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Can “Dealing With Difficult Conversations” Be Trained?

Difficult is defined as needing much effort or skill to deal with.
Conversation is defined as a verbal exchange between two or more people.

Why are difficult conversations such a hot topic in articles, academic literature, social media, and training? Because they are so important and unavoidable.

Whether it is bringing up a potentially sensitive subject with a coworker or talking through contrasting opinions with a difficult client, there are many instances in people’s careers when the need for difficult conversations will not only arise, but be necessary. Avoiding these conversations is an option, but rarely the most effective.

Knowing how to have a difficult conversation is an invaluable skill as a professional in any industry or place of work. SNI can help you prepare, script, and role play for situations in which these kinds of difficult conversations may arise. We do this by pulling content from our sales, negotiation, and influence training and focusing on improving the interpersonal business skills that will improve you or your team’s ability to manage these challenging interactions.. The result? More successful navigation of tough conversations without hurt feelings or potential damaging conflict .

Here are some of the topics you can expect to learn about and master with difficult conversations training from SNI:

 

Focus On What You Can Control

Going into a tough conversation, the first thing that you need to do is focus on the things that you can actually control. This is a critical mindset. For example, on some occasions that may be when and where you talk to the other person, such as a location that is both professional and comfortable for both of you. Or, you may wish to strategically select a very public or public place, based on the nature of the topic.

While generally people focus most of their time thinking about how the other person will make a difficult interaction even more challenging, we should instead be focusing more on ourselves. Only you control your preparation (see next topic), state of mind going into the interaction, emotion during the meeting, etc. Control yourself and your emotions, and you will be more successful in these difficult interactions – it’s that simple.

 

Prepare

Preparation is the only aspect of a difficult conversation over which you have control. As such, it should be where you focus most of your time. You cannot control the other person’s responses, emotions, or feelings, so, outside of preparing various outcomes there is little value in spending time worrying about the other side. Rather, work on thinking through (even writing down when possible) the most likely directions the conversation will go – e.g. objections they make, questions they may ask, etc. – and how you will respond to each. Think of it as a sports team practicing a play before they run it in a game. Won’t you feel more confident responding to a tough objection you have already methodically thought through rather than hearing it for the first time during a heated exchange?

In our years of research and experience we have found that most people do not prepare adequately for these kinds of situations because they feel they neither have the time nor do they know how to. This is where SNI comes in. We provide your team with a preparation checklist that provides a process and systematic approach for them to use.

 

Write a Script

An excellent use of your prep time is to write a script for the conversation. This process starts with drafting out everything you want to say. After you write down your script, take a step back and read it again with a fresh but critical eye. Perhaps you should consider having someone you trust read it and play devil’s advocate. . Finally, read it out loud to see how it all sounds and feels.

The first step -writing everything you want to say – can be cathartic, in addition to a great brainstorming process. The second step, reviewing it or having someone else do so – is where strategy comes in. It’s what allows you to refine and fine-tune your messaging. Finally, the third step – practicing the delivery – is what gives you confidence going into the real interaction.

Scripting your conversation and potential responses will make you feel more prepared, increase your confidence, improve your strategy, and ultimately make you more successful during difficult conversations. And, as counter intuitive as it may seem, it’s the process of scripting which provides the most value not the final product. Even if the interaction does not go as planned, having systematically thought through it helps in the “heat of the moment.”

 

Keep your Emotions in Check

As mentioned above, your emotions are one of the few areas that you can and should control during these challenging situations. Thus, one of the most important factors of learning how to have difficult conversations is understanding how to keep your emotions in check. Keep in mind that you can prepare for their emotional outbursts, but you can’t control them.

 

Role Play

The scripting process introduced above plays a crucial part of preparing for a difficult conversation. However, we suggest taking this one step further, when needed, byactually role playing the situation. This might just come in the form of running through the conversation in your head or asking your trusted devil’s advocate to play the other party. Either way it’s a worthwhile experience.

Pro Tip: Consider recording yourself, audio only or with video, using your phone as you roleplay and then looking back at the tape.

