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13 Mar Best Practices in Communication for Managers

Navigating Essential Conversations

This complimentary webinar is designed for those who are either new to the role and responsibilities of management or those who are experienced but looking to review a manager’s most important duties and expectations. The five critical skills needed to be an effective manager of people are covered.

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Thinking on Your Feet

This 30-minute recorded webinar teaches you how to process and organize your thoughts quickly in a way that will help you communicate clearly and with confidence

Have you ever wondered how some people always have the right thing to say at the right time? (more…)

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Selling Yourself at a Job Interview

Job interviews can be challenging. Very few people enjoy talking about themselves and find it to be stressful. In addition to having the right skills, you have to get through the job interview. This webinar will share with you a proven best practice for how to ensure that you are being as effective as possible during your interview. (more…)

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Managing Employees Remotely

Overcoming challenges in communication, motivation, and employee engagement

The coronavirus is forced many of us to work and manage remotely. With large numbers of employees working remotely or in a hybrid environment for the first time, managers have a whole new set of challenges to continue leading effectively. (more…)

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12 Mar Communicating During Crisis

During this 30-minute recorded webinar you will learn the three most important things that must be communicated during a time of crisis and proven techniques for putting it all in place immediately.

In these unprecedented times, your people are relying on your insight and direction. (more…)

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Virtual Presentations Beyond the Basics

Since COVID, there has been a surge in the use of Zoom, Teams, Slack, and other tools for virtual presentations. Dr. Ethan Becker, President, and Laura Mathis, Executive Communication Coach have together coached hundreds of remote presenters and share best practices in this 30-minute recorded webinar.

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5 Mar ChatGPT: When Your Technical Skills Are Eclipsed, Your Humanity Will Matter More Than Ever

That’s the title of an insightful article from The New York Times by Aneesh Raman and Maria Flynn. It states “A.I. could usher in a world of work that is anchored more, not less, around human ability.” As speech coaches, we can only respond with “Whew!”

Fascinated, we turned to A.I. and asked ChatGPT to summarize it. Here’s what we got:

The article discusses a significant shift in the skills valued in the economy, driven by advancements in artificial intelligence (A.I.). While technical skills have been highly sought after, they are increasingly susceptible to automation by A.I. On the other hand, “soft skills” such as communication, empathy, and critical thinking are becoming more crucial and durable in the workforce.

It highlights the need to rethink workforce training, moving away from an overemphasis on technical skills like coding and data analysis. Despite the current focus on technical education due to its perceived competitiveness in the job market, there’s a growing realization of the importance of human-centric skills.

The emergence of generative A.I. is expected to impact various professions, potentially affecting all types of work to some extent. As A.I. takes over routine tasks, it’s predicted that future job roles will focus more on collaboration and communication, emphasizing people skills.

The article emphasizes the need to recognize and prioritize human capabilities in the age of A.I., rather than succumbing to fears about job displacement. It stresses the importance of people skills in effectively working with A.I. systems and underlines the demand for such skills across industries.

Leaders across sectors are urged to develop new educational approaches that align with the evolving demands of the economy, placing equal importance on training in people skills alongside technical skills. This involves reevaluating the prioritization of science and engineering over humanities in education.

Employers are encouraged to invest in educating employees not only in A.I. tools but also in people skills and interpersonal collaboration. The shift towards valuing human potential alongside A.I. could lead to increased equity in the workforce and broader societal benefits.

Ultimately, the article suggests that the future economy will be characterized by a “relationship economy,” where people skills and social abilities are paramount. This shift calls for a reimagining of what is possible for humans, both individually and collectively, and underscores the importance of investing in and valuing human capabilities.

As speech coaches, we work on refining these tools. It’s about creating muscle memory and a good coach can help you build that.

You can find the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/14/opinion/ai-economy-jobs-colleges.html

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27 Feb Conference Presenting: Back to Basics

It’s that time of the year when organizations are gearing up for client conferences. Below are three suggestions that I find myself reminding all of my clients to include in their presentations.

