Questions are an essential part of meetings. When questions are asked, there is interest. Questions can be a test not only for your knowledge of the content but your confidence in what you are representing.
The three techniques below will help you prepare for inevitable questions.
- Restate– In restating the question, you are NOT adding any new information or changing the meaning. Changing the meaning does not always mean words, many times it’s done with tone and inflection. Also restating DOES NOT mean using the same words and ‘parroting’ the information. When this technique is done well, the listener repeats the essence of the message with no judgment, emotion, or opinion implied. In other words – a neutral tone. It’s much easier said than done. It can be most challenging in an emotionally loaded conversation, which is also where it is the most powerful and effective. The main resistance people have to restate a question comes from the fear that they appear to be agreeing when they do not. Do not let this stop you from using this effective technique, as it is even more powerful when you do not agree with the other person’s statement.
- Disclaiming– Many times, people are fearful of answering because they want to have the right answer. “I don’t know, but I will find out” won’t get you very far in business communication, especially when it’s used more than once. Learning how to frame your answer can help. Some phrases act as a disclaimer so you can offer insight or at least the limited information you do have.
What people want most from communication coaching is the ability to appear, sound, and be confident. We all know when we see a confident communicator and when we don’t. Sometimes a speaker will say they felt confident but they are not perceived that way. Sometimes people will be very self-deprecating about their confidence, and their listeners didn’t see that at all. We are always trying to close the gap between self-perception and reality.
It’s important to remember confidence is a transient condition even though everyone talks about it as a concrete destination. ALL speakers have felt their confidence come and go. (more…)
I have helped many teams become more effective at presenting as a team. Because humans are SO different and have SO many variables, it can be quite challenging to coach a team. Most teams preparing on their focus on:
- who will say what during which slides
- the order of presenters
- making the time fair/equal, etc.
Often teams are presenting because the stakes are high, and the consequences are critical. And, of course, money is frequently involved either as part of a department budget, a start-up trying to get funding, and many other situations in which the listeners must hear from the entire team.
The people listening to the team present will be acutely aware of all of the non-verbal communication of the team. Whatever this communication reveals will carry more substantial weight than the words were spoken. A well-known architectural firm who brought me in because they started losing projects that they should have won. After assessing the team, I realized that one of the members did not get along with the others. Despite well-planned, streamlined presentations they still lost, and they were dumbfounded. What were they missing? Their subtle nonverbal behaviors communicated the discontent within the team. Despite the polite and professional words, the facial expressions, the lack of eye contact, the dismissive exchanging of documents, etc. were all indicators of discord within the team. People believe what they feel energetical and what they see over what they hear. It is SO SUBTLE. These nonverbal behaviors are the kind of things that only human beings can detect . This client of mine needed a new type of coaching to get past the issues that plagued the team. (more…)
- Quickly building rapport
- Connect you and your information with positive feelings
- Lower your listener’s defenses creating a more receptive mindset
Studies have shown that humor can also increase the retention of information and help you be more persuasive. Ineffectively using humor can backfire and make your listeners think you are incompetent, lack judgment, and other adverse outcomes. Humor is a high risk when used effectively, and the rewards are enormous! Studies also show that those who can naturally use humor are perceived as more confident and intelligent than those that don’t.
If you would like to add more humor to your presentations, start by observing humorous moments in professional settings. Notice whether everyone reacted or only a few. Think about why it was funny. Often it is about the content of the moment. Observational humor usually works well in professional settings. By acknowledging a shared experience that you can apply a metaphor to will bond people in laughter. For example, “It’s easier to get a snowsuit on my toddler than to use our coffee machine.” The first experience is one that most can relate to outside of work.
Humor humanizes and makes work more enjoyable. It’s best to get a trusted ally to review humor you plan to use in a presentation to ensure its effective and not offensive. Remember a little goes a LONG WAY. Do not try to add humor to every point of your presentation, only where it comes up naturally and easily. A good speech coach can help you develop this skill, which will take you to the next level of effectiveness in your presentations.
- Local or global political breaking news
- Challenges with the venue or room
- Personal issues
Foremost in their mind is anything that your listener has heard, said, felt, or experienced just before giving you their attention. If you can observe their body language and facial expressions as they arrive, you can sense it. You may be thinking, “I have no control over that, nor can I even know what those things maybe.” First let’s address an example of something you should know about and secondly, more commonly the things you will not know about (unless you are psychic). Both are important to understand.
It’s essential to have the sensitivity to something that may have just broken in the news that is either relevant to the industry or topic which you are speaking about or something so huge it affects everyone. For example: (more…)
Questions are an essential part of meetings. When questions are asked, there is interest; that’s a good thing. Questions can be a test not only for your knowledge of the content but your confidence in what you are representing.
The 3 techniques below will help you prepare for inevitable questions.
1) Restate– In restating the question you are NOT adding any new information or changing the meaning. This is really important. Changing the meaning does not always mean words, many times it’s done with tone and inflection. Also restating DOES NOT mean using the same words and ‘parroting’ the information. When this technique is done well the listener repeats the essence of the message with no judgment, emotion or opinion implied, in other words – a neutral tone. It’s much easier said than done. It can be most challenging in an emotionally loaded conversation which is also where it is the most powerful and effective. The main resistance people have to restating comes from the fear that they may be seen as agreeing when they do not. Do not let this stop you from using this effective technique, as it is even more powerful when you do not agree with the other person’s statement.
2) Disclaiming– Many times people are fearful to give an answer because they want to have the right answer. “I don’t know, but I will find out” won’t really get you very far in business communication especially when it’s used more than once. Learning how to frame your answer can help. There are phrases which act as a disclaimer so you can offer insight or at least the limited information you do have. (more…)
One of the most important presentations is the presentation to secure funding. It can be challenging to be persuasive with intense competition for the same resources.
Follow these steps to more successfully navigate those conversations. (more…)
Let’s start with some statistics.
Women are still earning 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. If part time workers were included in that statistic, it would be much lower.
Upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males. [Institute on Aging. (2016)](more…)
Have you tried to get your child to go to bed on time?
What about enticing a certain someone to date you?
Or…telling senior management that you deserve a raise and a promotion?
How much of your communication involves persuading and influencing others? Think about it. The most efficient and effective way to persuade someone is through storytelling.(more…)