15 Jun 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 and presenters. Simply put, some companies seem to be pushing employees to accept conference speaking opportunities but don’t seem to be willing to foot the bill for their coaching and professional development. (more…)
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, manufacturing, and retail, a few common truths have emerged:
Value – Delivering a message that truly provides value sounds obvious but is difficult without the right focus. Most clients I work with believe they are providing value. Often, that’s not the case. You should explicitly state what the value is to your listeners at the beginning of your presentation. In fact, it should be one clear sentence that says, “this is important to you because…” Also, remember value is not what you think is worthwhile, it’s putting yourself in your listeners’ shoes and deciding what would be valuable to them.
Connection – Connecting with the listeners is easier than you think. Most of my clients believe it’s an innate skill – either they are compelling or not. Not true! Being compelling begins with making sure you are talking to your listeners. If they want you to get to the point, be concise. If they want you to be detailed, start at the beginning and be sure to connect the dots. I often teach a bit about the basics of human reasoning and how communication needs to be inductive or deductive. In either case, I stress that when you speak, it’s not about you! You have important information to present, but if you don’t present it with their perspective in mind, you can forget about being compelling. In fact, it’s possible you won’t be heard at all.
Being Effective – Thinking on your feet and handling challenging questions or unwelcome surprises is an important skill. The good news is, it is easy when you’re well-prepared. You can be ready for the unexpected, whether it’s a last-minute change in the schedule, technical glitches, or dealing with a difficult person. Three steps to good preparate are: 1) have a method to think through upcoming interactions; 2) categorize and catalogue examples and experiences for use; and 3) make this a part of your daily life. When you anticipate and prepare for questions and concerns before you go onto a stage, turn on your camera, or walk into a meeting, you’ll know the right answers and you can focus on the context for your response. If you prepare properly, you will have a critical skill that all effective, persuasive speakers have mastered.
These are only three of the common topics I typically cover, even if it’s a single 30-minute session. Most conference speakers also benefit from tips on dealing with nervousness and practice strategies because like any skill, consistent practice is what gets you to the next level.
I want to help those in need and have learned that in just 30 minutes, we can together take significant steps to make you the best speaker you can be.
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 to this fact. It’s as simple as A B C. Attitudes Become Communication. We all have them. We all talk and act the way we do because of them. Sometimes we are readily aware that what we are doing or saying comes from something we believe in. Sometimes we are not overtly aware of why we say or do the things we do. Until each of us can understand what attitudes we carry with us and where they come from, there will be no peace or understanding. A detente will exist and will only erupt again and again. (more…)
‘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,’ ‘authority,’ and ‘executive presence.’ They’re taken seriously and thought to have leadership qualities. As an Executive Communication Coach, I often observe people speaking with sentences that fade away or using a flat inflection. They do this purposefully with the mistaken idea that you must always be serious or low energy to have gravitas. We’ve come a long way from Roman times, where seriousness was the primary way to demonstrate gravitas. These inaccurate stereotypes can diminish your ability to demonstrate leadership and authority in your current role. (more…)
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. What I didn’t anticipate was having to establish perimeters for each of us. If I had thoroughly thought this thru, then I would have suggested the following: (more…)
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 14, 2021
2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT
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 their routines those routines.
Employees converting to a remote role are afraid that they won’t get the social stimulation they need to stay motivated and engaged at work. Working from home can lead to endless distractions. Work productivity can be sluggish and fragmented. At most companies, the work they did has slipped away, or they are unable to generate new sales or profits. All of this adds up to be a strain and a sense of isolation.
