Speak With Confidence
Thinking on Your Feet
Thinking on your feet, also known as being quick-witted or spontaneous, is important in many situations, such as public speaking, negotiations, impromptu speeches, or spontaneous debates. Here are some tips to help you develop your ability to think on your feet: Be Prepared: Preparation is vital to success. The more you know about a topic, the more equipped you are to handle unexpected questions or challenges. Read up on current events and familiarize yourself with
How to Prepare for a Big Four Partner Interview
A partner interview is part of the recruitment strategy for the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms in the US, (PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young) and is the last stage in what can often be a lengthy recruitment process. The purpose of the partner interview is to make sure the candidate is a good fit for the company. There may be some preset questions – and usually a short presentation – but the interview itself
How to be a Dynamic Panelist
Are you a panelist or moderator at an upcoming conference? Watch this short video by Executive Communication Coach Melody Elkin and learn how to be a dynamic panelist.
MLK – Changing the World Through Speech
Martin Luther King is known as the greatest orator in modern times– a man whose words and style created profound social change. Though few of us will transform society, we can elevate our professional world through the way we speak. Here are three lessons:
Advocating for yourself – 30-min recorded webinar
Speaking up on your own behalf should not feel uncomfortable or embarrassing. This 30-minute recording will focus you on both the mindset and methods for advocating for yourself and your ideas.
Humility and Gratitude: Humanizing Your Corporate Image
As coaches, we sometimes have clients with big egos and high opinions of themselves—in short, real Type A personalities. Sometimes they have trouble getting their ideas across to others or connecting with audiences. This is confusing for them (they are, after all, subject-matter experts), as having hard-charging personalities has helped them be successful and often sought-after speakers. They ask: What’s not working here? Why do some audiences tune me out? Why do I get the
Mindful Listening in a Hybrid Work World
This past year has been filled with loads of change. We have rapidly learned how to channel our energies to get our work done. There has been a lot of focus on doing, producing, participating, fulfilling deadlines, and creating content. The communication part of our work streams is still being fine-tuned. As a communication coach, I frequently tell clients that the capacity to maintain and establish trustworthy relationships is the key to success during this
Affect and Technology
Affect relates to the presentation’s general impression, the feeling it evokes. It’s like overhearing loud voices in the next room or getting “an impression” of what is happening. Affect refers to the openness, tension or mood of the experience. It is primarily intangible but a genuine and crucial part of communication.
Communicating with Authority – On Demand Recorded Webinar
Being able to communicate assertively and confidently helps people succeed in business and personal relationships. It begins with a mindset and requires attention to non-verbal communication and delivery style. This recorded webinar will introduce you to the best practices for both and provide valuable, life-long communication skills. 30-minutes
Getting your Message Across: Strategies for Conveying Technical and Complex Information
Communication excellence, the ability to speak clearly and convey ideas with impact, is highly associated with career and organizational success. Yet, healthcare and technology leaders face a major challenge: how to simplify complex and technical information so that others “get it”, buy in, and take action for best results.
Managing Employees Remotely – On Demand Recorded Webinar
With large numbers of employees working remotely, managers are grappling with a set of challenges in communication, motivation, and employee engagement to continue leading effectively. Watch our recorded webinar and you will learn: – The key challenges to remote work – Five important skills for effective remote collaboration – How to motivate and engage employees This is a unique opportunity to fine-tune your communication skills. You will learn proven strategies you can put to use
Five Tips for Telehealth Professionals
Telehealth is here to stay! Eighty percent of patients had positive experiences during the pandemic, and the same number wish to continue their telehealth sessions when meeting in person is not necessary for treatment, or as an adjunct to in person visits. No matter what the medium though, patients and clients judge healthcare providers on two dimensions: 1) Professional knowledge and expertise; and 2) Communication/relationship skills.
Speaking Business English Clearly
Our 30-minute recorded webinar Speaking Business English Clearly will help non-native English speakers be heard. English is the international language of business. This can be especially challenging for people whose native language is not English. This complimentary recorded webinar will introduce the most important elements of being able to speak English clearly. Watch Now
Thinking on Your Feet
Watch our 30-minute recorded webinar: Thinking on Your Feet This informative, practical webinar teaches you how to process and organize your thoughts quickly in a way that will help you communicate clearly and with confidence.
Products Don’t Sell – People Do: True or False?
Is this age-old sales mantra still true? After all, when it was first said, it certainly wasn’t delivered on the devices you are reading it on right now. So has technology changed the meaning of this mantra? And how about products in today’s world?
Eloquence: Relying on Short Words
For hundreds of years in the English language, the most powerful and memorable means of expression has been the reliance on one or two-syllable words. Many eloquent speeches, poetry, and plays have this common strain: three out of four words are one and two syllables.
Is There a Connection Between Anxiety Disorders and Fear of Speaking?
We are all familiar with the concept of public speaking, but all speaking is public speaking. When ordering dinner in a restaurant, people do not consider this “public speaking” and may complete this task with minimal anxiety or self-awareness. Yet, a presentation in front of seven people may cause extreme distress.
Virtual Learning May be Best
I really enjoyed this article from the NeuroLeadership Institute on the benefits of virtual learning: Virtual Learning is Better. Period. Our team of executive communication coaches concur that brief periods of learning over time lead to better results.
How to Choose a Speech Coach
When you are charged with finding and selecting a vendor to help you or your employees strengthen their communication skills, you are taking on a crucial task. Whether it’s helping a colleague prepare for a major presentation, learning to navigate difficult conversations yourself, or developing an organization’s leadership team, you need to closely match the learning needs to the training skills.
Avoiding The Great Resignation
One of the most perplexing questions our corporate clients ask is, “Will our talent actually stay?” The concern is that many talented people are leaving their positions for more desirable jobs. Some people refer to this as The Great Resignation.
In Customer Service, Words Matter: What Do Chick-fil-A and the Ritz-Carlton Have in Common?
At Chick-fil-A, when a customer says “Thank you,” their employees don’t say “You’re welcome” or “No problem.” Instead, they say, “My pleasure,” and there’s a big difference. Find out why in this CNN article: https://www.cnn.com/2022/04/09/business/chick-fil-a-my-pleasure/index.html
Investing in POWER skills
One of the most perplexing questions our corporate clients ask is, “will our talent actually stay?” The concern is that talented people are leaving their positions for more desirable jobs. Some people refer to this as The Great Resignation. For instance, a client of mine, with 20 years of experience in helping tech companies scale from 50 to 2000 employees, explained, “there is no great resignation, there is talent everywhere, but they get to decide
Being Present for Your Listeners
To quote part of a song from the musical Hamilton, “I wanna be in the room where it happens….” Remember when we were in the same room with our listeners? We could get a sense of their energy, nonverbals, and actual interaction. This sort of feedback helped build our momentum in the moment. Two years into this new form of daily communication, one that is separated by miles, time zones, and technology, connection and influence
When English is not your first language, use P.A.R. to make sure you are understood and are speaking clearly.
Around the world, at this very minute, tens of millions of people are taking classes at language schools; some are using YouTube to learn to speak and listen, and of course, many are learning in their grade schools, high schools, and universities. Many of these people will be required in their careers to use English, so they are often very serious in their approach to learning.
The excesses of communication in our time are reflected in our language. When verbal overkill is in, eloquence is out. And when was the last time you heard an eloquent speech? So we plod along carrying a sack full of unnecessary words. Here are some common examples of ripe redundancies ready for burial.
