Articles & News
In his book Style, Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1522 – 1618) described language as having a “chameleon-like” quality. Sir Walter’s book is an exhaustive study of the origin, popularity, and decline of the word style. Regarding style, he said, “Good style is the greatest of revealers – it lays bare the soul.” You must be comfortable with your style. You live and work in the real world. It is not theater. Your listeners, unlike the audience in a theater, do not suspend reality. They take what you give them as you. What and how you communicate is what others use to assess and describe you. What and how you communicate reveals much of who you are in real life.
The ability to be natural, to be who you are, and not to be phony, is most people’s goal, especially those in leadership and management positions. Those positions carry enough responsibility in their own ways. It is far too challenging to also be worried about being something that you have to fake or that is not comfortable for you. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but it can also be downright discomforting to try and match a particular leadership or management style that has been dictated or described in a textbook. (more…)
7 Dec Everything Communicates!
As an Executive Communication Coach, my job is to remind clients that when presenting, everything communicates – how you look, how you sound and what you do with your body. Mary Lou Andre, a nationally recognized wardrobe, dress code and corporate image consultant, got me thinking about this after reading her excellent article: Is Hosiery History?
Her advice on this business appropriate accessory reinforces how important clothing is in communicating respect for yourself and others. (more…)
26 Nov Break a Leg?!?
Since we do a lot of training for public speaking, many of our clients find themselves in front of people on a stage. We got to thinking whether wishing them success by saying “break a leg” was an appropriate use of the term. That got us wondering where did that expression come from, and why is it used for performances, primarily among actors, musicians and dancers?
It certainly plays on the superstition that wishing someone well before going out on stage will somehow jinx them, so you hope for the opposite by wishing them bad luck. And while the exact origin is unclear, there are a number of theories for the story behind it: (more…)
Let’s forget the politics and instead focus on speaking effectively. The Speech Improvement Company’s President, Dr. Ethan Becker was recently asked to give his post-election observations and advice on the Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour radio program. Check it out!
8 Nov I Say “um” Too Much
Vocalized pauses or fillers, including um, uh, ah, and their close relatives like, you know, and OK? are some of the most common concerns brought to a speech coach. We don’t um want to uh get too um picky here, since 1 to 3 percent of everyone’s speech normally contains hesitations, and folks like Ted Kennedy have spoken successfully in public life despite long aah pauses. However, a bad case of um-itis makes you annoying to listen to. So why do so many of us um along in life? Most often, vocalized pauses function as a way to fill up space as we formulate the next thought. Though old habits take some time to break, it is possible to banish the ums and ahs forever. (more…)
One of the reasons Boston is the best place to start a company (take THAT Silicon Valley) is because of organizations like MassChallenge (www.masschallenge.org) who bill themselves as “the most startup-friendly accelerator…no equity and not-for-profit, we are obsessed with helping entrepreneurs across all industries.”
And their stats are impressive: 835 startups accelerated, 6,500 jobs created, $1.1 billion in outside funding raised. Currently across all their locations, they have 326 young companies taking advantage of all they have to offer.
They turned to The Speech Improvement Company to help their entrepreneurs be better communicators. Two of our experienced coaches, Dinneen Grably and Tori Hollingworth (more…)
In today’s fast-moving communication-driven world, messages are conveyed through many mediums. “Speaking with confidence” means avoiding tentative language. Non-concrete or tentative language in business shows a lack of self-confidence and will not deliver the strength of your intention to the listeners.
Non-concrete – “I hope I’ve given you a good overview of our team.”
Concrete – “This gives you a clear overview of our team.”
Non-concrete – “I guess I can deliver this talk confidently.”
Concrete – “I can deliver this talk confidently.”
Watch out for these words in your opening thoughts and phrases, particularly when speaking: I think, I hope, I guess, maybe, kind of, and sort of.
This video covers how to control the fear of public speaking and how to work with visual aids. In 2002, Apple Computer partnered with The Speech Improvement Company Inc., to promote better public speaking. Dr. Ethan F. Becker flew to Cupertino to record this 30 minute webinar, which lived on Apple’s website for the next 6 years!
We hope you find it helpful. Runtime 30 min.
8 Jul Crisis Management
Dr. Ethan F. Becker teaching Crisis Management at the RAZAK School of Government in Malaysia. The intention of the seminar was to help leaders understand how to communicate effectively during crisis situations. When leaders and managers are not prepared to communicate predictability, safety, and control, the results can be devastating. (more…)
19 Jun What’s in it for listeners?
Prepare & Organize for Business Speaking
Tell the listeners why they should listen to you talk about this topic. Whether or not they ultimately agree with you, how do you expect them to benefit by listening? Some benefits that you might mention as reasons why they should listen to you include:
- Making their jobs easier.
- Improving their health.
- Relieving stress.
- Stimulating creativity.
- Providing security.
- Increasing their income.
As a speaker, you should be able to tell at least one, and maybe more, good reasons why they should listen to you. The intent is to give your listeners a clear understanding of why your ideas are valuable. Many speakers find this the most difficult of all steps in the four-step outline. Business speakers frequently say things like, “They know why this is important,” or “They invited me to speak, I’m sure they know the value of what I’m saying.” This is a big mistake. There will be times when listeners have no clear idea how your thoughts apply to them. Perhaps their boss told them to attend. Maybe they came with friends. Maybe they came to make friends by networking. In any case, you cannot hurt your cause by giving a short, direct, answer to their question, “What’s in it for me?” After all, if you can’t think of a reason for them to listen, they probably can’t either. If you can’t identify the reasons why people should listen to you speak on a certain topic, then why are you speaking to them at all?
Monica Murphy is a senior coaching partner with The Speech Improvement Company
Laurie Schloff, winner of The American Resident Project’s Connected Health ’15 Pitch-Off, discusses how The Speech Improvement Company uses emotion-sensing technology to help people overcome their anxieties with public speaking. The Connected Health ’15 Pitch-Off challenged clinicians and clinicians-in-training to pitch creative ideas that improved health through the use of emotion-sensing technologies.
From the archives…
Master Job Interviewing Skills: After 911 in 2001, many clients of The Speech Improvement Company (TSIC) were out of work. To respond to this shift in the economy, TSIC created a 2 hour workshop open to the general public and free of charge to teach people how to master job interviewing skills. This public service had become popular and private presentations were requested by many networking groups in the region. TSIC continued to offer this service for years to come as a way to give back to the business community. (more…)
Enjoy the video celebrating 50 years of helping people communicate!
Senior Speech Coaches Laurie Schloff, Tori Hollingworth, and Dr. Ethan F. Becker are on-site at a conference and during a break got together to share the “behind the scenes” of what happens at big conferences. How do those speakers nail it? It may look like they are winging it, but very few do! How do best in class organizations prepare all of their speakers? Find out how and why on this episode of Talking about Talking! Running time 14 minutes. (more…)
A recent New York Times Magazine article (Group Study by Charles Duhigg 2/25/16) discussed the Google Project Aristotle, a painstaking, in-depth study of what differentiates high functioning team meetings from stagnant, ineffective ones.
With all due respect (more…)
What started in 1997, as an in-house tool only for coaches to use Virtual Reality with clients is now closer than you think for the masses! Our interactive virtual reality experience is the first of it’s kind and will be available this spring! It’s not simply a panorama image with static people, but interactive people. The pro-version will allow a coach to jack-into the matrix if you will and control the avatars to create a more lifelike experience! To learn more click here!
The video here is from WGBH in Boston.