Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Have questions about a blog post?  Email the author directly.  We love hearing from people.

31 May Where did that attitude come from?

A big part of communication is your ‘attitude’ which the dictionary defines as “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.

Attitudes are developed in five major ways.  Understanding all five contributing factors may help you understand your own attitude toward experiences and other people.

  1. Observation. As a very young child you observed parents, family, and friends working, speaking, and interacting with others.  As you observed their behavior, you were developing attitudes that would later shape your behavior in similar situations. Example:  You observed your parent’s treatment of the service person that came to fix your refrigerator.  You observed their language, tone of voice, and behavior before, during, and after his or her visit.
  2. Experience. Early in life you experienced service that shaped your attitude. Rather than just observing, you actually participated in the service experience. Example:  You were sent to the store to buy milk and bread.  The service treatment you received had an impact on your delivery of service as an adult.
  3. Teaching. As a child adults taught you what attitudes were appropriate in given situations.  As an adult you still may be learning attitudes from those around you. Example:  Have you heard fellow employees say, “Don’t work so hard, you make the rest of us look bad” or “You can go easy on this part; no one checks up on you”?
  4. Peers. As a child you were strongly influenced by the attitudes and behaviors of other children.  Peer pressure is a well-documented and accepted contributing factor to the development of attitudes.  But peer pressure is not limited to childhood experiences.  The attitudes and behaviors of your peers may also influence adults. Example:  Many adults prefer to eat the same foods, wear the same clothes, drive the same cars, and frequent the same places as others because “It’s the thing to do.
  5. Personality. At some point on your life you must accept responsibility for these attitudes.  You cannot simply attribute them to childhood happenings Example:  Are you still saying, “But; that’s the way I was brought up” or “We’ve always done it that way”?
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Dennis Becker
Dr. Dennis Becker
dennis@speechimprovement.com

19 Jun Two-Day Effective Presentations Certificate Program

Becoming a persuasive presenter is one of the most sought-after skills in business today.

We are very pleased to announce our Effective Presentations Certificate Program.

During this supportive and practical small group program, you will become the kind of presenter who is able to get your message across to diverse groups, control nervousness, use visual aids with precision, and connect with your listeners as never before. 

 

Our leaders, Laurie Schloff and Donna Rustigian Mac, bring more than 50 years of collective experience to share with you. 

If you’re ready to advance your career and learn best practices and skills used by leaders, managers, and individuals around the world, register now! Learn more.
 
Group size is limited, so please register right away to reserve a spot. To pay by credit card, register here.  To register and pay by check or company invoice, contact us at info@speechimprovement.com or by phone at (617) 739-3330

This program has been approved by the Commonwealth’s Workforce Training Fund. If your organization has fewer than 100 employees in Massachusetts, you may qualify for 50% reimbursement. Ask us for details.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Avatar
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

19 Jun How to Maintain Eye Contact When Speaking

Eye contact is generally considered to be the most important visual re-enforcer a speaker has. Listeners like to be looked at. This is particularly true in persuasive business speaking. The American business culture relies heavily on the “look ’em straight in the eye” approach.

Generally speaking, eye contact should be a controlled speaking behavior. Don’t stare at people, yet don’t be too fleeting. That may sound contradictory, so here are three tips for effective eye contact while speaking:

  1. Hold eye contact for approximately one to three seconds, then move on to someone else. If you’re in a deep and serious one-on-one conversation, the time could easily double or triple.
  2. Use the X-Y-Z technique. That means move eye contact around the room in an X, Y, or Z pattern. Think of yourself as drawing one of these letters with your eyes.
  3. Move your eye contact everywhere – don’t look at only one or two people. This is a common mistake. You may find textbooks on speaking that urge you to “find a friendly face in the audience and make eye contact with and talk to that person.” Don’t do it. It’s nice to feel comfortable with your listeners. However, if you get too comfortable and have too much eye contact with one listener, you’ll lose the others. They will feel rejected and ignored. Be careful of this common mistake. Move eye contact around.
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Dennis Becker
Dr. Dennis Becker
dennis@speechimprovement.com

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.

