Hold a Retreat that Gets Results

0000 retreat image

Design a future, engage employees, do some training!

Why retreat?  For insight, ownership and energy

A planning meeting, a retreat, a team-building day or just time to talk and think together could make all the difference in your productivity.  A ‘retreat’ from the usual work environment can, as the saying goes, take you forward with fresh energy and deeper engagement.

In considering your retreat, ask:

What result(s) do I want?

It’s your retreat, so you choose what you want to have when it’s over:  A strategy, plan, and clarified priorities?  New practices and fresh focus?  Or sharpened communication skills, higher levels of camaraderie? Maybe it’s some combination of those.

read more

Slow Down! 5 Reasons Why Slower Speech is Worth Your Time

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation. Audience at the conference hall.

Speaking more slowly can address a short, but annoying, list of communication challenges – such as junk words, babbling, loss of listener interest and communication confusion. Even if it only works on the first entry, that alone would justify stopping everything right now to speak just a bit more s l o w ly. Well, not that slow. Still:

  • Speaking at a measured pace can help you reduce the use of junk words such as you know (sometimes enunciated as “yyho”), um, and the nails-on- chalkboard scourge, “like.”
  • It gives your brain a few nanoseconds to gather your thoughts, letting you continually choose your direction, respond to listener cues and drive your words more accurately.
  • Slower speech has been shown to be more persuasive in many situations.
  • Slower speech conveys thoughtfulness, deliberation and confidence.
  • It lets others follow you more easily, especially when you are communicating a layered idea or a story with a turn or two in it.

Whether you’re conversing or presenting, people remember and respond to only a portion of what you are saying. Most fast-talkers try to cover too much ground, or they’re repeating themselves. Either way, express delivery wastes most of those words.

read more

The Case Against Uptalk?

doubt and confusion concept - portrait of dubious beautiful 20s girl in reflection,seeking for solutions,studio shot on gray background

Here’s my three-part case against ending too many sentences with a question mark? And a hack for breaking the habit.

I get why criticizing a form of speech originally identified with young women could be considered patronizing, or judgmental. There’s an argument that it’s natural for women to lean toward questioning and collaboration, and uptalk reflects that. But now it’s common across age, genders and cultures to end declarative sentences with a questioning tone.

Sure, an occasional uplift in tone can sound friendly, likeable and inclusive. Yet, its constant use undermines the clarity, presence and authority of the speaker.

read more

My Advice to the Candidates

2016_Republican_Presidential_debate_by_Gage_Skidmore

Though none of the presidential hopefuls have called me yet, I have coached candidates for public office. Some were competing for votes from the people; others were prepping for an appointment interview (and would later need to win an election), but presentation skill is essential to success in either venue. I’ve also helped contestants for “Miss This or That” pageants, and the challenge is not much different!

Here’s what I advise all candidates who need to connect with the public: Know yourself!

read more

Introvert Speakers: 5 Insights

AAEAAQAAAAAAAASqAAAAJGFiOGMyNWE3LTU4Y2MtNDQ0Yi1hZGEzLWVkNTMwYmMxMmU1Zg

My most recent Public Speaking Boot Camp was unusual in that all the participants but one identified themselves as “introverts”, and the one who didn’t said he leaned that way.

How do introverts use their natural strengths when speaking to a group, leading a discussion, or in any situation that puts them in the spotlight?

(A quick, general recap: introverts get their energy from being alone or with one to a few trusted others, while extroverts thrive on interaction with others.  A person with a preference for introversion may or may not feel “shy” and it has nothing to do with whether they are affable, snotty or confident.  One gets to know an introvert more slowly than an extrovert. Many introverts adopt extroverted behaviors in the workplace or elsewhere, when they see the need.)

read more

Nervous While Talking? 3 Signs and 3 Fixes

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAaPAAAAJGU1YTA5MTMxLTVkNGMtNGUxNy04YTg1LThjYjJlYTFhZGMwMw

Talking too fast, funny voice, and fidgeting

These common signs of underlying nervousness can undermine your message. Everyone feels ill-at-ease, tentative, or anxious at times, especially when speaking, whether in conversation or as a presenter.  Since you can’t always predict your “nerves”, learn a few hacks in preparation to outwit them.

Sign #1:  You’re talking too fast.

Why it’s an issue:  Rapid speech reflects that nervous feeling that you have to get your message out before people lose interest.  Slower speakers sound more at ease, show greater confidence and are better understood.

read more