  1. Give your listeners a reason to listen.  We call this a benefit statement, or I often refer to it as W.I.I.F.M. (What’s In It For Me).  It answers the question, “What is your presentation going to give listeners?” Think about your overall message and not what’s on your agenda slide.
  2. Include one or two sentences about yourself in your introduction.  This information is not your title or your department you work in.  I suggest that you include something that is unique about your experience as it relates to your topic.  A great example of this is a recent conference presenter who only used her title as she introduced herself. When I asked her about her experience, I found out she was a top influencer who had been working in retail for over 20 yrs.  Two pieces of information that create instant creditability for this presenter.
  3. End with an action statement. When you are wrapping up Instead of saying, “Thank you,” I suggest you use this as an opportunity to direct your listeners to do something with the content you just delivered.  A great example is, “Let’s continue this conversation.  I am available after we finish up. Come find me.”
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13 Feb The Unique Challenges of Neurodiverse Communication in the Workplace

As an Executive Communication Coach, I’m thrilled to see Neurodiversity becoming more recognized and celebrated at work. However, its nuances in the workplace can cause frustration and miscommunications.

For example, if you work with someone who rarely makes eye contact, you might assume they are shy, nervous, or uncomfortable. Using eye contact is an essential nonverbal communication behavior that most of us use automatically in work interactions. Eye contact helps people communicate their interest and attention to a conversation. Yet, making eye contact with others can be very challenging for some people with Autism. There are many books and articles written by adults with Autism who describe the stress they felt when well-meaning bosses and managers tried to force them to make eye contact during conversations, client meetings, or presentations. In many cases, they describe being further distracted and unable to focus on the conversation because of this insistence.

Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways; there is no one “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits. Still, it is often used in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as other neurological or developmental conditions such as ADHD or learning disabilities.

Here are a few additional definitions for clarity:

Neurotypical is an informal term describing a person whose brain functions are considered usual or expected by society. This term is often applied to people who do not have a developmental disorder like Autism, differentiating them from those who do. It is neither a mental disorder nor even an official diagnostic term.

Neurodivergent describes someone who isn’t neurotypical, and Neurodiverse generally refers to differences in brain function among people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These words can be applied to other neurodevelopmental conditions like dyslexia or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

There are many forms that Neurodiversity can take, but for this article, I’ll speak specifically about the Autism Spectrum.

I’ve had the opportunity to coach professionals who identify on the Autism spectrum and also have a close family member on the Spectrum, so I have no shortage of practice when it comes to noticing the small microcommunications that are often lost or misperceived. I do not claim mastery but merely the complex process of listening and communicating with clarity, patience, and an open mind.

You may wonder if you currently work with someone on the Autism Spectrum, or perhaps someone has told you specifically that they are Autistic. Either way, how we communicate needs to be looked at with flexibility and deeper understanding.

If you consider yourself Neurotypical, consider the workplace examples below. You’ll see a few ways a Neurotypical person might communicate with someone on the Autism Spectrum (let’s call this person with ASD your “colleague.”). Observe below how messages and information can get crossed:

You don’t get any eye contact from your colleague when speaking with them, and it feels like they aren’t listening.

After a long conversation, your colleague didn’t speak much and only said ‘OK’ and then walked away, but you aren’t sure if they understood.

After an excellent co-presentation with your colleague, you raise your hand to high-five, but they walk back to their desk right past you.

In the elevator, you ask your colleague how their weekend was, and they say “Fine” and don’t ask you back.

You pull a piece of fluff off your colleague’s coat, and they jump away and recoil from you.

Your colleague is the only one who never joins the team for happy hour on Fridays.

You run weekly stand-up meetings where everyone shares their work progress, but your colleague only sends theirs via Slack.

What do you think of these examples?

It might be tempting to diagnose this colleague as…. a JERK!

And maybe that’s true?

In that case, we might be brought in as coaches to help this person come across better in terms of their communication style and approach to relationship building.

But…

It could ALSO be that your colleague is on the Autism Spectrum, which means they may function differently than you when it comes to understanding nonverbal cues, processing verbal information, expressing emotions and thoughts, managing sensitivities to food or sounds, physical touch, social gatherings, knowing how to engage in small talk, and much more.

There is no quick and easy solution to creating harmonious relationships at work with a Neurodiverse colleague. One place to start is recognizing the need for deep understanding and tailored approaches. Acknowledging and addressing distinct differences can lead to a more harmonious and supportive workplace where everyone feels heard, respected, and appreciated.

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