 

Keep Perspective

When all is said and done, perhaps the most practical and actionable piece of advice when entering difficult conversations is simply to remember to keep perspective. Take a step back for a minute and think about how this conversation is not that daunting after all. When you look back after years of professional and personal growth, you likely will have had tougher conversations, and possibly even forget that this conversation took place at all. Keeping this kind of perspective may be a huge help in making this conversation seem much less intimidating.

Taking part in SNI’s difficult conversations training can provide you with valuable lessons and experience in navigating challenging conversations in all kinds of business environments and situations. Our proven methodology will not only give you greater peace of mind, but actual deliverable results. So whether it is a difficult client or sensitive coworker, contact us today to turn those “difficult” conversations into easy and successful ones.

15 Reasons Successful Influencers Admit Their Mistakes

To err is human. As we go through life, in any endeavor we are going to make mistakes from time to time. Even experienced professionals make mistakes in their field.

A mistake does not have to be a disaster, though. In fact, a mistake can strengthen your position as a leader and make the group you are a part of more cohesive. There are several reasons why a mistake can ultimately lead to better things in the future.

  • Learn from your mistake. A mistake can be a great teacher. It is best to learn from others’ mistakes, of course, but when you make your own mistake, don’t miss the opportunity to grow from it.

 

  • Earn respect. When admit you were wrong, you will earn the admiration of your colleagues. Admitting a mistake is hard and everyone knows it. When you show you can admit your own, people will notice and think better of you.

 

  • Establish trust. If a person is honest about his or her mistakes, people will trust that they will be honest in other areas as well. This builds team cohesion.

 

  • Lead by example. The best way to lead is with your own actions. If you want those who follow you to admit their mistakes and thereby improve the cohesiveness of your team, you can start by showing them how it is done.

 

  • Face your fears. You can gain a great deal of personal growth by facing your fears. Everyone fears admitting a mistake. This is a chance to display your emotional maturity. There is no courage unless there is fear to overcome.

 

  • Prevent larger problems. Don’t wait for mistakes to pile up and turn into a disaster. When you admit your mistake quickly, it allows for an earlier course correction, which avoids larger mistakes in the future.

 

  • Get rid of your pride. Humility is important in a leader. People will follow a person they love and admire. Humility in the face of error earns the admiration of those you work with, and will help to cleanse you of your own pride. It makes admitting future mistakes that much easier.

 

  • Improve relationships. Relationships sour when one party believes another party owes them an apology that never comes. Admitting a mistake smooths over hurt feelings and resentment.

 

  • Gain defenders. Many people will flock to your defense when you admit your mistake. They will be moved by your humility and good judgment.

 

Sometimes, a mistake is minor and hardly needs more than a simple acknowledgement. Other times, a mistake is more damaging, or even involves a lack of good judgment. In many cases, you may owe someone or a group of people an apology for what you did or failed to do. No matter how much you may have learned from making a mistake, without a proper apology many people may not be ready to move on.

There is an appropriate way to apologize when the time comes. A poorly fashioned apology can sometimes be worse than the mistake, and worse than not apologizing at all. There are a number of factors that go into a true apology, one that mends the damage that has been done and allows for team and personal growth.

 

  • Express remorse. Use the words, “I’m sorry.” It is important to use the first person. Don’t say an action was regrettable, and don’t use the passive voice. Mistakes were not made, YOU made a mistake. Be careful not to word it in a way that makes it seem like you are shifting blame.

 

  • Explain what you are sorry for. You don’t want people to think you are not fully sorry for the entirety of the act, or that you are only sorry that your error was discovered. An apology comes with a reason. Make sure the people to whom you apologize are on the same page about what exactly you are sorry for.

 

  • Take full responsibility. Apologize for what you said or did, or failed to say or do, and leave it there. When you try to explain what you did, it starts to sound like you are making excuses. It is best to simply admit you were wrong and fully own up to it.

 

  • Don’t give a false apology. If you aren’t sorry, you aren’t ready to apologize yet. A false apology is never a convincing one. Instead, think back on the mistake and try to understand why and how this has affected others. When you are ready to make the apology, make it sincere.

