Communication Skills Blog from world class speech coaches
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 the meeting for a reason: what you think and contribute is valued by your colleagues.
I coach my clients to answer the following question: “What does it mean to be a high level communicator?”
Here are the three key aspects: (more…)
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. (more…)
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
[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.
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, state, and national level.” (more…)
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.
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 to that person, I find that the three places that the anxiety stems from are:
1. Having little to no experience with speaking publicly. You may be someone who has been creating the magic behind the scenes and have grown accustomed to that but now you are asked to be in the spotlight sharing what you know. (more…)
28 Nov 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 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.”
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 is recommended to train with this simple exercise during times when you’re not stressed so you remember it in difficult ones. Your body’s response will come much faster when it is ingrained in your habits. (more…)
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”.