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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…)
Without being stereotypical about it, there are some communication characteristics that may be more familiar to women in leadership roles than will resonate with men in similar roles. We see many millennials, of both genders, struggling with these traits as well. But that’s an article for another day! Here a few reminders.
- Placing a question mark at the end of sentences (uptalk)
- Apologizing when there is no need
- Diminishing their value by using tentative words such as little or just while describing accomplishments
AI, or artificial intelligence, has taken root in biotech. From lab assistants to drug discovery, AI provides a cheap, quick, and more effective process for advancement. And the AI push is visible within public speaking development, from counting your “uh’s” to determining if you speak with enough passion.
There is no shortage of apps, software, and computer programs that claim to increase your skill as a presenter and public speaker. Many Biotech companies have embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps, software, and programs that offer a “speech coach in your pocket.” Should you whip out your credit card and sign up? And if you have joined the AI coaching bandwagon, what do you need to prepare for while using the app? Here are seven critical factors to consider:
1) Technical Difficulties– Utilization of AI for improved communication skills is a reasonably new technology and there are still technical issues to prepare for: Blank screens, constant reinstallations, “free plans” with little value, outdated versions that require a help desk to resolve, restricted content, a lack of continued learning opportunities after a certain point, lessons that won’t load, and any other tech issue you can imagine. This puts a damper on progress.
2) Lack of Context – Your app may flag you for pausing too long, but if you are a skilled speaker, you can hesitate for an extended amount of time and investors will wait with bated breath in anticipation of what you will say. The app may tell you your pace was too fast or slow, but again, a speaker telling a funny story or sharing a heartbreaking loss will utilize different pacing speeds to help create excitement, momentum, suspense, or surprise. (more…)
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?