 

  • Don’t spread the blame around. Even if you were not the only one to blame for the mistake, don’t try to highlight anyone else’s role. Apologize for your part and leave it at that. If you start talking about the fault in others, it sounds like you are trying to duck the blame you have earned.

 

  • Explain your new understanding. If you ever explain why you did something, be sure to follow it with how you realize that it was wrong now. Never let your apology get covered up with excuses. When you explain how you see things differently, you can follow with how you plan to do better in the future.

 

If you are a team leader, you may have to apologize for someone who works for you, even if you had nothing to do with the mistake and were not there. As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for your employees. If you apologize for an employee, apply the same rules as if you were apologizing for your own mistake. The apology needs to be sincere and you need to take responsibility.

A mistake, even a major one, can lead to growth and improvement.  It can lead to your improvement as a person, a team member and a leader, it can improve relations and even performance in your group, and it can act as an important demonstration of what not to do and how not to do it.

When you make a mistake, own it. If an apology is warranted, make an honest one and do it the right way. It says a lot about you as a person, and that will only make you a better, more respected leader in the future.

Ten Traits of an Ideal Annual Sales Event Speaker

The annual sales event is important for your sales team – maybe even the most important part of the year. It’s an opportunity to accomplish several different things, from boosting morale to developing your team as professionals and even making an operational forecast for the coming year. It’s a social event, as well as an educational opportunity.

The keynote speaker at your annual sales event will be the foundation for a successful event for your organization. The ideal speaker can accomplish everything you set out to do and leave you feeling fulfilled and your sales team eager for success in the coming year. Given this, it is important to put time and consideration into choosing the right speaker. First, consider what is important to accomplish at the event, given your professional goals as well as your sales team’s expectations.

 

  • Focus on the team. There are specific points you will want to cover with your team. For instance, you may want to talk about quotas for the coming year, or forecasts for the industry in general and your team specifically. You may want to give them information on sales growth. It is also a good idea to solicit input from your team. What topics do they want to cover? What information do they feel they need to know or learn better?

 

  • This is an excellent chance to provide ongoing education to your sales team. Are there areas where they might need improvement? Perhaps you just want to give them a good review of policies and practices. Everyone needs refreshers from time to time, and the annual sales event is the perfect time to do it while adding an element of fun and camaraderie to the event.

 

  • Sales is about motivation and drive. Your sales team needs to look forward to their work and be excited about their prospects. A good charge of inspiration at the annual sales event can mean a lot for the coming year. This is a good opportunity to think big, to talk about broad topics like leadership or perseverance. Often, a person outside your organization is the ideal candidate to do this.

 

  • Recognize excellence. Nothing generates excitement like the pride a salesperson takes from getting their due recognition. Your team has worked hard over the course of the year, and now is the time to make sure they know you value their contributions. You can hand out awards, for instance, for achievements. Try to include everyone in some way, and don’t leave the planning for this until the last moment.

 

With these goals in mind, you can begin your search for the ideal keynote speaker for your annual sales event. There are certain traits that indicate the right person, the one who can develop your professionals and motivate them. The one who can uplift them with deserved recognition and prepare them for the coming year. These are ten key traits to look for when choosing the keynote speaker for an annual sales conference.

 

1. They have a strong social media presence. Modern conference speakers engage with a following on social media. The number of followers can be faked, but true audience engagement cannot. Look for a speaker who knows the importance of social media engagement.

 

2. They don’t work for free. They say you get what you pay for, and this usually proves to be true. A gifted speaker is in demand and unless it is for a cause, does not usually choose to donate his or her time for free. A lot of work goes into making a good keynote speech for any type of conference, and a good speaker is going to charge a fee for that.

 

3. They are active on Slideshare. Professional quality slides are a given with an ideal speaker. When a speaker has put in the effort to make slides of quality, they will cultivate a following on Slideshare. Look for engagement there as a sign of a worthwhile speaker.