Here are the 4 most successful strategies he implemented:

  1. Let the participants own the meeting agenda. Ask for or assign topics so that the leader isn’t droning on as listeners doze. Try to include 5 different presenters in a 45-minute meeting.
  2. Mix up the format. The value of a meeting is the collective brainpower and problem solving ability of participants. The implication: If your meetings are devoted to just updates or providing information, they’re bound to get dull.
  3. Get creative. My client varied the following ideas in his forty five minute meetings:  a) Updates on recent projects; b) Current challenges Participant(s) brings up an issue and the group chimes in; c) Discussion of article or research led by a participant; d) What’s happening? Participants state what they are up to outside of work; e) Looking ahead: Leader or participant tees up a future initiative. The group brainstorms.
  4.  Use PODs to get everyone involved. PODs stand for Participants of the Day. These team members are responsible for contributing to discussion. PODS are essential when the meeting includes more than 8 people.

Let’s hear your ideas for taking the remote out of remote meetings.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Avatar
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

24 May Future Generations

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…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Donna Rustigian Mac
Donna Rustigian Mac
donna@speechimprovement.com

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.

There are many opportunities to share your pitch at competitions, and these events have tremendous benefits. You will network, build partnerships, and most importantly, you will get a chance to secure funding and elevate your business.

Pitch Competition events are both exhilarating and terrifying. Here are six ways to make your pitch stand out and gain the capital you need to get your business where it should be:

  1. Avoid an overly technical presentation

Technically- minded people usually produce technical presentations. If you have a large amount of data, numbers or percentages to share, be sure to balance it out with stories and images. Find a way to simplify the data to remain engaged with your listeners.

  1. Utilize notes carefully

No one enjoys that moment where you completely blank on what you were going to say. We find that the amount of practice required to avoid this is many more hours than most presenters think is required. Using notes can help ensure that you convey the keywords and proper message in your presentation but use them carefully. Notes can also get in the way when they inhibit the delivery technique. Don’t let your notes stress you out or slow you down.

  1. Find your story and weave it into a connection with the listeners

The investors or judges need to feel a connection to your organization and what you do. Storytelling can seem intimidating with the prevalence of world-class Ted talks. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins, you need to share your idea in a way that is easy to understand and will engage your listeners. Once you find your own speaker style, you can develop your story and provide valuable context.

  1. Be aware of what you can achieve in a short time

If you are given only three minutes to present a pitch, you need to know exactly how you are coming across. The message needs to be persuasive and maximize the VC or Investors excitement for funding your organization. By utilizing messaging, proper delivery, and extensive practice strategies, you will present in a way that inspires investors to take action.

  1. Relax physically

For many, the fight or flight mechanism is in full force during a presentation or pitch. At Philanthropitch I saw lots of clenched hands, shoulders creeping up towards the ears, and a clenched jaw that made breathing very difficult! Remind yourself using positive affirmations that you are safe, that the investors WANT you to be great, and that it’s not about you. It’s about the potential of your organization’s mission and why it matters.

  1. Don’t relax too much

After the three-minute pitch at Philanthropitch, presenters had to answer three minutes of questions from the judges. A few speakers responded to the questions by saying, “Yeah so…” or “Well, like, yeah…”, “Um, yeah.” There is no doubt that answering unexpected questions in front of thousands of people can be challenging, and yet there is no need to use these types of vocal placeholders. Take 1- 4 seconds to listen to the question carefully before responding. The judges will wait! What feels like a lifetime of silence is only a sliver of time. Simply smile, nod, breathe, and respond.

Some of the most successful pitch competition winners have utilized these six strategies. If you are not sure how to practice effectively, ask your colleagues or a speech coach for help. We can all spare a little time for practice especially if you could take home $110,000.00 or much more for your organization, nonprofit, or startup.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Laura Mathis
Laura Mathis
lmathis@speechimprovement.com

03 Apr Effective Presentations Certificate Program

With the new season comes a tremendous opportunity to become an effective presenter, one of the most sought-after skills in business today.
Laurie Schloff, Senior Coaching Partner at The Speech Improvement Company, and I are very pleased to announce the Effective Presentations Certificate Program.

 

It’s May 9th and 10th from 9:30am to 4:30pm in our training facility at 50 Speen St. Framingham, MA.

 

Over two full days, you can become the kind of presenter who’s able to get your message across effectively, deal with fear of speaking, use visual aids with precision, and connect with your listeners like never before.

 

Laurie and I bring more than 50 years of collective experience to our work and we’d love to share it with you. If you’re ready to advance your career and commit to becoming an effective presenter, register here.

