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23 Sep Use Humor to be More Effective in Presentations 

People want to do business with people they like.  Making someone smile or chuckle will have the effect of: 

  •       Quickly building rapport
  •       Connect you and your information with positive feelings
  •       Lower your listener’s defenses creating a more receptive mindset

 

Studies have shown that humor can also increase the retention of information and help you be more persuasive.  Ineffectively using humor can backfire and make your listeners think you are incompetent, lack judgment, and other adverse outcomes. Humor is a high risk when used effectively, and the rewards are enormous!  Studies also show that those who can naturally use humor are perceived as more confident and intelligent than those that don’t.

If you would like to add more humor to your presentations, start by observing humorous moments in professional settings. Notice whether everyone reacted or only a few.  Think about why it was funny.  Often it is about the content of the moment.  Observational humor usually works well in professional settings. By acknowledging a shared experience that you can apply a metaphor to will bond people in laughter.  For example, “It’s easier to get a snowsuit on my toddler than to use our coffee machine.”  The first experience is one that most can relate to outside of work. 

Humor humanizes and makes work more enjoyable.  It’s best to get a trusted ally to review humor you plan to use in a presentation to ensure its effective and not offensive.  Remember a little goes a LONG WAY. Do not try to add humor to every point of your presentation, only where it comes up naturally and easily.  A good speech coach can help you develop this skill, which will take you to the next level of effectiveness in your presentations. 

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19 Sep Practice Strategies for a Biotech CEO Demystified

One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science startup 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.

Readout loud and consider

One of the most significant issues with most presentations is that the nonverbal presentation is not considered. Before you practice your presentation, you should read it out loud to yourself and others. Consider how you want to sound. What needs emphasis? What is important? How do you want to say that? Make notes of these things in your presentation. Nonverbal communication is not something that happens; it requires planning as well when communication is essential.

Schedule and commit to a realistic time (more…)

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17 Sep The one thing most people never pay attention to when presenting  – CONTEXT 

What does that title mean?  The actual context for your listeners is what they have experienced before they begin listening to you speak.  The framework can include such things as: 

  •                Local or global political breaking news
  •                Weather
  •                Challenges with the venue or room
  •                Personal issues

 

Foremost in their mind is anything that your listener has heard, said, felt, or experienced just before giving you their attention.  If you can observe their body language and facial expressions as they arrive, you can sense it.  You may be thinking, “I have no control over that, nor can I even know what those things maybe.” First let’s address an example of something you should know about and secondly, more commonly the things you will not know about (unless you are psychic).  Both are important to understand. 

It’s essential to have the sensitivity to something that may have just broken in the news that is either relevant to the industry or topic which you are speaking about or something so huge it affects everyone.  For example:  (more…)

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23 Jul 3 Ways to Handle Questions Confidently 

Questions are an essential part of meetings. When questions are asked, there is interest; thats a good thing.  Questions can be a test not only for your knowledge of the content but your confidence in what you are representing.  

The 3 techniques below will help you prepare for inevitable questions.  

1) Restate– In restating the question you are NOT adding any new information or changing the meaning.  This is really important.  Changing the meaning does not always mean words, many times its 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.  Its 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 restating comes from the fear that they may be seen as 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 persons statement. 

2) Disclaiming– Many times people are fearful to give an answer because they want to have the right answer.  I dont know, but I will find out” wont really get you very far in business communication especially when its used more than once. Learning how to frame your answer can help.  There are phrases which act as a disclaimer so you can offer insight or at least the limited information you do have.   (more…)

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22 Jul The Best Biotech Presentations Possess These Two Speaking Skills 

 

Think about your upcoming biotech investor presentation. Chances are you have pored over the slide deck but spent little time thinking about how you will share the content. Few issues are more important to preclinicalstage biotech companies than maintaining a continuous flow of capital.   

If you plan to advance the development of your product with capital, you need to attract and maintain investor interest, which involves continuously pitching venture capitalists and investors. The best biotech presentations possess this combination of speaking skills:  

Integrate a succinct themed presentation with punctuated gestures. 