 

4. They know audio and video. A good speaker will ask you questions about your setup. They will want to know the projector display ratio and whether there is WI-FI available. They will ask about mobile apps for the event. A good speaker is knowledgeable and their questions will demonstrate this to you.

 

5. Their slides are professional quality. The slides are a key component of the speech, and will aid in maintaining audience engagement. If a speaker has poor slides, the audience will lose trust.

 

6. They solicit the audience’s opinion. Every event should poll the audience while it is going on. A good speaker will be familiar with the practice and use it him or herself.

 

7. They know your audience. A good speaker will get to know your audience before the event. This way, he or she can address specific points important to your team and even participate in the recognition portion of the event. The more the speaker tailors the speech to the audience, the more engaged the audience will be.

 

8. They get audience members to interact with each other. When a speaker has electrified the audience, they will engage with each other, not just sit there and passively listen to the speaker.

 

9. They engage with the mobile app of the event. Every event should have a mobile app, and a sign of a good speaker is that he or she engages with that app to make the most of the event.

 

10. Their content is meaningful. A modern speaker knows how to use social media like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube videos to make their content relevant and accessible before, during and after the show.

 

The right keynote speaker at your annual sales conference can give your sales team a sense of satisfaction in what they have accomplished, give them some professional development and leave them eager for the coming year’s challenges. The event should be a reward and an inspiration. Knowing what to look for in potential keynote speaker candidates is vitally important to choosing the right speaker for your event. Keep these qualities in mind when the time comes to find the right speaker for your annual sales event.

How a Keynote Speech Transforms an Event

The keynote speaker sets the tone of a meeting or event. He or she will usually kick things off with a speech that is longer than most or all other speeches or addresses delivered during the event, such as a weekend conference. The keynote speech will be a broad speech, covering many topics. The other speakers will then dig deeper into one aspect of the keynote speech. Whatever the theme of the conference, the keynote summarizes the ideas that follow and generates excitement for the event.

For people who do not attend the event but still have some interest in the topic, the keynote speech is what they will most likely listen to later. For this reason, the keynote speech can serve as an advertisement for the entire conference. It is quite common, therefore, to get a popular personality or a person of prominence or notoriety to deliver the keynote address.

A keynote speaker is often confused with other kinds of speakers, such as a motivational speaker. However, while a keynote speaker can motivate people, the terms are not synonymous. A keynote speaker is the one who delivers the big picture speech to the audience, who develops the overall theme of an event and creates expectations for what is to come. In whatever manner he or she chooses to do that, whether by motivation, humor, edification or other method, the speech that kicks off the event with the broadest coverage of what is to come is the identifiable keynote speech.

 

What Kind of Keynote Speaker Is the Right Choice?

Some occasions call for a specific kind of keynote speaker due to the type of event, while other occasions lend themselves to a less-specific style of speaker. It all comes down to subject matter, audience and what the goals of the organization are. An event organizer needs to consider what the specific goal of the event is for the organization. There are several possibilities.

  • It could be a scientific symposium or a political event about an important issue. If the main goal of the event is to educate the audience, the speaker will have to have a familiarity with the topic. If the audience is going to consist of experts in the field, the keynote speaker must have impeccable credentials. If it will be a general audience, the keynote speaker will need to be adept at communicating material to a lay audience.

 

  • Motivation is often the goal for sales conferences, or other industry-specific events open to people working in the field. In this case, the keynote speaker will need a flare for oratory. However, it will also be important to set an example. At a sales conference, a motivational keynote speaker should have achieved something notable in the field, or in some way done remarkable things through dedication and effort.

 

  • An inspirational speaker is like a motivational one, and often the same person can deliver both kinds of keynote address. An inspirational speaker often focuses on overcoming the odds. This type of keynote speaker, for instance, might have excelled as an editor despite being dyslexic, or lost his or her legs in combat and has learned to live a fulfilling live despite their setback. An inspirational speaker focuses on a feeling and a lesson, while a motivational speaker focuses on action.

