Hopelessness As Well Renders Your Present Situation Useless!

What do you gain if you are hopeful? What is also your loss when you are hopeless?

Ezekiel 37:11-14 says: “Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘our bones are dry. Our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ “Therefore Prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you unto the land of Israel. “then you shall know that I am the lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. “I will put my Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord have spoken it and performed it” says the Lord”.

We have an all knowing God, an almighty God, He reigns supreme and hence why been hopeless when we can rely on Him? Besides, if you are hopeless you do not just hold onto nothing, something happens. What’s that? Let’s find out.

The people of a beautiful and prosperous town situated beside a lake had a rude shock one day. They were told that their town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole town was to be wiped out? Week in, week out, the whole town became more and more unkempt, the streets were not cleaned, the town’s garbage was left uncollected and homes were not tidied. The farmers stopped working on their farms as they allowed weed to overgrow their farms. Most of the town’s people took to a careless and wayward life and some packed off and moved.

A visitor to the town who had seen it in better days asked the towns people why they had allowed such decay into their lives and community. Explaining the cause of their condition, the town’s people told the visitor about the prediction of the impending flood as a result of the dam being constructed nearby. After hearing their explanation, the visitor revealed that what they feared was not true at all; that in building the dam plans had been made by the government to protect that town from destruction. That new information changed the mood in the town. The people went back to work and got their town back to its past glory.

If not for anything else, the major lesson we can learn here is simple: “When people have no hope for the future; they mismanage their present opportunities”. Do not make your present become a dry bone, when there is life there is hope. As we strive and try to make our living better, we should allow hope carry us along. Be you a Christian or not! But most importantly, hope in the one true living God sets us apart for a greater and permanent blessing.

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How to Handle Disagreements When Making a Presentation

As a leader you must always be selling, like it or not. You will have the challenge to make presentations to sell your ideas, programs and projects. Often there will be someone in your audience who does not necessarily agree with your approach. The way you handle them will help determine how well you will be regarded as a leader.

When my grandson was 21, and an aspiring manufacturer’s rep, he came to me with a dilemma. It appears that while giving his marketing presentation on his product line to professional groups he almost always has some person who disagreed with him.

Problem: How do you handle that?

Resolution: Do your homework if you want to be a successful and respected leader! Prepare for expected responses in advance. That will narrow the chances of you experiencing a negative response or opinion for which you were not otherwise prepared. However, even the best preparation may not cover all the bases. When that unexpected response occurs (and it will) then try this two step almost universally applicable approach. It may rescue your credibility and audience respect:

Step One: Ask two questions:

  1. “Why do you think that?”
  2. After the person responds ask:
  3. “What do you mean by that?”

Listen carefully and follow-up using Step Two:

Step Two:

1. If it appears that this is just a one person opinion who is trying to assert a pseudo expertise, then involve your audience with: “That’s an interesting approach. I would like to know how many others share that opinion and would like to respond.”

2. If it appears that the person does indeed have advanced expertise, respond with:

“You’re obviously an expert at this, but I’m not sure everyone here has your knowledge. Rather than take their time now I would like to meet with you privately after and get your advice. Thank you” Then proceed as rehearsed and planned for the balance of your presentation.

Memorize the two questions in Step One above to the point where they are almost automatic. This will prevent you from getting caught short with a deer in the headlights look. It also gives you “think” time while the other person is speaking. But, be careful you don’t tune them out entirely for they may have valid points.

Will this work all the time? No. Will it work the majority of the time? You bet! It has worked for me almost magically over the years in so many leadership situations that required persuasion. By the way, my grandson couldn’t wait to tell me how well this worked for him.

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Create Impact With Your Speech Or Presentation – Use Body Language to Support Your Image

What sort of image do you want to project when you are presenting? Who does the audience see? How will they remember you after this presentation? Are you professional, poised, articulate? Are you warm, folksy, creative, nurturing? Maybe you want to be seen as ballistic, confronting, no-nonsense, boot camp material. This is what the audience will remember of you and this image must work to add power to the impact of your presentation, not undermine it. Image and message must work together. Whatever you may be trying to achieve, don’t let the impact you create with your image be an accident. In this article, we look at how to make body language work towards creating that image.