Strengthening Relationships with Appreciation
Everyone wants to be appreciated. People want to feel and know they matter. Unfortunately, our culture in the business world leans more towards critique than appreciation and competition more than support. Knowing how to share authentic appreciation is an invaluable skill for strengthening relationships. Here are four tips that help: Be Prompt - It’s best to share appreciation immediately, if possible. If you wait too long, you are likely to overanalyze, script yourself, and lose authenticity.
Three Ways to Keep Yourself From Rambling
If you find yourself “getting into the weeds” by using long sentences when sharing information or opinions….You might be a rambler! If your friends and colleagues dread hearing you speak…. You might be a rambler! If your clients, customers, or direct reports seem uncomfortable when you talk.…You might be a rambler! If you find your neighbors or even family members keep avoiding your talks…. You might be a rambler! Many of our clients are brilliant
Three Approaches to Better Presentations
Whether it’s a team effort or a one-person responsibility, a presentation can make or break a contract or client relationship. This brief article gives you three critical elements required for preparing a successful presentation. If you provide a product or a service, there is truth in the old adage that “products don’t sell, people do.” Certainly, there are isolated exceptions, but person-to-person contact is invaluable for most businesses. In this framework, the business presentation holds
The Structure of the Mind
Psychologist Jeff Thomas and I agree on the structure of the mind. The mind and the difference between the brain and the mind have been the focus of conjecture, controversy, and intellectual consternation for many centuries. It is generally accepted that the brain is the repository of the things and stuff that we are exposed to during our lifetime. There may not yet be general acceptance of what exactly gets stored, where in the brain
The Ultimate Guide To Online Dating
The app Hornet, which caters to the gay male community, has seen a 30-percent increase in social feed engagement since social distancing measures began in mid-March, according to CEO Christof Wittig. And the dating app Tinder reported that it saw more engagement on March 29 than on any other day in its history, with more than 3 billion users swiping to connect with people, according to an April 1 press release. In 2020, online dating
The Ultimate Guide To Online Dating
The app Hornet, which caters to the gay male community, has seen a 30-percent increase in social feed engagement since social distancing measures began in mid-March, according to CEO Christof Wittig. And the dating app Tinder reported that it saw more engagement on March 29 than on any other day in its history, with more than 3 billion users swiping to connect with people, according to an April 1 press release. In 2020, online dating
Zoom, the Pope, and a Lesson Learned
I read an interesting article in The Atlantic based on a recent speech by the Pope. He reflected on the importance of face-to-face communication in a world that has gone online. He said: “Text mediums deprive us of cues like facial expressions, posture, and vocal inflections. As a result, they are especially ill-suited to figuring out what people who aren’t adept at writing believe or intend to express….To interact with people in person is to
Getting your Message Across: Strategies for Conveying Technical and Complex Information
Communication excellence, speaking clearly and conveying ideas with impact, is highly associated with career and organizational success. Yet, healthcare and technology leaders face a major challenge: simplifying complex and technical information so that others “get it,” buy-in, and take action for best results. Here are some truths about transmitting knowledge and influencing others outside your field: Knowing your topic does not equal speaking clearly about your topic. Your listeners likely don’t care about your topic
Vocal Variety and Its Role in Virtual Presenting
Now that virtual presenting is here is stay, keep in mind that your oral delivery is more important than ever. Our colleagues, clients, and anyone else who is listening at home or in their office are most likely multitasking. Some of us have two monitors that allow us to be watching/listening and doing multiple tasks simultaneously. Since a few of your listeners may not be directly looking at the screen, your voice is what captures
Answering Off the Cuff
#1 Thinking on your feet When I meet potential clients, their needs span many areas, but I want to talk about one I find almost everywhere I go. “How can I be better at speaking off the cuff?” Easy! Well, honestly, it is easy, but to explain how it’s easy, let’s talk about what you are asking for. Speaking off the cuff, thinking on your feet, or any other way you describe it, comes from
Random Reasons Clients Like Virtual Meetings
As a communication coach working with hundreds of clients virtually, I’ve asked, “Why do you prefer Zoom to a real room?” Here are my fave fun replies. Add your virtual virtue in the comments below. I can eat garlic bread and smelly cheese on a break I only have to wash the front part of my hair I can wear my shirt with a hole on the back collar I am all alone in the
How to Be A Listener-Centric Communicator
The concept of adapting your content and delivery to WHO you are speaking is a worthy objective. However, being able to do it in a poignant and meaningful manner can be an advanced skill, and it will take your workplace communication to the next level. This article will provide a quick overview of one way in which we help our clients adapt to their listeners. The concept is called Patterns of Reasoning. The normal human brain capacity allows
Choosing a High Quality Speech Coach
If you are looking for a communication coach to help you with your effectiveness as a communicator, I urge you to check out the new book published by Rutledge. It’s called The Handbook of Communication Training. It features 50 different communication professionals, experts, professors, and practitioners from around the United States who have come together to agree that the best communication coaching and learning happens when your coach has been trained and shows prowess in these seven
Can You Learn Presentation and Public Speaking Skills in an Online Course?
Clients often tell us about an online course they found, or their company has provided, on Public Speaking and Presentation Skills. Then, they ask us what we think of it. There are two primary considerations: 1. Yes, you can learn some communication skills alone and online. 2. The skills you need must be compatible with online learning. Number two explains the potential challenges with learning communication skills online.
Why Doesn’t a Power Pose Work for Me?
Dating back as far as the 1950s, psychologists have connected the idea of your physical position with confidence. For example, people associated the psychology of “walking tall” with confidence. Over the decades, the concept evolved. In addition, movies, television, and social media have projected what confidence looks like. So it’s not much of a surprise when language like “power pose” and “Wonderwoman pose “ have gained new attention to the idea that your physical stance
Don’t Talk Too Much!
If you are a person who tends to give others too much information or go down rabbit holes of multiple topics, you will benefit by mastering an awareness of how much content you can deliver in 60 seconds. In addition, organizing your thoughts and practicing the delivery as a Subject Matter Expert will help you engage your listeners and make a memorable impact.
Managing Body Language in Difficult Communication Settings
It is important to observe your listeners’ body language as a first step. Whether in the room with you or on video conference, your listeners may exhibit signs of stress because of a lack of clarity or contentious information. What does this look like? The listeners may engage in side conversations. There may be a rumbling in the audience. This tells you, the speaker, that you’ve done something to trigger this reaction and produce negative
Are you having conflict and disagreement at work?
Are you having conflict and disagreement at work? Then, follow the advice of the thought leader….and get off the keyboard! A Japanese client from a well-known American-owned private equity firm in Tokyo recently worked on persuasion for my coaching efforts. We ended up analyzing a Ted Talk from Julia Dhar, a noted Australian speaker on debate, conflict, and persuasion.
Calling all Wonder Women!
As female leaders, we must stay current with strategies for communicating our confidence. So, here’s an exciting piece of research. As a Coach, I work with my clients to focus on the goal of speaking with confidence. The way we talk about our accomplishments can make or break us. So, here’s an interesting article to help keep perspective. The research focuses on identifying key female areas communicators can use to strengthen their effectiveness. Be a
What impression do other people have of you? Have you ever focused on what and how you communicate with others? If asked to use two words to describe you, what would they say? For that matter, what would you say? Centuries ago, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote that communication needs to be “chameleon-like.” He was not talking about being something different with each person you meet. He was urging leaders of the time to be aware of
Is It Possible to Over Prepare for a Presentation?
