Special Birthday Gifts for Boys With Great Ideas to Present

It is always exciting to shop for birthday gifts for boys and girls, irrespective of their age. If you are passionate about finding something that will create long lasting memories, then go ahead and check out some exciting presents at some of the best online stores that offer a whole new range of birthday gift ideas for boys. One important thing you need to remember when purchasing birthday gifts for boys is, keep in mind the age of the boy for whom you plan to buy a gift. Birthdays are exciting events, especially for children, since they look forward to receiving lots of gifts from family and friends. And you can make the day even more special for your boys by gifting them age appropriate and creative gifts which they can enjoy.

Important Factors to Consider:

Online stores offer a whole new range of fun and exciting gifts for boys. The selection you find at online stores is much wider compared to any other retail gift stores. Boys are generally very active and enjoy playing with their peers rather than by themselves. However, you also need to think of choosing a gift which boys can enjoy playing with it even if they are alone. Puzzles, building blocks, mechanical games, ball, etc are some such toys that boys can play with by themselves. Whereas game boards such as monopoly, chess, Pictionary, etc will require multiple players. Therefore, make sure that you take into account these factors while choosing gifts for boys. There are also few very important factors that you shouldn’t ignore when purchasing such gifts for boys, such as

• Age
• Interest
• Abilities

Useful Tips on How to Buy Gifts for Boys:

Everyone loves to receive gifts, especially children. However, the value of presents you purchase need not necessarily determine how much you pay for them, rather buy something that kids will use and cherish their presents. Here are some useful tips to use when purchasing birthday gifts for boys. Buy presents

• That will tap the creative abilities of the child
• That will enhance the intellectual abilities of the child
• That is simple and safe to use

Birthday Gift Ideas for Boys:

Reputed online stores that specialize in selling birthday gifts for all ages offer a wide range of age appropriate gifts ideas for girls and boys. Some of the different types of gifts that you can purchase at online stores are balls, puzzles, game boards, story books, pencils, bags, different types of bats, coloring books, color pencils, crayons, building blocks, toy cars, cartoon characters, stuffed toys and more. Online stores offer a convenient shopping experience; you can either shop by age or by category to pick up the most suitable gift. Online stores also offer beautiful gift packing facilities and door delivery services.

Do Not Pass When Opposing Traffic Present

That is written on several road signs along the highway near Traverse City, Michigan. Those signs drive me crazy. Every time I see those signs I can’t help but think, “Well, DUH!!!” Who in their right mind would pass a car when there is oncoming traffic present? The sad fact is that someone obviously did, or those signs would not exist. Good grief.

Many times, even with such obvious warning signs we proceed recklessly. Have you ever passed when opposing traffic was present?

How about in your marriage… are you heeding the warning signs that pop up along the highway?

“Do not stop communicating with your spouse”

“Do not blow the family budget”

“Do not embarrass your spouse in public”

“Do not keep secrets from your spouse”

Those seems like no-brainers, too, don’t they? It’s surprising, though, how many times married couples ignore those road signs and suffer serious consequences as a result.

A wife has issues with something her husband is doing but won’t talk to him about it. Instead, she silently sulks and grows increasingly bitter and resentful. COMMUNICATE… duh!

A husband goes on a spending spree that is not accounted for in the family budget, causing a credit card burden that the family cannot afford. FOLLOW THE BUDGET… duh!

A wife shows up at her work office, irritated with her husband for something he said to her that morning. Rather than dealing with it in private with her husband, she instead recounts the entire scenario with all her coworkers carefully including every excruciating detail of what he did. RESPECT EACH OTHER… duh!

A husband knows he should be spending his afternoon with his children but goes fishing with a friend instead. He doesn’t tell his wife, and he maybe even tells a few white lies about his whereabouts so she doesn’t catch on. BE HONEST… duh!