 

  • Promote change. If the goal of an event is to achieve change in behavior or attitude, a keynote speaker who can motivate as well as educate might be the best solution. The purely motivational speaker is often speaking to people who already share a common goal and are just looking for some emotional energy to get them going. An educational speaker is usually addressing an audience that came eager to learn. An organization that seeks change may have to overcome biases and predispositions in the audience, and so a more complex approach is warranted.

 

  • Increase Awareness. If there is an important issue that an organization deals with, the first step on the path to promoting change could be raising the awareness of the general public. An educational speaker may tell an audience of professionals about a new cancer therapy, but a keynote speaker who seeks to increase awareness will speak more about the prevalence and consequences of cancer to a more general audience. If the goal is to increase awareness, expertise in a subject matter may be less important than the high profile of the keynote speaker.

 

  • Promote development. This sort of keynote speech is usually for professionals of a common industry. There should be an element of education as well as motivation. The keynote speaker must have experience in the industry, a recognized leader with many stories to tell and a wealth of wisdom gained from experience. In dynamic, evolving industries the keynote speech may highlight the latest advances and developments in the industry.

 

  • Sometimes the goal is simply to entertain. Rather than giving an overview of a theme or delivering the essence of a conference, the keynote speech is more about setting the right mood. The event may not have a single topic and thus there is no core theme to sketch during the speech. The event organizers simply want to make sure the audience enjoys themselves. The keynote speaker should have a gift for connecting with an audience. A proficiency in humor is also important for such a speaker.

 

There are many ways to deliver a keynote speech. One should consider the audience and the subject matter when determining the tone and approach of the speech. Smaller conferences might have more specialists in a field and therefore the keynote speech can reflect this with more in-depth coverage. For a large audience or a lay audience, humor may work better.

The keynote address could be the most important part of a rally, meeting or conference. It is important to choose the right person who knows the subject matter but can also bring a higher profile to the proceedings.

The keynote speaker needs to understand the size and composition of the audience to fashion the appropriate speech for the occasion, and he or she must also understand the tone the organizers of the conference wish to imbue to the occasion. The success of a conference often hinges on the effectiveness of the keynote speaker; getting the keynote address right is a large part of the battle.

Are In-Person Networking Skills Still Important in a Social Media Age?

In the Age of Social Media, how important are face-to-face networking skills? Very, according to recent surveys. The majority (68%) of entry-level professionals place more value on face-to-face networking than online interactions. Furthermore, just over half (51%) of professionals do not have LinkedIn profiles, showing significant dissonance even with the most popular business networking site. Face-to-face networking skills are still critical for working professionals who wish to advance their careers or grow businesses.

 

The Importance of Business Networking

Sales center on people. People making connections and building relationships with other people are what keep companies in business. Networking is at the heart of business. This remains true whether the networking is online or in person. Business networking is essential for people who want jobs, career advancement, or business growth. Salespeople especially rely on networking. It is the number one way to establish trust, introduce oneself to potential customers, and increase brand awareness and product visibility.

The art of networking has undergone significant changes in the last few decades. From business cards to business Instagram accounts, everything has gone digital. Sites like LinkedIn target business people specifically, aimed at helping professionals build their networks, earn endorsements, and get better jobs. While connecting online might appear to widen a person’s career network and help forge relationships, in reality it still falls short of in-person networking for most business people.

Networking at corporate events, conferences, and sales meetings can help businesses and prospects connect. Sales professionals, for example, can exchange information with potential customers and leave lasting impressions from their face-to-face meetings. Virtual networking can also add value to professional relationships. It can help a person develop contacts, connect with important people in the industry, and get in touch with the right people. Despite the push toward online connections, in-person business networking is still highly valuable.

 

What Do the Numbers Say?

Many different sources agree: nothing is more effective than in-person networking. Research proves that face-to-face interactions tend to be more positive than online interactions. The people who achieve the greatest results from their networking efforts almost always engage in face-to-face interactions. When searching for a new job, 46% of people still find the most success in traditional, in-person networking.

While actual words are important, they make up only 7% of a person’s perception of sincerity. Nonverbal cues are much more important when it comes to discerning whether to trust someone. Facial expressions while we talk make up 55%, while inflection of tone makes up 38%. A whopping 72% of people say looks and handshakes influence their decisions. One survey from 2015 found that 9 in 10 people choose small, face-to-face meetings as their preferred communication method.