The first step is to articulate the image you want to project before you start. This is vital, and I have covered it in another article. Everything the audience sees needs to reinforce that image – clothes, facial expression, stance and gesture. At its most basic this means projecting confidence and sincerity. Unless you decide otherwise, the audience needs to know that you are comfortable with your message and believe in it.

If you are also using this presentation to showcase yourself as the face of your business, or as a candidate for a position, then take that into account as well. You need to be seen as trustworthy, competent, at ease with your material.

Projecting confidence begins way before you stand up to speak. If you need more information about techniques to overcome nerves, visit my web pages on the subject or you can enroll in my free Minicourse on overcoming nerves.

When you do stand, then, there is confidence in your walk and in your stance. Your head would be up and your back straight.

A smile conveys confidence.

Standing with feet firmly flat on the floor is a good way to start.

Confidence is comfortable and relaxed.

A person who is confident and sincere has open body language. Be aware of your arms crossing your body and crossing your legs. Nonchalance has its place but slouching does not, if you want to project enthusiasm.

Making eye contact with the audience is also vital in projecting confidence and sincerity. Looking people in the eye in any form of face to face contact means you are not afraid of being caught out. You are not lying or deceiving. So use it as much as you can in your public speaking.

Gestures need to be relaxed not forced.

Think about your clothes and how they will contribute to your image. Generally, it is best to dress a level above your audience. Colour will contribute to your image. Blue will support sincerity. And depending on the situation and your audience, red will communicate energy and passion, grey – security, reliability, intelligence; orange – warmth, energy, balance. You can research this further, but the main point is to be aware of colour and what it is communicating about you.

Beyond all of that, though, you need to be comfortable. Try the clothes on beforehand and make sure they will support what you need to do. Stilettos may be inappropriate if you are presenting on a stage with cracks between floor boards, for example. If you are presenting outside, make sure your tie or scarf will not flap in the breeze. If you are wearing a jacket, make sure it allows any grandiose gestures or reaching for a high spot on a white board.

Everything about you must work with your message to convey the image that you have chosen.

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Why a Fishing Chair is a Great Present

Unless you are springing for an expensive luxury lounger, the idea of giving someone a chair as a present may seem a bit odd. If you know someone who loves the outdoors however, a fishing chair may be one of the most appreciated and well used presents they will ever receive.

There are a lot of items that fishermen take with them when they head to the great outdoors. Besides the fishing basics like fishing rods, bait and tackle, there are a host of other small conveniences that the experienced outdoorsman knows to take along to make things more enjoyable. It only takes one trip to the riverbank or shoreline, sitting on an uncomfortable rock or stump, to convince most people that taking some type of chair along might be a good idea for the next visit. Spending several hours crouched uncomfortably makes it tough to be patient, especially if the fish are not particularly interested in what you are presenting that day. The most basic function of a fishing chair comes into play here. They are a simple yet sturdy place to plant your backside while you tend to the business of getting some proper fishing done!

Beyond this basic service the chair provides however, there are some extra perks that fishermen (or women) might come to appreciate after a short time of sitting along the water’s edge. Many of the chairs available today offer some built in perks that some people might wish were available on their living room recliners. The biggest one of these is a built in cooler. Yes, some wonderful person working in the product design lab realized that people can get pretty thirsty when they go fishing. Some of these chairs actually come equipped with a cooler which can hang from the back of the chair and accommodate a six pack of refreshing beverages for every person with a chair.

If the already mentioned features are not enough to convince you that a fishing chair would be a wonderful present for someone special in your life, the practical features go on. These chairs are not only collapsible. Some are even designed to fold down to the form of a backpack that a fisherman or hiker can carry with them and still keep their hands free during the trip.

If you have been stumped about what to give some special person in your life as a gift, a fishing chair could be the special present that gets the job done for you. It is practical, functional and fun. Best of all, the person you give it to will almost certainly put it to good use the next time they head out to go fishing or camping. If you want to tag along, you might even want to get one for yourself.

