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Biotech Blog

18 Nov How your team’s non-verbal communication can destroy all of your progress 

I have helped many teams become more effective at presenting as a team.  Because humans are SO different and have SO many variables, it can be quite challenging to coach a team.  Most teams preparing on their focus on: 
  •      who will say what during which slides
  •      the order of presenters
  •     making the time fair/equal, etc.
  Often teams are presenting because the stakes are high, and the consequences are critical.  And, of course, money is frequently involved either as part of a department budget, a start-up trying to get funding, and many other situations in which the listeners must hear from the entire team.  The people listening to the team present will be acutely aware of all of the non-verbal communication of the team.  Whatever this communication reveals will carry more substantial weight than the words were spoken.  A well-known architectural firm who brought me in because they started losing projects that they should have won.  After assessing the team, I realized that one of the members did not get along with the others.  Despite well-planned, streamlined presentations they still lost, and they were dumbfounded.  What were they missing?  Their subtle nonverbal behaviors communicated the discontent within the team.  Despite the polite and professional words, the facial expressions, the lack of eye contact, the dismissive exchanging of documents, etc. were all indicators of discord within the team.  People believe what they feel energetical and what they see over what they hear.  It is SO SUBTLE.  These nonverbal behaviors are the kind of things that only human beings can detect . This client of mine needed a new type of coaching to get past the issues that plagued the team. 
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04 Nov How to present as a team

Team presentations are difficult. They are even more so when there is $10 to $50 million in funding on the line. The presentation sets the tone for the next year or years of your business. So, getting it wrong, messing up, or not presenting as a cohesive unit is not an option. The pressure is high, and the stress over getting it wrong is higher. When we coach teams, who are looking for that essential round of VC funding, we find that one of the keys to relieving the pressure is working on the transition between different sections of the presentation and various members of the team. There are three steps to good transitions between people:
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28 Oct Practice Strategies for a Biotech CEO: Demystified

One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big investor presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science start-up 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.
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21 Oct There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 3)

Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. After working with numerous Life Science and Biotech clients, we've observed that many biotech executives are ill-prepared for delivering their companies essential messagesduring a formal presentation. This blog post, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to catch up first before you read this post. This post, Part 3, explains the third and final persuasion tool when you need to convince someone to do, think, say, or approve.
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14 Oct There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 2)

Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. If you can communicate clearly and understand how to be persuasive across various situations, your organization will thrive.  This blog post based on our extensive research explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1, be sure to catch up here. This post, Part 2, explains the second persuasion tool.  A CEO can take on a variety of tasks they wish to tackle.   However, some tasks can’t be delegated. A few of the vital functions of a biotech CEO include: 
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07 Oct There Are Only Three Ways for a CEO to Persuade Someone (Part 1)

The role of a biotech CEO involves effective communication between leaders, managers, board members, and shareholders. Because Boards advise and direct management teams on crucial decisions, CEOs must communicate the vision, metrics, and progress of the organization. This blog, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. Part 1 will share the first tool and be sure to read Part 2 and Part 3 in this series to learn the other two persuasion techniques. We have developed valuable insight into how relationships, presentations, and handling questions can affect your communication success and effectiveness with your Board and shareholders. CEOs must be able to pivot and show their dependability. The key to your success: The ability to persuade with personal credibility.  
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30 Sep Four Effective Tools to Control Your Fear of Speaking 

Fear of speaking means more than sweaty palms and a shaky voice. Your concerns can prevent upward mobility in your field, cause you to lose funding, and unfortunately, stunt the growth of your company.   Your specific fears when speaking in public will be different from your colleagues. Sometimes it means you don't speak up as often in team meetings, or you become flustered when you speak publicly. For others, a fear of speaking can be more subtle, such as speaking too quickly or a lack of articulation.   "We cannot afford to be afraid to speak to each other" explains Dr. Dennis Becker, founder of The Speech Improvement Company. Whether in a meeting with a colleague or an important presentation for investors, we need to control our fear of speaking.  If you know you have a mild, moderate, or debilitating fear of speaking, the following four tools will help you relax when you are speaking in front of a group. Dr. Dennis Becker has honed what we call "The Silver Square" approach to Fear of Speaking after more than 55 years as a speech and communication coach. It involves four equal sides, and preparation in each area will help you create a positive speaking experience every time. 
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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...

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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
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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: 
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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.  
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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 preclinical-stage 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. 
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