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To be successful in business communication, you must be authentic. Authenticity, though, is not magic. It is strategic. For any communication you have, here are three steps you can follow to be “strategically authentic.”
1 – Better understand your listeners. The best advice I give to clients is to remember that it’s not about you; it’s about the listeners, so before you speak, ask yourself:
- To whom are you speaking? What is their title?
- How much time do they have for you?
- What is your goal for the conversation? What do you think are the roadblocks to getting to your goal?
- How does your listener listen – do they want to get to the point or get all the information?
What people want most from communication coaching is the ability to appear, sound, and be confident. We all know when we see a confident communicator and when we don’t. Sometimes a speaker will say they felt confident but they are not perceived that way. Sometimes people will be very self-deprecating about their confidence, and their listeners didn’t see that at all. We are always trying to close the gap between self-perception and reality.
It’s important to remember confidence is a transient condition even though everyone talks about it as a concrete destination. ALL speakers have felt their confidence come and go. (more…)
There is a difference between being an agile HR department and being an AGILE HR department. The ideal, of course, is being an agile AGILE HR department. This is especially true as AGILE becomes a way of doing business in more and more companies. The emphasis in AGILE is on speed and accuracy. At the Bank of Montreal, where AGILE has become popular, the Chief Transformation Officer, Lynne Rogers, says that “speed is the new business currency.”
If you don’t put in the work, your communication cannot improve. Have you ever heard of the often-quoted business statement “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”? Whether you have or have not, the question you should ask is, what is this quotation saying to us as professionals?
The quote is urging us to do. Very inspirational and successful people generally speak statements like this. The kinds of people we want to emulate. The problem is that statements like this don’t reflect the years of work that went into developing the authenticity to say these statements. If Steve Jobs took a risk, it’s genius. If a middle manager with little to no experience or history at Apple takes that same risk, what a mistake! (more…)
- The message was lost
- The team didn’t seem on the same page
- They didn’t present what the VC wanted to hear
- It just wasn’t right
Have you ever heard of the often-quoted business statement “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”? Whether you have or have not, the question you should ask is, what is this quotation saying to us as professional.
The quote is urging us to do. Very inspirational and successful people generally speak statements like this. People, we want to emulate. The problem is that statements like this don’t reflect the years of work that went into developing the authenticity to say these statements. If Steve Jobs took a risk, it’s genius. If a middle manager with little to no experience or history at Apple takes that same risk, what a mistake! My concern for businesspeople everywhere – if we follow statements like that, we assume success.
Let us listen to Thomas Edison when he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This especially applies to our communication skills. It is not something people are just good at, it’s not impossible to improve, and it’s not something that is a soft skill.
Everyone needs communication today to advance in business. You must establish relationships, be persuasive and motivational, be situational in leadership, show initiative, and acknowledge that communication is the cornerstone of your job. Essentially, to be successful at communication, also known as the cornerstone of your job, you must put in the effort to develop the skill, practice it, and nurture it to see success. Don’t just do it badly and expect results.
When biotech start-ups go to present, the common belief is that the technology, biologic, assay, or molecule will be the catalyst for awarding funding.
No, it won’t. The fact that you have something that might work and be beneficial to some subset of people worldwide who suffer from a specific condition is how you got in the room. Whether you leave the room with funding is based entirely on what you focus on for the investors.
Today I will share with you the three things to focus on in VC meetings to get funding. There is one overarching factor in every one of these – you MUST provide value for the investor. (more…)
4 Dec Complimentary webinar for biotech executives going to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Week
Strategies to Quickly Connect and Create Relationships at JPM Week
This webinar was held on December 11, 2019. View the recoding here: https://www.speechimprovement.com/relationships-at-jpm/
Maximize your opportunities. In this timely and informative webinar, learn strategies to connect and create valuable relationships throughout the upcoming JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Week. Our experienced speech coaches will cover important topics including:
- Organize your thoughts for clarity and maximum impact
- Share a compelling value proposition in under 30 seconds
- Network with mastery to meet and build rapport with top priority people
Included for all webinar attendees will be exclusive discounts on JPM week events and executive coaching services.
This JPM-preparation webinar is being brought to you by Big4Bio and The Speech Improvement Company.
This week I had the privilege of coaching three lawyers and one actuary — bright people indeed who were preparing to speak at various conferences.
Three of them needed help structuring their presentations. One executive was having trouble relating to his listeners. Yet they all expressed concern over the thing that holds so many people back.
If you guessed they all suffer from the fear of speaking, you’re right.
There are two types of comments I heard:
Physiological: They mentioned faces turning red, shaky hands, and the fact that they struggled to focus. (more…)
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…)