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A Powerful Presentation Technique – Story Telling

Appealing to emotions is the most powerful way to transfer learning in an information cluttered training or presentation. A compelling story woven with a lot of information in the telling with a conclusion that appeals to the emotion can permanently etch the learning in an otherwise unresponsive training or meeting fatigued audience.

Right from childhood the best learning we have had has taken place through grandma tales, or reading stories through books or stories narrated to us in schools and by friends. We remember them better than the thousands of lectures and classes we have attended.

So what are the elements of a powerful story and how does it work.

A story is woven around a situation

You need an interesting situation where the protagonist is up against seemingly insurmountable odds. The story should leave out mundane details of what our heroes dress or the chronology and focus solely on the situation he is confronted with, which throws his life out of balance. The focus should be on the emotional elements, the struggle and stratagem to overcome the adversity and how he wins in the end. Don’t we all like the prince to fight the dragon and carry away the princess and live happily ever afterwards.

The situation need not always be good against evil or win vs. lose. They could be funny, humorous, tragic, situational, or just a corporate incident. It only needs to be infused with the right emotion.

Establish the situation quickly

If it takes ages for you to come to the point, you have lost the audience. The situation must be established in the first minute. Remember you are not writing for a magazine or a blockbuster novel. You are narrating to a live audience already on the borderlines of boredom. If you do not kindle their interest immediately you would have pushed them over the edge with negative consequences.

Bring emotion into your own presentation

The story must be narrated with all emotion and drama. If you drone on in a flat monotone howsoever powerful the story might be the impact is lost. Bring variation with voice pitch, right pauses and modulation. The right pauses should make your audience hang on to every word with anticipation and excitement.

Be creative

Telling the right story to the right audience at the right moment is the key. Don’t tell a story just for variation or a little diversion. Plan your presentation and design the story creatively to drive home the message. This perhaps is the difference between an excellent trainer and an average one. The top trainers plan their stories and weave it perfectly into the presentation. The average trainers know a lot of stories and tell one whenever he feels the audience is bored without creating the desired impact. The story becomes more of a filler than a powerful tool.

The Closing

The closing is the key to create impact. If you go into lengthy explanations about the morale the impact may be lost. Leave it with a dramatic end leaving the audience to come to their own inferences. Right from a child of a few years humankind is bestowed with a brilliant and interpretative mind and they come to the right conclusions. The best way to close is with a bit of mystery or a one line explanation leaving the lessons to sink in.

Here’s an illustrative story with most of the elements described.

The Story of the Fierce Giant once upon a time in a land far away, there lived an enormous giant. He was at least ten feet tall, with a mop of red hair and a beard, and in his hand he carried a mighty axe. Every year on the same day, at the same time, the giant would walk down from the mountains which were his home, to stand outside the castle walls, terrorizing the inhabitants.

‘Come send me your bravest man, and I will fight him,’ the giant would shout, towering over the wall and waving his axe menacingly. ‘Send me someone to fight,or I will knock down your castle walls and kill everyone with my axe.’ And every year, the gate in the castle wall would open slowly and fearfully, and one poor, valiant soul would walk out to Face the foe and certain death.

‘Is this the best you can do?’ the giant would laugh mockingly. The poor wretch would stand, mesmerized by the enormity of the giant and the task in hand. Not one person had even managed to draw his sword, before the giant would crush him with his mighty fist, and chop them into tiny pieces with his axe.

But then one day, a young prince arrived in the town. ‘Why does everyone here look so frightened and sad?’ he asked a fellow traveler.

‘You haven’t seen the giant yet,’ replied the traveler.

‘What giant?’ asked the young prince, intrigued.

The traveler told him the tale.

‘Every year, on this very day, the giant arrives and challenges our bravest to a duel. And every year, he slays them exactly where they stand. They don’t even move or draw their swords. It’s as though the giant hypnotizes them.’

‘We’ll see about that.’ Said the young prince

When the giant arrived later that day, he was waiting for him.

