Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

Are you ready to work with large companies? Anytime you go after any new market, you only have one chance to get it right. Watch as I discuss some of the challenges you may face when working with big business.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

Your company story is important. Let the employees tell the story.

Corporate communication is complex. That’s because every organization has multiple audiences- employees, managers, stakeholders, and customers. Each of these has a unique need, level of interest and understanding of your organization. Not to mention, video is becoming the preferred method of communication and not everyone is camera-friendly.

For a long time, executives were the ones out front- the face of the company. That’s because many are under the false impression that the person with the title is the best one to communicate. That is not necessarily the case. In fact, today progressive companies are looking to broaden their communications and feature employees, at every level of the organization, in critical communications from recruitment efforts to customer messages. Here’s why.

Executives are Overused:

Some communicators believe that they need senior executives to “champion” a cause.  They use executives to explain and promote everything from the diversity initiative to the recent sales program and much more. The problem is that these executive messages are often vague and simply don’t say much. How many times have you heard phrases like… “We need to be more open and transparent.” “We need to put the customer at the center of everything we do.” You get the idea. Executives should be used where they can speak authentically and specifically about a topic. They should be used to communicate valuable information about the organization and its structure, the financial outlook or the challenges of the future.

Employees Stories are Engaging — So Let the Employees Tell the Story:

Executives are clearly responsible for corporate culture. And, culture is important. It is directly tied to employee retention and job satisfaction.  So how do you provide a window into your company culture? Companies are increasingly moving beyond executives and turning to employee features to bring the human perspective to the workplace. This includes everything from stories about why they love their work, volunteer activities, team achievements and more.  These stories, both print and video, bring ideas to life, inspire others to achieve and foster understanding. And, I personally think these stories are more effective than an executive simply talking about culture. Employees are real people sharing real stories and that is powerful.

Build Ownership:

Employees who participate or are featured in communications have a more intense connection to the company. They are proud of the work they do and love to share their expertise. As a result, they are more engaged and motivated. Employee to employee communication can be a powerful endorsement of a company initiative. It can help encourage change and improvements. And, provide a forum for sharing best practices. It’s one thing to have an executive tout the company and quite another to have employees endorse it. Employee features are also a way to build engagement with customers.  A story about how an employee built a product, went out of their way to serve a customer or help their community shows a different and more personal side of your organization.

Bottom line? Developing a communications plan that includes a diverse group, from the CEO to employees on the floor, can have tangible and lasting results both inside and outside of your organization.        

Here is an example – let employees tell the story.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

There is nothing like the feeling of running a business. In this video about training entrepreneurs, I discuss how my father trained me to run a business one day. From my time sweeping the floors in his dry-cleaning establishment to taking the money to the bank, these experiences helped shape me into an entrepreneur

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

As a small business owner, you must invest in your business. Communication is one key investment that small business owners need to focus on. In this video, I discuss how you can communicate well through the use of great presentations.

Bottom line: invest in communication.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

Who would you rather bet on? Would you rather bet on that large employer or would you rather take the risk and bet on yourself? Check out this video for my easy answer.  

This audio was taken from the interview I did on the Entrepreneur Perspectives podcast. And the video was produced by my video production company, Cynthia Kay and Company.

 

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

The world is full of distractions. Whether you’re giving a presentation for a business meeting, performing a media interview, or maybe even speaking with your family, here is some advice on how to “cue the listener” away from these distractions and gain their attention.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

This article about corporate speak was recently featured throughout multiple news organizations and can be seen HERE as originally published.

One of the great challenges for large organizations is communicating in a way that is both engaging and informative. Inclusion of corporate-speak often becomes an issue and can render this goal unattainable.

Corporate-speak can become part of the fabric within large companies, with everybody repeating the same terminology and phrases. Often, it is precious few that truly grasp the intended meaning. This can only complicate personal interactions, especially when combined with other factors such as employees working remotely.

“I am working right now with several technology companies on projects to encourage communication between engineers, sales and services. This is challenging because different functional areas get into the habit of working in silos. Often, teams are located in different countries and time zones–this is a huge problem in high tech firms because it affects the customer experience and can slow innovation,” says Cynthia Kay, president of CK and Company of Grand Rapids Michigan.

Kay is a communications consultant who works with large corporate clients. Her team audits the internal communications program and then trains teams away from one-size-fits-all approaches, generic presentations and uninspiring existing communications pieces that tend to dominate in the corporate environment.

“In large companies, we need to re-teach people how to communicate, so they can move beyond ‘corporate-speak’. We go back in time with clients to try and recapture the way people used to communicate when they were down the hall or around the corner from colleagues. Two vital components of this work are storytelling and encouraging communication across divisions.”

When large organizations seek outside assistance, it’s often focused on crisis communications at the very senior level or on approaches to flashpoint situations internally.