Sometimes there is really no question why issues in a marriage exist. The issues I mentioned certainly aren’t rocket science, yet many times we make these and other such obvious blunders. We need to do a little soul-searching from time to time to really ask ourselves in what ways we could improve as a spouse. Prayer is a great avenue for this– God is really good at laying issues on our hearts for us to deal with. My continuous prayers include asking God to show me ways I can be a better wife. I’m surprised sometimes at the obvious blunders I make. Thank the Lord (and Ryan) for grace! I guess at times we just need a road sign here or there to remind us of what we already know:

The Past, Present and Future of the Aussie TV Industry

As far as discretionary electrical retail sales go in Australia, in particular the Television sector, it is no secret that the current climate we are presented with has drastically changed the landscape for most operators. In days gone by, the latest “must have” technology had customers pouring into their local retailers concerned first and foremost with owning the latest model with all the bells and whistles, and price was a secondary concern.

Unfortunately, over recent years there has been no real “must have” technology release in the television sector. So therefore, it has basically become a race to the bottom on price. The result is retailers such as WOW and Retravision going into administration, Dick Smith store closures, and Mr Harvey raving and ranting on public television on a weekly basis. It’s just not sustainable.

With a heavy focus onto Smart TV, there is the potential for upcoming releases from manufacturers such as Apple and Google to drive the next upgrade cycle. The key to whether or not this will make a difference is not only the hardware itself, but the level of content available, and most importantly, the way it is consumed.

Can the Television sector return to market growth?

Prior to this season the price war between bricks and mortar retailers and online vendors, as well as each other, coupled with the strength of the Aussie dollar has resulted in heavy price deflation of TVs. This has coincided with one of the toughest economic climates on record, which naturally causes reluctance to purchase discretionary items such as TVs, unless absolutely necessary. And even if the customer “needs” to buy a TV, purchasing habits have really changed from the past. Online vendors, available with the flick of a Smartphone, and prolonged price comparison has given customers expectation that they will find that product cheaper at the next stop. So not only are retailers seeing less and less customers walk through the door, when they do come in the price of the TV sold ends up being so low that the margins are the slimmest they have ever been. It takes no genius to conclude that less sales with lower margins is not sustainable. Just ask WOW and Retravision.

So what will happen next?

Analysis points toward continued contraction of volume in terms of units over the coming years, and this reflects the increase in penetration rate. Rewind a few years, and many households still had a CRT screen, or possibly a single older model Plasma or LCD screen. The growth potential of TVs was huge – as they became more affordable and accessible most households upgraded or added a second or third TV in the kids room or spare room. Today, there simply aren’t that many households that haven’t upgraded, so the sheer volume that TVs were sold at in that peak growth period is never likely to be repeated. The flipside, however, is that there is likely to be a shift towards the premium, higher tier product – which will be driven by the next technology change led by Apple and Google.

The increase in the number of televisions sold has not been enough to absorb the price deflation – resulting in overall category value decline.

Looking ahead, analysts predict a strong potential for the Television category to cease it’s decline, and even show some small growth. The missing piece of the puzzle is innovation. A strong, compelling reason for households who already have one to three Flat Screen Digital TVs to want to purchase a replacement set. 3D and LED certainly offered something different from the norm, and while some took to the idea it definitely wasn’t a technology that consumers could do without.

Out with the old, in with the new…

what is needed for the television sector to flourish is a new, sexy must have technology, providing the same excitement levels as when flat TVs that you could hang on your wall were available to replace your big, bulky CRT. A “real” reason for consumers to spend money. That innovation will come from Apple’s iTV, along with the upgrade of Smart TV with new improved, desirable content, and the impending arrival of OLED. Let’s not forget that this is also an Olympic year, and history does show a spike in sales around that time. This, quite obviously, will only give a short burst of sales but a welcome one nonetheless.

