Communication Skills Blog from world class speech coaches
7 Oct Know Your Listeners
Knowing your listeners is key to preparing an effective presentation. Nothing puts listeners into a speaker’s pocket better than a speech that zeroes in on their specific needs. Your listeners will be more likely to respond positively if they feel that your research has helped you prepare specifically for them.
Answers to the following 10 questions will provide you with most of the information you need to know about your listeners before you speak. This will help you target your message, focus and streamline your presentation, customize materials, and reduce your anxiety.
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.
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 you hope to become. Then set out to develop those skills with obsessive focus. The most important thing is to always be developing the critical skills to your future success.”
Effective communication and soft skills are at the top of the list in most industries on desired traits of top performers. In Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting, he explains that when it comes to personal branding, there is no better methodology than speaking in public. He shares, “Public speaking is a powerful method for meeting people and developing business relationships because it creates an environment where prospects seek you out.” (more…)
In the communication field, there is a lot of buzz about Google’s Project Aristotle, a meticulous, in-depth study of what differentiates high-functioning team meetings from others.
With all due respect for the yearlong study of over one hundred Google teams, we communication coaches have been helping teams and leaders foster productive meetings for years!
Google’s key findings, which we back with our experiences 100%, reveal that high-performing teams:
- Support an atmosphere of psychological safety and comfort;
- Enable equal participation from all group members over time;
- Show sensitivity to nuances of non-verbal behavior and tone, and often share personal as well as professional information.
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 Harvard Business Review quantifies it. They claim face-to-face is 34 times more effective than email when asking someone to do something for you. The report can be read here.
The research concludes “it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person. It is often more convenient and comfortable to use text-based communication than to approach someone in-person, but if you overestimate the effectiveness of such media, you may regularly—and unknowingly—choose inferior means of influence.”
Taking the time to be 34x more effective is worth considering when I write my next email.
Becoming a persuasive presenter is one of the most sought-after skills in business today.
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.
Yesterday, my client, a VP in financial services, said it was a waste of time to go to his office. No one was there, and besides, the majority of meetings he led were remote. He shared that in the “olden days,” bonds were formed by walking around, schmoozing at your desk, or shockingly, even having lunch together!
Technology had changed things forever, and it was up to us to create new strategies for connection in a remote world. (more…)
24 May Future Generations
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 group of family, friends, and neighbors? (more…)
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 a trusted and reputable speech coach to support you. (more…)