Tag Archive for persuasive speaking

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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

Avoid Misunderstandings at Work–Communicating with Confidence

Misunderstandings in the workplace are often the result of poor self-confidence. Confidence shows up first in your presence. In-other-words, your posture, the way you move, the way you stand and your energy.

What does all of this have to do with avoiding misunderstandings? The non-verbal message sent by slouchy shoulders, an unbalanced stance and a voice that lacks conviction can easily negate even the clearest verbal message…and that causes misunderstandings. Communicate like you mean it.

Consider the young manager who is not quite sure of herself as she attempts to give direction to her assistant. The request might be as simple as completing a report needed for a meeting. Her words might be clear  but her assistant might read her lack of confidence in her demeanor to mean…”if you have time to get it done.”

If you’re thinking this never happens, think again. The dog whisperer, Cesare Milan, tells dog owners that the conversation they are having in their in heads –positive or negative– translates to the energy a dog understands. The same thing occurs with humans, and no one knows this better than children. The mother who attempts to stop her child from an unwanted behavior by sweetly saying “no honey” in a voice that says  “I don’t really mean it” hardly gets the response she would like.

Communicating with confidence won’t eliminate all misunderstandings but it will help. What do you think?

For more communication tips pick up a copy of  Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work. You can get it by clicking the icon of the book on your right or at Amazon.con.

Communicating at Work – 5 Steps for Managing Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is  a common workplace challenge. Poor communication contributes to the push-back that comes with rolling out new procedures,  a change in status,  a physical move or launching a new project.

The dissension can come from a single voice or the collective whole.

Try these 5 steps for gaining cooperation:

1. Spell out and communicate both orally and in writing, exactly what the changes are and how they will affect individual positions.

2. If you choose to entertain objections set a time frame and stick to it.  A never ending gripe session serves no one.

3. Listen to the emotions and the underlying fears that are often couched in vague complaints such as “this will take too much time.”  The fear may be that the employee will have to stay later and miss picking up their child on time.

4. Check your interpretation of the complaints by reflecting back what you have heard.

5. Consider suggestions and set a follow-up date for the outcome. Not all changes have that kind of flexibility but you might be surprised at what can be adjusted for better buy-in.

Employees simply want to be a part of something bigger. Use this opportunity to communicate honestly and create a deeper  connection and the odds for cooperation will increase.

Find more tips for communicating effectively at work in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work – What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.  Buy it at Amazon.com

Non-Verbal Communication to Power Up Your Message

Your non-verbal communication is more powerful than your words–when the two are not aligned. If you want your words to be more influential, to carry more weight and authority then you must make certain your non-verbal message is congruent with your verbal message.

Here is one tip for using non-verbal communication more effectively:

In low-risk conversations your non-verbal message i.e., your body language and the sound of your voice, naturally support your words. You sparkle, smile and stand straighter when you’re elated and slump and frown when you are not. But, there are times when you want to appear confident when you are not feeling confident. If you ignore your body and voice relying only on your words your body will betray you every time. To match the two, breath from your belly, straighten your back and relax your jaw, this prevents your voice from sounding pinched and your body from appearing timid. This posture will send a positive message to your mind and you’ll begin to feel as confident as your words.

Try it and let me know.

Copyright 2010 Allie Casey
Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say it and When to Shut-up

Body Language – 10 Tips for Reading People and Interpreting Gestures

by Lynda Goldman

Reading people and their body language can give you great insights into their true feeling.

We use our head, arms, hands, shoulders and even legs and feet to make gestures, and emphasize what we are saying, but the majority of gestures are made with the hands and arms. Here are some things to look for, to help you interpret body language and gestures.

1. Nodding or tilting the head to the side shows interest, active listening, and concern.

2. A head held up indicates confidence, but if it is held too high, it can indicate aloofness or a patronizing attitude – looking down your nose at someone.

3. Shrugging the shoulders with a palms-up gesture indicates that the person doesn’t know or care, or is bored or uninterested.

4. People sometimes reveal their real feelings through body language that contradicts their words. For example, if someone says he agrees with you, but his head moves slightly from side to side, he is really signaling disagreement. He may be showing his real feelings, but not want to be bothered arguing with you.

