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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. (more…)

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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:  (more…)

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07 Oct Know Your Listeners

Knowing your listeners is key to preparing an effective presentation. Nothing puts listeners into a speaker’s pocket better than a speech that zeroes in on their specific needs. Your listeners will be more likely to respond positively if they feel that your research has helped you prepare specifically for them.

Answers to the following 10 questions will provide you with most of the information you need to know about your listeners before you speak. This will help you target your message, focus and streamline your presentation, customize materials, and reduce your anxiety.

(more…)

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07 Oct What’s Your Theme?

Technical and business presentations can be difficult for both speakers and listeners. Using a theme sentence will be very helpful. A theme is the most important idea or bit of information that you want your listeners to take away. If they forget everything else, what is the one thing you want them to remember? That is your theme.

Put your theme into a single sentence which is no longer than 10 words. Repeat that theme sentence at least three times during your presentation. Be sure to use the same vocabulary each time. Simplicity, clarity, and consistency are critical to ensuring that your listeners understand your theme.

Speakers often find that developing and wording the theme sentence is difficult. If it is difficult for the speaker, imagine how difficult it will be for the listeners. A clear theme sentence is well worth the effort.

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07 Oct How to Convince Your Boss to Pay for Presentation Training

Today’s motivated and driven employees know they need continual training to keep up with and thrive within a competitive and fast-paced corporate world.  That training may require an approval process, whether it’s a boss, decision-maker, or others.

In Brendon Burchard’s book High-Performance Habits, he explains in Habit Four, “Get Insanely Good at Key Skills (Progressive Mastery). Determine the five major skills you need to develop over the next three years to grow into the person you hope to become. Then set out to develop those skills with obsessive focus. The most important thing is to always be developing the critical skills to your future success.”

Effective communication and soft skills are at the top of the list in most industries on desired traits of top performers. In Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting, he explains that when it comes to personal branding, there is no better methodology than speaking in public. He shares, “Public speaking is a powerful method for meeting people and developing business relationships because it creates an environment where prospects seek you out.”  (more…)

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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.   (more…)

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05 Oct Team Meetings:  What Google can learn from Communication Coaches

In the communication field, there is a lot of  buzz about Google’s Project Aristotle, a meticulous, in-depth study of what differentiates high-functioning team meetings from others.

With all due respect for the yearlong study of over one hundred Google teams, we communication coaches have been helping teams and leaders foster productive meetings for years!

Google’s key findings, which we back with our experiences 100%, reveal that high-performing teams:

  • Support an atmosphere of psychological safety and comfort;
  • Enable equal participation from all group members over time;
  • Show sensitivity to nuances of non-verbal behavior and tone, and often share personal as well as professional information.

(more…)

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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. 

(more…)

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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 the retention of information and help you be more persuasive.  Ineffectively using humor can backfire and make your listeners think you are incompetent, lack judgment, and other adverse outcomes. Humor is a high risk when used effectively, and the rewards are enormous!  Studies also show that those who can naturally use humor are perceived as more confident and intelligent than those that don’t.

If you would like to add more humor to your presentations, start by observing humorous moments in professional settings. Notice whether everyone reacted or only a few.  Think about why it was funny.  Often it is about the content of the moment.  Observational humor usually works well in professional settings. By acknowledging a shared experience that you can apply a metaphor to will bond people in laughter.  For example, “It’s easier to get a snowsuit on my toddler than to use our coffee machine.”  The first experience is one that most can relate to outside of work. 

Humor humanizes and makes work more enjoyable.  It’s best to get a trusted ally to review humor you plan to use in a presentation to ensure its effective and not offensive.  Remember a little goes a LONG WAY. Do not try to add humor to every point of your presentation, only where it comes up naturally and easily.  A good speech coach can help you develop this skill, which will take you to the next level of effectiveness in your presentations. 

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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 (more…)

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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:  (more…)

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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.   (more…)

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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 preclinicalstage 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.  (more…)

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16 Jul Communicate 34x More Effectively

I often caution people on their use of email. Of course it’s fast and convenient, but an important message or request may be diluted for that very reason: you chose a fast, convenient (for you) method to deliver it. If being heard is important, a phone call is far better. And meeting face-to-face gives you the most successful vehicle for delivering your message. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and reported in the Harvard Business Review quantifies it. They claim face-to-face is 34 times more effective than email when asking someone to do something for you. The report can be read here.

The research concludes “it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person. It is often more convenient and comfortable to use text-based communication than to approach someone in-person, but if you overestimate the effectiveness of such media, you may regularly—and unknowingly—choose inferior means of influence.”

Taking the time to be 34x more effective is worth considering when I write my next email.

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