‘Come send me your bravest man, and I will fight him,’ the giant shouted.

‘I am here,’ said the young prince, throwing open the gate and striding out towards him.

For a moment they stood and faced each other. Although he was still a long way from him, the young prince was instantly struck by the sheer size and shocking appearance of his opponent.

But summoning up all his courage, he started to walk towards the giant, brandishing his sword, and never taking his eyes off that dreadful face with the red hair and the red beard. Suddenly he realized that as he was walking, the giant-rather than appearing larger – actually began to shrink before his very eyes. He stopped and stared. The giant was only five feet tall.

He walked closer to him still then stopped and stared. Now the giant was only two feet tall. He continued walking until he was face to face with the giant, and each step he took, he saw the giant shrink. By now the giant was so small, that he looked up at the young prince. He was only 12 inches tall.

The young prince took his sword, and plunged it into the giant ‘s heart.

As the giant lay dying on the ground, the young prince bent down and whispered to him, ‘who are you?’

With his dyeing breath, the giant replied, ‘My name is Fear.’

The aim of all presentation and training is to bring about change. There is no better method of creating at least the acceptance of the idea of change than a dramatic powerful story told well.

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Present Value of Future Payments

Studies have revealed that a number of people prefer to cash in on their future payments rather than wait for monthly installments. This growing trend is attributed to two major factors. Firstly future payment owners may need a lump sum to fund immediate needs. Others have gone a step further by determining the present value of future payments. People consider that immediate realization of cash from future payments compensates the diminishing effects of inflation on the present value of a future payment.

In simple terms, present value of future payments refers to their actual worth today. At times the present value of future payments tends to be notably higher than the expected value of future payments. The concept of future payments is simple to understand. Insurance or liable companies pay a monthly payment to the bearer. The payments made are actually realized from interests earned through annuities by these companies.

In most cases, these future payments are purchased for a lesser value than the actual settlement amount by paying companies. People therefore are actually receiving a discounted percentage of the settlement over a period of time. In due course of time these equal monthly payments will be of a diminished value. There are many variables involved.

If a person decides to cash in on future payments, the present value of future payments is based on a few factors. These include rating of the insurance company making future payments, the amount that is still payable, period for which future payments are structured and the amount the buying company will deduct for its service charge. Present value of future payments is greater than, when structured over a period of time.

Payments that are due are basically interest that has not been earned yet. When a case is settled, at times the insurance company invests the settlement amount in an annuity. This funds monthly payments, which is a combination of principal and interest. It is for this present value factor that insurance companies pay in installments rather than pay the whole amount. This makes the insurance companies the most profitable in a settlement case.

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Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Training – 3 More Presentation Power Techniques

You want to grow in your career.

And you want to feel confidence, pride and, yes, even relief, that you are able to reliably and confidently present to your audiences: whether from a stage, conference room or office.

Here are three more skills that are imperative to owning your stage and wowing your audience

During a speech, don’t speak for the first 5 – 10 seconds (if appropriate, and it almost always is). Simply take in the audience. Look individuals in the eyes and briefly connect.

Also, strategically, albeit organically and naturally, take pauses during your speech or presentation. This is particularly powerful and beneficial at key message points in your presentation.

Power through natural inhibition and fear of silence and you will likely feel the exhilaration and power in such moments. So will your audience.

Pause for several seconds or more after impact questions, points or moments in stories to allow people to feel and think about it.

Smile. Literally; but also metaphorically. This can be especially powerful if you do so in moments of silence, connecting one-on-one with individuals with whom you feel empathy and connection.

Nerves are indeed your friend. They heighten your energy and you absolutely want energy to connect with, inspire, wow and influence your audience to action.

Accept that you almost certainly will feel nervous. It is a given. And it is a positive.

Breathe deeply, feel your feet fully grounded to the earth (stage) and channel your nervousness up through your feet, into your trunk, arms, hands and face and through your body and voice into passion for and expression of your message, as well as a caring passion for your audience.

