playing with six months ago. Wrap it up and give it to him again. You’ll be amazed at how much fun he’ll have with his long lost friend or toy.

Your toddler will have a Christmas to remember as you try these gift giving ideas!

Essentials of Negotiation – Be A Negotiation Specialist!

Some people make it look really easy – closing deals and winning great transactions without breaking sweat. But do you know that there are ways to become an expert on the essentials of negotiation and getting things done your way? The benefits of knowing the essentials of negotiation are endless!

You can score many opportunities, create better professional relationship with customers and ultimately enhance your career. Read on to discover the essentials of negotiation and reap the benefits…

1. Maintain a relaxed mood. Keep a friendly but emotionally resigned front. It helps to be patient. In the total length of time it takes to negotiate, decisions and compromises are met at the last remaining minutes of the discussion. Keep it cool.

2. Always have your focus in mind. No matter where the conversation leads to or how hard the other party tries to mislead you, jump back to the topic at hand and retain your focus. Though this seems so simple, it is actually considered one of the essentials of negotiation.

3. Be open to options. Hey, who says you’re supposed to get it all done on your own terms all the way? If it’s not possible, don’t just give in to the other person, ask for other options. Better yet, suggest some of your own. Do make sure though, that your suggestions are still within your negotiating capacity.

4. Point out both the “good” and the “bad”. Making good negotiations entail many different decisions. In order to make good decisions, all the sides of an idea should be clear and known by both parties. Be sure you mention the risks involved while you state the benefits. It won’t do your conscience any good if you won a deal by covering up some “cons” involved. The essentials of negotiation require you to be dedicated to your goal but also virtuous to avoid a possible backlash from unsatisfied clients.

Good negotiators are not born with negotiation skills; they have learned and polished such skills through time. Knowing the essentials of negotiation will not only get you through that deal, it will make you spell success through the greater opportunities of life!

You Can’t See Their Eyes Roll: The Challenges With Presenting In A Virtual Environment

When you are presenting in person, you can constantly monitor your audience for engagement. Are they with me? Do they disagree with the plan I am presenting? Do they understand what I am talking about? If you see someone open their laptop and start checking email, you can call on them to participate or move closer to them to pull them back in, but what happens when your audience is on the phone? You don’t see them sleeping. You can’t see them working on another project and you definitely can’t see their eyes roll.

Another challenge in a virtual meeting is making sure everyone is participating. You typically have a few dominant people who take over while the quiet ones on the team sit back and endure another “waste-of-time-meeting.” There are a few things you can do to ensure your meetings and presentations are more effective when you can’t see the faces of your audience.

1. If your attendee list is less than 25, draw an imaginary conference table on a white board or piece of paper at your desk. Now write everyone’s name as if they were sitting around the table. (Yes, I know, you can just print out a list of everyone that is in attendance, but if you are a visual person the table works better.)

2. Now as you begin your meeting, you put a tick mark next to the name of the person speaking–even if it is your own name. Within a few moments, you will SEE who has checked out and who is talking too much.

3. Now simply say to the chatty-Cathy’s on the call, “That’s a great point, AND since we haven’t heard from Bob, I would really like to get his input. Bob, how do you feel we should proceed in this next step?”

4. During a virtual presentation you need lots of interaction. Lots of Q&A time. The challenge is when you ask a question and then call on someone, (i.e. So what happened on this last week…Bob?) you catch them off guard. You and I both know that Bob was reading the latest Dave Barry book so he did not hear your question. This is why Bob would quickly dive for his mute button and then ask you to repeat the question. WASTE OF TIME! Instead, call on Bob first and then ask the question. “Bob, what was it that happened on this last week?” BETTER!

5. On conference calls, use lots of colorful picture words to keep people engaged. “The five of us are in a run-down single-engine bucket of bolts at 28,000 feet and now we’ve got to work together to build a parachute or none of us will survive.” This is much more intriguing than “We’ve got a deadline and we’ve got to work together.” When you engage the brain, the rest of the body will stay with you. Try this, “I want you to imagine standing in front of our biggest customer, Katherine. You are starting to sweat…” This technique gets people to go where ever you tell them to and they are listening. “I want you to picture the top of a mountain…”

Remember that when you can’t see the faces of those in your audience, you will have to put a little more effort and creativity into your presentations to keep your audience engaged, but it is worth it. If they ARE rolling their eyes it will be because they are in awe of your SIZZLING presentation style!