Apple TV

If there is a company synonymous with innovation, then it has to be Apple. Interest in Apple’s TV set has been gathering pace since the authorised biography of Steve Jobs was published last October. In one earlier interview, Jobs spoke of how he finally discovered how to build an integrated, wirelessly connected TV set with “the simplest user interface you could imagine.” After the release of the iPhone 4S, rumours begun to surface that Jobs was developing a Siri-powered voice system for Apple TV, of 42″ and 55″ screens, gesture controls and, most recently, a touch screen remote control. In Steve’s own words “I’ve cracked the problem”, and in true Apple style when they release a product there will be much fanfare and publicity, and the resulting product is very unlikely to disappoint. The launch, when it finally arrives, of Apples much anticipated iTV will without doubt set the benchmark for what a TV should deliver. Industry sources have already confirmed that Apple has sought supply from Japanese panel manufacturer Sharp, and American chip maker Intel, alongside an agreement with Video streaming giant Netflix for content. While we have been given nothing from Apple direct, industry experts state that there will be two large screen sizes available – 42″ and 55″, both commanding a premium price point between $4k and $5k. The interface will be totally unique and designed to merge Free to Air TV, Smart TV and search capabilities into a single platform. In terms of design, it will be a single flat sheet of glass with no bevels or edges, and will certainly feature Apple’s Siri voice control. In early March, Apple announced that they have agreed terms with US giant Netflix to allow Apple TV users access to their huge array of content from their iTunes account. In further good news, it does seem that Netflix will be planning to enter our market in Australia – quite possibly alongside Apple’s entry into our TV market. Apple fan boys are not driven by price, and with such a worldwide devoted following we can expect a monumentally fast take-up of this new technology. This does represent a welcome shot in the arm for the TV industry, with much stronger volumes to be expected in the premium end of the spectrum. This should raise the average spend (ASP) of the whole sector. Besides the obvious lure of the Apple brand to customers, another hugely positive aspect of iTV will be Apple’s track record in setting, regulating and maintaining above-market price points.

This is precisely what the television industry is crying out for now – a TV product that can be sold on merit and service alone, and not prone to price slashing wars between local vendors. Hopefully in time the other big vendors may follow suit and begin some form of price regulation of their own. Speaking of other vendors, there has been confirmation the Telstra is working with both Korean giants LG and Samsung to release a new offer of Smart TV sometime in 2012.

Making Smart TV Smarter

While Smart TV to date has enjoyed mild enthusiasm, the next generation of Connected TVs should begin to create a compelling reason to lure in potential customers. While the current (and past) offerings have presented quite different options from just regular television viewing, the take up hasn’t been met with vigour – and that could well be down to two reasons.

The first is sales person education. Which, in turn leads to customer education. If the staff aren’t sold on the benefits, or worse yet, don’t really know how to use or properly demonstrate the wide array of content these TVs are able to deliver – then what chance does a customer have of being impressed enough to open their wallet? It may seem like an obvious point – but salesperson education by the vendors needs to be delivered in a different fashion to how it is currently being provided. Whatever the method that is in place to this point, be it training nights, short company trainer visits to the store or whatever – it is not working. A greater focus needs to be made on how to sell this product, and sales people need to be given all the means necessary to be able to demonstrate the wide array of benefits in the stores.

Which leads us directly to the second point – ease of use. When any product, be it a phone, tablet or television, has a wide offering of content available then the key to making the customer want to use these features time and time again is how easily accessible they are. No one likes to have to go into a menu, wait for it to load, wait for updates, try to type with a remote that was meant for changing channels then try to find what they are looking for in a maze of menu options – there is no wonder that people return to their PCs or tablets to perform any web related tasks. Why would they go through a myriad of extra steps, at half the pace, to do something on a TV that can be done much easier on a tablet or PC?

That is why a single user interface – which merges Television, Internet content and Search into a single entity, is on the cards. Google, Apple and Telstra have all taken heed and are currently working with Sony, Samsung and LG to take Smart TV to the next level. The next level isn’t necessarily a whole host of extra features – but a convergence of Free to Air, Internet Content and Search into a single interface creating a pleasant, exciting and most importantly, user-friendly environment. Another great advancement looming is the addition of Pay-TV services, provided over the web through our connected TVs. An whole host of new, Pay-TV channels from Foxtel integrated into our TVs – without a separate box, second remote and second TV guide. Imagine plugging in your TV, turning it on and then the guide button allows you to access TV channels, Foxtel channels, You-Tube channels and everything else on offer. This is the next step for Smart TV. This could, in theory, also create an opportunity for retailers to provide IPTV connection packages and contracts for Televisions – just like phones and tablets, yet another facet of profit which will present itself in the next upgrade cycle.

