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15 Jun Are some organizations shirking their responsibilities regarding public speaking coaching and professional development opportunities?
As a speech coach, I readily admit that it is hard for me to remain unbiased about the question above. ALL of us, speech coaches included, should be on a never-ending quest to improve our public speaking, presentation skills, and ability to connect with listeners virtually and in person.
That is a utopian view, I know. Based in our Kerala, India office, I do see a disturbing trend about the support and development of speakers and presenters. Simply put, some companies seem to be pushing employees to accept conference speaking opportunities but don’t seem to be willing to foot the bill for their coaching and professional development. (more…)
As more and more events become hybrid or completely virtual, the ability to use a teleprompter with ease will enhance the quality of your presentation. Of course, the opposite is also true; fumbling with your script on a screen can make you look panicked, low energy, and under-prepared.
Being a great presenter means you have developed mastery with all the tools at your disposal. When used well, you may utilize a teleprompter at your next event and vow to never go back to improvising your content using only your memory, bullet point notes, or a slide deck as a reference. Teleprompters, when used correctly, should make you look polished, confident, and natural. But once you know you’ll have access to a teleprompter, this is no reason to slack off and slide into the room 20 minutes before the event. Good results with a teleprompter take practice and patience. (more…)
I want to share some advice based on my experience coaching over 200 conference speakers, moderators, and panelists to prepare for their upcoming presentations. Some of the conference speakers I’ve helped just took an initial, free consultation, which is great, others wanted additional, in-depth help for a particularly important event. Some have become valued clients and friends. Regardless of seniority (C-level executives, managers, or individual contributors) or industry such as financial services, fintech, healthcare, biotech, manufacturing, and retail, a few common truths have emerged:
Value – Delivering a message that truly provides value sounds obvious but is difficult without the right focus. Most clients I work with believe they are providing value. Often, that’s not the case. You should explicitly state what the value is to your listeners at the beginning of your presentation. In fact, it should be one clear sentence that says, “this is important to you because…” Also, remember value is not what you think is worthwhile, it’s putting yourself in your listeners’ shoes and deciding what would be valuable to them.
Connection – Connecting with the listeners is easier than you think. Most of my clients believe it’s an innate skill – either they are compelling or not. Not true! Being compelling begins with making sure you are talking to your listeners. If they want you to get to the point, be concise. If they want you to be detailed, start at the beginning and be sure to connect the dots. I often teach a bit about the basics of human reasoning and how communication needs to be inductive or deductive. In either case, I stress that when you speak, it’s not about you! You have important information to present, but if you don’t present it with their perspective in mind, you can forget about being compelling. In fact, it’s possible you won’t be heard at all.
Being Effective – Thinking on your feet and handling challenging questions or unwelcome surprises is an important skill. The good news is, it is easy when you’re well-prepared. You can be ready for the unexpected, whether it’s a last-minute change in the schedule, technical glitches, or dealing with a difficult person. Three steps to good preparate are: 1) have a method to think through upcoming interactions; 2) categorize and catalogue examples and experiences for use; and 3) make this a part of your daily life. When you anticipate and prepare for questions and concerns before you go onto a stage, turn on your camera, or walk into a meeting, you’ll know the right answers and you can focus on the context for your response. If you prepare properly, you will have a critical skill that all effective, persuasive speakers have mastered.
These are only three of the common topics I typically cover, even if it’s a single 30-minute session. Most conference speakers also benefit from tips on dealing with nervousness and practice strategies because like any skill, consistent practice is what gets you to the next level.
I want to help those in need and have learned that in just 30 minutes, we can together take significant steps to make you the best speaker you can be.
Until the community of police and the communities of color are willing and able to get to the bottom of the biases and attitudes that control behavior, any change will be prolonged and painful. Each person in these communities and others must understand that their behaviors, whether verbal or physical, come from a place in each of us, filled with the attitudes and beliefs that we carry everywhere we go. There are no human exceptions to this fact. It’s as simple as A B C. Attitudes Become Communication. We all have them. We all talk and act the way we do because of them. Sometimes we are readily aware that what we are doing or saying comes from something we believe in. Sometimes we are not overtly aware of why we say or do the things we do. Until each of us can understand what attitudes we carry with us and where they come from, there will be no peace or understanding. A detente will exist and will only erupt again and again. (more…)
I don’t consider myself a rude person, and I make great efforts at being polite, self-aware, and apolitical at work. But after reading this article, “The Rudest Things You Can Do During a Work Zoom Meeting,” you may realize, like I did, you’re a bit of a boor online. Fortunately I work with a bunch of great speech coaches here at The Speech Improvement Company, so there’s hope! Now that I’m enlightened, I’m reaching out to all those I’ve offended during my countless and often endless Zoom meetings: I plead ignorance and ask you to give me one more chance.
The Rudest Things You Can Do During A Work Zoom Meeting
Etiquette experts share faux pas to avoid in virtual meetings. At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve likely used Zoom, Google Hangouts, and other video communications platforms a fair amount. This technology has been particularly prevalent in professional settings as many of us continue to work from home.
But despite all the Zoom experience we’ve gained over the past year, it’s still not uncommon to witness unprofessional or just plain rude behavior in video meetings. From gossiping in chat to appearing in PJs from bed, there’s a lot of room for improvement in the etiquette department.
I read an interesting and informative blog post that’s generated a lot of discussions at The Speech Improvement Company.
“Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive,” appears on the website of Doist, an up-and-coming maker of software-based productivity tools.
The article delves into the productivity of remote workers and how different modes of communication affect it. It includes the following definitions: (more…)
Using visuals during presentations is helpful for listeners to connect with your message. They are used to emphasize and clarify speaking points. Has this changed in the virtual world? The short answer is NO. Presenters need to be cautious of having their listeners disconnect from them and their message due to visuals. Whether you are in person or virtual, disconnecting happens. Still, presenters compete for their listeners’ attention with so many more distractions in a virtual world. Why is the dog barking, who is ringing my door, why is my child texting me are just a few examples of what listeners are thinking now that they are working from home. (more…)
‘Gravitas’ was one of the ancient Roman virtues that denoted “seriousness.” Also translated as weight, dignity, and importance, it conveys a sense of responsibility and commitment to the task. In our modern society, gravitas indicates polish, grace in manner, and dignity in outward appearance. I’m guessing that speaking while on mute would not be considered speaking with grace and dignity!
In executive communication coaching, gravitas is often mentioned. Executives with gravitas are considered to have ‘weight,’ ‘authority,’ and ‘executive presence.’ They’re taken seriously and thought to have leadership qualities. As an Executive Communication Coach, I often observe people speaking with sentences that fade away or using a flat inflection. They do this purposefully with the mistaken idea that you must always be serious or low energy to have gravitas. We’ve come a long way from Roman times, where seriousness was the primary way to demonstrate gravitas. These inaccurate stereotypes can diminish your ability to demonstrate leadership and authority in your current role. (more…)
As a coach, we meet all kinds of people who want to become better public speakers and communicators. Most of them are keen to learn, try new things, and some need a little friendly push now and then to keep going.
But what happens when the client refuses to communicate or shuts down? Some signs of trouble with the client could include missing appointments with no notice, not doing practice or assignments between meetings, or if they do meet, they have very little to say. (more…)