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3 Reasons Why You Need a Speaking Coach

by Natalie Gallagher

In the last few years, TED and TEDx Talks have rapidly become the gold standard of public speaking: the presentations are informative, witty, innovative, and demonstrate the best of what presenting can do. But did you ever wonder how they manage to maintain that level of consistency and quality in every Talk? Are all of these subject matter experts also naturally brilliant orators as well?

The truth is much more ordinary, and much more attainable: the secret is that every single speaker is required to have, and …

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The 10 Most Popular Speaking Practically Blog Posts of 2015

by Kelly Vandever

As the year draws to a close, it’s time once again to recap the top 10 most visited blog posts of the year.

As you reflect over the last year and begin planning for 2016, we hope you’ll find these topics and thoughts helpful.

Thanks for a great 2015!

Kelly

 
 #1 – What If I Don’t Like the Default Size 16:9 in PowerPoint 2013?

Currently, when opening a new slide …

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Presenter, Know Your Audience

by Bob Goodyear

I have been working with a company to help them improve the presentation skills of their technical sales people. One challenge this company has identified is that their sales force struggles with giving the right information to the audience with whom they are meeting. In working together with their management, we have identified two areas where they can improve.

 
Before the meeting
Many technical sales people are asked to come to a meeting and present on a certain topic. When this happens, the person who is asked …

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The Gulps and the Good of Seeking Feedback

by Claudia Brogan

It is highly tempting to live inside a little bubble about how we’re doing when delivering our presentations. It is just so appealing to use a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to how things are going, so we just leave well enough alone.

I happen to believe that we can each keep getting better each time we speak: as we polish our skills and practice our delivery, we can strengthen and fine-tune our abilities as a speaker. Tempting as it may be to stay in our comfort zone, …

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Give Your Employees Permission to Speak – Then Prepare to Be Amazed!

by Kelly Vandever

I’m passionate about giving employees permission to speak and engaging your staff to speak up. I’m passionate because I’ve seen the impact on employees and on business results.

Here’s the story of how I came to believe so strongly in giving employees permission to speak.

 
The Problem: Processing Travel Claims
At my second duty station, we processed all the travel claims of military personnel who transferred to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for a permanent assignment. We also processed travel claims for those who had to …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 5

“You know, I’ve shared that article about stories you sent me with other prosecutors in my office.”

It was an attorney friend of mine telling me this.  He’s a deputy chief assistant district attorney here in Georgia.  Here is the article he was referring to this article I found on the power of storytelling.

“I don’t understand why people can’t see the stories.  They’re right there in the reports!”

Regardless of the type of organization, most companies have some sort of reports …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 4

I spent six years in the world of recruiting and learned behavioral interviewing questions back then.  The idea behind behavioral interviewing is that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so ask the interviewee to tell you about their past experience related to important aspects of the job you’re interviewing them for.

Behavior based interview questions start with phrases like…

Tell me about a time when…

Can you give me a specific example of how you…

Describe a problem you’ve encountered with…

I know …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 3

When I first entered the world of professional speaking, I was taught by some wise mentors to interview a sample of future audience members.  Later I learned of other professional speakers who send out surveys to collect information about their audiences rather than conduct interviews.

I stuck with what I learned first, the person-to-person interviews, probably because I learned it first.

Then, I was doing interviews – for a magazine article not a speech – and wanted to interviewed two subject matter experts (SMEs).  I …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 2


The Catalyst Story
 

In the last post, we talked about the Business Story Producer which is a method to get people to start sharing business stories.  As part of the steps, you, as the person facilitating the group, should tell a Catalyst Story to activate the business story sharing.

 

Rather than mechanically running through the steps, let’s start with a Catalyst Story, then break down what makes for a good Catalyst Story.

 

My first professional experience was as an ensign in the Navy.  For those …

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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 1

Lately I’ve become obsessed with drawing stories out of other people’s lives.  Specifically, I want to help draw business stories out of organizational leaders and subject matter experts so they can use them in presentations and for training others.

I haven’t really found much written on the topic of pulling business stories out of other people – if you know of some good resources, please add descriptions or links to them in the comments below.

In an effort to see what people were doing, I approached a few colleagues I …

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