The field of crisis communications is dominated by law firms, largely due to the advantages of attorney-client privilege when dealing with sticky situations. The best-selling book, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler is an excellent example of strategies for dealing with flashpoint situations. It has sold millions of copies over nearly two decades.

However, consultants such as Cynthia Kay argue there is a vast amount of poor or ineffective communication within large corporations that need regular focus. The sheer volume, they argue, is evidence of its potential to impact a company’s performance on a daily basis.

For positive change to occur, Kay says there must be real buy-in from senior management as it relates to corporate speak. “Great companies reward good internal communication and encourage the breakdown of silos so that people communicate across departments, across job functions and between divisions,” she added.

Another version of this article on Corporate Speak can be found here.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

Big business and small business sometimes have a love-hate relationship. Watch this short video to learn more.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

Speaking lessons for any current or aspiring speaker

Over the years, I have presented at many events across the country—everything from keynote speeches to two-day workshops. As a speaker, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and learned some important speaking lessons. Here are a few I wanted to share. 

Be a Student and Do Your Homework

I know many speakers who have crafted a presentation they do over and over again. The problem is, every audience is unique. That’s why I spend time upfront with the event planner to get a good snapshot of attendees. Where possible, I go a step further and try to interview attendees in advance. For example, I was scheduled to speak to a group of teleservices business owners. I had several topics that I proposed, a few of which were focused on technology. I assumed there would be great interest there. After interviewing several members, I discovered the real need for these businesses was information on how to connect with and win big business clients. The lesson here—don’t make assumptions about an audience. Do your homework if you want to deliver a successful, well-targeted presentation. 

Two Is Better than One 

When event planners ask me to do a keynote or major presentation, I ask if they also have other opportunities. Let’s face it, travel is expensive. I often suggest doing a mini-workshop or presentation in addition to the main speech. As an example, I spoke to Women in Auto Care on the topic of leadership. This keynote was based on a book I co-authored called, Stop Wishing, Stop Whining. Start Leading. When I saw the conference plan, it looked like there was an opportunity for some shorter presentations, too. I suggested that my Top Five Presentation Mistakes… and How to Overcome Them might be a great addition to the line-up. They agreed. I had the opportunity to speak on two topics I am passionate about, while they got additional content and saved on travel expenses.  

Not Every Speaking Opportunity Is a Good Fit 

It is flattering to be asked to present, but I have learned that some opportunities are not a good fit. I try to be objective about this because it takes a great deal of time and effort to put together a presentation. If the audience is not one that will be receptive to your message or is not your target audience, then the results can be disappointing for you and them. Additionally, I look at the time allotted. Can I do something that will be impactful in that time? I like to promote the organizations and events that hire me, so is this opportunity something I feel comfortable promoting?  If the opportunity isn’t a good fit, I take a pass.  

Get Feedback and Listen

It’s easy to assume you know how well you have performed. You feel like you know, and you may be right, but you may be wrong. Certainly, you can tell if your audience was engaged, but I try to go deeper. I seek out feedback by asking some very specific questions. 

  • Was there anything missing that I should have covered? 
  • Was the content relevant to the audience? Was the level of information appropriate?  
  • What other comments do you have for me? 
  • Would you hire me again? 

That last speaking lesson is telling. To me, the greatest measure of success is getting asked back to present—or being given a referral. When that happens, you know you have accomplished your mission.  

Looking to hire someone to speak at your next event? Let’s chat.

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

SOCIAL IQ

Business literacy is important, but the social aspects of business are too. Because we are social beings, we often assume that employees have the skills to build rich business relationships. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Here’s a quick assessment to help evaluate social IQ.  

SO WHAT’S YOUR SOCIAL IQ?

  • Do you have a good understanding of basic social “graces’ or manners?
  • Are there situations where you feel ill-equipped?
  • Have you ever made a social blunder? Said the wrong thing? Done something that caused others to avoid you?
  • Have you ever had to apologize for something you have said or done?
  • Have you ever showed up to an event or social gathering to discover you were over-dressed or under-dressed?
  • Do you know how to “work a room” without being obvious?

 

“Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance than what one appears to be. A knowledge of etiquette is, of course, essential to one’s decent behavior, just as clothing is essential to one’s decent appearance.”
Emily Post

 


 

WHAT TO DO?

GETTING READY

If you are conducting a business meeting, you plan. You should do the same when it’s time to socialize with customers or potential customers. To make the most of social gatherings, you need to be thoughtful and prepared.

  • Do your homework
  • Check details and confirm
  • What is the dress code?

 

IS IT A LARGE GATHERING?

Not everyone is comfortable at a large social gathering. In fact, some people are downright intimidated. If your company is hosting an event, you can orchestrate a great outcome with a few simple actions.

