Author: Laurie Schloff

14 May Ten Things Professionals like about Zooming

Inquiring Communication Coach: What do you like about Zooming? I conducted a non-scientific poll of my business clients to learn: Top  10  Things Professionals Like About Zoom
  1. You can wear your PJ bottoms (just watch the camera shot).
  2. You can look at yourself all day, for better or worse.
  3. You don’t have to smell fish cooking in the microwave.
  4. You get to use your own bathroom.
  5. You can squeeze your stress ball without anyone knowing.
  6. You get to see an occasional baby, kid, cat, dog, or gerbil.
  7. You may get to hug someone between meetings—Awww!
  8. You can wear your most comfy decade old shoes.
  9. You can make coffee your way.
  Number 10 : Write anything YOU like (if you do) about Zooming in the comments below.
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14 Apr Five Ideas for Encouraging Participation in Virtual Meetings 

Research and experience tell us how important equal and energized group meetings are to morale and productivity.  Yet, clients using virtual audio or video conferencing say that engaging all participants, holding attention, and controlling interruptions and overlapping speakers are significant challenges. Make sure you are incorporating these five essentials in your virtual meetings:  
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07 Oct Know Your Listeners

Knowing your listeners is key to preparing an effective presentation. Nothing puts listeners into a speaker’s pocket better than a speech that zeroes in on their specific needs. Your listeners will be more likely to respond positively if they feel that your research has helped you prepare specifically for them. Answers to the following 10 questions will provide you with most of the information you need to know about your listeners before you speak. This will help you target your message, focus and streamline your presentation, customize materials, and reduce your anxiety.
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05 Oct Team Meetings:  What Google can learn from Communication Coaches

In the communication field, there is a lot of  buzz about Google’s Project Aristotle, a meticulous, in-depth study of what differentiates high-functioning team meetings from others. With all due respect for the yearlong study of over one hundred Google teams, we communication coaches have been helping teams and leaders foster productive meetings for years! Google’s key findings, which we back with our experiences 100%, reveal that high-performing teams:
  • Support an atmosphere of psychological safety and comfort;
  • Enable equal participation from all group members over time;
  • Show sensitivity to nuances of non-verbal behavior and tone, and often share personal as well as professional information.
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28 May Build REAL Relationships in Virtual Meetings

Yesterday, my client, a VP in financial services, said it was a waste of time to go to his office. No one was there, and besides, the majority of meetings he led were remote. He shared that in the “olden days,” bonds were formed by walking around, schmoozing at your desk, or shockingly, even having lunch together! Technology had changed things forever, and it was up to us to create new strategies for connection in a remote world.
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27 Feb How to Get Your Listeners to Participate

Make your presentation 3 times more memorable

A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me something, I’ll forget; show me, I’ll remember; involve me, I’ll understand.” 

According to recent studies, when people participate in a presentation, the material becomes at least three times more memorable for them than if they merely listened to a lecture. 

Sometimes you risk losing listeners altogether if you don’t go out of your way to involve members.

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06 Dec Am I supposed to be a mind reader?

Jeff and Nina were at a Christmas party all of the thirty seconds when Nina whispered in Jeff’s ear, “I think Joan [one of the women in Jeff’s office] is getting divorced.” Jeff thought Nina was nuts, but a week later Joan herself told him that she had separated from her husband. When Jeff asked his mystical wife how she knew, Nina said, “Easy. She looked relaxed, had a great new haircut, and was playing with her wedding ring.” For centuries, women’s interpersonal discernment has been acknowledged as “women’s intuition.” Now researchers have confirmed females’ superior skill in interpreting gestures, posture, and facial expression from fifth grade through adulthood. Since men in traditionally female professions like teaching and nursing excel in mood reading too, it’s not due to chromosomes but to socialization in pleasing others and practice in adjusting to others’ moods.
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08 Nov Improving Your Speech Patterns

Working as a speech coach, one of the successful techniques I use to help people speak clearly is to figure out where there may be snags in their speech patterns. Here are two of the most common. 1. Are you dropping volume at the end of sentences? It is normal to soften your volume at the end of a thought, but don’t trail your sentences into oblivion.  Assess your volume by taping yourself and checking to make sure you can hear the last words of your sentences.  Practice speaking or reading aloud with conscious attention on lessening the decibel drop.  Use these practice sentences:

“Let’s meet in the lobby of the downtown Marriott.”

“Sarah James was finally promoted to regional manager.”

In these examples, if you don’t keep your volume up, you’ll be swallowing your main point.
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20 Aug Why doesn’t she appreciate my advice?

In Nan and Billy’s house it goes like this:

Nan: I wish I could find a cause to get into, maybe volunteering or just doing something worth-while.

Billy: So call the College Club – I heard they need help, and the hospital gift shop might be looking for    volunteers.

 Nan: Forget it, you don’t even know what I’m interested in.

Billy: Geez! Why bring it up if you don’t want my opinion?

Billy means well, and his ideas might be valid, but Nan finds his approach annoying. In giving advice you anoint yourself as an authority, and if no one asked for it, you come across as know-it-all. More important, like many women, Nan is
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10 Jul I’m always more interested in talking than he is

Welcome to the one way conversation club. Though plenty of men turn somersaults to get conversational action going with their mates, more often women end up exasperated with silent partners. It’s not that women bore men - watch a man salivate over her every syllable on a long-awaited first date. Rather, whereas women tend to need a daily dose of conversational closeness, men value just being together and doing things together, even mundane activities like eating quietly side by side. For guys, verbal interaction is one part, and not necessarily the most important part, of the whole relationship picture. This frustrates women who judge closeness by the number of words exchanged per evening. If wives and girlfriends had their druthers, the time couples spend in conversation would surely rise from its measly weekly average of nineteen – yes, nineteen – minutes.
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28 Jun Where Should I Look When I’m Speaking to a Group?

If you view the listeners as piranhas, you’ll grab any chance to avoid looking them in the eye.  Lisa, a friendly, charming woman who had just been elected president of a large national church group, was dreading her first talk to the state leaders in her organization.  She asked me if it was OK to aim her speech at the clock in the back of the church she’d be speaking in.  “Surely,” I suggested, “you can find a face in the audience more friendly than the one on the clock.
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29 May He/She Always Interrupts Me

Both sexes can perpetrate and suffer interruptions. Yet researchers in the art of communication have repeatedly found that from the age of three on, males tend to interrupt and females tend to pass the conversational ball. The right to interrupt or dominate a conversation often serves as an expression of superiority or status. Nevertheless, when women yield the floor to men, it is not so much a display of inferiority as an indication of the importance they attach to accommodating others in conversation. Even conversationally accommodating people can come off as interlopers. Women like to overlap a speaker with words of encouragement, agreement, or a parallel situation. (“I know what you mean, Bill. My family also had to struggle to make ends meet.”) Though she intends to establish empathy, she may annoy a man who doesn’t value verbal displays of support. (“That wasn’t my point. Let me finish.”)
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02 May Should I take fear of public speaking medication?

Thinking about fear of public speaking medication?  Consider these 5 points. 1. Medication can reduce the uncomfortable physiological signs of nervousness (heart rate increase, sweating, shakiness). Three other approaches: learning effective presentation skills, controlling breathing, and developing helpful thinking patterns are proven non-medical strategies. 2. Beta  blockers, originally developed to control cardiac problems, are often effective and can usually be prescribed on an as needed basis. Beta blockers inhibit the flow of adrenaline  in the body, reducing the physical symptoms of the stress response.  Your physician will help you decide whether medication is the best route for you, and can review any potential side effects.
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