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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12 Feb How to Be a Good Listener In Groups

Intuitively, we all know that many speakers are nervous when presenting. Yet, when attending a meeting or conference, we rarely think about how we, as  listeners, can help the  speaker  be more comfortable. Though most of my team’s time is spent focusing on coaching speakers to be more confident and effective, as a listener,  you  can help as well. 

Here are five practical tips for being a great listener in a group setting:

  1. Provide non-verbal feedback. Speakers are sensitive to listeners’ facial expressions and posture. It helps to grin, show facial interest, smile if appropriate, and use a slight forward lean. 
  2. Get cozier.  Have you noticed that the front row at a meeting or conference is often empty or sparsely populated? Speakers benefit from feeling connected to their listeners, soin a large group, be brave and sit as near to the speaker as possible.  
  3. Ask questions.  It is uncomfortable when the presenter asks if there are any questions and then…crickets!  Yes, it can take courage on your part to speak up. But, knowing that you are helping the speaker feel better may get you going.  
  4. Avoid distracting behaviors.  Presenters notice everything because they can SEE everything from their vantage point.  Know that you are not invisible and avoid talking to colleagues, fiddling with papers, or your handbag. If you need to cough more than several times, best to move into the hallway. 
  5. Approach the speaker afterward. Whether it’s a small group meeting or a large conference, presenters feel uplifted when they know their information or style is appreciated. Offer a sincere compliment if you can. Conversation with the presenter is a boost to networking too! 
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7 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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5 Oct Team Meetings:  What Google can learn from Communication Coaches

Group of young multiracial people working in modern light office. Businessmen at work during meeting

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. (more…)

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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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6 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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8 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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