OLED Technology

OLED will present retailers with a premium, high dollar value product to boost growth in the television sector, however the belief is that at this very early stage in the life of this technology will result in moderate growth. The potential of iTV and Smart TV evolution will drive the category to forward growth in the near future, as OLED is not exactly a complete change in innovation but an improvement on the Flat Panels currently on offer. Long term, however, the cost of OLED manufacture is expected to reduce significantly and eventually cost 20% less than LCD to build. Another factor which will give retailers hope of a return to margin in the future.

What does the future hold for TVs?

In the immediate future, experts predict a continued contraction in unit volume, as market saturation (only 18% of Australian households do not have a digital TV) and low price point, Chinese imports continue to flood our market. The continued reduction in price of branded digital TVs has also prompted many households to upgrade TVs in bedrooms and spare rooms – eliminating the rapid volumes we’ve seen in the past as customers purchased their first or second Digital TVs. So the unit volumes in entry level TVs will continue to decline.

There should be volume growth to be had, however, in the mid to high end price points. It isn’t surprising that a larger volume (in terms of units) is sold at the lower end of the price spectrum, but the coming year should see enough sales in the mid – high-end category to offset this. This will be realised with Apples foray into the TV market with iTV, alongside the Smart TV upgrades and the arrival of OLED.

Price deflation in the Television market in Australia has been accelerated by cheap Chinese imports, pricing battles between suppliers and retailers alike, and the emergence of the online retailer. The lack of brand new, cutting edge technology, and the fact that the vast majority of Australian households have already upgraded to Digital TVs, has slowed the uptake of the current technology dramatically. This leaves the only weapon in the retailers (and Suppliers) arsenal as price – and this has escalated into a price war which has eroded margins.

A narrowing of price difference between overseas and Australian stock have levelled somewhat, which means that we may have borne the brunt of price deflation already. With iTV arriving in the final quarter of 2012, alongside OLED and the Smart TV upgrade – many consumers will be tempted into upgrading their current TV technology into new, exciting cutting edge alternatives. If the trend toward higher dollar, desirable TV technology can be sustained over the coming years, then maybe the Television sector can lift itself from the doldrums and become the exciting, profitable department it once was!

Tips and Techniques for Speeches and Presentations

How to make a speech ‘sizzle’

1. Preparation – fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

-Preparation and practice: research and prepare your speech well in advance and rehearse it at least five times in front of the mirror or until you feel you know it. Great speakers know their speech inside out but look as if they are delivering their words off the cuff. Knowing and being comfortable with your ‘lines’ means you can focus on eye contact, delivery and engaging with your audience.

-PowerPoint and other support materials: never rely on these or use them as a crutch. Your slides or audio-visual materials should support and help illustrate what you are saying but never be a substitute for you. The best way to test how reliant you are on these aids is to ask yourself what would happen if your PowerPoint broke down – would you be able to continue effectively without it? If you couldn’t, you need to kick the habit and re-think your presentation.

-Tailor your material to your audience: if it’s an after dinner speech, you need lots of humour. If you are speaking on an expert subject, make it informative, interesting and engaging.

-Keep it short and entertaining: 10 minutes is enough to keep people riveted and leave them wanting more! Use the remaining time up in your question and answer session. Think about it, who ever complained about a speech being too short?

-Test-drive your speech: on a partner or close friend and ask them for feedback and timing.

Check your microphone and equipment works: there’s nothing like a technical hitch to put you off your game so make sure everything’s in working order and audio levels and feedback issues have been checked so that your audience can hear you.

2. Speech-writing and delivery tips and techniques

-Use an attention-grabbing title: apart from hooking and attracting people to hear you speak, a good headline grabs people’s attention, gets them curious and interested and can help build the event and the audience’s excitement.