When preparing a presentation, TED talk, webinar, investor pitch, wedding toast, or anything in between, there can be a struggle with how much to prepare in advance.
What Continued Zoom Fatigue and the COVID Delta Variant Means for You and Your Team
If you’re like me, you’ve experienced heavy Zoom fatigue in the last 16 months. During this ongoing pandemic, it’s earned its slang term, right alongside “Quarantine” (the drink you make with whatever you can find in your fridge or freezer), “Blursday” (an unspecified day because of lockdown’s disorientating effect on time), “zoom bombing” (hijacking a Zoom video call). “WFH” (working from home) and “quaranteams” (online teams created during lockdown).
Does virtual presenting level the speaking field?
Last week, I worked with a client who shared with me that her nervousness associated with public speaking was not as much of a problem since the world went virtual. I was curious about what changed for her or what had helped her. When working with clients on controlling their nervousness, there are many things to be considered. A major focus of the help we bring is with thoughts. The thoughts are what people say
We love paraprosdokians, figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong. War does not determine who
Executive presence: what is it, why do you need it, and how do you build it?
During these last 467 days, we’ve had to make significant adjustments to the way we convey our presence and confidence. As we moved into a virtual world, executive presence was created, focusing on how we look and sound on camera. So, the question is, how do we build a relationship with somebody that you’re only meeting from the waist up? How do you establish that executive presence in a way that can build trust and
Lead With Purpose
People are going to change as a result of this time in our lives. You may even need to change your business model. Right now, it’s a new day – Every day. Change is happening so quickly. Business and life as we know it has changed since just a week ago. In times of what we call the FUD Factor – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, the companies that communicated and demonstrated that they care about
Are cell phones hurting the next generation?
A recent article on CNN was about government-run camps to treat teen internet addiction in South Korea. After reading the article, I thought what a fantastic idea. I wonder how many parents think their kids are addicted to their cell phones. The South Koreans may be on to something. According to South Korea’s government, in 2018, 98% of South Korean teens used a cell phone. The article mentioned a 16-year who, after spending 13 hours
Are some organizations shirking their responsibilities regarding public speaking coaching and professional development opportunities?
As a speech coach, I readily admit that it is hard for me to remain unbiased about the question above. ALL of us, speech coaches included, should be on a never-ending quest to improve our public speaking, presentation skills, and ability to connect with listeners virtually and in person. That is a utopian view, I know. Based in our Kerala, India office, I do see a disturbing trend about the support and development of speakers
Three Tips for Using a Teleprompter in a Business Presentation
As more and more events become hybrid or completely virtual, the ability to use a teleprompter with ease will enhance the quality of your presentation. Of course, the opposite is also true; fumbling with your script on a screen can make you look panicked, low energy, and under-prepared. Being a great presenter means you have developed mastery with all the tools at your disposal. When used well, you may utilize a teleprompter at your next
Become a Better Speaker in 30 Minutes
I want to share some advice based on my experience coaching over 200 conference speakers, moderators, and panelists to prepare for their upcoming presentations. Some of the conference speakers I’ve helped just took an initial, free consultation, which is great, others wanted additional, in-depth help for a particularly important event. Some have become valued clients and friends. Regardless of seniority (C-level executives, managers, or individual contributors) or industry such as financial services, fintech, healthcare, biotech,
THE BASIS OF BIAS AND ATTITUDES
Until the community of police and the communities of color are willing and able to get to the bottom of the biases and attitudes that control behavior, any change will be prolonged and painful. Each person in these communities and others must understand that their behaviors, whether verbal or physical, come from a place in each of us, filled with the attitudes and beliefs that we carry everywhere we go. There are no human exceptions
The Rudest Things You Can Do During A Work Zoom Meeting
I don’t consider myself a rude person, and I make great efforts at being polite, self-aware, and apolitical at work. But after reading this article, “The Rudest Things You Can Do During a Work Zoom Meeting,” you may realize, like I did, you’re a bit of a boor online. Fortunately I work with a bunch of great speech coaches here at The Speech Improvement Company, so there’s hope! Now that I’m enlightened, I’m reaching out
The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive
I read an interesting and informative blog post that’s generated a lot of discussions at The Speech Improvement Company. “Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive,” appears on the website of Doist, an up-and-coming maker of software-based productivity tools. The article delves into the productivity of remote workers and how different modes of communication affect it. It includes the following definitions:
Visuals in the Virtual World – A Quick Tip
Using visuals during presentations is helpful for listeners to connect with your message. They are used to emphasize and clarify speaking points. Has this changed in the virtual world? The short answer is NO. Presenters need to be cautious of having their listeners disconnect from them and their message due to visuals. Whether you are in person or virtual, disconnecting happens. Still, presenters compete for their listeners’ attention with so many more distractions in a
Five Strategies to Demonstrate Gravitas
‘Gravitas’ was one of the ancient Roman virtues that denoted “seriousness.” Also translated as weight, dignity, and importance, it conveys a sense of responsibility and commitment to the task. In our modern society, gravitas indicates polish, grace in manner, and dignity in outward appearance. I’m guessing that speaking while on mute would not be considered speaking with grace and dignity! In executive communication coaching, gravitas is often mentioned. Executives with gravitas are considered to have ‘weight,’
Having “the Talk” with Clients
As a coach, we meet all kinds of people who want to become better public speakers and communicators. Most of them are keen to learn, try new things, and some need a little friendly push now and then to keep going. But what happens when the client refuses to communicate or shuts down? Some signs of trouble with the client could include missing appointments with no notice, not doing practice or assignments between meetings, or
The trials and tribulations of working from home are many
At first, I thought this is great! I will work from home! I will be able to cook dinner and spend some quality time with my family. Well, it’s been two weeks, and I have learned a great deal. Working from home is hard, especially when your spouse or significant other is also attempting to do it as well. My bedroom has become my office since my husband took over our entire kitchen /dining room.
Free Webinar: Controlling Nervousness Before Speaking – April 14, 2021
Learn how to control nervousness associated with public speaking with this free, 30-minute webinar hosted by The Speech Improvement Company. Whether you call it ’nervousness” or “anxiety’ or “fear of speaking,” it is a widespread experience for many people worldwide; you are not alone. The good news is that it can be controlled. This complimentary webinar will discuss the ‘real causes’ of this experience and some tools and techniques to control the nervousness. Wed, April
Why Listening is Difficult
It’s often been said that humans have two ears and one mouth in order to listen twice as much as we speak. Interestingly, almost all research points to the veracity of this statement. Related: Listening: Our Most Used Communications Skill | MU Extension We do listen much more than we speak. Yet, it is rare to find an institution of learning from K – 12 and beyond that provides any programs or even classes in listening.