Before you dismiss the idea of gestures as being unnecessary for investor presentations, we will share the latest research on how to create persuasive messaging combined with gestures to help secure the capital you need for continued growth. 

Themed Presentations: 

As an organization prepares for an investor presentation, little time is typically allocated to analysis and creation of the primary theme. Biotech CEOs can get caught in the weeds, providing too much detail. As a result, investors begin to lose interest in the presentation. Biotech CEOs must craft a presentation that has a memorable theme that is different from the competition.  

In our research at The Speech Improvement Company, with hundreds of our Biotech and Life Sciences clients, we were struck by our observations that Biotech CEO’s have difficulty drilling down to a single theme for their product during an investor pitch. What became clear was the difficulty in distilling data into one core theme. If you can condense your entire presentation into one sentence with a strong primary theme, you are on the right track.  (more…)

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16 Jul Communicate 34x More Effectively

I often caution people on their use of email. Of course it’s fast and convenient, but an important message or request may be diluted for that very reason: you chose a fast, convenient (for you) method to deliver it. If being heard is important, a phone call is far better. And meeting face-to-face gives you the most successful vehicle for delivering your message. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and reported in the Harvard Business Review quantifies it. They claim face-to-face is 34 times more effective than email when asking someone to do something for you. The report can be read here.

The research concludes “it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person. It is often more convenient and comfortable to use text-based communication than to approach someone in-person, but if you overestimate the effectiveness of such media, you may regularly—and unknowingly—choose inferior means of influence.”

Taking the time to be 34x more effective is worth considering when I write my next email.

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28 May Build REAL Relationships in Virtual Meetings

Yesterday, my client, a VP in financial services, said it was a waste of time to go to his office. No one was there, and besides, the majority of meetings he led were remote. He shared that in the “olden days,” bonds were formed by walking around, schmoozing at your desk, or shockingly, even having lunch together!

Technology had changed things forever, and it was up to us to create new strategies for connection in a remote world. (more…)

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24 May Future Generations

Friendly and happy family with kids talking and eating pizza in park

Angst surrounding communication is universal. Speaking formally before large groups can cause great anxiety, so much so, even the most accomplished professionals often shy away from attempting to try it. But how about one-on-one conversations and speaking with those closest to us?

As we approach the third decade of the new millennium, do you see effective communication increasing or waning? Are our “circles of support” growing or do we reach out to a more limited group of family, friends, and neighbors? (more…)

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10 May Six Ways to Win Your Investor Presentation

I recently attended an event in Austin called Philanthropitch, a social impact fast-pitch competition. Nonprofits step onto the stage to gain access to capital and build awareness amongst new donors and volunteers. That night Philanthropitch gave away $110,000.00. No pressure, right?

I felt that every presenter did an excellent job which is a tremendous achievement. If you’d like to learn more about how to thrive in a pitch competition, you need a plan and preferably a trusted and reputable speech coach to support you. (more…)

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11 Mar Women-Only Events Don’t Make Sense and Here’s Why

Very recently, Rebecca Robbins, a San Francisco Correspondent, shared a report about an organization that wanted to take a different approach at an upcoming scientific gathering. Planners decided to only invite female speakers to the microbiome conference at the University of California, San Diego, thus igniting a major controversy.

As a woman, mother, and corporate executive, it is my opinion that women-only events don’t make sense. Now, before you throw a laptop at me, hear me out. I’ve been thinking deeply about this subject, especially with March being Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019.

It seems clear that the event at the microbiome conference was not meant as a hateful strike against men but rather as a one-off, a way to make a splash and try something new. (more…)

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6 Mar Raising (and Leading) Humans

There are amazing similarities between parenting kids and leading and managing our people at work. Being mindful of this just might help you become more resilient as you groom your employees to operate at high proficiency. Being aware might also give YOU extra energy in the process. Because like raising kids, managing people can be extremely exhausting (yet some of the most rewarding work ever!). (more…)

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