Commentary

19 Apr 8 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Much has been written about the recent situation where United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger (David Dao, a 69 year-old doctor born in Vietnam and living in the U.S.) because they overbooked the flight. It raised questions about everything from passenger rights and the small print on your ticket, to outright discrimination against people of Asian descent.There was a lively discussion here at The Speech Improvement Company about service-oriented corporate culture, the attitudes of front-line employees, and if misaligned, how to fix it.Clearly, United Airlines needs to fix it. “Fly the friendly skies” stands in stark contrast with the image of a bloodied Dr. Dao.I recall one trip home from Japan on United Airlines in first-class. I was hanging out with a flight attendant, and she was complaining about other passengers to me. She said, “These passengers think they are so special. They expect everything, don’t they know this is no different than taking the subway?”I was astounded that she just compared a $15,000 plane ticket with a $1.25 subway fare. Here was a clear disconnect between the employee on the front lines and the marketing and sales departments who sell premium first-class tickets based on how great the service will be. Wow.Here are 8 things all companies, not just United, need to do in order to turn poor attitudes into exceptional customer service.
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16 Apr Happy World Voice Day!

My observance today included hydrating, and singing classic rock in the car during a long drive.World Voice Day is an annual, now-international event created to recognize and honor the importance of the human voice – “to share the excitement of voice science, pedagogy and the vocal arts”[1]. We use our voices to communicate from the very beginning of life, crying, laughing, and babbling before we can hold a crayon or even know a word of language. Voices carry emotion and information, speech and song. Voice is central to human identity and interaction throughout our lives, and especially important in my life and work.
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15 Apr Impressing Investors: Rules for the Roadshow

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Congratulations on bringing your innovative idea to the investor presentation stage.Now comes your next challenge--creating a winning presentation.Here are 8 key ideas for success:
  1. Develop the mindset of a ‘professional presenter’.
In addition to innovator, entrepreneur, CEO, CFO, or executive, your skills as a professional presenter/communicator are also being judged. Professional presenters know their words and delivery are being scrutinized. A $10,000,000 decision could rest on the right rhetoric!You are prepared, vigilant, and self-aware with your business acumen. Apply the same rigor to getting your presentation ready.
  1. Think theme.
What do you want investors, analysts, and interested listeners to remember about your firm? Tell them in fifteen words or less. A good idea is to focus on what sets you apart. Ex: ”Powerline meets the growing need for networked, efficient and easy-to-use audio conference systems."
  1. Get Organized.
We’re not talking about spring cleaning your office here. Devote time to packaging your message efficiently, prioritizing the points you want to make and developing a catchy and comfortable opening and closing.Importantly, troubleshoot the top ten questions you’re likely to be asked and outline how you’ll respond. The two biggest organizational mistakes: trying to include too much information and not spending enough time on what makes you viable and valuable in the marketplace.
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28 Mar Creating Muscle Memory

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]When I work with clients on strengthening their communication effectiveness, I’m often asked, “How can I make these new tools come more naturally?”I assure them that when they carve out time to practice they are creating 'muscle memory'. ...

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27 Mar Keying Off the Keynote

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Recently I saw a conference agenda that listed multiple keynote speakers. This is all too common, and it’s wrong.Formally, there can only be 1 keynote speaker. Consider it like this. In an orchestra, where the term keynote comes...

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06 Mar So Easy to Like: Apps Add to Speech Coaching

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome a new app, LikeSo into our toolbox of  techniques to help clients become top notch speakers and communicators.We coaches are always on the lookout for ways to help clients practice and...

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01 Mar Why Doesn’t Bill Belichick Smile?

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]In his TED talk, The Hidden Power of Smiling, Ron Gutman provides some insights into the proven value of smiling.We are born smiling. Using 3D ultrasound, we can see developing babies smile in the womb. When born, they continue...

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16 Feb The New MacBook Pro Really Helps Presenters

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]For those who present with slides, you will want to look closely at the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple’s Keynote presentation software has added a simple, yet powerful feature to its software that will have a profound impact on public speakers. Hopefully PowerPoint will have it too.Some background: We know through research at The Speech Improvement Company that the most effective speakers are able to synchronize their visual aid support so your listeners won’t see the slides until you say it.In 2001, Apple released Keynote with a feature whereby the speaker could see the upcoming slide before advancing to it and thereby putting in on the big screen for all to see. This was huge. At the time, PowerPoint had a similar feature, but it would only work if you had a desktop computer with 2 monitor cards and a projector, all connected to each other in a specific way.Keynote was way ahead of its time. Apple reached out to The Speech Improvement Company and asked if we would endorse the software. We don’t normally do endorsements, but this particular feature was very significant. We had not seen anything like it since the invention of the teleprompter. Today, PowerPoint for both Mac and Windows has this functionality.
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15 Feb The Owl in the Oak

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]There has been a plethora of communication about President Trump’s communication.  We are , indeed, experiencing a new kind of communication from the office and the person who holds the Presidency of the United States.  In recent days, the...

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08 Feb Do I Need to Tell a Joke in a Presentation?

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Yes, go ahead and tell a joke if all of the following apply:You can immediately tie in the joke with the larger theme for the presentation. Your joke is simple and short - audiences can’t remember more...

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07 Feb Lessons on better speaking from the Super Bowl

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]I love it when after a major game, people who have little to no experience with the NFL or professional athletes, do the Monday morning quarterbacking and proclaim the connections to business.Certainly, professional sports can serve as a cool way to learn about leadership and teamwork, but you’ve got to take it in context plus remember that many people are not sports fans. Some may wear the hats and jerseys, nod their heads, smile and cheer, but if you ask them how many innings there are in the quarter, they will answer a basket is worth 2 points.So, what are some meaningful lessons and how can sports fans and non-sports fans alike learn them?As professional speech coaches, we’ve worked with pro-athletes, their coaches, and senior team executives in several major leagues. From that perspective, looking through the lens of communication, we do get to hear firsthand how these executives, coaches, and professional athletes think.
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05 Feb How do you help someone who suffers from fear of speaking?

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text] Nervousness associated with public speaking is extremely debilitating for so many people.  It is a real fear and needs to be addressed.  It's easy for colleagues, friends and family to say, “You’ll be great. Stop worrying.”  or “You...

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17 Jan Warren Buffett Says This Will Raise Your Value by 50 Percent

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Speaking to a group of Columbia University business students, Warren Buffett once said "Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning,"Drum roll please...

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16 Jan MLK Day: King’s Speech

"Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King" --James Taylor, "Shed A Little Light"
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 88 this weekend. A pivotal figure in American history, he is revered as an exceptional public speaker whose ideas and language helped effect real change in the world.King was human and imperfect. He shot pool and was a fan of Star Trek. Concerns raised about plagiarism and his private life may have merit. He faced criticism from fellow activists and many others. I mention this to underscore that the power of words that he harnessed is not reserved just for perfect, mythical figures, but available to all of us mortals with hopes and fears.As a child in school I was conscious of MLK for a few reasons. His work in the struggle for civil rights was a point of emphasis in the curriculum. And, our adjacent mid-January birthdays meant I often enjoyed a long birthday weekend. Only later did I learn of King’s connections to Boston, or begin to grasp his significance as a communicator.
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12 Jan Powering Up with the TEDx Speakers

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Congrats to our TEDx Chandigarh, India clients and all who value spreading ideas to change the world, one talk at a time.We are delighted to add to the brilliance and talents of TEDx Chandigarh.  Chandigarh is known as...

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