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The concept of perfection in science is prolific. You want your research to suggest that your drug, therapy, etc. will work 100% of the time. That is impossible, but the goal is to get it as close as possible to every time on every patient with the fewest side effects. Most scientists in startups began as highly successful students who experienced some success at larger biotech companies or post-doc labs and then ventured out on their own. It’s in your makeup to win, to be successful in research, and to strive for perfection. Unfortunately, you are in business, where perfection is unattainable and often stands in the way of success. In a Huffington Post article published in 2013 by Carolyn Gregoire, she explains that the research on success shows that a focus on perfection correlates to a high amount of failure.
Since failure is not an option when it comes to funding, the goal is to mediate the anxiety that surrounds this contradiction between scientific training/success and business expectation. This anxiety correlates to a fear of speaking. I am not suggesting that anyone is afraid to talk to people, but that this speaking environment creates a fear response in us. This response can make us put off practice, focus on content and structure rather than delivery, and exhibit physical reactions – physically shaking, not breathing effectively, and potentially changing how we would normally speak.
We can help. First, don’t worry. Many people have this same fear. We recommend that you approach it both psychologically and physiologically.
- The Psychology – When dealing with this fear response, it is important to physically write down the irrational beliefs you are dealing with and the corresponding rational reality you know to be true.
- The Physiology – When you are dealing with the physical responses to fear, the best response is to relax. Our most effective relaxation tool at the moment is Diaphragmatic Breathing. When you breathe in, make sure your shoulders are relaxed, and your stomach moves out when you breathe. That means you are using the diaphragm. Each time you practice take one deep breath and try to count to 20 by saying “one by one and two by two and three by three” and so on until you reach 20. Practice this technique 10 minutes at a time, three times a week.
You cannot have a perfect presentation that will always get you the outcome you want. This is why you have a fear response. Using these tools, and many others will help you deal with the imperfection and present significantly better.
19 Nov Is Conversation Dead?
By no means is it shocking to say that teenagers live on their cell phones. As a GenXer, I grew up as a teen that spent hours talking on the telephone. (The thing attached to the wall that had a cord.) I can still hear my mother yelling, “GET OFF THE PHONE NOW! Someone may be trying to call.” Yes, I used a phone to talk. That is no longer the case today. I find my teens watching videos and movies, playing video games, checking the weather, checking social media, and texting. I am the ONLY one that actually calls them to talk. As a parent and a communications coach, I have asked myself, “What has happened to the art of conversation?”
I have helped many teams become more effective at presenting as a team. Because humans are SO different and have SO many variables, it can be quite challenging to coach a team. Most teams preparing on their focus on:
- who will say what during which slides
- the order of presenters
- making the time fair/equal, etc.
Often teams are presenting because the stakes are high, and the consequences are critical. And, of course, money is frequently involved either as part of a department budget, a start-up trying to get funding, and many other situations in which the listeners must hear from the entire team.
The people listening to the team present will be acutely aware of all of the non-verbal communication of the team. Whatever this communication reveals will carry more substantial weight than the words were spoken. A well-known architectural firm who brought me in because they started losing projects that they should have won. After assessing the team, I realized that one of the members did not get along with the others. Despite well-planned, streamlined presentations they still lost, and they were dumbfounded. What were they missing? Their subtle nonverbal behaviors communicated the discontent within the team. Despite the polite and professional words, the facial expressions, the lack of eye contact, the dismissive exchanging of documents, etc. were all indicators of discord within the team. People believe what they feel energetical and what they see over what they hear. It is SO SUBTLE. These nonverbal behaviors are the kind of things that only human beings can detect . This client of mine needed a new type of coaching to get past the issues that plagued the team. (more…)
Think bigger. As a communication coach, I tell my clients all the time “I’m going to tell you something important: it’s not about you.”
It’s about your listener. How one successfully reaches a communication goal is by thinking about what tools will help you effectively get your message across. That means choosing the method that best resonates with your listener. Ask yourself “What tools will help us get from here to there?”
It is universally common to hate email, no matter your industry. Emails offer many forms of indignities; too long, too vague, too much content, forwarded conversations, reply all’s, and rapid response expectation. As a coach, I help professionals master all forms of communication, including digital communication. This article will help uncover how poor word choice can create a disconnect with your recipient and negatively affect the tone.
The three examples below highlight how easy it is to use the wrong words that create a challenging tone. I’ll share the most common offenders when it comes to word choice, and provide alternatives for a more productive result. (more…)
4 Nov How to present as a team
Team presentations are difficult. They are even more so when there is $10 to $50 million in funding on the line. The presentation sets the tone for the next year or years of your business. So, getting it wrong, messing up, or not presenting as a cohesive unit is not an option. The pressure is high, and the stress over getting it wrong is higher.
When we coach teams, who are looking for that essential round of VC funding, we find that one of the keys to relieving the pressure is working on the transition between different sections of the presentation and various members of the team. There are three steps to good transitions between people: (more…)
One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big investor presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science start-up CEOs and leadership teams, this is in many cases, a topic of conversation. “I need to practice.” “We need to practice.” “We need to schedule practice.” “This presentation is critical because it influences our funding.” It is common to think practice is easy, but it is not. It is not easy to schedule; it is not easy to do as a team; it is not easy … period. While this is good for people like me because it is part of what we offer, it is time to demystify practice. I will outline five best practices of practice…so you can practice better!
Strategize and write
The first step to good practice is to take the time to purposefully consider, structure, and write what is going to be said. The biggest problem for most people is they believe their “story” is easy to tell and easy to understand. It is not. Without consideration and strategic writing, your message will be confusing to listeners. Remember, the goal is to write something that is for your listeners, NOT you. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. After working with numerous Life Science and Biotech clients, we’ve observed that many biotech executives are ill-prepared for delivering their companies essential messagesduring a formal presentation.
This blog post, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to catch up first before you read this post. This post, Part 3, explains the third and final persuasion tool when you need to convince someone to do, think, say, or approve. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. If you can communicate clearly and understand how to be persuasive across various situations, your organization will thrive.
This blog post based on our extensive research explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1, be sure to catch up here. This post, Part 2, explains the second persuasion tool.
A CEO can take on a variety of tasks they wish to tackle. However, some tasks can’t be delegated. A few of the vital functions of a biotech CEO include: (more…)