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Both sexes can perpetrate and suffer interruptions. Yet researchers in the art of communication have repeatedly found that from the age of three on, males tend to interrupt and females tend to pass the conversational ball. The right to interrupt or dominate a conversation often serves as an expression of superiority or status. Nevertheless, when women yield the floor to men, it is not so much a display of inferiority as an indication of the importance they attach to accommodating others in conversation.
Even conversationally accommodating people can come off as interlopers. Women like to overlap a speaker with words of encouragement, agreement, or a parallel situation. (“I know what you mean, Bill. My family also had to struggle to make ends meet.”) Though she intends to establish empathy, she may annoy a man who doesn’t value verbal displays of support. (“That wasn’t my point. Let me finish.”)
Why do people ask difficult questions?
Dealing with difficult questions:
Questions are a normal part of most business meetings. It is also normal for questions to be somewhat confusing or unclear. (more…)
1. Medication can reduce the uncomfortable physiological signs of nervousness (heart rate increase, sweating, shakiness).
Three other approaches: learning effective presentation skills, controlling breathing, and developing helpful thinking patterns are proven non-medical strategies.
2. Beta blockers, originally developed to control cardiac problems, are often effective and can usually be prescribed on an as needed basis.
Beta blockers inhibit the flow of adrenaline in the body, reducing the physical symptoms of the stress response. Your physician will help you decide whether medication is the best route for you, and can review any potential side effects.
Storytelling is an advanced communication tool that can build rapport, increase retention and powerfully persuade. Capturing, structuring and delivering relevant stories is an invaluable skill in business.
1.) Building Rapport – Experiences are unique; however, emotions are universal. Telling a short, interesting, personal story allows the listener to tap into the same emotion as the teller, creating a bonding moment. (more…)
To be a hi-impact leader in today’s financial healthcare industry requires confidence and grit. How do you hold your own in situations where there are clearly power politics? Financial folks are now more involved in giving presentations, speaking at meetings to clinicians, senior management, and colleagues. And it isn’t enough just to report the numbers and finances accurately, it’s equally important to communicate a high level of competence and confidence.
When a tragedy happens there is a lot of talk. Many people are highlighted, and many issues are discussed. The Parkland School shooting is no exception to this. Since the shooting we have seen politicians, pundits, analysts, and now students getting time to speak about the issues surrounding guns.
Interestingly, the conversation is in many ways being led by these students. As a communication professional who has spent time as a secondary educator and researcher, I think there is something to be gleaned from this national discussion. (more…)
It is normal to soften your volume at the end of a thought, but don’t trail your sentences into oblivion. Assess your volume by recording yourself and checking to make sure you can hear the last words of your sentences. Practice speaking or reading aloud with conscious attention on lessening the decibel drop. Use these practice sentences:
“Let’s meet in the lobby of the downtown Marriott.”
“Sarah James was finally promoted to regional manager.”
In these examples, if you don’t keep your volume up, you’ll be swallowing your main point.
Are you jumbling words together? (more…)
In meetings today, getting talk time can be a challenge. Often there are levels of seniority and cultures that do not promote just anyone jumping in to speak. So when you speak, you must make sure you make a comment that will have some teeth in it. One that will resonate with the rest of the team and ideally one that will leave them feeling you contributed something of value. After all, you are at the meeting for a reason: what you think and contribute is valued by your colleagues.
I coach my clients to answer the following question: “What does it mean to be a high level communicator?”
Here are the three key aspects: (more…)
It’s an almost sure bet that people in your organization, and maybe on your team, are hearing, reading, and actively discussing the issues both in and outside of the workplace. And, unfortunately, some may be engaging in it. (more…)
In this day and age, we each have the ability to shape and direct our communication to create a “personal brand.” Communication-style coaching is the path to creating the way you want others to think of you. I help executives do this by choosing the “style words” that define their own personal style, something that they can vary depending on the listener.
Ideally I recommend choosing two words. The first is a word from a business perspective: smart, knowledgeable, intelligent, credible, authoritative. The second word is a behavioral or “human” word: friendly, approachable, personable, engaging, dynamic, charismatic. Sometimes, we suggest a third word: confident.
For communication-style coaching to be successful, it’s important to choose style words that you believe in, and are comfortable for you.
“With respect to style words, the one that has resonated with me the most over the years is ‘approachable’. That might not sound like much, but the distinction between being ‘friendly’ and being ‘approachable’, to me at any rate, is that when you’re approachable, you’ve (internally, at least) established a level of seniority/accomplishment – you’re happy to share your knowledge/wisdom/what have you, but not just because you’re a nice person. I think about that mostly from the everyday communication. I really encourage junior people to participate on panels, etc., whenever possible, even if it’s not a marquee event, to get that practice, so when the big moments come, you are better prepared.“ – Managing Director, National hedge fund
I prefer the term “joining a group” rather than “breaking in” because your attitude needs to be adaptive, not aggressive. The degree to which the group resists an outsider depends on the intimacy shared by the conversers, their previous bonding as a group, and the group’s perception of your status relative to theirs. For example, a college student walking over to a group of professors who are conversing will most likely get a brief, polite response, then a buzz-off signal as the profs continue to talk shop.
Not one speech coach could guess it. And we can’t tell you just yet. But the results are in on this year’s closely-watched Marist Poll. If you’re not familiar with it, their website states “The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, home of The Marist Poll, is a survey research center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York which regularly measures public opinion at the local, state, and national level.” (more…)
Despite the twenty hours Luanne spent preparing for each lecture to her nursing class, her students consistently rated her as dull. Jacob, a mechanical engineer with innovative ideas and brilliant designs, could not keep any audience interested in his presentations. Luanne and Jacob suffered from the bane of being boring, perhaps the worst curse that can afflict a speaker.
Though you might think people like Luanne and Jacob were born boring, the truth is they just never learned certain speech habits that most of us pick up naturally. In working with hundreds of tiresome talkers, I have found that training in simple techniques of vocal variety usually does the trick.
Speaking clearly with vocal variety is the skill of emphasizing certain words to convey meaning and emotions so that those words “jump out” at the listener. In the mechanics of speech, it is the vocal equivalent of a colorful gesture. The following tips will pull you – and the audience – out of the dull-drums.
Pitch change. Change your pitch (usually upward) on an important word or syllable. Practice these sentences with a higher pitch on the word indicated, noticing that you have the power to change the meaning as you change the pitch.
1. “She’s wearing a RED dress.” (Not green)
2. “SHE’S wearing a red dress.” (That woman is)
3. “She’s WEARING a red dress.” (As opposed to carrying or eating it)
Grab your phone or tablet and record yourself. Listen to make sure that the meaning really does stand out.
This is a question, I have been asked by almost every speech coaching client that I have assisted in gaining control over their anxiety. In my past 25 years as communications coach, I have found that fear of speaking stems from a few places. Now that is not to say that every person has had a uniquely unpleasant situation that helped to create the anxiety. What I am suggesting is that while situations are unique to that person, I find that the three places that the anxiety stems from are:
1. Having little to no experience with speaking publicly. You may be someone who has been creating the magic behind the scenes and have grown accustomed to that but now you are asked to be in the spotlight sharing what you know. (more…)