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You Have to Talk so They Can Hear You.

“You have to talk so they can hear you.” A client said this recently. She wasn’t referring to volume, although that’s true, too.  She meant that we all have to think about how to shape and craft our message so we have the best chance of being heard. Who are you talking to? What do they …

How Do You Show Up?

Our bodies and voices are the vectors for our thoughts and messages. When we talk to other people in person, we use our bodies to do it. And generally, we know exactly what to do without really thinking about it—we angle ourselves toward someone we’re interested in talking to, we make eye contact, we modulate …

Showing Your Work

When we were in math class, we were asked to “show our work.” How did you arrive at this answer? What’s the thinking that led you to this conclusion? If a student shows their work, the teacher can see their process and help them get back on track if that’s necessary. As leaders, we’re often …

Why I Don’t Believe in Prescriptive Coaching

My company coaches and leads workshops for people and teams who typically have been in the workforce for a while. Very often, they’ve had other coaching in public speaking skills. I know this in two ways. One, they tell me. “Well, you know we did two days with X company ten years ago, so…” [read: …

The Cost of Being “Right”

I really like to be right. Anyone who knows me can probably attest to that. This particular characteristic comes from several places: the top two contributors are genetics (hi Mom!), and fear.  Yeah, fear. I try to do all the research, see all the signs, and then weigh in because then I’m less likely to …

Don’t Put Your Words First

I had a great conversation with a client recently. She is a pastor, so she’s in the unusual position of getting to speak in front of others often. We were discussing how she can hone her preparation style to best create the experience she hopes to for the congregation.  She explained to me that she …

Managing Your Second Monitor

If you’re like many people, you’ve got a work set-up on your desk that rivals a space shuttle launch. Laptops, keyboards, trackpads, second and third screens all vie for space and for your attention. Quick tip: if your videoconference opens on a screen other than the one where your camera is, you need to move …

The Business Case for Communication

Ultimately, the point of communication should be to collaboratively advance an idea, a connection, a relationship, a thought, a plan. That’s the rational business case for communication.  In practice, however, we’re often communicating for other reasons. We communicate to further our need for attention, to express judgement, to advance our agenda, to score points. That second …

The Emotional Labor of Being Present

In a workshop I did last week, a woman said, “I am often in back to back 30-minute meetings for seven or eight hours. How can I stay present for all of them? It’s exhausting!”  Yes. It is. Seth Godin writes about this concept–emotional labor is what many of us do now. We’re not digging …

Your Voice Gives You Away

Clients often ask us why we don’t want them to memorize a presentation. “Isn’t that the best way to make sure I remember everything?”  Aside from the fact that remembering every word you planned isn’t the most important aspect of your presentation, the problem with memorizing is that your voice doesn’t sound the same as …

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