5. Some people pick lint from their clothing. Whether this is conscious or unconscious, it can indicate that they disagree with you, but can’t be bothered to argue.

6. Nervousness often shows in your hands. People who are anxious may rub or wring their hands together, or clasp and unclasp them.

7. When we aren’t comfortable with our hands, we hide them in our pockets or behind our backs. Hands in the pocket convey a hidden agenda or secretiveness.

8. An open palm suggests honest and sincerity. A closed fist can be considered menacing.

9. Hands on the hips can be seen as defiant.

10. The fig leaf position, with your hands clasped together over your crotch, or folded tightly over your chest (the female fig leaf) can make you seem aloof or defensive.

Do you know the biggest business image mistakes? Find out with these free reports:

7 Business Casual Crimes and How to Solve Them, and 13 Foods that Can Sabotage a Business Meal, when you sign up for my Communication Capsules Ezine at: http://www.Impressforsuccess.com/signup.html

From Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lynda_Goldman

Key Communication Tip – Practice Extreme Listening!

Leadership–10 Qualities for Success

dreamstimefree_4260686Leadership requires  far more than a list of 10 qualities but for the sake of space and feedback I’ve listed a few I don’t usually see mentioned.

It goes without saying that the broad category of  communication skills is a quality I believe every leader needs to succeed so I’ve chosen not to put it on my list.  I  consider communication skills to include speaking, presenting, selling and  persuading. I did, however, include listening on my list simply because some things require emphasis.

Here’s my list:
1. Active Listening Skills--and being able to ask “is there anything more?”
2. Empathy–and having a deep understanding of priorities (using the 10,10,10 method)
3. Inspirational–being able to create an environment that supports motivated people
4. Courage–and the conviction to carry out intentions and tough decisions when it really counts
5. Clarity of intention–and the insight to question your motives
6. Servant Leadership–and the wisdom to know what that means
7. Humor–and humility, they often travel hand-in-hand
8. Vision–and the ability to enroll your team in the journey
9. Vitality–even the physically incapacitated can possess the extraordinary mental vigor to lead
10.Confidence–not arrogance but faith in your abilities to lead

and 10+ Trustworthiness and Moral Fortitude

Your thoughts?

Successful Communication Equals Business Success

1125736_busy_businessman_1How successful you are at communicating determines the degree to which you will be successful in business. Giving instructions, conducting interviews, presentations or selling all involve communication.  Where do you stand?

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.”

Tony Robbins said that and he was right. The good news is that communication skills can always improved. Start by evaluating your current ability.

Here are a 5 ways to determine how successful you are at expressing yourself:

Ask for and listen to feedback. Most people are fearful of doing this. Few people like to hear the unvarnished truth about how well they come across to others. Yet, this may be the key to unlocking your business growth. Ask people you trust to give you an honest response. Ask a mix of family, friends and business associates to get a better profile. Then listen, really listen. Decide what might be true and choose to make some changes. Be open to the information and thank them for their honesty.

What kind of clients do you have? Are you working with people you enjoy and respect? Do they express themselves well? Do they recommend you to others? 

Would you want to associate with you? What message do you send to others about the people you socialize and do business with? Do you have a variety of associations? “You can’t fly with eagles if you’re hanging out with turkeys,” is a saying that holds a lot of truth. Take a critical look at your relationships and ask yourself if you need to make some changes.

How careful are you about your written or viral communications? Have you gotten lax about grammar and spelling? Do you speak or write in “text?” Do your articles, reports or books have numerous errors that erode your credibility?

How well do you follow-up? This is a big one. Success in personal and business relationships has everything to do with how well you follow-up. I’m including the courtesy of responding to an RSVP on an invitation. Failure to respond affects business—it doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding or a business function—the consequence is far reaching. If this were the benchmark for successful communication most people would be in trouble. On the business side, customer dissatisfaction is overwhelmingly about the lack of follow-up.

Take an honest look at these questions. Choose one you know you can change immediately and implement it now.

Leave me you thoughts. What burning question do you have about communicating in business?