Dr. Dennis Becker @ World Speech Day
Dr. Dennis Becker, founder of The Speech Improvement Company, was chosen to represent North America at World Speech Day scheduled for March 15, 2021. The honor was given to him in recognition of his stature as a worldwide expert in human communication. World Speech Day is a day to celebrate speeches and speechmaking that change the world – socially, politically, in the arts, business, and religion. This is their sixth year and feature a Master
Topic of the day: Video Cover Letters
It’s no secret 2020 was a challenging year in many ways. As most of us look forward to putting this year behind us, many companies may be gearing up for new year hiring as new budgets come into play in early 2021. This brings up the relatively new idea of a video cover letter. What is a VCL, you ask? It’s just like it sounds, it’s you, talking about you and your skills, and
Give Me a Break! Tips to Promote Team Morale and Sanity
As we all continue to adapt to our remote workplace in 2021, coaches find that our clients confide worries and challenges about virtual meetings to us. So, meeting leaders, here are easy ways to enhance your team’s morale and productivity : Give them a break. Some team members feel like it’s a luxury to visit their own bathroom or grab a yogurt, as close as they may be. Encourage 15-minute breaks every ninety minutes or
Five New Ways to Combat Remote Team Loneliness During Coronavirus
Studies show that loneliness is becoming an increasingly common physical and mental health concern for which remote workers are acutely at risk. With coronavirus forcing employees into 100% work from home (WFH) guidelines, and in some cases, complete shelter in place restrictions, workplace loneliness is at an all-time high. Understandably, employees who are used to seeing each other every day are especially feeling this disconnect. And, with coffee shops and restaurants closed, remote employees who were always 100% remote no longer have
Five Tips for Communicating In A Mask
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
Three Powerful Reasons Storytelling Works in Business
Storytelling is an advanced communication tool that can build rapport, increase retention and powerfully persuade. Capturing, structuring and delivering relevant stories is an invaluable skill in business. 1) Build Rapport – Experiences are unique; however, emotions are universal. Telling a short, interesting personal story allows the listener to tap into the same emotion as the teller, creating a memorable rapport. The effectiveness depends upon expressing the relevant emotion in the story. 2) Increase Retention –
Framing your business narrative during crisis time
Figuring out how to frame a narrative in a crisis is very important. Now, in the midst of this pandemic, if you need to adjust your business narrative, how should you do that? If your business is to continue, your constituents need to know that your company is still strong and has been able to adapt to changing times. Here is food for thought and some direction for your consideration as you address this issue.
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 You can wear your PJ bottoms (just watch the camera shot). You can look at yourself all day, for better or worse. You don’t have to smell fish cooking in the microwave. You get to use your own bathroom. You can squeeze your stress ball
Attend our Workshop: Thinking on Your Feet
90-minute, online, interactive workshop Thinking on Your Feet Thursday, May 21, 20201:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT $99 per seat THINKING ON YOUR FEET is always a strong indicator of confidence and competence. Next to controlling nervousness, it’s our most requested training topic! Two things will happen during this 90-minute workshop: First, you will learn specific techniques that will help you strengthen your ability to think on your feet and express your thoughts
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:
Dr. Dennis Becker at World Speech Day
Dr. Dennis Becker, founder of The Speech Improvement Company, spoke on March 16 at World Speech Day. The honor of representing North America was given to him in recognition of his stature as a worldwide expert in human communication. World Speech Day is a day to celebrate speeches and speechmaking that change the world – socially, politically, in the arts, business, and religion. This is their fifth year and featured a Master Class of speakers
Communicating During Crisis (Recorded Webinar)
30-minute recorded webinar Communicating During Crisis Navigating Essential Conversations Watch Now In these unprecedented times, your people are relying on your insight and direction. Effective communication is every leader’s best tool and using it appropriately is the key to moving business forward. Your employees, peers, vendors, partners, and others all need clear, concise, and useful information. Our team of Executive Communication Coaches will be joined by renowned crisis expert Dr. Kevin
How Can Disaster Psychology Help Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis?
In recent years, the world has seen a number of significant large-scale disasters; some caused by nature and some caused by humans. For many, the words “disaster” or “crisis” evoke images of buildings in shambles, decimated communities, and families who are homeless and uncertain where their next meal will come from. Until recently, these disasters included only such events as tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and terrorist attacks. These days it is the coronavirus that is bringing
Managing Employees Remotely (Recorded Webinar)
Managing Employees Remotely Overcoming challenges in communication, motivation, and employee engagement Watch the Recording Now The coronavirus is forcing many of us to work and manage remotely. With large numbers of employees working remotely for the first time and reading frightening headlines daily, managers have a whole new set of challenges to continue leading effectively. Watch our webinar and you will learn: The key challenges to remote work Five important skills for effective remote collaboration How to motivate
Running Effective Remote Team Meetings
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
The PPI consists of 10 questions to ask prior to the business presentation process. These 10 questions relate to listener analysis, and therefore your needs: Why am I speaking to these listeners? Why are they listening? What relationship do we have? What relationship do listener members have to each other? What do they know about this topic? What would they like to know? How will they use this information? What are they doing the
Four Practice Strategies for Your Next Investor Presentation
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
Three Ways to Handle Investor Questions Confidently
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
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: Provide non-verbal feedback. Speakers are sensitive to
BUILDING RAPPORT QUICKLY
Investor meetings are difficult enough because you need to tell your story, what makes you unique, and why you are the right company for them to invest. In reality, though, the most difficult and important part is building the necessary rapport with the investors. Investors need to see a potential business relationship that they can develop. Do you have goals, values, beliefs, and drivers that align? How do you know what those are for your
Communication Skills for Women Leaders
Without being stereotypical about it, there are some communication characteristics that may be more familiar to women in leadership roles than will resonate with men in similar roles. We see many millennials, of both genders, struggling with these traits as well. But that’s an article for another day! Here a few reminders. Examples include: Placing a question mark at the end of sentences (uptalk) Apologizing when there is no need Diminishing their value by using
Seven Factors Biotech Companies Should Consider When Using a Public Speaking App
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
Strategically Authentic Communication
To be successful in business communication, you must be authentic. Authenticity, though, is not magic. It is strategic. For any communication you have, here are three steps you can follow to be “strategically authentic.” 1 – Better understand your listeners. The best advice I give to clients is to remember that it’s not about you; it’s about the listeners, so before you speak, ask yourself: To whom are you speaking? What is their title? How much time do they have for
Three Nuanced Ways to Communicate Confidence
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
The Skills You Need to be AGILE
There is a difference between being an agile HR department and being an AGILE HR department. The ideal, of course, is being an agile AGILE HR department. This is especially true as AGILE becomes a way of doing business in more and more companies. The emphasis in AGILE is on speed and accuracy. At the Bank of Montreal, where AGILE has become popular, the Chief Transformation Officer, Lynne Rogers, says that “speed is the
The Cornerstone of Success
If you don’t put in the work, your communication cannot improve. Have you ever heard of the often-quoted business statement “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”? Whether you have or have not, the question you should ask is, what is this quotation saying to us as professionals? The quote is urging us to do. Very inspirational and successful people generally speak statements like this. The kinds of people we want to emulate. The problem is that
DO I NEED HELP WITH PITCHING TO VC’S???