Again, breathe deeply — so important that it bears repeating — and focus on your deep breath for a moment when you feel nerves getting the best of you. Do so, as just suggested, in silence. You will naturally fear silence especially in these moments of fear. But if you allow, rather than fight, the moment, you will likely be amazed at the peace and power that comes with this allowance.

Then gently, and with focused passion and energy for your message and your audience, reach out to them: with your words, your body and your heart.

a. Before you begin your speech or presentation:
Stand with your feet shoulder length apart. Lightly bounce up and down while standing in place as a way to get a sense of your feet’s solid connection with the platform and your body’s life force as it flows up from your feet, through your legs, your pelvis, your core and the rest of your body, exiting your face, head, arms and hands and flowing directly to the audience.
b. Breathe deeply as you do this.
c. Raise your arms above your head, with your hands open. Then spread your arms out wide to your sides. Then back up above your head. And do on…
d. Maintain awareness of your energy flow during the exercise and while you do your speech or presentation. Feel your energy flow through your entire physiology and to each audience member with whom you make eye contact.

Maintain an awareness of your connection with the platform, your body, individual audience members and your energy flow to the individual audience members.

Make eye contact with many people.

Truly connect. Feel the connection.

Send each person positive energy. Smile at them.

Spend a few seconds in eye contact with many people.

Don’t scan over them, not really connecting with them. On the other hand, don’t stare anyone down.

Have a conversation with one person at a time, traveling from person to person throughout your presentation.

Dismiss any and all judgment of the audience. Assume they all support you. There have been many a time when I thought an audience member disagreed or flat out disliked me. Only to have them later come up to me and tell me they were incredibly moved and grateful.

Peace, power and prosperity friends.

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Stay in the Present For Golf – How Will You Know If You Are Playing in the Present?

When you are completely in the present, the here and now, playing moment by moment, shot by shot, absorbed in the actual doing of the task you will have complete emotional control. You can appreciate that if you are so absorbed in process that your mind does not wander to thoughts of “what if” or think about things that happened in the past, you will be emotionally neutral. You cannot be angry if you are not thinking about a bad shot you hit. You cannot be fearful or worried if you are not thinking about hitting a bad shot.

When thinking about and worrying over your swing because you are worried about the possibility of hitting a bad shot and what it will mean to you score, ego or both then you are not in the present moment and it is highly likely that you will hit the very shot you are trying to avoid.

You have options with your thinking that are either side of present moment thinking.

You can go forward in time (in your mind) to the future and you can think about that future in either a positive or negative manner or alternatively you can go back with your thinking and recall your past good performances or your past bad performances.

When you are in the present then you are fully immersed in what is going on at that very moment in time, (the process) and there can be no thoughts of what happened in the past or might happen again in the future.

If you allow your thinking to go back to shots in the past which were poor, upsetting, annoying, embarrassing, disappointing or made you angry with yourself, you are just revisiting the past and reliving a negative event that may have happened a few minutes or perhaps months or years previously. Is there any point reliving these bad performances? Will they help you play better here and now in the moment? Of course not! We could learn from them when they occur, feedback information on why the shot was not as planned, but learn without emotional attachment to the event and then just walk away.Remember that reliving past poor performances is just dooming yourself to repeat history.

Worrying about the possibility of making a poor swing means you are living (creating) a negative future which is likely to send the suggestion (command) to your unconscious mind to produce the very shot you are trying to avoid. In addition and just to make matters worse, worrying about hitting a bad shot will cause anxiety and muscle tension restricting your free movement and automatic performance, increasing the likelihood of a bad shot even further.

In understanding that you may be commanding your mind to perform poorly just by dwelling on negative past performances and imagining possible bad future shots I would like you to appreciate the following. Your unconscious mind is not logical which can be witnessed by the fact that if you have a nightmare it has real physical effects on your body even though, when it is analysed by your conscious mind, the nightmare makes absolutely no sense. It is not logical to have a nightmare which is complete rubbish and yet you still experienced real emotional and physical reaction. So please be in no doubt that your unconscious will have a big influence on your performance as a golfer.

