Archive for Allie Casey

Giving a Speech? What to Do If You Aren’t Connecting to Your Audience

Have you ever given a speech or presentation only to find that your audience isn’t responding? Maybe you’ve experienced the blank stares, the low hum of chatting, no response to your effort to engage or worse. It’s enough to swear off opening your mouth to more than an audience of one. Don’t despair.

Here’s a few tips to connect more effectively with your audience:

1. Learn as much as you can about your audience before your talk. If you have access to the meeting planner ask very specific questions about the makeup of the group including:  male to female ratio, age range, occupations, experience. Don’t forget to inquire about the group’s expectations of the meeting and your speech.

2. Not all audiences respond the way that you might like them to respond. I learned early on that some audiences, particularly highly analytical individuals–engineers, some military, high-tech workers–often respond with little emotion, facial expression or overt engagement. At first I thought I was totally missing the mark until I asked my audience, both  individually and as  a whole, if they were getting what they needed from my training. It meant that I needed to notice more subtle signs of engagement ie. copious note taking  or concentration vs. blank stares.

3. Be flexible in your ability to shift your presentation. If you notice that you are not connecting to your audience you must have a way to shift your presentation or discard it altogether! I probably just scared the beejeezus out of you some of you with that last comment. First let me give you a few things you can do to shift your presentation.

a. Ask your audience if the information you are providing is helpful. Listen to the response even if you get a knee-jerk “yes.” You may need to dig a bit deeper to find out what they are responding to and proceed in that direction.

b. Shake things up by doing something unexpected. Show some real emotion and dump the logic. Dump your power point and speak from the heart. Change your voice, your posture or make an outrageous statement. Invite controversy. Contrary statements arouse interest.

c. Move into your audience, if you have that kind of flexibility, so your audience must physically shift in their seats. Physical movement helps wake them up.

4. If you notice that your message is the wrong message you’ll need to make a big change.

Let me share a quick story with you.

I was slated to speak to a mixed audience of hospital personnel everyone from doctors to the security guard. The topic was on motivation and it was a full day training.  The problem was that I polled my audience first thing about what their expectations were from the day’s training. Guess what? Their expectations did not match the curriculum at all. I could have pressed ahead and tried to make some concessions to their needs.

But I didn’t. I took a huge risk but I asked permission of my audience if it would be okay if I tossed the agenda and the learning guide and simply honored their request to learn about self-motivation. (The course curriculum was about motivating team members.) I also asked for their patience with my flow and continuity since I would not be working from a course outline. With that permission I created a completely audience-centered, experiential day of training for them. Luckily it succeed as noted by the group’s feedback.

I do not suggest this option unless you have confidence in your knowledge and presentation skills.

5. Cut your speech short. No one is going to feel cheated. Trust me your audience will appreciate your consideration. This works especially well if you are speaking after other speakers who have gone overtime.

Let me know what works for you.

Want to have Allie speak to your group? Click  here to learn more. Pick up a copy of Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work-What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up for more tips and techniques.

 

 

Speaking with Confidence – How to Get Valuable Feedback

The most powerful communication tool you can learn is the ability to give a talk–a speech, a presentation, a pitch. Call it what you will but without this skill you will never feel that commanding confidence needed to sell your product, service, idea, or yourself in a way that gets others to believe in you and consequently buy in.

Speaking well is a learned skill. That’s the good news. The bad news is Read more

Workplace Misunderstandings – Limiting Beliefs that Create Conflict

One comment I often hear when it comes to misunderstandings in the workplace is, “If you can just fix my (boss, coworker or customer) then I wouldn’t have any problem communicating.”

Maybe you’re even agreeing with that statement. If you are you have some work to do…inner work.

There are 4 key beliefs you might hold that lead to conflict:

1. I must explain my side first. If you believe this you fail at a fundamental principle of communication. Dr. Stephen Covey put it best, “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.”

2. I am a good listener. Hate to break it to you but the odds are not in your favor. Most of us fail miserably as listeners while believing the opposite. Listening is not waiting to speak. It’s actually engaging to understand what is being communicated. This, unfortunately, takes some effort.

3. I’m not afraid. Really? Think again. Fear is the underlying issue of all conflict. Fear you won’t get heard, fear of losing face, fear that you might not get your way or fear that the truth about you will be revealed. It’s difficult to get to the truth when you’re operating from a place of fear.

4. I lose if they win. Communication is not a competitive, contact sport. Switch to cooperation mode if you want to manage workplace misunderstandings.

Good communication requires healthy self-esteem, self-awareness and an attitude of cooperation not competition. Approach conflicting communication styles with this intention and you’ll decrease conflict and misunderstandings.

To learn more about managing conflict in your workplace, pick up a copy of this 60 minute teleseminar:

“6 Steps for Moving from Contention to Common Ground – How to Communicate When You
Don’t See Eye-to-Eye”

Fearful of Asking for Feedback?