-Plain English: the best speakers bring simple language to life. Don’t alienate and bamboozle your audience with jargon, management speak or pretentious and complicated technical speak. People who do this either don’t understand their subject well enough to communicate it in simple terms or have had a creative by-pass’ and are born to be boring. Here’s a great example of meaningless, alienating twaddle: “Neoclassical endogenous growth theory and a symbiotic relationship between investment in people and infrastructure.” – Gordon Brown, former British prime minister

-Opening and closing lines should pack a punch: metaphors, drama and using misdirection make great speech openers and ice-breakers and are a powerful way to hook your audience, link to your message and set up the key points you want to make.

-Pause to create dramatic effect. It will keep people listening and give your speech impact and energy. Remember, to also pause before you start speaking, it’s a great way to calm you and your audience.

-Pace: don’t rush your words but also don’t be afraid to change the pace of your speech to add emphasis, drama and impact to your message. It will also help to keep your audience engaged.

-Pitch: occasionally alter the volume and tone of your delivery. Speaking quieter or louder and being more cheerful or more serious all adds dramatic effect and keeps the attention of your audience.

-Enthusiasm: if you are enthusiastic about your subject, then your audience will be too. Enthusiasm gives a speech energy and strength so don’t leave home without it.

Eye-contact engages your audience. Create spots in the room at the back, sides, centre and front of your audience and run your eyes regularly across them. Find three or four individuals in different parts of the room that you can direct the occasional line and hand-gesture to.

-Hand movements: which help you express your words and meaning are great, but make sure they look natural. We’ve seen some pretty silly-looking CEOs gesturing like manic robots because they’ve been told to do so by their PRs. It looks hilarious and turns you into a complete ‘wally’ and ‘chump’ in the eyes of your audience and the people you want to impress and influence!

-Move about if you can: if you have the room to move about and use the floorspace where you are speaking, do it. It’s a great way of keeping people’s attention, particularly if you’ve got a dry topic. It also allows you to make your presentation more upfront, close and personal for your listeners.

3. Structure and content of a speech

-Start with a structure: decide on what your main message is and then start breaking it down into three key points you want to make. These can be further broken down depending on how much detail you want.

-In short: the beginning should tell your audience what you are going to say, the middle: telling the story and the ending: telling them what you’ve said.

-Tell people something new, interesting and memorable.

Bring the story to life with examples and real-life experiences: a great way to get people listening to you is to weave a relevant stories or examples of yours or other people’s experiences which bring the presentation to life for the listener.

-Incorporate memorable ‘one liners’ and colourful metaphors: these help to grab the readers attention, keep them interested in what you are saying and make your speech memorable. Here are some example: “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” Speak softly and carry a big stick and you will go far.” – Theodore Roosevelt

-Use short, sharp sentences for dramatic effect. Examples of short sentences: ‘Failure is not an option’ and ‘The time is now’.

-Apply positive adjectives and adverbs. Instead of for example: “We face many challenges” say “We face many exciting challenges”; or “We will work on our problems” but “We will work together to solve our problems”.

-Use alliteration to make words memorable and quotable: for example: ‘Broadband Britain’, ‘Britain’s best business bank’, ‘the digital divide’, and ‘formidable, fashionable, functional.’

-Make comparisons: with other organisations, competitors and people’s situational experiences and highlight what can be learned from them.

-Use three-part sentences to create dramatic effect. This technique is called a ‘tricolon’, for example: ‘Government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ and ‘We came, we saw, we conquered’.

-Repeat your key words for dramatic effect. British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill’s famous speech is a good example: ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fighton the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets…’

-Use memorable one-liners. For example: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Sir Winston Churchill

-Opening witticisms: these are good for warming-up the audience at the start of your speech or presentation. Here are some good examples: “I don’t mind how much my minister’s talk, as long as they do what I say.” – former British prime minster Margaret Thatcher.

-End with a high impact statement: that reinforces your opening line. If for example, you were delivering a speech on the importance of business change, you might end with a famous quote: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw, and “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin.