Facial coverings and masks can make it difficult for some people to communicate. People who often rely on facial cues may not understand you when your face is covered, or your voice is muffled. As an Executive Coach, I have seen how it can be hard to talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family while wearing a mask.
When you are wearing a face-covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, be aware that you may inadvertently create a situation where another person may no longer understand you. Remember, how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.
Here are five tips for communicating when using face coverings and masks:
1.Use Active Body Language
Body language, hand gestures, and posture are most important. Your non-verbal cues should reflect the tone and theme of your content. Nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding.Focus on
2. Eye Contact
Use your eyes and eyebrows. Good eye contact is critical. Let your eyebrows tell the story. Happiness can be seen by raised eyebrows, raised cheeks, and crow’s feet. Eyebrows pinched together can sometimes convey anger or frustration, so remember that your eyebrows are part of your eye contact when wearing a mask.
3. Adjust Your Voice Tone
Your tone of voice includes your inflection, rate, and pace, which can be equally as impactful as your speaking words. Articulate loudly and clearly, without shouting.
4. Look at Alternatives
If using a mask is a serious barrier to speaking and having others understand you, consider a face shield or a see-through face mask.
5. Send a Post-Conversation Summary
Consider using a written recap of the conversation, so nothing is lost. This could mean a quick recap email, a text, a short PowerPoint deck, or a formal document that summarizes what you shared.
As we begin to wrap up 2020, let’s keep masks on and spirits up. We can do this. Thanks for helping to keep everyone safe.
To curb the spread of coronavirus, organizations are encouraging employees around the globe to work remotely. Setting clear guidelines for how, when, and why teams operate remotely helps form cohesion. How do you create a collaborative agenda with remote meeting attendees, allowing all remote team members to remain engaged during team conference calls? This blog post offers tips based on our experience training companies on how to communicate effectively when using digital platforms and how to collaborate and manage remotely.
Admit it, when there is no video aspect to a conference call, it’s not unusual for employees to hit mute, (or not), and do a variety of tasks during phone conferences and remote team meetings, such as checking and composing email, scrolling Twitter, eating a sandwich, and (gasp) going to the bathroom?! (more…)
Raising capital for your biotech company requires more than a great product and a fancy slide deck. You need a combination of substantial scientific evidence, a great story, and a solid pitch. The road to funding is a long and winding journey, from extensive costs to regulatory requirements to navigate. What is often lost during this presentation brainstorm process is a rigorous practice schedule to hone and perfect your investor pitch. This article outlines the four imperative practice strategies biotech companies need to succeed.
For some biotech executives, practice means memorization. While being very comfortable with your presentation material is a crucial factor, there is so much more to be done than rote memorization. The quality of your practice has a direct impact on the success of your presentation. Don’t worry about memorization; what is most important is HOW you say it.
Once your investor pitch and the slide deck are created, your goal is to increase your market valuation by crystallizing your message using storytelling, evidence, and in-depth financial analysis. The four practice tools below will captivate investors and emphasize your value proposition.
1. Structural Practice
The structural practice covers the logistics of a group presentation. Questions to discuss with the presentation team include:
- How will we talk into the room, and in what order?
- Where will we stand?
- Will the projector/ screen be blocked if we stand in a specific spot?
- Who speaks first, second, third? How is the speaker role passed along, e.g., “Now Frank will talk about…”?
- Will the PowerPoint clicker be passed along, and when?
- Do we all need microphones, or will one microphone be passed from person to person?
- If we had to present the same pitch in 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes, how will we achieve this? Who will speak? What will we share? What slides would we use?
- If the PowerPoint fails, do we know the order of the presentation?
- How will be exit the room?
AI, or artificial intelligence, has taken root in biotech. From lab assistants to drug discovery, AI provides a cheap, quick, and more effective process for advancement. And the AI push is visible within public speaking development, from counting your “uh’s” to determining if you speak with enough passion.
There is no shortage of apps, software, and computer programs that claim to increase your skill as a presenter and public speaker. Many Biotech companies have embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps, software, and programs that offer a “speech coach in your pocket.” Should you whip out your credit card and sign up? And if you have joined the AI coaching bandwagon, what do you need to prepare for while using the app? Here are seven critical factors to consider:
1) Technical Difficulties– Utilization of AI for improved communication skills is a reasonably new technology and there are still technical issues to prepare for: Blank screens, constant reinstallations, “free plans” with little value, outdated versions that require a help desk to resolve, restricted content, a lack of continued learning opportunities after a certain point, lessons that won’t load, and any other tech issue you can imagine. This puts a damper on progress.
2) Lack of Context – Your app may flag you for pausing too long, but if you are a skilled speaker, you can hesitate for an extended amount of time and investors will wait with bated breath in anticipation of what you will say. The app may tell you your pace was too fast or slow, but again, a speaker telling a funny story or sharing a heartbreaking loss will utilize different pacing speeds to help create excitement, momentum, suspense, or surprise. (more…)
It is universally common to hate email, no matter your industry. Emails offer many forms of indignities; too long, too vague, too much content, forwarded conversations, reply all’s, and rapid response expectation. As a coach, I help professionals master all forms of communication, including digital communication. This article will help uncover how poor word choice can create a disconnect with your recipient and negatively affect the tone.
The three examples below highlight how easy it is to use the wrong words that create a challenging tone. I’ll share the most common offenders when it comes to word choice, and provide alternatives for a more productive result. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. After working with numerous Life Science and Biotech clients, we’ve observed that many biotech executives are ill-prepared for delivering their companies essential messagesduring a formal presentation.
This blog post, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to catch up first before you read this post. This post, Part 3, explains the third and final persuasion tool when you need to convince someone to do, think, say, or approve. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. If you can communicate clearly and understand how to be persuasive across various situations, your organization will thrive.
This blog post based on our extensive research explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1, be sure to catch up here. This post, Part 2, explains the second persuasion tool.
A CEO can take on a variety of tasks they wish to tackle. However, some tasks can’t be delegated. A few of the vital functions of a biotech CEO include: (more…)
Today’s motivated and driven employees know they need continual training to keep up with and thrive within a competitive and fast-paced corporate world. That training may require an approval process, whether it’s a boss, decision-maker, or others.
In Brendon Burchard’s book High-Performance Habits, he explains in Habit Four, “Get Insanely Good at Key Skills (Progressive Mastery). Determine the five major skills you need to develop over the next three years to grow into the person you hope to become. Then set out to develop those skills with obsessive focus. The most important thing is to always be developing the critical skills to your future success.”
Effective communication and soft skills are at the top of the list in most industries on desired traits of top performers. In Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting, he explains that when it comes to personal branding, there is no better methodology than speaking in public. He shares, “Public speaking is a powerful method for meeting people and developing business relationships because it creates an environment where prospects seek you out.” (more…)
The role of a biotech CEO involves effective communication between leaders, managers, board members, and shareholders. Because Boards advise and direct management teams on crucial decisions, CEOs must communicate the vision, metrics, and progress of the organization.
This blog, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. Part 1 will share the first tool and be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3 in this series to learn the other two persuasion techniques.
We have developed valuable insight into how relationships, presentations, and handling questions can affect your communication success and effectiveness with your Board and shareholders. CEOs must be able to pivot and show their dependability. The key to your success: The ability to persuade with personal credibility. (more…)
Fear of speaking means more than sweaty palms and a shaky voice. Your concerns can prevent upward mobility in your field, cause you to lose funding, and unfortunately, stunt the growth of your company.
Your specific fears when speaking in public will be different from your colleagues. Sometimes it means you don’t speak up as often in team meetings, or you become flustered when you speak publicly. For others, a fear of speaking can be more subtle, such as speaking too quickly or a lack of articulation.
“We cannot afford to be afraid to speak to each other” explains Dr. Dennis Becker, founder of The Speech Improvement Company. Whether in a meeting with a colleague or an important presentation for investors, we need to control our fear of speaking.
If you know you have a mild, moderate, or debilitating fear of speaking, the following four tools will help you relax when you are speaking in front of a group. Dr. Dennis Becker has honed what we call “The Silver Square” approach to Fear of Speaking after more than 55 years as a speech and communication coach. It involves four equal sides, and preparation in each area will help you create a positive speaking experience every time.