When it comes to personal preference, in-person is a clear winner across multiple surveys. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents in the Virgin survey say they prefer in-person meetings, while 95% say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. If companies eliminated business travel for in-person interactions, they would lose around 17% of their total profits. Despite the pull of the “Social Media Age,” it’s clear business professionals still value in-person networking highly.

 

The Benefits of In-Person Networking

The internet is growing as a way to network and build relationships. However, the media richness theory finds that seeing someone in person is still the richest form of communication. The next-best form is video conferencing, which still allows those in the conversation to see facial expressions and hear inflections. Then comes phone communication, then emails, and lastly, texts. The richer the mode of communication, the better it is for developing relationships. Although many online tools today facilitate networking, in-person interactions come with the following benefits:

  • Reading body language
  • Customizing the conversation
  • Showcasing your personality
  • Building a human relationship and trust
  • Establishing chemistry and sharing energy
  • Having more diverse and memorable conversations
  • Getting insider knowledge
  • Preventing harmful miscommunications
  • Taking business relationships to the next level
  • Bonding with others in a shared setting
  • Having fun during the interaction
  • Arranging the next (follow-up) action

No amount of sophisticated technology can replace in-person networking. Being with the other person in the flesh can forge stronger bonds and create a better foundation for a long-lasting business relationship. The numbers support this conclusion, with the majority of today’s business professionals preferring in-person interactions to digital ones. There is no question – it is still important to cultivate in-person networking skills. The next step is improving your face-to-face exchanges.

 

In-Person Networking Tips

Networking in person can give you opportunities you would not have over social media alone. To take full advantage of these opportunities, you need a few networking tips to help you make the greatest impact. The amount of time you spend preparing for your in-person interaction can make a difference in its outcome. Set yourself up for success by embracing available tools, tips, and tricks. If you’re planning an in-person networking event or situation soon, keep the following in mind for optimal engagement:

1. Prioritize building trust and credibility. One of the greatest downfalls of communication over social media is not knowing who to trust. Establishing trust is possible through smart marketing content, but it gets much easier when you can meet someone in person.

Whether your goal is to get a new job or clinch an important sale, prioritize establishing trust between you and the other person. Do this by showing others your similarities in the time you have together. People tend to trust what they know more than what they don’t. Make human connections with people to earn their trust and strengthen the relationship.

2. Use positive emotions to your advantage. Logic can help form a buying decision, but emotions seal the deal. Face-to-face interactions give you the power of using emotions to your advantage. Be open and transparent with the other person, supporting your words with the appropriate facial expressions.

Make an emotional connection with the person, whether it’s fear, compassion, empathy, or having fun at a business event. Connecting with a prospect or professional on an emotional level improves your odds of having a lasting positive impact.

3. Let your personality shine. You have the opportunity to truly show the prospect what you’re like during face-to-face meetings. Don’t miss out. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to show what makes you unique.

Show off your sense of humor, warmth, friendliness, and other traits that set you apart from other salespeople, brands, or job prospects. Let the other person see you’re more than just a social media profile – you’re a flesh-and-blood person who can check all the boxes of what they’re looking for.

In-person networking can be more daunting than an online interaction. You must put your best foot forward, or you could miss out on an important business opportunity. Everything must count, from the clothes you wear to the words you say. Pay special attention to body language, presence, and inflection during face-to-face meetings. Nail important aspects such as the first impression and initial handshake. Do your research, prepare talking points, and – most importantly – be yourself.

 

Improve Your Business Networking Skills Today

Whether you are a born social butterfly or you identify as an introvert, influence and persuasion training can help you. The training program at SNI helps participants influence others and the decisions they make. It focuses on credibility, emotion, and logic – Aristotle’s three elements to influence. It can help you become more persuasive and effective in your techniques during both in-person and social media interactions. Sign up today to start developing your networking skills.

