16 Apr Speaking With Confidence at the JFK Library

To be a hi-impact leader in today’s financial healthcare industry requires confidence and grit. How do you hold your own in situations where there are clearly power politics? Financial folks are now more involved in giving presentations, speaking at meetings to clinicians, senior management, and colleagues. And it isn’t enough just to report the numbers and finances accurately, it’s equally important to communicate a high level of competence and confidence.
I was a coach on a mission working with this group of 200 female healthcare leaders.  My goal: to give tips tools, and strategies for how to raise your level of self-awareness, have a powerful networking introduction, project confidence beginning with a strong handshake, make sure every point made is easy for your listeners to follow, and show you have valuable insight.
It was great to motivate an audience of 200 women and see them peer-coaching each other, strengthening there self-awareness and confidence, and watching each move to their own next level of communication excellence.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Monica
Monica Murphy
monica@speechimprovement.com

27 Mar When Students Become Teachers

When a tragedy happens there is a lot of talk.  Many people are highlighted, and many issues are discussed.  The Parkland School shooting is no exception to this.  Since the shooting we have seen politicians, pundits, analysts, and now students getting time to speak about the issues surrounding guns.

Interestingly, the conversation is in many ways being led by these students.  As a communication professional who has spent time as a secondary educator and researcher, I think there is something to be gleaned from this national discussion.

Surprisingly it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.  What we gain from these students is how communication does not tell us what to do but instead tells us what we should think about doing.

Cameron Kasky, a student from Parkland said “I’ve seen this happen countless times.  And what happens is we get two weeks in the news, we get a bundle of thoughts and prayers, everybody sends flowers, and then it’s over, and then people forget.”  That is the point.  We forget and move on.

What Cameron highlights is that we should educate ourselves in order to agree or disagree with what we hear.  The fact is effective communication on any issue hinges on knowledge.  How can you competently discuss something or separate emotional appeals from logic without knowledge?  The answer is you cannot.

I challenge you to take ten minutes, learn about something important to you beyond just the talk.  Then our communication can stop being hyperbolic and rhetorical and turn to real substantive discussions.  If young high school students can do it, I know we all can, and it would lead to better businesses, better leaders, better decisions, and a more informed populace.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Dr. Ian Turnipseed
Dr. Ian Turnipseed
ian@speechimprovement.com

13 Mar Fixing Two Very Common Snags in Speech Patterns

Are you dropping your volume at the end of sentences?

It is normal to soften your volume at the end of a thought, but don’t trail your sentences into oblivion.  Assess your volume by recording yourself and checking to make sure you can hear the last words of your sentences. Practice speaking or reading aloud with conscious attention on lessening the decibel drop. Use these practice sentences:

“Let’s meet in the lobby of the downtown Marriott.”

“Sarah James was finally promoted to regional manager.”

In these examples, if you don’t keep your volume up, you’ll be swallowing your main point.

Are you jumbling words together? (more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

08 Mar What Does It Mean To Be A High Level Communicator?

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…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Monica
Monica Murphy
monica@speechimprovement.com

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 in it.

We put together a free, helpful guide for dealing with these troublesome situations. It’s an 11-page pdf that covers:

  • When to Act
  • Hate Speech vs. Free Speech
  • Recognizing Hate Speech
  • Two Ways to Respond
  • When You Don’t Hear the Hate Speech Directly
  • What if the Hate-speaker is in a Position Above You?

 

Download here

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner
jturner@speechimprovement.com

09 Feb How To Control The Impression You Make On Others

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

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Monica
Monica Murphy
monica@speechimprovement.com

24 Jan How Do I Break Into a Group of People Talking?

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.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

18 Jan Americans vote on the most annoying word

The most annoying word or phrase in America is…

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.”

They are often cited on CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, and their affiliates around the country, Politico, Real Clear Politics, the National Journal’s “The Hotline,” Hot Air, and The Huffington Post.

So let’s get back to “that word”. Whatever.

That’s it. Whatever. It’s been voted the most annoying word for nine years in a row, but the number two most-annoying word or phrase “fake news” is catching up.

To find out more about the survey and the runners-up, click here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner
jturner@speechimprovement.com

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

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.

Vocal variety is the skill of emphasizing certain words to convey meaning and emotions so that those words “jump out” at the listener. 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.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

18 Dec Why do I have such anxiety with public speaking?

This is a question, I have been asked by almost every client that I have assisted in gaining control over their anxiety. In my past 25 years as communications coach, I have found that this anxiety 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.

2. You may have had a not so great public speaking experience somewhere in your past. Negative experiences seem to linger quite a while. We seem to forget all the good experiences but those not so great ones remain forever. It’s not uncommon for an adult to remember a situation from 20-30 years ago. Clearly the individual has moved on from the negative experience, it is not forgotten and has let a mark.

3. You might be a person who has managed the nervousness and learned how to control it but something happened and a presentation did not go well. Some folks rely on their public speaking ability vs actually preparing and practicing. These folks thought they could “wing it” and they didn’t put a whole lot into preparing or practicing their presentation. Well, somewhere along the way, usually during the presentation, they realize that they aren’t prepared and what they thought would sound great, doesn’t sound so great.

All three of these situations boil down to being evaluated. No one loves being judged or evaluated.  We didn’t like it as children and we really dislike it as adults. As adults, we logically know that we cannot control what our listeners think or feel about us but that doesn’t stop us from worrying and stressing about it.

No matter what the cause of your public speaking anxiety, you need to gain control over it. The longer you wait to exert your control, the harder it becomes. I did not say impossible, just harder.  If you suffer from presentation anxiety, seek out assistance now.  You have the ability to control your presentation anxiety.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Kristen Curran-Faller
Kristen Curran-Faller
kristen@speechimprovement.com

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

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.”

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

17 Nov How to Deal With FEAR in 4 Steps

1. Fear 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.

Here’s the breathing exercise: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/simple-priceless-tool-st-wilkinson?trk=mp-reader-card

2. Fear is a lifesaver and signals that things are off.

Consciously remind yourself: It is extremely rare to be in a potentially lethal situation as long as you breathe, are safe and not threatened. You will be ok in that very moment of fear – you’ll get it sorted out!

3. Fear is an important signal that things need to be taken care of asap.

Take massive action – learn and grow as you face and tackle your situation STEP BY STEP – remember that you only have to make it through the next five minutes, and then the next…. and so on.

You might not always be able to change the external situations you fear at that very moment, but you can change how you react to them. Then plan further action and change your thinking from victim to victor.

4. Take charge of your own situation and rise above the challenge.

Seek help, knowledge, and support where needed – asking for help is a strength, not a weakness.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  -Jack Canfield

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Sharesz T. Wilkinson
Sharesz T. Wilkinson
shareszt@speechimprovement.com

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

This article by Laurie Schloff originally appeared on SpeakerHub

 

What will happen if you go blank on stage?

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 is to accept these uncomfortable moments and launch into “Blank-out Recovery”.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

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. (more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
admin
mrussell@ottodetroit.com

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

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 again: they want to be more convincing.

In this 24-minute podcast, our founder, Dr. Dennis Becker, explores the three “modes for persuading”. And while it’s hard to believe, there are indeed only three. Originally taught centuries ago by Aristotle, they have stood the test of time and are as relevant and important today as they were back then.

Listen, learn, and you too can master these timeless techniques to be more persuasive on the job, at home, or anywhere.

Listen to the podcast here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Dennis Becker
Dr. Dennis Becker
dennis@speechimprovement.com