Commentary

14 Feb 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...

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09 Feb How To Control The Impression You Make On Others

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text]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 business perspective: smart, knowledgeable, intelligent, credible, authoritative. The second word is a behavioral or “human” word: friendly, approachable, personable, engaging, dynamic, charismatic. Sometimes, we suggest a third word: confident. For communication-style coaching to be successful, it’s important to choose style words that you believe in, and are comfortable for you.

“With respect to style words, the one that has resonated with me the most over the years is ‘approachable’. That might not sound like much, but the distinction between being ‘friendly’ and being ‘approachable’, to me at any rate, is that when you’re approachable, you’ve (internally, at least) established a level of seniority/accomplishment – you’re happy to share your knowledge/wisdom/what have you, but not just because you’re a nice person. I think about that mostly from the everyday communication. I really encourage junior people to participate on panels, etc., whenever possible, even if it’s not a marquee event, to get that practice, so when the big moments come, you are better prepared.“                                                                                                    - Managing Director, National hedge fund

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24 Jan 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 rudeness, just a desire to continue a momentum that is satisfying. I prefer the term  "joining a group" rather than "breaking in" because your attitude needs to be adaptive, not aggressive. The degree to which the group resists an outsider depends on the intimacy shared by the conversers, their previous bonding as a group, and the group's perception of your status relative to theirs. For example, a college student walking over to a group of professors who are conversing will most likely get a brief, polite response, then a buzz-off signal as the profs continue to talk shop.
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18 Jan Americans vote on the most annoying word

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text]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...

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28 Dec Don’t Sound Boring Use “Vocal Variety”

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text]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 just never learned certain speech habits that most of us pick up naturally. In working with hundreds of tiresome talkers, I have found that training in simple techniques of vocal variety usually does the trick. Speaking clearly with vocal variety is the skill of emphasizing certain words to convey meaning and emotions so that those words “jump out” at the listener. In the mechanics of speech, it is the vocal equivalent of a colorful gesture. The following tips will pull you - and the audience - out of the dull-drums. Pitch change. Change your pitch (usually upward) on an important word or syllable. Practice these sentences with a higher pitch on the word indicated, noticing that you have the power to change the meaning as you change the pitch.

 1. "She’s wearing a RED dress." (Not green)

 2. "SHE’S wearing a red dress." (That woman is)

 3. "She’s WEARING a red dress." (As opposed to carrying or eating it)

Grab your phone or tablet and record yourself. Listen to make sure that the meaning really does stand out.
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18 Dec Why do I have such anxiety with public speaking?

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text] 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...

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28 Nov Sales Management Tips

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text]   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 subject, monitor sales calls and offer targeted coaching. Becoming a better listener takes practice, practice, practice. For more tips on this all important skill, I turned to Laurie Schloff, a career communication coach and author of "Smart Speaking," who works for the Speech Improvement Company in Brookline, Massachusetts. Laurie's clients include Fidelity Investments, The TJX Companies, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Laurie generously shared her advice about listening. Talking / Listening Ratio Laurie often gets asks how much reps should talk on a sales call? She says, "Every customer is different. Some prospects talk your head off, while others speak less. During the first meeting it should be no more than 50/50 (rep/customer), ideally 25/75. In subsequent meetings the ratio may shift, but always be aware of attending to your customers needs and reactions."
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17 Nov How to Deal With FEAR in 4 Steps

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text] 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...

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14 Nov What to do when your mind goes blank on stage

[vc_row css_animation="" 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"][vc_column][vc_column_text]
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 on earth am I supposed to be talking about? The trick to managing your stress is to accept these uncomfortable moments and launch into "Blank-out Recovery".
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27 Oct Beta Testing

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.
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26 Oct Podcast: The Only 3 Ways to Convince Anybody of Anything

[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]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...

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23 Oct 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...

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04 Oct Overcoming 5 Hurdles That Prevent Success

[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]In my experience, there are 5 hurdles that stand to prevent you from being successful. I’ve delved into each below.
  1. 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 is a nagging, physical, nervous sensation that eats you up, doesn't let you sleep, keeps you up at night or greets you first thing in the morning, inhibiting clear thinking. SOLUTION: First thing in the morning, jolt your body into action when you wake up: do 10 push-ups coming straight out of bed. Not 5, not 50, just 10. This will set you up for a great day ahead as your body gets all the right triggers to get going. In your morning routine, take 5 minutes to focus on what you DO want, not what you don't want as so many do.  Write it physically down on a piece of paper every single day - and keep that paper with you during the day as a reminder (not on your phone, computer, tablet etc - on a piece of paper in your handwriting). Your mind and body will shift gears from fear to determination. Do this every single day. For how long? Every.Single.Day. This is your personal GPS keeping you on track. Try it, it works.
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26 Sep Tradeshow Voice

[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]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? Your voice is your tool, and as with any tool, you need to maintain it if you want it to function well. When you are at a tradeshow, the people you meet and speak with have an average of 2 minutes to judge you and your company. They look at a few things, such as what your booth looks like, how you are dressed, what are you selling, what you are saying and most importantly how you are saying it? There are 3 tips you should follow to ensure that you and your staff maintain a strong, clear, and confident tradeshow voice.
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19 Sep People Complain That I’m Too Loud

[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]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...

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