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General Blog

26 Dec Bloomberg Ranks Massachusetts #1

A recent article in The Boston Globe entitled Massachusetts Again Beats California as Most Innovative in US is reason for some hometown pride. We work with a lot of tech companies, both established and startups including many in software and health sciences, so we train and coach some truly innovative people. From this vantage point, we see this creativity first-hand alongside the people who fund, build, and drive our local innovation economy. It's great to have them collectively recognized by an authoritative source as the best in the nation.
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19 Dec Are You a Fast Talker?

æHave people ever said to you "Hey slow down, you talk too fast!” Wonder what they are referring to?  Being from the Northeast, we hear this comment quite often. When thinking about controlling your communication style, it’s helpful to peel back one more layer and look at what makes up someone’s speed of speaking. As a Speaker Coach, I break speed into two categories: rate and pace. Rate refers to the speed in which a person puts words together.  It literally refers to the amount of words per minute.  The average rate of speech in a business presentation will range from 150-180 words per minute. Think about listening to a commercial and often, at the end there is a voice quickly giving you all the fine print details at a rate you can hardly follow. They are speaking at approximately 300 words per minute. Much too fast for the average listener!
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15 Dec What Is Communication Style Coaching?

In his book Style, Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh (1522 - 1618) described language as having a "chameleon-like” quality. Sir Walter's book is an exhaustive study of the origin, popularity, and decline of the word style. Regarding style, he said, "Good style is the greatest of revealers - it lays bare the soul." You must be comfortable with your style. You live and work in the real world. It is not theater. Your listeners, unlike the audience in a theater, do not suspend reality. They take what you give them as you. What and how you communicate is what others use to assess and describe you. What and how you communicate reveals much of who you are in real life. The ability to be natural, to be who you are, and not to be phony, is most people's goal, especially those in leadership and management positions. Those positions carry enough responsibility in their own ways. It is far too challenging to also be worried about being something that you have to fake or that is not comfortable for you. Not only can it be uncomfortable, but it can also be downright discomforting to try and match a particular leadership or management style that has been dictated or described in a textbook.
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07 Dec Everything Communicates!

As an Executive Communication Coach, my job is to remind clients that when presenting, everything communicates - how you look, how you sound and what you do with your body. Mary Lou Andre, a nationally recognized wardrobe, dress code and corporate image consultant, got me thinking about this after reading her excellent article: Is Hosiery History? 

Her advice on this business appropriate accessory reinforces how important clothing is in communicating respect for yourself and others. 
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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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