Do you ask for and listen to feedback from the people that can help you the most? Co-workers, clients, the CEO and, of course, customers are you biggest source to unlocking your professional growth or increasing your business.

Most people are afraid to hear the unvarnished truth about themselves or your business but feedback is like exercise…rebuilding the tiny tears in your muscles after a good workout is what makes you stronger. Listen to others with the intent to grow stronger and the tiny tears in your ego can blossom into your becoming a more empathic individual. And that’s good for you and your business.

Ask the right questions and listen without judging. Decide what might be true and then commit to making changes. Try it.

Learn more communication tips in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up. Learn more here.

How to Feel More Confident When Making Decisions

Decision making becomes a chore for me when I haven’t established clear priorities…and maybe it’s the same for you.

Priorities may be dictated by any number of things including: your feelings, personal goals, your health, business mission, deadlines,or your mother’s voice bouncing around in your head. But honestly, establishing priorities is as simple as Stephen Covey’s rule: First Things First.

So simple, yet no so easy. Start with logic but don’t end there. Even if you do manage to set your priorities there’s one more thing you must do– check in with our intuition because even logic has its limitations.

Don’t ignore this powerful decision making tool.  Your intuition is an internal compass pointing the way to the decision that honors your life purpose.

But accessing clear “inner communication” can fail when clutter abounds. Physical clutter, mental clutter and emotional clutter.

If you’re not feeling confident making decisions it just might be time clear your space, get quiet, think less and feel more.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? Share the knowledge but you MUST include the following: Allie Casey , Communication Coach and Reinvention Specialist, can help you and your team ramp up your communication for more productivity and profits with fewer misunderstandings and headaches. To get your F.R.E.E. audio course, more communication articles and information visit www.alliecasey.com.

I invite you to get your Free Strategy Session if decision making, life purpose, or communication keeps you from creating the life you want. Click here to learn more.

Communicating at Work –Would You Do Business with You?

If you are not regularly playing “mystery shopper” in your own business it just might be time to put on the dark glasses and experience your business from your consumer’s point-of-view.

Ask yourself the following questions before and during your evaluation:

1.  What is your first impression–not just from a personal encounter but from all communication touch points online and offline? How does this first encounter make me feel? Was I uplifted, frustrated, neutral or apathetic?

2. If you receive your product in the mail or delivery service ask yourself if the delivery was prompt. Did the packaging hold up? Was it too easy or too difficult to open? Was  there anything special about the packaging that caught my attention? Was the packaging excessive or lacking in protection?

3. What feelings came up when I open the product? Was it easy to use or complicated? Did the  marketing/sales materials match the product and my expectations? How do I feel about the company as a result of this experience? Continuously rate your “feelings and perceptions” on a scale of 1-10. Is your rating continuously high Read more

Communicating at Work – Know When to Shut Up!

Okay, it’s not the nicest title but I bet it got your attention. More so, I bet it brought to mind a very specific person that would benefit from reading this post. Am I right?

If the person that came to mind is you–congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step to making a change.

Why is it so difficult for some people to say only what’s needed and no more?

Well, some people …

…fail to stop talking because they can’t handle silence.

… think more words will sell whatever it is they are selling including themselves.

… think they are so  interesting  and feel compelled to tell it all and then some.

… have no self-awareness. Yes, this is a big one.

… have little confidence in their abilities so talking covers up the fear of being asked a question he can’t answer.

You get the point, I could go on and on.

So, when do you shut up and how do you stop yourself once you’re on a rant? Read more

Quick Method to Connect, Promote and Sell More to Your Customers and Prospects

Do you know who you’re talking to?

I mean can you determine who your customer or prospective customer is in the first 15-30 seconds?

Well, you can if you observe and listen carefully and understand a few key elements of each style.  Determining the “buying style” can help you connect quickly and open a conversation that relates to the way your customer likes to buy. Knowing this information will save you time, keep you from “annoying” your customer and help you promote and sell more.

I refer to this system as the M.E.G.A Method and call the four styles, Methodicals, Expansives, Governors, Agreeables.

Here’s 5ways to figure out the “buying style” and quickly shift the way you respond for maximum connection:

1.      Respect the Driving Principle

a.      Methodicals : Be Accurate at All Costs

b.      Expansives :  Get It Done and Have Fun

c.      Governors :  Do It My Way and Fast

d.      Agreeables : Consensus Before Action

2.      Know How They Make Decisions

a.      Methodicals:  All the Information, Deliberate

b.      Expansives: Enough Info  in an Entertaining  Way, Spontaneous

c.      Governors:  Bottom Line, Fast

d.      Agreeables: Relationship First, No Decision Until Agreement

3.      Observe to Connect  – Pace, Posture, Energy, Eye Contact

a.      Methodicals: Measured, Contained, Low, Little or None

b.      Expansives: Swift, Relaxed Confidence, Kinetic Energy, Direct

c.      Governors: Quick, Confident, Controlled High Energy

d.      Agreeables: Moderate, Relaxed, Medium, Polite

4.      Listen to Connect:  Rate, Tone, Pitch

a.      Methodicals: Slow, Monotone, Low

b.      Expansives: Very Quick, Friendly, Moderately Loud to Loud

c.      Governors: Fast, Demanding, Booming

d.      Agreeables: Moderate, Thin to Mid-Tone

5.      Know What’s Important for Them

a.      Methodicals: Best Value

b.      Expansives: Visibility

c.      Governors: Status

d.     Agreeables: Friends & Family

Put this into practice and watch how quickly your sales will grow.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? Share the knowledge but you MUST include the following: Allie Casey , Reinvention Specialist, can help you and your team ramp up your communication for more productivity  and profits and fewer misunderstandings and headaches. To get your F.R.E.E. audio course, more communication articles and information visit www.alliecasey.com.

Find more tips on workplace communication in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work– What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up!

Job Interviews – 5 Key Questions Interviewees Fail to Ask Before Accepting a Job Offer

Never forget that a job interview is a two-way street. The questions you ask are as important as the questions you’re asked–so be prepared for both.

Ask questions that not only highlight your depth of knowledge but questions that show you are a savvy negotiator before negotiations even begin.

People fail to ask these 5 Critical Questions during an interview:

1. Ask about a typical day on the job including key players you’ll be interacting with frequently.

Often a cursory description of daily activities may be offered, but your interest is to get a clear understanding of the role or roles you would be expected to play and daily expectations.

Will you be expected to cover for an absent co-worker, cover calls during breaks, or be required (or expected) to attend company or charity events not held during the workday?

Who will you be expected to work with on key projects? Who will have ultimate decision making on joint projects? What people or departments will you need to depend on for critical information in order to do your job?

Listen between the lines and rephrase your question if it isn’t being answered directly.

2.  Ask about the financial stability of any organization you are considering for employment.

Read, listen and investigate the financial reports of an organization before the interview. If an organization is having difficulties you’ll want to address them at that time.

Ask a direct question in a neutral tone that allows the interviewer to refute rumors or give reasonable explanations to negative news stories. This not only shows interest and initiative on your part, but subtly puts them on alert should anything happen after you accept a position.

If the rumors turn out to be true, you may have a bargaining chip if you are laid off due to financial difficulties or bankruptcy.

3.  Ask what drives your immediate supervisor(s) crazy.

The key here is to fully grasp unacceptable behaviors that might result in poor reviews or even dismissal.

This is often a question about values. You might think that being a few minutes late is no big deal, but if your future boss considers “on time” as  30 minutes before the day really starts, you’ll be clashing in no time. It’s the small things that make for big issues and they often aren’t discovered until too late.

Listen closely to the answer and probe for expansion. Usually there is more than a single “unacceptable” behavior that drives a boss nuts, so uncover as many as possible.

If your values don’t match up significantly you’ll want to consider another place to work.

4.  Ask permission to take notes during the interview.

This is more powerful than you might think. It not only shows your interest and respect but it might help an undirected, unprepared, or nervous interviewer stay on track.

If you find yourself with a “talker” who fails to either ask questions or allows you to ask questions, you may be able to slow them down if you gently interupt their monologue by saying you want to capture every point. Then ask a clarifying question that makes them stop and think. This is easier to accomplish if you are taking notes.

Try it. I once got a job simply because I asked permission to take notes.

5. Ask what qualities the most successful employees possess and what qualities the least successful person is lacking.

Pay attention. If the answer is “”drive or “attention to detail” to the first part of the question, you’ll want to know what “drive” means to them. Ask. Do the same for the negative qualities.

Your aim is to match expectations to reality before you consider accepting an offer of employment.

These are just five questions candidates fail to ask during an interview but certainly not all. What questions do you want answers to before deciding if this is a person or an organization you want to work with? Think about it.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? Share the knowledge but you MUST include the following: Allie Casey , Reinvention Specialist, can help you and your team ramp up your communication for more productivity  and profits and fewer misunderstandings and headaches. To get your F.R.E.E. audio course, more communication articles and information visit www.alliecasey.com.

Find more tips on workplace communication in Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work– What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up!

Artist, Entrepreneur, Coach, Author etc.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I loved to color and sketch and make things from the big “Make It!” book my mom always had on hand. That book satisfied my curiosity about how things were made and it sparked my creativity…not to mention saving my mother’s sanity!

My curiosity about how things were made probably accounts for my passion for the act of sewing…the how-to part.  (Some people sew but only because they like the end result not the process–but I loved both.)

I loved figuring out how I could use the least amount of fabric when laying out a pattern often getting a better yield than the suggested layout.

For me the “fun” part would be figuring out how to cut an “uneven” plaid so every seam of a pleated skirt would match perfectly. That’s just how my brain works.

This obsession with “figuring things out” showed up in my life in the oddest moments. Read more