The short answer is yes. In a recent conversation with a VC, they said they would not fund based on the presentation they saw because: The message was lost The team didn’t seem on the same page They didn’t present what the VC wanted to hear It just wasn’t right
If you don’t put in the work, your communication cannot improve
Have you ever heard of the often-quoted business statement “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”? Whether you have or have not, the question you should ask is, what is this quotation saying to us as professional. The quote is urging us to do. Very inspirational and successful people generally speak statements like this. People, we want to emulate. The problem is that statements like this don’t reflect the years of work that went into
YOUR BIOTECH IDEA ALONE WILL NOT GET YOU FUNDED
When biotech start-ups go to present, the common belief is that the technology, biologic, assay, or molecule will be the catalyst for awarding funding. No, it won’t. The fact that you have something that might work and be beneficial to some subset of people worldwide who suffer from a specific condition is how you got in the room. Whether you leave the room with funding is based entirely on what you focus on for the
Complimentary webinar for biotech executives going to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Week
Strategies to Quickly Connect and Create Relationships at JPM Week This webinar was held on December 11, 2019. View the recoding here: https://www.speechimprovement.com/relationships-at-jpm/ Maximize your opportunities. In this timely and informative webinar, learn strategies to connect and create valuable relationships throughout the upcoming JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Week. Our experienced speech coaches will cover important topics including: Organize your thoughts for clarity and maximum impact Share a compelling value proposition in under 30 seconds Network
Three Lawyers and an Actuary
This week I had the privilege of coaching three lawyers and one actuary — bright people indeed who were preparing to speak at various conferences. Three of them needed help structuring their presentations. One executive was having trouble relating to his listeners. Yet they all expressed concern over the thing that holds so many people back. If you guessed they all suffer from the fear of speaking, you’re right. There are two types of comments I heard: Physiological: They
PERFECT BIOTECH INVESTMENT PRESENTATIONS ARE IMPERFECT
The concept of perfection in science is prolific. You want your research to suggest that your drug, therapy, etc. will work 100% of the time. That is impossible, but the goal is to get it as close as possible to every time on every patient with the fewest side effects. Most scientists in startups began as highly successful students who experienced some success at larger biotech companies or post-doc labs and then ventured out on
Is Conversation Dead?
By no means is it shocking to say that teenagers live on their cell phones. As a GenXer, I grew up as a teen that spent hours talking on the telephone. (The thing attached to the wall that had a cord.) I can still hear my mother yelling, “GET OFF THE PHONE NOW! Someone may be trying to call.” Yes, I used a phone to talk. That is no longer the case today. I find
How your team’s non-verbal communication can destroy all of your progress
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
Your Spoken Word Is Not Enough
When preparing for a presentation, you start by thinking “What do I want to say?” The focus is on ourselves. How will it go? What is best? Think bigger. As a communication coach, I tell my clients all the time “I’m going to tell you something important: it’s not about you.” It’s about your listener. How one successfully reaches a communication goal is by thinking about what tools will help you effectively get your message
How Word Choice Affects Email Tone
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
How to present as a team
Team presentations are difficult. They are even more so when there is $10 to $50 million in funding on the line. The presentation sets the tone for the next year or years of your business. So, getting it wrong, messing up, or not presenting as a cohesive unit is not an option. The pressure is high, and the stress over getting it wrong is higher. When we coach teams, who are looking for that essential
Practice Strategies for a Biotech CEO: Demystified
One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big investor presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science start-up CEOs and leadership teams, this is in many cases, a topic of conversation. “I need to practice.” “We need to practice.” “We need to schedule practice.” “This presentation is critical because it influences our funding.” It is common to think practice is easy, but it is not. It is not easy
There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 3)
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
There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 2)
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.
If you present to investors, you should know what Apple just released for you
If you present to investors or other small group meetings, watch Dr. Ethan Becker show you how to use Apple’s new SideCar technology to help improve human connections!
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
What’s Your Theme?
Technical and business presentations can be difficult for both speakers and listeners. Using a theme sentence will be very helpful. A theme is the most important idea or bit of information that you want your listeners to take away. If they forget everything else, what is the one thing you want them to remember? That is your theme.
How to Convince Your Boss to Pay for Presentation Training
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
There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 1)
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
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
Four Effective Tools to Control Your Fear of Speaking
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,
Use Humor to be More Effective in Presentations
People want to do business with people they like. Making someone smile or chuckle will have the effect of: 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
Practice Strategies for a Biotech CEO Demystified
One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science startup CEOs and leadership teams, this is in many cases, a topic of conversation. “I need to practice.” “We need to practice.” “We need to schedule practice.” “This presentation is critical because it influences our funding.” It is common to think practice is easy, but it is not. It is not easy to
The one thing most people never pay attention to when presenting – CONTEXT
What does that title mean? The actual context for your listeners is what they have experienced before they begin listening to you speak. The framework can include such things as: Local or global political breaking news Weather 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
3 Ways to Handle Questions Confidently
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,
The Best Biotech Presentations Possess These Two Speaking Skills
Think about your upcoming biotech investor presentation. Chances are you have pored over the slide deck but spent little time thinking about how you will share the content. Few issues are more important to preclinical–stage biotech companies than maintaining a continuous flow of capital. If you plan to advance the development of your product with capital, you need to attract and maintain investor interest, which involves continuously pitching venture capitalists and investors. The best biotech presentations possess this combination of speaking skills: Integrate a
Five Ways to be Persuasive in Biotech
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.
Communicate 34x More Effectively
I often caution people on their use of email. Of course it’s fast and convenient, but an important message or request may be diluted for that very reason: you chose a fast, convenient (for you) method to deliver it. If being heard is important, a phone call is far better. And meeting face-to-face gives you the most successful vehicle for delivering your message. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and reported in the
Two-Day Effective Presentations Certificate Program
Becoming a persuasive presenter is one of the most sought-after skills in business today. We are very pleased to announce our Effective Presentations Certificate Program.
How to Maintain Eye Contact When Speaking
Eye contact is generally considered to be the most important visual re-enforcer a speaker has. Listeners like to be looked at. This is particularly true in persuasive business speaking. The American business culture relies heavily on the “look ’em straight in the eye” approach.
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
Angst surrounding communication is universal. Speaking formally before large groups can cause great anxiety, so much so, even the most accomplished professionals often shy away from attempting to try it. But how about one-on-one conversations and speaking with those closest to us? As we approach the third decade of the new millennium, do you see effective communication increasing or waning? Are our “circles of support” growing or do we reach out to a more limited
Six Ways to Win Your Investor Presentation
I recently attended an event in Austin called Philanthropitch, a social impact fast-pitch competition. Nonprofits step onto the stage to gain access to capital and build awareness amongst new donors and volunteers. That night Philanthropitch gave away $110,000.00. No pressure, right? I felt that every presenter did an excellent job which is a tremendous achievement. If you’d like to learn more about how to thrive in a pitch competition, you need a plan and preferably
Effective Presentations Certificate Program
With the new season comes a tremendous opportunity to become an effective presenter, one of the most sought-after skills in business today. Laurie Schloff, Senior Coaching Partner at The Speech Improvement Company, and I are very pleased to announce the Effective Presentations Certificate Program.
How can I convince my managers to not be territorial and be good team players?
A listener from on the road asked Ethan while he was in Kuala Lumpur, how can he get his managers to stop being so territorial and be more like team players!
Women-Only Events Don’t Make Sense and Here’s Why
Very recently, Rebecca Robbins, a San Francisco Correspondent, shared a report about an organization that wanted to take a different approach at an upcoming scientific gathering. Planners decided to only invite female speakers to the microbiome conference at the University of California, San Diego, thus igniting a major controversy. As a woman, mother, and corporate executive, it is my opinion that women-only events don’t make sense. Now, before you throw a laptop at me, hear
Raising (and Leading) Humans
There are amazing similarities between parenting kids and leading and managing our people at work. Being mindful of this just might help you become more resilient as you groom your employees to operate at high proficiency. Being aware might also give YOU extra energy in the process. Because like raising kids, managing people can be extremely exhausting (yet some of the most rewarding work ever!).
