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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. (more…)
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 may inadvertently create a situation where another person may no longer understand you. Remember, how you communicate is just as important as what you communicate.
Here are five tips for communicating when using face coverings and masks:
1.Use Active Body Language
Body language, hand gestures, and posture are most important. Your non-verbal cues should reflect the tone and theme of your content. Nod when appropriate to acknowledge you are listening and understanding.Focus on
2. Eye Contact
Use your eyes and eyebrows. Good eye contact is critical. Let your eyebrows tell the story. Happiness can be seen by raised eyebrows, raised cheeks, and crow’s feet. Eyebrows pinched together can sometimes convey anger or frustration, so remember that your eyebrows are part of your eye contact when wearing a mask.
3. Adjust Your Voice Tone
Your tone of voice includes your inflection, rate, and pace, which can be equally as impactful as your speaking words. Articulate loudly and clearly, without shouting.
4. Look at Alternatives
If using a mask is a serious barrier to speaking and having others understand you, consider a face shield or a see-through face mask.
5. Send a Post-Conversation Summary
Consider using a written recap of the conversation, so nothing is lost. This could mean a quick recap email, a text, a short PowerPoint deck, or a formal document that summarizes what you shared.
As we begin to wrap up 2020, let’s keep masks on and spirits up. We can do this. Thanks for helping to keep everyone safe.
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 – How often have you been in a networking situation and found it difficult to remember someone’s name and business 30 seconds after she or he said it? Try telling a short story about your business, tapping into precisely how what you do benefits humanity. Focusing on how you benefit humanity will resonate with your listener, whom we assume is a human.
3) Persuade – Storytelling answers the question, “Why?” Telling a relatable and relevant story that answers what will happen if I do or don’t do something can be very persuasive. The listener can imagine him/herself in real-time and feel the consequences of the choice at hand when the story is told well.
There are countless ways to use storytelling as a communication tool in business. You may have noticed that relevance is the thread that runs through all three. Use storytelling to demonstrate the relevance to your listener, if you can’t do that, you should not be talking. Relationship building, making information stick, and convincing others are three of the most common ways to use this skill.
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.
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 without anyone knowing.
- You get to see an occasional baby, kid, cat, dog, or gerbil.
- You may get to hug someone between meetings—Awww!
- You can wear your most comfy decade old shoes.
- You can make coffee your way.
Number 10 : Write anything YOU like (if you do) about Zooming in the comments below.
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!
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, 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 from 120+ countries delivering speeches and taking questions from viewers and listeners. This year’s theme was Classical Rhetoric and its Effect on Contemporary Communication.
Dennis’ 15-minute live-streamed speech was entitled “Aristotle’s Patterns of Reasoning.” He took this 3,000-year-old content and showed its use and value in today’s world. Of course, his comfortable and “shirtsleeve” English style benefitted viewers and listeners across the globe.
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.
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 us pictures of people wearing masks, being quarantined, schools closing, and so on. This current crisis has wreaked havoc with the stock market and the investments of millions of people. That alone is creating an economic crisis.
Indeed, the current financial crisis has been referred to as an “economic tsunami”. Undeniably, the current conditions have caused communities to come to a complete standstill. The trauma has been severe for many companies, and leaders worldwide have spoken in terms usually reserved for those occasions when a hurricane or earthquake has occurred. Rallying cries of hope and promises for “a full recovery” can be heard from leaders across the globe.
In the United States, since the disaster of 9/11, there has been significant research in the areas of Disaster Psychology and Human Communication which offer important insights into how people operate and what motivates them during times of crisis. For political leaders and business professionals, understanding some important disaster principles and practices can mean the difference between success and failure as the crisis and subsequent economic troubles unfold. (more…)
Managing Employees Remotely
Overcoming challenges in communication,
motivation, and employee engagement
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 and engage employees
This is a unique opportunity to fine-tune your communication skills. You will learn proven strategies you can put to use immediately with any remote employee or team to keep them focused and productive.
