Tag Archives: Chamber of Commerce

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER…

27 Oct

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER videotape yourself  doing a presentation because it will kill your communication skills.  Shocked that a speech coach would give that advise?

Never Tape Yourself

Never be a copy!

Many of my clients ask – should I tape myself giving a presentation or do you ever tape clients giving a presentation? I think that taping yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your communication skills!  Why?  When you tape yourself you are creating a visual script for your presentation and we know that scripts can be deadly boring and lack emotion/passion.  When you watch yourself you automatically start scripting your body language and voice so that your final presentation is basically you working to remember what you did on tape.  That kills the spirit of the speech and is a major disservice to your audience.    There is nothing as refreshing as a presentation that has the flavor of an original.

Be original

“May I ask who is calling”? “Can I have dressing on the side”?

26 Sep

“May I ask who is calling”  – I hear this all the time on the other end of the phone line or while waiting in reception areas?   This is weak, meek and confusing language for the listener because who ever says no.  So it’s couched as a question but truly it is a demand.  Plus, why would you ask “may” of course you can say “who is calling” and there is truly no need to ask permission.

Its similar to when you hear people order  at a restaurant and they say “can I have a salad with dressing on the side”?  It’s not rocket science or a mathematical equation to just pour dressing into a small cup.   In addition of course you can have your food any way you want included burnt to a crisp – you are the one paying for the service.  We need to eliminate this weak/meek language from our everyday conversations so we sound strong and confident.

falling down the escalator…….. this afternoon

21 Sep

Heading down the Charles Street Metro escalator this afternoon I noticed a guy with a cane,neck brace, lack of balance and blind.    He was heading down the escalator behind me and frankly I thought at the end he would fly forward toward the hard concrete.  I was not in the mood after being drenched in the rain to deal with this but we must always watch our own humanity.  So I waited at the bottom of the escalator to make sure he was sturdy on his feet and asked him if he was ok.  Then I started to walk off but he was still communicating to me.  Nothing verbal, no sounds – yet he was communicating that he was in a dangerous position.

If I just left him he would most likely head toward the next set of escalators and suffer a bad fall.   He wanted to use the metro to cross to the other side and escape the rain.  I could have told him that it’s dangerous but he was not the type of person to project reason.  So, I had to communicate a message to him without listening to his feedback.  I told him that without a guide this was far too dangerous and that he would be going with me back up the escalator.  This was classic one-way communication.

As we started up the escalator he decided to give me a commuication challenge via body language.   He leaned back and dared me to catch him – I was not totally successful but did manage to get him back on his feet with my arm tightly around his shoulder and told him with direct language don’t do that again.  As we got back to the top of the stairs and away from the metro I told him to go straight and use his cane to feel his steps.  I watched him briefly before I departed.

There are times when communication must be direct and democracy in decision making terminated.  When we see and can hear the screams for help and assistance we must communicate action and responsibility.  There isn’t time to discuss the merits of a decision – it is action that forges safety and progress.  In this situation I nullified this individuals own free- will and silenced his verbal debate for the greater good.    How can this type of communication be applied in your life?

This Weeks – TALLspeaking Communication Star – Mike Shelah

21 Aug

This Weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star

This Weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star

I spotted this weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star at Toastmasters at the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
Meet Mike Shelah who  is a Senior Account Executive with Earthlink Business.
Now on to our Q&A….
What do you enjoy about Public Speaking?
It’s entertainment. I have fun sharing my experiences and knowledge with others
Do you get nervous?
Sure. The first time I had to present to a group I thought I was going to pass out. Once I begin the nervousness quickly disappears.
Do you use notes or memorize or go off the cuff?
Depending on the situation, I have applied all three. In sales it is important to speak concisely without knowing what you will need to say in advance. There are times when ceremony dictates a specific script to be memorized and incorporated or presented verbatim. Notes allow you to convey a message freely while assuring you touch all the key topics
What do you tell the person who is fearful of Public Speaking?
It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let that stop you from being great. You are speaking publicly because someone values what you have to say and wants to hear it.
How do you know that you are connecting with the audience?
Engagement is about reaction (laughter, applause, affirmations) and body language

When I go to networking events people are always in cliques!

14 Aug

In networking you have to break-in!

In networking you have to break-in!

The other day a woman in the audience asked me  this question  “When I go to networking events it seems that everyone is in their own cliques – how do I break in”  The key phrase was break-in because that is exactly what you have to do.  Networking events are competitive and physical events that require a high amount of energy, motivation,and attitude.

Let me break it down – you are putting 50-100 ego driven people in a room who all have self interest and personal motivation as their main drivers.  You can’t walk in thinking that people are going to automatically respond to you and welcome you like a hallmark card.  That is not reality.  You are going to have to show why you deserve to be paid attention too and sometimes that means you have to push your way into a clique.  You have to show that you have the confidence and presence to be taken as a serious contender.

You have to push your way in to the group and then follow that up with conversation that grabs attention that makes people want to listen to you.  How do you get good at it – practice, practice, practice

3 WAYS TO STOP EXCESSIVE SWEATING

6 Aug

Sweat

Even me Mr. TALLspeaking must admit when I give a presentation and I take off my jacket I do it in the privacy of my own office.   I am coming out of the closet – I sweat big time!  I have learned to control my nerves in public but my shirt takes the punishment.

