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General Blog

26 Sep Tradeshow Voice

Have you ever lost your voice at a tradeshow? We’ve all been there. It’s day 3 of the show, your staff is complaining of aching feet and backs, overall body energy is down, yet there are still 2 more days left to go in the show. Their voices are starting to crack, coughing more often, clearing thoughts, or worse - voices become horse! How do you keep your staff from getting that trade show voice? Your voice is your tool, and as with any tool, you need to maintain it if you want it to function well. When you are at a tradeshow, the people you meet and speak with have an average of 2 minutes to judge you and your company. They look at a few things, such as what your booth looks like, how you are dressed, what are you selling, what you are saying and most importantly how you are saying it?
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19 Sep People Complain That I’m Too Loud

Most of us instinctively do a good job of setting our volume so that it takes into account the distance between ourselves and listeners, the amount of background noise, and the degree to which we want to broadcast our message. One client who was known as "The Megaphone" in his office, didn't do so well at this. Ernie came to see me when he realized that col­leagues were requesting the cubicle farthest from his. One pal complained that he could hear Ernie's  conversations  better than his own. Ernie got the message "loud and clear" that his excessive volume was an office nuisance. He was receptive to working on his problem, though he was a little bit puzzled. He considered himself the quietest one in his family of five brothers.
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06 Sep Mastering Self–Communication

One of the most important skills to master in our life is self-communication. What thoughts are swirling around in your head on a daily basis? Are you aware of them? These thoughts inhibit our life force and energy, especially in times of uncertainty and worry. It’s interesting to note that in many Asian countries, it is called the ‘monkey mind’ that needs to be tamed.
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29 Aug I Never Remember People’s Names After I’m Introduced

People with a good memory for names are not mental wizards, but they do devote more mental energy to remembering them than those of us who suffer temporary amnesia at the sight of Bill-Phil-or-was-it-Will. The cure for name amnesia is a fool­ proof, easy-to-apply memory strategy that you won't forget to use. Here is one you'll remember by N-A-M-E. In the N-A-M-E technique, each letter of the word Name stands for an important step in remembering who you just met.
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25 Aug Perception is Reality…At Least for the Moment

I always remind my clients that “everything communicates”. How you appear in that moment, and sound in that moment to your listener, send a message about you. The ability to be natural, who you are, and authentic, this is most people’s goal. I believe a great way to reach that goal is to: strengthen your ability to control the impression you make on others.  Perception is reality…. At least for the moment you are communicating it. So the question is how does one control this in a world where so many things feel beyond our control? Get ready- because taking your communication effectiveness to its next level is a 3 Level process. Level one: Self-awareness. What is the current message you are sending? How are you projecting confidence and what may be taking away from that? Often my clients will say, “ I don’t like the sound of my voice” or “I never watch myself on video”. If you don't hear it or see it, how can you know what is working?  Level one for many is the hardest part. Be brave.   Try this: Turn your video on your phone and deliver a message to yourself, maybe it’s a quick business update or a voice message you’re about to leave. Watch it back. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the center.
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18 Aug Man vs Beast

What a tragedy in Charlottesville.  From a speech coaching perspective, this is yet he recent another indication that our species has not entirely evolved to the point where we can talk and listen to one another. It was Aristotle who first pointed out that the human ability to talk and listen is what differentiates us from the forest animals.  Yet, we still see the presence of physical violence as a means of communication between members of our species.
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19 Jul Screen Calls Appropriately

When screening calls, you take an incoming call and try to find out who is calling and what the caller wants.  Screening is most commonly done by a receptionist who needs to direct calls, and by secretaries and assistants who need to protect their supervisors' time.
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10 Jul Why are you so fearful of public speaking?

I spend a lot of time reading articles from magazines, newspapers, and blogs whose authors proclaim they have the solutions for the fear of public speaking. The reality is there is no solution to that fear. As a person who has spoken for 25 years as well as coached others for the last ten, there will never come a time when you are cured. The fact is fear is a part of public speaking. You can be anxious because it is a new topic that you are speaking on, you didn’t prepare as well as you would have liked, or you really want the speech to go well, the reasons are endless. One of the root causes of this fear is always the same. We are not always afraid of giving the speech or really even what comes out of our mouths. For the most part, we are always concerned with what are listeners are thinking about us and the message. The underlying and all-pervasive reality is listeners contribute to our fear, and since speaking by ourselves is never going to get anyone anywhere it will always be with us. The question then becomes how do I deal with managing my fear of my listeners? Now don't get me wrong. I do not think we are afraid of our listeners because they exist. I doubt many of us look at the people in a board room or in an audience or even a client and think "Goodness, I am afraid of these human beings!" No, we are afraid of the judgement they will pass. Do they like us, our voice, the speech, and will they take the actions we are suggesting? So when dealing with the fear of public speaking, one must come to terms with not being able to control the listeners or what they are thinking. Using my extensive experience as well as research into listener psychology, I offer the following tips to help with that:
  1. People are more predictable than you think!

When we think of groups of people, whether our managers, listeners, or customers, they all share commonalities. All groups of people share common attributes we can consider as we prepare a speech. We share age ranges, gender, socioeconomic backgrounds, family make-up, race, sociopolitical background, etc. The more you know about who you are presenting to, the better. As you uncover this information, people become more

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02 Jul How To Be Heard In Meetings

Ever notice that sometimes in meetings or conversation other professionals do not seem to take you seriously? You are trying to make a point but your listeners roll their eyes, look bored, or act fidgety. Do they wish they were someplace else or just want you to get on with it or… For whatever reason, they are not giving your words and thoughts the weight they deserve. This can be very frustrating because you frequently have no idea why it is happening or what you can or should do about it.
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22 Jun Homonyms, Homophones, and Other Similar Words

We had a lot of fun compiling this list of commonly misunderstood, misused, and misspelled English words. You may find some that are interesting, some surprising, and hopefully, some that are educational. Enjoy! - a - abjure                       To renounce adjure                       To command, as under oath accept                       To receive with consent except                       To exclude; to object (take exception to) acclamation            Loud expression of approval, praise, or assent acclimation             Acclimatization, especially under controlled (as laboratory) conditions adherence               Act of adhering adherents                Followers affect                         To have an influence on effect                         To make; to bring about aid                              Help aide                            Assistant all ready                   Set to go already                     Previously
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01 Jun I Hate the Way I Sound on Recordings

In my work with hundreds of clients, including professional speakers such as actors and radio announcers, I have met only a handful who like the sound of their own voice on a recording. Some people even refuse to leave a voice mail message, knowing there would be a permanent record of their “awful voice floating around in the world.” Many speakers are certain that recordings distort their voice.
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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.
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16 May Good Communication Begins With Awareness

Successful communication has little to do with simply trying to bring our message across, but it has everything to do in how we assess and adjust our communication to our respective communication partners. Communication is a two-way process. It needs an equal amount of skill and effort to actually learn how to listen as it takes to draft a speech or give a talk in front of an audience.
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16 May Coaching Lessons from the NBA

It’s the NBA playoff season and while watching my beloved Boston Celtics tear down another opponent, my attention was drawn to some insightful statements from basketball players on the importance of being ‘well coached.’
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