How to Get Your Listeners to Participate
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.
How to be Persuasive
One of the topics our team of speech coaches cover most often is persuasion. Many people believe persuasion is about saying “I am right and you are wrong.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Persuasion is about presenting your thoughts and ideas in a compelling way that makes others listen to them. So, if I have persuaded you to read on <ahem>, here are three important considerations to be persuasive:
Aligning Multicultural Teams
Managers and leaders are often massively challenged in how to quickly align cross-functional and multicultural teams in today’s mobile and ever changing global economy. A solid conflict management approach – having the knowledge, a reliable process and a system in place that people can follow – is crucial to not allow emotions to become overwhelming.To do so successfully requires a high level of interpersonal communication skills which are acquired through in-depth self-development, reflection, training, coaching,
Approachability: Tom Brady Style
How often do you think about how you’re perceived as a communicator? What’s the impression you want people to have of you after they hear you speak? The ability to control the impression you make on others is a crucial tool to have in today’s fast-paced world. One client with whom I’m working just moved into the President & CEO role. My job as his speech coach begins with the question, “What two words would
Why becoming an entrepreneur may be the best choice for women
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)]
Powerful Persuasion Begins with a Good Story
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.
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
People who love baseball certainly will remember its originator, Yogi Berra as one of the game’s most memorable players and coach. Many other people know him only for his absurd, but sometimes insightful quotes which spawned their own name: “yogiisms” — defined as seemingly nonsensical or self-contradictory statements that actually convey serious thoughts once listeners untangle the knots of their unusual phrasing. Reading in the papers about mostly wrong predictions from 2018 and new ones
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
Why men should attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December 2018
I have always learned so much about the male mindset through my brother and many times it was contrary to what society was teaching. He was always a great ally to my sister and I when confronting our irrational and impulsive mother. I continue to learn from him by having very candid conversations about male/female dynamics and perspectives. He is angered about the #metoo stories coming out and couldn’t imagine taking advantage of an incapacitated
When Insults Had Class
Time for some wordplay and levity… “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend… if you
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
Cry Like a Little Girl
Communication fascinates me. This is one of the reasons why I love being a communication trainer and coach. Communication is like breathing, it’s happening through every person every minute of the day. Communication breakdowns are inevitable no matter how thoughtful we are. As a communication trainer, I can become an observer/researcher to distract myself from negatively reacting (sometimes) as I did on a recent family visit. The opportunity to learn came from my 19 year
Learning to Listen
Hearing and listening are not the same process. Hearing is the physical act of sound striking the eardrum. Listening is differentiating among those sounds. Hearing is an involuntary and reflective act. Listening is a voluntary and initiative act. As you read these words, you are hearing sounds in the room or outside the building. You are probably hearing an air-conditioning system or a furnace, or voices in the hallway. Perhaps you are hearing street traffic or an
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,
What?!? No PowerPoint?
Three different speech coaching clients have told me how they are planning to follow the steps of Amazon and do away with PowerPoint in their senior executive meetings. Fortunately, I was able to stop this colossal mistake before it was too late. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unaware of the torture and mis-communication that can happen when PowerPoint is used. I agree and support that certain types of meetings are best conducted without it.
The Transformational Effect of Live Storytelling
The ability to speak with impact directly correlates with one’s salary. As an Executive Communication Coach, I have helped many nervous professionals hone their speaking skills in order to advance their careers. Typically, the coaching and training focuses on content organization and delivery skills for maximum effectiveness. I love communication so much that it is not just my day job, but also my hobby. I’m a storyteller and participate in story slams. These are events
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
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
The Best Choice
How many decisions do you make in a day? Hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe many thousands…? Some of them are life critical. Some of them are thoughtless. Yet, each one of them helps to determine who you are, what kind of a life you will have, and the impression you make on others. When it comes to the choices you make every day and the number of people who want to influence those choices, there is
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
3 Ways to Handle Difficult Questions Confidently
Why do people ask difficult questions? They need the information They want attention from the group They want to look smart They use the questions to influence and persuade They want to intimidate Because it’s culturally appropriate They want to challenge the presenter They want to make the presenter look unprepared/foolish/dumb Questions are safer to ask than providing answers They want to be disruptive They want to change the subject They want to give their
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
3 Ways Storytelling Can be Effective in Business
Storytelling is an advanced communication tool that can build rapport, increase retention and powerfully persuade. Capturing, structuring and delivering relevant stories is an invaluable skill in business. 1.) Building Rapport – Experiences are unique; however, emotions are universal. Telling a short, interesting, personal story allows the listener to tap into the same emotion as the teller, creating a bonding moment.
Speaking With Confidence at the JFK Library
To be a hi-impact leader in today’s financial healthcare industry requires confidence and grit. How do you hold your own in situations where there are clearly power politics? Financial folks are now more involved in giving presentations, speaking at meetings to clinicians, senior management, and colleagues. And it isn’t enough just to report the numbers and finances accurately, it’s equally important to communicate a high level of competence and confidence.
When Students Become Teachers
When a tragedy happens there is a lot of talk. Many people are highlighted, and many issues are discussed. The Parkland School shooting is no exception to this. Since the shooting we have seen politicians, pundits, analysts, and now students getting time to speak about the issues surrounding guns. Interestingly, the conversation is in many ways being led by these students. As a communication professional who has spent time as a secondary educator and researcher,
Fixing Two Very Common Snags in Speech Patterns
Are you dropping your 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 recording 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
What Does It Mean To Be A High Level Communicator?
In meetings today, getting talk time can be a challenge. Often there are levels of seniority and cultures that do not promote just anyone jumping in to speak. So when you speak, you must make sure you make a comment that will have some teeth in it. One that will resonate with the rest of the team and ideally one that will leave them feeling you contributed something of value. After all, you are at
Hate Speech in the Workplace: A Manager’s Guide
Hate speech can hurt your employees… and your bottom line. It’s an almost sure bet that people in your organization, and maybe on your team, are hearing, reading, and actively discussing the issues both in and outside of the workplace. And, unfortunately, some may be engaging in it.
How To Control The Impression You Make On Others
In this day and age, we each have the ability to shape and direct our communication to create a “personal brand.” Communication-style coaching is the path to creating the way you want others to think of you. I help executives do this by choosing the “style words” that define their own personal style, something that they can vary depending on the listener. Ideally I recommend choosing two words. The first is a word from a
How Do I Break Into a Group of People Talking?
[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Go easy on your expectations here. A group of people who have been chatting awhile have already put energy into establishing a conversational rhythm. So when a newcomer appears, the group minimizes having to adjust or backtrack by politely but slowly easing in a new conversational contender. If you have concluded that breaking into a conversational group can be difficult, you’re right. But the cause usually is not
Americans vote on the most annoying word
The most annoying word or phrase in America is… Not one speech coach could guess it. And we can’t tell you just yet. But the results are in on this year’s closely-watched Marist Poll. If you’re not familiar with it, their website states “The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, home of The Marist Poll, is a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York which regularly measures public opinion at the local,
Don’t Sound Boring Use “Vocal Variety”
Despite the twenty hours Luanne spent preparing for each lecture to her nursing class, her students consistently rated her as dull. Jacob, a mechanical engineer with innovative ideas and brilliant designs, could not keep any audience interested in his presentations. Luanne and Jacob suffered from the bane of being boring, perhaps the worst curse that can afflict a speaker. Though you might think people like Luanne and Jacob were born boring, the truth is they
Why do I have such anxiety with public speaking?
