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General Blog

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.

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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:

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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.

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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?”

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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. 

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02 Jan “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Yogi Berra

People who love baseball certainly will remember its originator, Yogi Berra as one of the game’s most memorable players and coach. Many other people know him only for his absurd, but sometimes insightful quotes which spawned their own name: “yogiisms” — defined as seemingly nonsensical or self-contradictory statements that actually convey serious thoughts once listeners untangle the knots of their unusual phrasing.

Reading in the papers about mostly wrong predictions from 2018 and new ones being made for 2019 reminds me of that famous quote.

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06 Dec Am I supposed to be a mind reader?

Jeff and Nina were at a Christmas party all of the thirty seconds when Nina whispered in Jeff’s ear, “I think Joan [one of the women in Jeff’s office] is getting divorced.” Jeff thought Nina was nuts, but a week later Joan herself told him that she had separated from her husband. When Jeff asked his mystical wife how she knew, Nina said, “Easy. She looked relaxed, had a great new haircut, and was playing with her wedding ring.” For centuries, women’s interpersonal discernment has been acknowledged as “women’s intuition.” Now researchers have confirmed females’ superior skill in interpreting gestures, posture, and facial expression from fifth grade through adulthood. Since men in traditionally female professions like teaching and nursing excel in mood reading too, it’s not due to chromosomes but to socialization in pleasing others and practice in adjusting to others’ moods.
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27 Nov Why men should attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December 2018

I have always learned so much about the male mindset through my brother and many times it was contrary to what society was teaching. He was always a great ally to my sister and I when confronting our irrational and impulsive mother. I continue to learn from him by having very candid conversations about male/female dynamics and perspectives. He is angered about the #metoo stories coming out and couldn’t imagine taking advantage of an incapacitated female. He’s the type of man that women need as an ally to change the world for the better.
 
My brother was more emotionally sensitive than his two older sisters and that annoyed our dad. My sister and I would tease him until he cried, then my dad would chastise him for crying. Needless to say, I don’t think we helped him feel safe around women and I now shudder at the memories. When I was 19 and he was 16 we got into a physical fight only this time he realized he was finally bigger and stronger than I was. It took a minute for it to sink into my brain as he grabbed me by the arms and lifted me off the ground. I think we were both scared of the new stakes of this common interaction and decided it was best to stop physically fighting especially since I could no longer win (LOL).
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19 Nov When Insults Had Class

Time for some wordplay and levity... "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill "Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend… if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
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08 Nov Improving Your Speech Patterns

Working as a speech coach, one of the successful techniques I use to help people speak clearly is to figure out where there may be snags in their speech patterns. Here are two of the most common. 1. Are you dropping volume at the end of sentences? 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 taping 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.
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02 Nov Cry Like a Little Girl

Communication fascinates me. This is one of the reasons why I love being a communication trainer and coach.  Communication is like breathing, it’s happening through every person every minute of the day. Communication breakdowns are inevitable no matter how thoughtful we are. As a communication trainer, I can become an observer/researcher to distract myself from negatively reacting (sometimes) as I did on a recent family visit. The opportunity to learn came from my 19 year old daughter when we were meeting a new significant other (SO) of one of my sisters.  The new SO is an affable guy and everyone really liked him.  We had a busy day of talking and storytelling.
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26 Sep Learning to Listen

Hearing and listening are not the same process.  Hearing is the physical act of sound striking the eardrum.  Listening is differentiating among those sounds. Hearing is an involuntary and reflective act.  Listening is a voluntary and initiative act.  As you read these words, you are hearing sounds in the room or outside the building.  You are probably hearing an air-conditioning system or a furnace, or voices in the hallway. Perhaps you are hearing street traffic or an airplane.  Hearing these sounds simply means that the sounds are striking your eardrum.  It’s not until you focus on these sounds that you are actually listening to them.  Now that we’ve mentioned them, do you hear the sounds around you?  Are you listening to them?  In a business environment, you will hear many sounds that could demand your attention.
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20 Aug Why doesn’t she appreciate my advice?

In Nan and Billy’s house it goes like this:

Nan: I wish I could find a cause to get into, maybe volunteering or just doing something worth-while.

Billy: So call the College Club – I heard they need help, and the hospital gift shop might be looking for    volunteers.

 Nan: Forget it, you don’t even know what I’m interested in.

Billy: Geez! Why bring it up if you don’t want my opinion?

Billy means well, and his ideas might be valid, but Nan finds his approach annoying. In giving advice you anoint yourself as an authority, and if no one asked for it, you come across as know-it-all. More important, like many women, Nan is
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31 Jul What?!? No PowerPoint?

Three different speech coaching clients have told me how they are planning to follow the steps of Amazon and do away with PowerPoint in their senior executive meetings. Fortunately, I was able to stop this colossal mistake before it was too late. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unaware of the torture and mis-communication that can happen when PowerPoint is used.  I agree and support that certain types of meetings are best conducted without it. But to toss it out completely, as a blanket absolute, is just lazy and poor judgement.  It's also helpful to know that I'm a minimalist when it comes to the use of slides, so I'm not a PowerPoint pusher. Because use of visual aids done poorly can render meetings a waste of time, I’m agreeing with Jeff Bezos. Why should any of us spend an hour or more to meet where there is no productive communication, no one being persuasive, no one able to successfully share ideas, so we walk away with no information?
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