 

If you work for a Massachusetts small business (less than 100 employees), this program has been approved for 50% reimbursement from the Commonwealth’s Workforce Training Fund. Call us for details!
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Donna Rustigian Mac
Donna Rustigian Mac
donna@speechimprovement.com

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…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Laura Mathis
Laura Mathis
lmathis@speechimprovement.com

06 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…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Donna Rustigian Mac
Donna Rustigian Mac
donna@speechimprovement.com

27 Feb How to Get Your Listeners to Participate

Make your presentation 3 times more memorable

A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me something, I’ll forget; show me, I’ll remember; involve me, I’ll understand.” 

According to recent studies, when people participate in a presentation, the material becomes at least three times more memorable for them than if they merely listened to a lecture. 

Sometimes you risk losing listeners altogether if you don’t go out of your way to involve members.

(more…)

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Avatar
Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

18 Feb How to be Persuasive

One of the topics our team of speech coaches cover most often is persuasion. Many people believe persuasion is about saying “I am right and you are wrong.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Persuasion is about presenting your thoughts and ideas in a compelling way that makes others listen to them. So, if I have persuaded you to read on <ahem>, here are three important considerations to be persuasive:

(more…)
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Dr. Ian Turnipseed
Dr. Ian Turnipseed
ian@speechimprovement.com

07 Feb Aligning Multicultural Teams


Creating awareness of communication patterns and knowledge are key to a successful implementation

Managers and leaders are often massively challenged in how to quickly align cross-functional and multicultural teams in today’s mobile and ever changing global economy. A solid conflict management approach – having the knowledge, a reliable process and a system in place that people can follow – is crucial to not allow emotions to become overwhelming.To do so successfully requires a high level of interpersonal communication skills which are acquired through in-depth self-development, reflection, training, coaching, experience and practice. These interpersonal skills and awareness may not have been acquired on an equal scale as technical knowledge in the process of professional development.

To know what happens (a misunderstanding, a difference or an argument for example) does not imply that people know WHY it happens and HOW to create a shift and the necessary communication changes towards constructive solutions. Creating awareness of communication patterns and knowledge are key to a successful implementation of more efficient ways to communicate.

(more…)
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Sharesz T. Wilkinson
Sharesz T. Wilkinson
shareszt@speechimprovement.com

28 Jan Approachability: Tom Brady Style


Tom Brady

How often do you think about how you’re perceived as a communicator? What’s the impression you want people to have of you after they hear you speak? The ability to control the impression you make on others is a crucial tool to have in today’s fast-paced world. 

One client with whom I’m working just moved into the President & CEO role. My job as his speech coach begins with the question, “What two words would you like others to use to describe you after they hear you speak in a business situation?”

One of his chosen words is “approachable.” And he illustrated what it means to be approachable in a very interesting way.

I like finding relevant examples of good communication and sharing them with clients. Sometimes, as in the example here, they share them with me. These examples help us examine how something simple may resonate in our everyday lives and impact those around us. As a leader, a winning goal includes building trust and rapport. He shared this article about Tom Brady. 

Tom Brady Says the Same Four Words to Every New Player on the New England Patriots, and It’s Pure Genius

Spoiler alert. In case you want the answer here and now…Brady is quoted as saying “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.” Imagine how that simple statement creates approachability.

I contributed to a recently published book on communication style, Personal Communication Style. In it, we describe the idea of an approachable person – one who gives the impression of someone who would be kind, respectful, and receptive when another person comes up to them. It’s someone who does not appear standoffish or aloof, but friendly, open, and safe. Imagine how important that would be if you are a world-famous quarterback. 

Look into your personal communication playbook, how do you communicate approachability? Remember everything communicates.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Monica
Monica Murphy
monica@speechimprovement.com

23 Jan Why becoming an entrepreneur may be the best choice for women

73.5% of direct sellers are women

Let’s start with some statistics.  

Women are still earning 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.  If part time workers were included in that statistic, it would be much lower.  

Upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males. [Institute on Aging. (2016)]

(more…)
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Robin Golinski
Robin Golinski
robin@speechimprovement.com

22 Jan Powerful Persuasion Begins with a Good Story

Are you a good storyteller?

Have you tried to get your child to go to bed on time?

What about enticing a certain someone to date you?

Or…telling senior management that you deserve a raise and a promotion?

How much of your communication involves persuading and influencing others? Think about it. The most efficient and effective way to persuade someone is through storytelling. 

(more…)
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmail
Read More
Robin Golinski
Robin Golinski
robin@speechimprovement.com