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

 

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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

 

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Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

 

As many in manufacturing know, Toyota was the company that really brought the lean business model mainstream. I’ve helped a number of companies introduce the lean production concept into their own business. Small businesses are often lean and therefore can offer great value at a lower cost than a big business. 

Public Speaking, Presentation Skills & Media Training

I was recently a guest on the podcast, Entrepreneur Perspectives (listen here). This podcast is produced by KazCM, the content marketing arm of KazSource, Inc. It’s a weekly podcast where Eric Kasimov, the CEO of KazSource, chats with inspiring and influential people in the business world–it’s all about helping you the business owner build and protect your business 1 podcast at a time. With my love of all things audio, video, and entrepreneurship, it was a delight to appear on this podcast.

You can listen to this episode the following ways:

iTunes

Web Player

Stitcher

On this episode of Entrepreneur Perspectives, I discussed many things that I am passionate about, including:

4:50 | The National Small Business Association (NSBA) 

17:40 | When to Hire

24:55 | One of my favorites: The importance of video 

34:30 | Speaking at events

42:10 | My dad, the dry cleaner

Useful links from this episode:

Articles and videos mentioned in this episode:

Apps mentioned:

My books: 

Hire me to speak:

Other important links:

Key Takeaways:

  • “Entrepreneurs are risk adverse.”
  • “I would rather bet on myself and my ability, even in the tough times.” 
  • “No one can pay you enough money to do a job that you don’t love.”

Connect with us:

Cynthia Kay: InstagramLinkedIn

Eric Kasimov: LinkedInInstagramTwitter

I hope you enjoyed this episode: “Perspectives on Small Business with Cynthia Kay.”