Speaker Soundbites

Start Strong. Finish Strong. Illustrate in the Middle.

You attend a TEDx event and easily remember the opening speaker and the concluding speaker.

You listen to a sales pitch and find yourself repeating the product attributes that the sales person discussed first and those that she mentioned last.

In all these cases, you are experiencing the “serial position effect.”

Converting these research findings into a real-world recipe for communication success means that you must:

  • start strong,

  • finish strong,

  • and illustrate in the middle.

Tech Speak

Communicating technically dense information to diverse audiences is as difficult as becoming an expert in AVN Cloud architecture, whatever that is.

Fortunately, there is an algorithm for successfully communicating technical information to diverse audiences. Here’s the code:

Leadership Communication

Articulating a vision = leadership.
Rallying support = leadership.
Steadying morale = leadership.
Acknowledging excellence = leadership.
Building and sustaining a business = it’s all leadership.
 
And while leaders have a long list of important attributes, one ability is central to all others—communication.

Conference Calls

Conference calls are an important part of modern business communication, and they can be a valuable method of group communication if planned and executed carefully.  Done poorly, however, they are a communication abyss that drives participants to mute their line, multi-task, and stop paying attention.

Tough Crowds

Public speaking would be easier if the news was always good.

Unfortunately, delivering bad news, facing a hostile crowd, or discussing a contentious policy is an inevitable part of leadership. And in these moments, what you say and how you say it matters even more.

Ace It!

After you draft your resume, write your cover letter, and submit your application for your dream job, next comes the interview.  It’s in this unique setting of interpersonal communication that you have the best opportunity to differentiate yourself and take the next step in your career development.

Your Story Library

Recall the times you’ve solved problems, collaborated, exceeded expectations, handled adversity, made mistakes, made amends, set records, delivered on-time, said ‘thank you,’ and led your organizations.
 
We’ve experienced a lot, but we rarely take time to record the details and build a story library of these experiences.

Tell A Story

Thirty-five thousand years ago, in a sandy-floored cave illuminated by the flicker of fire light on the tropical island of Indonesia, a human hand reached out of the darkness and began to paint.  Animals, murals, everyday objects, still life, but all…stories.  Whether in art or oration, stories have been part of the human tapestry since the very beginning.

Stories are the epitome of effective communication.

Oral Communication and Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are rich in cancer-preventing antioxidants, contain robust quantities of vitamins, and are a reliable source of heart-healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids.  Despite this impressive bundle of benefits, Americans consume, on  average, less than one pound of brussels sprouts each year.
 …

Why am I talking about brussels sprouts in a newsletter on oral communication? Good question.

The Kitchen Sink

Maybe your kitchen sink looked like mine when I was single--full of every plate, pan, utensil, and glass.  When I caught a glimpse of it, I would feel frustrated and overwhelmed. To escape that distress, I would just avoid it.  But it’s not just the kitchen sink that can get overloaded; presentations can also get packed with everything from the speaker's proverbial kitchen, and when they do, audiences get overwhelmed and tune out.

Pure Art! Pure Color! Pure Baseball!

In 2008, architecture firms lined up for the opportunity to pitch their plans to build a new iconic baseball stadium in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.  It was a dream contract, and firms clambered to win it.

While many of the pitches focused on design elements and amenities like a retractable roof, new-age materials, luxury boxes, enhanced concession stands, club seating, and other revenue producing features, one architecture firm took a different approach.  One firm took a winning approach.

No Mulligans

It’s a Saturday morning and you are in the middle of a friendly game of golf. On the 8th hole you walk up to the ball, set your target, and select a club.  You start your backswing, shift your weight forward, strike the ball, and follow through. You look up to see the ball flying hundreds of feet...off target and toward the adjacent fairway.  Humiliated, you announce to your group that you are “hitting another ball.” You’re taking a mulligan.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take a mulligan in every aspect of our lives?  In many things we can--transferring schools, changing jobs, switching careers. These are all are do-overs.  

In public speaking and presenting, there are no mulligans, no second chances, no do-overs.

Get Together!

If you win this work, it will be a game-changer!  

It’s a huge account, and you’ve made it to the final round of selection.  All you need to do is ace the presentation to land this life-changing client.  Because of the job’s size and scope, the presentation requires contributions from a large and diverse number of people from different divisions of your project team. Everything is riding on your team’s presentation.

WHAT was that about?

After a three-day, off-site business retreat, you’ve developed the perfect strategic plan.  You return to work excited to share your ideas with the company. You make your slide deck and prepare your 30-minute presentation. After presenting, you come away feeling confident that everyone shares your enthusiasm, is onboard, and understands your priorities for the future.

A few days later, you overhear a water-cooler conversation that makes it clear few, if any, employees actually recall your main ideas and people seem baffled by your message.  Something’s gone terribly wrong.

The only thing you have to FEAR IS...

Everyone has heard the claim that individuals fear public speaking more than death, and while this declaration seems a bit far-fetched, surveys support the idea.[1]

Scientifically, fear of public speaking is called glossophobia (glōssa meaning tongue) and it affects upward of 74% of Americans.[2]

So whether public speaking is truly on par with death or not, the reality is that anxiety prevents millions of people from capitalizing on the power of public speaking…

Beginnings

The New Year is a time of optimism. Of anticipation. Of hope.  And the New Year contains this wellspring of expectation because it marks the beginning.  The beginning of something unknown.

The very first moments of a speech share much with the New Year, and like the turning of the calendar, the first thing an audience experiences sets an all-important tone.

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