This recorded webinar is for:
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 to collaborate and manage remotely.
Admit it, when there is no video aspect to a conference call, it’s not unusual for employees to hit mute, (or not), and do a variety of tasks during phone conferences and remote team meetings, such as checking and composing email, scrolling Twitter, eating a sandwich, and (gasp) going to the bathroom?! (more…)
8 Mar Speaking Tips
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 day before I speak?
- What will they be doing the day after?
- What are the logistics of the event:time, location, room
description, temperature, seating, lighting, and sound?
The information you gather from these 10 questions will make the job of preparing a speech much easier. In addition, your listeners will be more likely to respond positively if they feel that your research has helped you prepare specifically for them.
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 companies need to succeed.
For some biotech executives, practice means memorization. While being very comfortable with your presentation material is a crucial factor, there is so much more to be done than rote memorization. The quality of your practice has a direct impact on the success of your presentation. Don’t worry about memorization; what is most important is HOW you say it.
Once your investor pitch and the slide deck are created, your goal is to increase your market valuation by crystallizing your message using storytelling, evidence, and in-depth financial analysis. The four practice tools below will captivate investors and emphasize your value proposition.
1. Structural Practice
The structural practice covers the logistics of a group presentation. Questions to discuss with the presentation team include:
- How will we talk into the room, and in what order?
- Where will we stand?
- Will the projector/ screen be blocked if we stand in a specific spot?
- Who speaks first, second, third? How is the speaker role passed along, e.g., “Now Frank will talk about…”?
- Will the PowerPoint clicker be passed along, and when?
- Do we all need microphones, or will one microphone be passed from person to person?
- If we had to present the same pitch in 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes, how will we achieve this? Who will speak? What will we share? What slides would we use?
- If the PowerPoint fails, do we know the order of the presentation?
- How will be exit the room?
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 tone and inflection. Also restating DOES NOT mean using the same words and ‘parroting’ the information. When this technique is done well, the listener repeats the essence of the message with no judgment, emotion, or opinion implied. In other words – a neutral tone. It’s much easier said than done. It can be most challenging in an emotionally loaded conversation, which is also where it is the most powerful and effective. The main resistance people have to restate a question comes from the fear that they appear to be agreeing when they do not. Do not let this stop you from using this effective technique, as it is even more powerful when you do not agree with the other person’s statement.
- Disclaiming– Many times, people are fearful of answering because they want to have the right answer. “I don’t know, but I will find out” won’t get you very far in business communication, especially when it’s used more than once. Learning how to frame your answer can help. Some phrases act as a disclaimer so you can offer insight or at least the limited information you do have.
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 listeners’ facial expressions and posture. It helps to grin, show facial interest, smile if appropriate, and use a slight forward lean.
- Get cozier. Have you noticed that the front row at a meeting or conference is often empty or sparsely populated? Speakers benefit from feeling connected to their listeners, so, in a large group, be brave and sit as near to the speaker as possible.
- Ask questions. It is uncomfortable when the presenter asks if there are any questions and then…crickets! Yes, it can take courage on your part to speak up. But, knowing that you are helping the speaker feel better may get you going.
- Avoid distracting behaviors. Presenters notice everything because they can SEE everything from their vantage point. Know that you are not invisible and avoid talking to colleagues, fiddling with papers, or your handbag. If you need to cough more than several times, best to move into the hallway.
- Approach the speaker afterward. Whether it’s a small group meeting or a large conference, presenters feel uplifted when they know their information or style is appreciated. Offer a sincere compliment if you can. Conversation with the presenter is a boost to networking too!
4 Feb 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 investors? How do you connect in this way?
It is not easy. It is one of the reasons our executive communication coaches are brought in to help. It goes beyond process and structure into the psychology of communication and how to apply it. There are three steps you can take to better position yourself to build rapport quickly with investors. (more…)