I have listed some key tips (below) to help my fellow sweating friends.  What do I do to control this situation, first always have  a change of clothing in your car or office and utilize the amazing drying power of a hairdryer.  How do you deal with nerves and sweating?

Avoid Spicy Foods and Caffeine

A strong coffee or a burrito doused in hot sauce might make your taste buds happy—but they could also stimulate your sweat glands in a not-so-comfortable way.

“Caffeine and spices can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine, which are located in your brain,” says Kelley Redbord, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Vienna, VA and Associate Professor, George Washington University, “Anything that stimulates these neurotransmitters can sometimes affect the glands that cause sweating.

Go for Prescription-Level Help

Besides hot outdoor temperatures or a killer workout, emotions (such as feeling stressed during a job interview) can also make you sweat. “Anything you can do to decrease your anxiety, such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques, will decrease the potential stimulation of neurotransmitters that can then stimulate your sweat glands,” says Dr. Redbord. “If you often sweat a lot when you’re in a stressful situation, such as with public speaking, you can consider seeing a doctor (find one near you at sweathelp.org ) who may decide to prescribe oral medications that can help decrease your sweating in these types of situations, or suggest other treatment options.”

Think Outside the Pits

The average person has two to four million sweat glands working as the body’s coolant system to protect it from overheating. “Your hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin have high concentrations of sweat glands,” says Dr. Glaser. Gliding or spraying antiperspirants on these areas can help keep you dry, but skip sensitive areas such as your face or private parts.

Public Speaking is like dating…….hmmmmm

18 Jul

  • Nerves – It’s natural to be nervous before a big first date (or a second or third). We are excited to see the other person and excited by the possibilities of it all. We are also nervous that our date will hate us. We get butterflies in our tummies before a big speech for many of the same reasons. The nerves are natural but focusing on the other person (or audience) can tame them.
  • Look sharp – Nothing like your date showing up in a tattered Led Zeppelin t-shirt and cut-offs. Nothing says I don’t want to be dating you like bad hygiene and poor grooming! Likewise, nothing tells an audience you don’t care quite like when you don’t dress up for a speech. I’m not suggesting  wearing a 3 piece suit when you speak, but dress for the audience and occasion. It’s a way to make a great first impression.
  • Tease – Flirting is how we show another person we are interested. We lean forward, smile, and make jokes. It grabs our date’s attention. When we speak, it’s important to tease the audience. Capture their attention in the first 30 seconds of your presentation with a story that leaves them begging for more.
  • Take an interest – Dating 101 – don’t talk about yourself the whole time! Ask questions about the other person to show you are interested in them. When speaking, remember a speech is not about the speaker! It’s about the audience. Show the audience your are interested in them just like you would show a date.
  • Take action – The date goes great, but waiting by the phone for it to ring sucks! Relationship experts suggest that if you have a good date, then take action and ask for the next date. In speaking, we want to leave the audience with something they can do, know or feel. Leave your date and your audience with a plan for action!

TALLspeaking – “I won’t apologize for my tone tonight”

7 Jun

Just as there are many forms of communication, there also are various tones that can go along with the messages. Sometimes what is ultimately communicated has nothing to do with the actual words used. It could be a look, a perception or a statement not made that tells more than the words used. In short, the tone of what is communicated can be as critical as the message.

 

So here is a shorthand look at some of the various tones of communication that executives and managers may be sending between the lines of the real message they intend to deliver.

  • Just the facts. There is nothing flowery in this data/information-based kind of communication, where only facts are stated without context. The recipient gets the data, but not necessarily the relative importance. Each recipient gets to create his or her interpretation of the meaning and import.
  • Angry eyes. The listener can tell by looking at your eyes that this message matters big time. However, it is too easy to misinterpret that the speaker is angry about not getting that promotion while delivering a totally unrelated message to someone else.
  • Between the lines. We hear what was said but know deep down that the speaker doesn’t really mean that. Everyone knows the real meaning of an announcement that a “valued” member of the team is leaving the company to “pursue other interests.” Translation? Fired.
  • Curt. Maybe the boss doesn’t buy in to this communication and is just following orders. A curt tone leaves the listener guessing.
  • Generic. This tone describes the way the boss generally communicates. These messages usually contain nothing of note. They can be ignored like all the rest.
  • The big one. This is the memo that talks about all you’ve been through together and the tough times coming during the next year. Translation? Dust off the resume; a hit list is being made.
  • The joker. Some messages contain so many genuinely funny comments that it’s difficult to tell when the person is really not kidding.
  • Pals’ talk. When messages always treat subordinates like buddies rather than subordinates, the communications don’t always carry the necessary weight. It can be a shocking surprise when the really tough message has to be delivered. Suddenly, the pal is no longer a friend.

No matter what message an executive or manager is attempting to communicate, it is important that the method of delivery be taken into consideration. And after the communication, it is just as important to doulbe-check with the recipients about what it is they heard, as opposed to what was said.

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