As an Executive Communication Coach who specializes in Effective Remote Communication at The Speech Improvement Company, I am offering a few of our newest tips to help conquer remote work loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Bet on the weather. This idea is fun and costs nothing to roll out. To be clear, gambling at most places of work is illegal, so it’s best to keep this a light and fun activity with no actual money at stake. (Think a March Madness type pool but renamed March Sadness!) Perhaps the winner can gather donations to their favorite charity or bragging rights for six months. Maybe they get a paid day off on their birthday. Any prize helps it feel more exciting. To bet on the weather, it can be elaborate or straightforward. Commit to a few cities to bet on, commit to how you will bet – by temperature, by an icon on an app, by weather activity (rain, thunder, fog, partly sunny), or any parameter you like. This could be a one-time event on a Friday afternoon meeting or a weekly event. Even with prizes that have no monetary value, you are creating a new sense of fun and friendly competition.
2. Set up a remote lunch meeting with a surprise guest. Have one person on the team volunteer to bring in a special guest to a lunchtime meeting – their pet, child, friend, neighbor, or anyone who would be willing to pop on the video call for a few minutes. If they can access the meeting link remotely, anyone in the world can be your Surprise Guest, like your parents or spin class instructor and, is a fantastic way to get to know your team members and shake up the monotony of meetings.
3. Plan a company-wide talent show on a Friday afternoon. Invite anyone and everyone who would like to take part – your spouse, partner, dog, bunny, child, or yourself. Let family members in your home tune in as well. After all the performances are complete, use a poll or chat feature to determine the top three winners of the talent show. Winners will receive a prize with no monetary value like a royal background on the next four video calls, or a crown mailed to them that was handmade by a fellow team member.
4. Send a handwritten letter to a team member. When permission has been given, list all team members’ names and home addresses alphabetically in an Excel document. Everyone writes a handwritten letter to the person under them on the list. If this is not appropriate in your organization because home addresses are private, handwrite the letter, take a picture of it, and send it electronically via email or IM. While the idea of pen pals has long been forgotten, the concept of receiving a handwritten note is still a lot of fun.
5. Host a weekly live edition of “Lifestyles of the Bored and Quarantined.” Have one team member walk around their house for 10 minutes before a team call to give their team a virtual tour. What they share is up to them, but ideas include pets, plants, kids, favorite rooms of the house, the backyard, or wildlife. These meetings are a fantastic no-cost way to get to know each other more and create stronger remote team bonds.
These WFH ideas are fresh off the press and just in time for the continued social isolation and mandatory work from home policies. We expect all team meetings will be remote meetings for at least a few more weeks, possibly much longer. Use these tips to combat loneliness, strengthen your remote team bond, and have a sense of playfulness during this time of fear and the unknown. Remember, you can depend on your team to help get you through these times, even if you are not in the same office, city, or country.
While this post offers fun and playful ideas, remote work loneliness can be serious and upsetting. We encourage you to talk to someone about it – a boss, teammate, spouse, or friend online. When you open up and share what you’re feeling, you give someone the chance to support you, and, in return, you hear how others might be feeling as well. Once you’ve talked to someone about your feelings, you can more effectively support each other and get the emotional support you need to keep plugging away.
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.
Begin by understanding that framing the story is essential. You should always answer three questions as you build your narrative:
- Where are your listeners/constituents naturally on the topic that you need to address?
- Where do you need them to be to consider the value of your message?
- What story, information, etc. can you use at the beginning, and throughout your narrative to facilitate that?
Take the time to answer these simple questions, and you will be in a significantly better position to effectively and strategically address the important issues in your narrative. These answers will also help support your need to motivate, influence, and lead in this unprecedented time.
90-minute, online, interactive workshop
Thinking on Your Feet
Thursday, May 21, 2020
1:00 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 with clarity and confidence. We will teach and demonstrate these techniques in a simple and practical manner.
Second, you will practice the techniques in breakout groups. The number of participants will be limited to ensure that every participant will have ample opportunity to practice.
Yes, we are doing all this online! It promises to be an enjoyable and productive learning experience…and you’re invited!
30-minute recorded webinar
Communicating During Crisis
Navigating Essential Conversations
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 Becker to give you a framework for essential management communication. During this webinar you will learn the three most important things that must be communicated during a time of crisis and proven techniques for putting it all in place immediately.