To be in the present means that you play freely and with confidence on every swing, regardless of the previous swing even if it was bad because playing in the moment you will have no thoughts other than what is happening in that precise moment. To be in the present is to have no concern about the result of a swing because the moment your thinking moves forward to the outcome you will have shifted your thinking to the future again. This you must learn to stop and bring it back to the present swing process once more.

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Entering a Competitive Business Presentation Contest – Study Audience, Try to Present Last

Perhaps, you want to get your new concept for a business funded and maybe you have heard that there are Angle and Venture Capital presentation contests you can go to. These are fun to participate in, but don’t get your hopes up too soon, the competition is tough and many of the participants are almost professional presenters, meaning they never get funded, always make it to the final rounds, and have lots of practice. Heck, next stop Broadway.

Personally, and this is just my opinion, but having sat in on many of the angle investor presentation contests for new entrepreneurs to get their business funded, it appears to me that most of the presenters really are a little wet between the ears. That they understand very little about free-markets, or even their own industries. In fact, I often felt I knew more about their sector than they did when presenting, so well, obviously, I wouldn’t invest in their little startups, or even suggest any of my friends touch them with a ten-foot pole.

Now then, let’s say you do know your business and industry quite well and you have a great innovation, concept, or design for new business. Should you participate? That’s totally up to you, but if you do I have some advice for you. If you do happen to make it to the final rounds, it is important to sit in the audience and study the other contestants, and try to go last.

Watch the crowd and how they respond to each presenter.

Look at their body language are they skeptical, fidgety, and what perks up their interest.

Are they fully engaged, or mildly disinterested?

When they perk up – what was it that the presenters said which caused their attention and interest?

What types of jokes or one-liners do they respond to, and which ones draw absolutely no emotion at all?

You need to know all these things, and that’s why if you are going to enter a Competitive Business Presentation Contest, you must study the audience, and it’s best to be the last presenter. Please consider all this.

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Powerful Presentations — The Six Ps

In today’s fast paced world, being able to present our messages powerfully is not just an asset, but has become a necessity. Whether we are presenting one-on-one or to a large group, we will be successful if we make use of what I term as the Six Necessary Ps.

The first “P” stands for Passion. If we are not passionate about our topic, our ideas, and/or our products, our presentation will lack enthusiasm and sincerity. No one loses credibility more quickly than the presenter/speaker who appears to be giving a canned speech that doesn’t come from the heart.

The second “P” stands for Preparation. Some presenters pride themselves on “winging it” which quickly becomes obvious to the audience. I am not advising memorization of your presentation, but I suggest knowing your topic thoroughly, having more material than you need, and creating an outline or roadmap to follow. A suggestion that works well, however, is to have a strong opening and closing, and memorizing both of them.

The third “P” stands for Partnership. As presenters, we become most effective when we form partnerships with those who are experiencing our presentations. We can achieve this by pre-presentation contact and by caring about those in the audience. The beginning speaker is most concerned about him or herself, whereas the professional cares about the listeners.

And that takes us to the fourth “P” which stands for Professional. The effective presenter acts, looks, and talks like a professional. The professional is early to arrive, makes sure that everything is in place, and that any technical equipment is in working order. The professional returns phone calls and e-mails in a timely fashion and sends requested information immediately.

The fifth “P” stands for Props. These include handouts, visuals, Power Point programming, music, and objects that serve as metaphors or examples. Not only do visuals help enhance the information being presented, they help the audience remember our points. The warning is to not overdo in this area and not depend upon them to do our work for us. Otherwise, props can detract from the message.

The sixth “P” stands for Practice. The more we practice our stories, our ideas, and speaking to groups of all sizes, the more effective we will become as powerful presenters. Some presenters practice in front of a mirror. Some tape themselves and listen to the tapes. Some practice their stories on friends and family. I do a lot of my practicing while driving.

When we put all of the “Ps” together, we will not only give powerful presentations, we will also enjoy doing it and our audiences, in turn, will enjoy listening to us. We will achieve Power, Persuasion, Polish, and Pizzazz!

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