This is a question, I have been asked by almost every speech coaching client that I have assisted in gaining control over their anxiety. In my past 25 years as communications coach, I have found that fear of speaking stems from a few places. Now that is not to say that every person has had a uniquely unpleasant situation that helped to create the anxiety. What I am suggesting is that while situations are unique
Sales Management Tips
This interview with Laurie Schloff originally appeared on Sales Management Services website and was written by Suzanne Pailing More Listening Tips and the Importance of Communication Skills in Selling To succeed in a sales position of any type, you must be a proficient listener. This comes more easily to some reps than others. To help salespeople continue to develop this ability, sales leaders should run listening exercises during staff meetings, recommend books and articles on the
How to Deal With FEAR in 4 Steps
1. Fear, and often fear of speaking, ignites an immediate flight or freeze response in your body. First you need to calm down both your nervous system and body response in order to think clearly. Here’s a focused deep breathing exer cise that is extremely helpful. Research has shown it instantly moves the brain’s reaction to calmness even in highly stressful situations. This creates the space you need to make decisions and take proper actions. It
What to do when your mind goes blank on stage
This article by Laurie Schloff originally appeared on SpeakerHub What will happen if you go blank on stage? Knowing the answer will help overcome fear of speaking. Obviously, you will be struck by a lightning bolt and no one will ever talk to you again. Seriously, even experienced speakers have moments when they look at the audience with a frozen stare and wonder: Who are these people? What am I doing here? And what
An article this week on StatNews.com, a sister site of BostonGlobe.com, reported on a California startup’s plan to broadly market the medication propranolol as a quality-of-life aid, including to reduce nervousness associated with public speaking. Companies looking to innovate and disrupt will continue to explore new solutions to old problems, and vice versa. But this particular idea causes me concern as a speech professional.
Podcast: The Only 3 Ways to Convince Anybody of Anything
Being persuasive is the topic most often requested by our clients. We train people all over the world – Fortune 500 executives, managers in companies of all sizes, entrepreneurs, politicians, athletes, and educators – who tell us again and again: they want to be more convincing.
I Hate Small Talk
[vc_row row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css_animation=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Is small talk really so small? Chitchat about unimportant matters provides warm-up time for more meaningful interaction. During small talk, shifts in several dimensions of interaction can occur-from discomfort to comfort, mistrust to trust, impersonal topics to personal ones. Then talkers turn to their real business. Jay, an intense engineer who wanted to meet his soulmate, refused to make small talk. He insisted, “I like to walk up
Overcoming 5 Hurdles That Prevent Success
In my experience, there are 5 hurdles that stand to prevent you from being successful. I’ve delved into each below. Fear ISSUE: Fear of failure, of not living up to expectations – your own and those of others, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of being ridiculed or singled out in your community, having to go the way alone, the fear of failing, of losing everything, and there are so many more. Fear
Have you ever lost your voice at a tradeshow? We’ve all been there. It’s day 3 of the show, your staff is complaining of aching feet and backs, overall body energy is down, yet there are still 2 more days left to go in the show. Their voices are starting to crack, coughing more often, clearing thoughts, or worse – voices become horse! How do you keep your staff from getting that trade show voice?
People Complain That I’m Too Loud
Most of us instinctively do a good job of setting our volume so that it takes into account the distance between ourselves and listeners, the amount of background noise, and the degree to which we want to broadcast our message. One client who was known as “The Megaphone” in his office, didn’t do so well at this. Ernie came to see me when he realized that colleagues were requesting the cubicle farthest from his. One
One of the most important skills to master in our life is self-communication. What thoughts are swirling around in your head on a daily basis? Are you aware of them? These thoughts inhibit our life force and energy, especially in times of uncertainty and worry. It’s interesting to note that in many Asian countries, it is called the ‘monkey mind’ that needs to be tamed.
I Never Remember People’s Names After I’m Introduced
People with a good memory for names are not mental wizards, but they do devote more mental energy to remembering them than those of us who suffer temporary amnesia at the sight of Bill-Phil-or-was-it-Will. The cure for name amnesia is a fool proof, easy-to-apply memory strategy that you won’t forget to use. Here is one you’ll remember by N-A-M-E. In the N-A-M-E technique, each letter of the word Name stands for an important step in
Perception is Reality…At Least for the Moment
I always remind my clients that “everything communicates”. How you appear in that moment, and sound in that moment to your listener, send a message about you. The ability to be natural, who you are, and authentic, this is most people’s goal. I believe a great way to reach that goal is to: strengthen your ability to control the impression you make on others. Perception is reality…. At least for the moment you are communicating
Man vs Beast
What a tragedy in Charlottesville. From a speech coaching perspective, this is yet he recent another indication that our species has not entirely evolved to the point where we can talk and listen to one another. It was Aristotle who first pointed out that the human ability to talk and listen is what differentiates us from the forest animals. Yet, we still see the presence of physical violence as a means of communication between members
How you can add real value to your business
One of the biggest challenges in business is how to create ‘value’. Boyd Stough of Espy Revenue recently interviewed me about this issue for a new installment of his business podcasts. In our conversation, we talked extensively about the fact that value for a business comes from all levels: Leadership, teams, client facing, and internal facing.
Screen Calls Appropriately
When screening calls, you take an incoming call and try to find out who is calling and what the caller wants. Screening is most commonly done by a receptionist who needs to direct calls, and by secretaries and assistants who need to protect their supervisors’ time.
Why are you so fearful of public speaking?
I spend a lot of time reading articles from magazines, newspapers, and blogs whose authors proclaim they have the solutions for the fear of public speaking. The reality is there is no solution to that fear. As a person who has spoken for 25 years as well as coached others for the last ten, there will never come a time when you are cured. The fact is fear is a part of public speaking. You
How To Be Heard In Meetings
Ever notice that sometimes in meetings or conversation other professionals do not seem to take you seriously? You are trying to make a point but your listeners roll their eyes, look bored, or act fidgety. Do they wish they were someplace else or just want you to get on with it or… For whatever reason, they are not giving your words and thoughts the weight they deserve. This can be very frustrating because you frequently
Homonyms, Homophones, and Other Similar Words
We had a lot of fun compiling this list of commonly misunderstood, misused, and misspelled English words. You may find some that are interesting, some surprising, and hopefully, some that are educational. Enjoy! – a – abjure To renounce adjure To command, as under oath accept To receive with consent except To exclude; to object (take exception to) acclamation Loud expression of approval, praise, or assent acclimation Acclimatization, especially under controlled (as laboratory) conditions adherence Act of adhering adherents Followers affect
I Hate the Way I Sound on Recordings
In my work with hundreds of clients, including professional speakers such as actors and radio announcers, I have met only a handful who like the sound of their own voice on a recording. Some people even refuse to leave a voice mail message, knowing there would be a permanent record of their “awful voice floating around in the world.” Many speakers are certain that recordings distort their voice.
Where did that attitude come from?
