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General Blog

05 Dec Pun Intended

Since we’re all about words, we really enjoy it when people have fun with them. Like these puns below. Some are really funny, some are simply clever, and some will make you groan. You’ve been warned. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll...

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26 Nov Break a Leg?!?

Since we do a lot of training for public speaking, many of our clients find themselves in front of people on a stage. We got to thinking whether wishing them success by saying “break a leg” was an appropriate use of the term. That got us wondering where did that expression come from, and why is it used for performances, primarily among actors, musicians and dancers? It certainly plays on the superstition that wishing someone well before going out on stage will somehow jinx them, so you hope for the opposite by wishing them bad luck. And while the exact origin is unclear, there are a number of theories for the story behind it:
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15 Nov Speaking About Clinton and Trump…

Let’s forget the politics and instead focus on speaking effectively. The Speech Improvement Company’s President, Dr. Ethan Becker was recently asked to give his post-election observations and advice on the Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour radio program. Check it out! ...

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08 Nov I Say “um” Too Much

Vocalized pauses or fillers, including um, uh, ah, and their close relatives like, you know, and OK? are some of the most common concerns brought to a speech coach.  We don’t um want to uh get too um picky here, since 1 to 3 percent of everyone’s speech normally contains hesitations, and folks like Ted Kennedy have spoken successfully in public life despite long aah pauses.  However, a bad case of um-itis makes you annoying to listen to.  So why do so many of us um along in life?  Most often, vocalized pauses function as a way to fill up space as we formulate the next thought.  Though old habits take some time to break, it is possible to banish the ums and ahs forever.
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03 Nov Helping Startups Startup at MassChallenge

One of the reasons Boston is the best place to start a company (take THAT Silicon Valley) is because of organizations like MassChallenge (www.masschallenge.org) who bill themselves as “the most startup-friendly accelerator…no equity and not-for-profit, we are obsessed with helping entrepreneurs across all industries.” And their stats are impressive: 835 startups accelerated, 6,500 jobs created, $1.1 billion in outside funding raised. Currently across all their locations, they have 326 young companies taking advantage of all they have to offer. They turned to The Speech Improvement Company to help their entrepreneurs be better communicators. Two of our experienced coaches, Dinneen Grably and Tori Hollingworth
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27 Oct Speak With Confidence and Remove All Doubt

In today’s fast-moving communication-driven world, messages are conveyed through many mediums. “Speaking with confidence” means avoiding tentative language. Non-concrete or tentative language in business shows a lack of self-confidence and will not deliver the strength of your intention to the listeners. For example:

Non-concrete – “I hope I’ve given you a good overview of our team.” Concrete – “This gives you a clear overview of our team.”

Non-concrete – “I guess I can deliver this talk confidently.” Concrete – “I can deliver this talk confidently.”

Watch out for these words in your opening thoughts and phrases, particularly when speaking: I think, I hope, I guess, maybe, kind of, and sort of.
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08 Jul Crisis Management

Dr. Ethan F. Becker teaching Crisis Management at the RAZAK School of Government in Malaysia.  The intention of the seminar was to help leaders understand how to communicate effectively during crisis situations.   When leaders and managers are not prepared to communicate predictability, safety, and control, the results can be devastating.
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19 Jun What’s in it for listeners?

Prepare & Organize for Business Speaking        Tell the listeners why they should listen to you talk about this topic.  Whether or not they ultimately agree with you, how do you expect them to benefit by listening?  Some benefits that you might mention as reasons why...

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06 May Master Job Interviewing Skills

From the archives... Download interview with confidence audio-only mp3  professional studio recording.

Master Job Interviewing Skills:  After 911 in 2001, many clients of The Speech Improvement Company (TSIC) were out of work. To respond to this shift in the economy, TSIC created a 2 hour workshop open to the general public and free of charge to teach people how to master job interviewing skills. This public service had become popular and private presentations were requested by many networking groups in the region. TSIC continued to offer this service for years to come as a way to give back to the business community.

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10 Mar How do best in class organizations prepare speakers

Senior Speech Coaches Laurie Schloff, Tori Hollingworth, and Dr. Ethan F. Becker are on-site at a conference and during a break got together to share the "behind the scenes"  of what happens at big conferences.  How do those speakers nail it?  It may look like they are winging it, but very few do!  How do best in class organizations prepare all of their speakers?  Find out how and why on this episode of Talking about Talking!  Running time 14 minutes.
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