  • Take action if people are alone
  • Circulate
  • Introduce people
  • Stay long enough to get the conversation going

 

The Business Meal… a test of character!

 

DOING BUSINESS WHILE DINING

Doing business while dining can be a little tricky. Do you dive right in? Chat while choosing the entree? Be delightful until dessert and then tackle the tough issues? Here’s a guideline.

  • Breakfast? – Get to the point
  • Lunch? – After you order
  • Dinner? – After eating the main course

 

TALK BUSINESS….or NOT? That is the question! Make sure to get the timing right.

 

“In order to develop meaningful relationships you have to start somewhere. Every big business deal, every wonderful romance, starts with a conversation.”
Bernardo J. Carducci, professor of psychology and director of the Shyness Research Institute, Indiana University Southeast

 

[vc_row content_placement=”middle” bg_type=”bg_color” enable_overlay=”enable_overlay_value” overlay_pattern=”04.png” overlay_pattern_opacity=”15″ overlay_pattern_size=”2″ css=”.vc_custom_1517852928427{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-right: 30px !important;margin-left: 30px !important;border-top-width: 3px !important;border-right-width: 3px !important;border-bottom-width: 3px !important;border-left-width: 3px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 15px !important;border-left-color: #e53d2f !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #e53d2f !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #e53d2f !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #e53d2f !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}” bg_color_value=”rgba(170,170,170,0.1)”][vc_column][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Receive my top 10 Dos and Don’ts!” heading_tag=”h3″ main_heading_margin=”margin-bottom:20px;” main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:28px;”][/ultimate_heading][ult_buttons btn_title=”Click Here” btn_link=”url:%23|||” btn_align=”ubtn-center” btn_size=”ubtn-custom” btn_height=”40″ btn_padding_left=”25″ btn_padding_top=”8″ btn_title_color=”#ffffff” btn_bg_color=”#e53d2f” btn_bg_color_hover=”#111111″ btn_title_color_hover=”#ffffff” icon_size=”32″ btn_icon_pos=”ubtn-sep-icon-at-left” btn_border_style=”solid” btn_border_size=”0″ btn_radius=”10″ btn_font_style=”font-weight:bold;” css_adv_btn=”.vc_custom_1517851996274{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 10px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}” btn_font_size=”desktop:14px;” btn_line_height=”desktop:14px;” el_class=”speaking-event-popup-ga” btn_font_family=”font_family:Montserrat|font_call:Montserrat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

RULES FOR A BETTER CONVERSATION

Conversation is an art. Talk too much and you spoil the experience. Talk too little and you make people uncomfortable. A great conversation is harder than connecting via text… but it’s worth it. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Be present
  • Think like a reporter
  • Be curious
  • Open-ended questions

 

CONVERSATION KILLERS

The room goes silent. There is an uncomfortable feeling. People avoid your glance. Yes, you said something that killed the conversation… and maybe a relationship. Take note of a few things you might want to avoid when trying to build a business relationship.

  • Jokes
  • Controversial topics
  • Probing family and financial questions

 

[vc_row content_placement=”middle” bg_type=”bg_color” enable_overlay=”enable_overlay_value” overlay_pattern=”04.png” overlay_pattern_opacity=”15″ overlay_pattern_size=”2″ css=”.vc_custom_1517852928427{margin-top: 50px !important;margin-right: 30px !important;margin-left: 30px !important;border-top-width: 3px !important;border-right-width: 3px !important;border-bottom-width: 3px !important;border-left-width: 3px !important;padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 15px !important;border-left-color: #e53d2f !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #e53d2f !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #e53d2f !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #e53d2f !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}” bg_color_value=”rgba(170,170,170,0.1)”][vc_column][ultimate_heading main_heading=”Receive my top 10 Dos and Don’ts!” heading_tag=”h3″ main_heading_margin=”margin-bottom:20px;” main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:28px;”][/ultimate_heading][ult_buttons btn_title=”Click Here” btn_link=”url:%23|||” btn_align=”ubtn-center” btn_size=”ubtn-custom” btn_height=”40″ btn_padding_left=”25″ btn_padding_top=”8″ btn_title_color=”#ffffff” btn_bg_color=”#e53d2f” btn_bg_color_hover=”#111111″ btn_title_color_hover=”#ffffff” icon_size=”32″ btn_icon_pos=”ubtn-sep-icon-at-left” btn_border_style=”solid” btn_border_size=”0″ btn_radius=”10″ btn_font_style=”font-weight:bold;” css_adv_btn=”.vc_custom_1517851996274{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-right: 10px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}” btn_font_size=”desktop:14px;” btn_line_height=”desktop:14px;” el_class=”speaking-event-popup-ga” btn_font_family=”font_family:Montserrat|font_call:Montserrat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]