A big part of communication is your ‘attitude’ which the dictionary defines as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Attitudes are developed in five major ways. Understanding all five contributing factors may help you understand your own attitude toward experiences and other people.
Good Communication Begins With Awareness
Successful communication has little to do with simply trying to bring our message across, but it has everything to do in how we assess and adjust our communication to our respective communication partners. Communication is a two-way process. It needs an equal amount of skill and effort to actually learn how to listen as it takes to draft a speech or give a talk in front of an audience.
Coaching Lessons from the NBA
It’s the NBA playoff season and while watching my beloved Boston Celtics tear down another opponent, my attention was drawn to some insightful statements from basketball players on the importance of being ‘well coached.’
The Hold Button Is Not a Weapon!
Don’t use the hold button to explode an obnoxious, annoying, or irritating caller into the never-never land of hold. In fact, if you can avoid putting people on hold, that’s even better. Do you like being put on hold? How long are you willing to wait? What does it feel like to be on hold? Most likely, very unpleasant and unproductive. No one likes to be kept waiting on hold. Many businesses try to soften
8 Steps to Exceptional Customer Service
Much has been written about the recent situation where United Airlines forcibly removed a passenger (David Dao, a 69 year-old doctor born in Vietnam and living in the U.S.) because they overbooked the flight. It raised questions about everything from passenger rights and the small print on your ticket, to outright discrimination against people of Asian descent. There was a lively discussion here at The Speech Improvement Company about service-oriented corporate culture, the attitudes of
Happy World Voice Day!
My observance today included hydrating, and singing classic rock in the car during a long drive. World Voice Day is an annual, now-international event created to recognize and honor the importance of the human voice – “to share the excitement of voice science, pedagogy and the vocal arts”. We use our voices to communicate from the very beginning of life, crying, laughing, and babbling before we can hold a crayon or even know a word
Impressing Investors: Rules for the Roadshow
Congratulations on bringing your innovative idea to the investor presentation stage. Now comes your next challenge–creating a winning presentation. Here are 8 key ideas for success: Develop the mindset of a ‘professional presenter’. In addition to innovator, entrepreneur, CEO, CFO, or executive, your skills as a professional presenter/communicator are also being judged. Professional presenters know their words and delivery are being scrutinized. A $10,000,000 decision could rest on the right rhetoric! You are prepared, vigilant, and self-aware with your
Creating Muscle Memory
When I work with clients on strengthening their communication effectiveness, I’m often asked, “How can I make these new tools come more naturally?” I assure them that when they carve out time to practice they are creating ‘muscle memory’. Muscle memory is something we often take for granted, yet it’s there and if harnessed, we can use it anytime to project confidence in doing any task. Obvious examples include putting your car key into the
Keying Off the Keynote
Recently I saw a conference agenda that listed multiple keynote speakers. This is all too common, and it’s wrong. Formally, there can only be 1 keynote speaker. Consider it like this. In an orchestra, where the term keynote comes from, a member plays a “key note” before they begin, and all other members tune their instruments to that note. The result is a symphony! Without this important step, you have something that’s musically akin to
So Easy to Like: Apps Add to Speech Coaching
My colleagues and I are delighted to welcome a new app, LikeSo into our toolbox of techniques to help clients become top notch speakers and communicators. We coaches are always on the lookout for ways to help clients practice and progress in their crazy busy lives. The leaders, managers and professionals I work with are attached to their mobile devices (Ok, I admit, so am I!) That’s why I am so delighted to collaborate with Audrey
Why Doesn’t Bill Belichick Smile?
In his TED talk, The Hidden Power of Smiling, Ron Gutman provides some insights into the proven value of smiling. We are born smiling. Using 3D ultrasound, we can see developing babies smile in the womb. When born, they continue to smile. A smile is one of the most basic expressions of all humans and it is the fastest way to build trust and rapport during face-to-face interactions. OK, so why doesn’t Bill Belichick smile? What
The New MacBook Pro Really Helps Presenters
For those who present with slides, you will want to look closely at the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple’s Keynote presentation software has added a simple, yet powerful feature to its software that will have a profound impact on public speakers. Hopefully PowerPoint will have it too. Some background: We know through research at The Speech Improvement Company that the most effective speakers are able to synchronize their visual aid support so your
The Owl in the Oak
There has been a plethora of communication about President Trump’s communication. We are , indeed, experiencing a new kind of communication from the office and the person who holds the Presidency of the United States. In recent days, the attention and commentary has shifted from everyone’s ability to LISTEN, in addition to the ability to talk. It stirred in me a bit of wisdom that I would like to share with you in hopes that it
Do I Need to Tell a Joke in a Presentation?
Yes, go ahead and tell a joke if all of the following apply: You can immediately tie in the joke with the larger theme for the presentation. Your joke is simple and short – audiences can’t remember more than three types of guys meeting Saint Peter at Heaven’s gate. Your jokes won’t offend men, women, children, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Seventh-Day Adventists; Republicans, Democrats, Independents; cat, dog, fish, or bird lovers; people who don’t like jokes; and
Lessons on better speaking from the Super Bowl
I love it when after a major game, people who have little to no experience with the NFL or professional athletes, do the Monday morning quarterbacking and proclaim the connections to business. Certainly, professional sports can serve as a cool way to learn about leadership and teamwork, but you’ve got to take it in context plus remember that many people are not sports fans. Some may wear the hats and jerseys, nod their heads, smile
How do you help someone who suffers from fear of speaking?
Nervousness associated with public speaking is extremely debilitating for so many people. It is a real fear and needs to be addressed. It’s easy for colleagues, friends and family to say, “You’ll be great. Stop worrying.” or “You need to get over it.” But many times these well-intentioned words of encouragement do more harm than good.
Warren Buffett Says This Will Raise Your Value by 50 Percent
Speaking to a group of Columbia University business students, Warren Buffett once said “Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning,” Drum roll please…
MLK Day: King’s Speech
“Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King” –James Taylor, “Shed A Little Light” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 88 this weekend. A pivotal figure in American history, he is revered as an exceptional public speaker whose ideas and language helped effect real change in the world. King was human and imperfect. He shot pool and was a fan of Star Trek. Concerns raised about plagiarism and his private life
Powering Up with the TEDx Speakers
Congrats to our TEDx Chandigarh, India clients and all who value spreading ideas to change the world, one talk at a time. We are delighted to add to the brilliance and talents of TEDx Chandigarh. Chandigarh is known as the Silicon Valley of India, and the conference theme on January 15th is Dream, Ideate, Create! How do we help seasoned speakers? We take them to the next level—developing a high impact talk, timing and pacing
“We Waste A Lot of Time at Our Meetings”
You have plenty of company. According to numerous surveys, most businesspeople view meetings as boring, un-productive, and a waste of time. (In one poll, 43 percent of executives admitted to having dozed off at a meeting at least once.) Some view meetings as downright unbearable. Is it possible to leave a meeting feeling refreshed, with a heightened sense of teamwork, and ready to take constructive action? Use this diagnostic test and follow up with the
Developing Practical American English Skills
An article by Sacha Pfeiffer in The Boston Globe entitled “For more firms, teaching English is in business plan” discusses an innovative benefit that at least 35 Massachusetts companies are providing their employees who are non-native English speakers – free classes to develop their English communication skills. This caught my attention as an educator, coach, and clinician dedicated to the development of people’s communication potential. As a student of linguistics at Northeastern University years ago, I had