Keynote Speech Examples: Learn from the Best

One of the most effective ways of improving your public speaking and presenting is doing research and analyzing other great speakers. There are numerous types of keynote speeches and various aspects that determine whether the speech impacts every person or falls flat and becomes irrelevant. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations have delivered many speeches – most of which have had a lasting impact on the audience – and understand what components make a great speech.

 

Shapiro’s General Outline of Great Speeches

All speeches are different, and there are many ways to craft and deliver an effective speech. However, as one of Shapiro Negotiations’ leaders, Jeff Cochran, describes at SAMA in 2017, there is a formula that often leads to a great speech.

The first step is building credibility, so your audience likes and trusts you. If you come off as impersonal or apathetic, they are less likely to feel connected to your message.

The second objective is to engage emotions. The bottom line of all human interactions, including business exchanges, is emotion. People often make decisions and judgments based on emotion. If you can use emotion in your speech, your audience is likely to feel connected to and empathetic about your message.

Third, you need to demonstrate logic. In business, logic is the second aspect people use most when making decisions. Follow up your emotional argument with logic to convince the room.

Finally, you must facilitate action. Make people feel motivated to act on your message. You want to end your speech having given them the desire to act.

 

Steve Jobs: Stanford Commencement Address 2005

Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford in 2005 is renowned as one of the best speeches in recent years. He begins his speech with a joke, which gets the audience laughing and feeling comfortable with him. Jobs continued to tell three anecdotes from his life; these served as the emotional aspect. The first was about his experience as a young boy and teenager; the second addressed his young adult life and struggles with Apple; and the third talked about his experience with pancreatic cancer and the role of death.

Amongst all these stories, Jobs layered moments of humor and seriousness together. He came off as vulnerable, making an extremely accomplished, successful man seem human and relatable to the audience.

Jobs finished his speech by summarizing the lessons he learned from his experiences and, thus, what the audience should take away. He encouraged the listeners to act, finishing the speech with the mantra, “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

 

Mel Robbins: TEDx San Francisco 2011

Mel Robbins is a criminal lawyer, career and relationship expert, and speaker. She gave a speech in 2011 called “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over.” She began with some jokes, even engaging the audience by asking them how they were doing.

One of her clear strengths is her passion. She speaks with endless enthusiasm and confidence, immediately establishing herself as a trustworthy source. Her speaking style is assertive but casual, making her more personable. She talks candidly to her audience about relatable issues and situations. By bringing up circumstances many relate to, she engages listeners and increases the relevance of her point.

During the first half of her speech, she left the stage, physically putting herself on the same level as her audience. She even picked out a member of the audience and personally addressed him. Throughout her speech she showed pictures of her children in casual situations – which many parents in the audience can relate to.

Throughout her speech, she continuously reinforced the idea that you must force yourself to do things. She suggested something for the audience to try as a first step into forcing themselves to be productive and succeed.

Mel Robbins is an effective speaker for many reasons, but the two main ones are her enthusiasm and relatability. She does not focus on using academic, professional language; she instead appeals personally to the audience members. As a result, she comes off as a strong, confident, credible, and trustworthy person.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we understand the traits that make speakers like Steve Jobs and Mel Robbins effective. We help people learn how to appeal to many different audiences and drive home ideas in their speeches.

3 Ways to Hone Your Presenting Skills

The ability to give a great presentation does not come without hard work. Though some people may have innate skills and traits that make presenting easier, honing those skills takes effort. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations understand the potential impact of a fantastic presentation and have a proven strategy for teaching professionals how to perfect their presenting abilities.

 

1. Do Research and Find Examples of Great Presenters

One of the things you should do when trying to improve your presenting skills is to do research about other great presenters. Watch speeches online and take notes about how they present. If you have the ability, go see a great presenter in action, paying attention to how the audience reacts to certain things and what makes their presentation successful or unsuccessful.

One of the best online resources for watching presentations is TED Talks. You can also look for presidential or political speeches, as politicians often deliver impactful speeches. Watch as many as you need to understand what it takes to give an interesting, engaging presentation. By having an idea of what worked in their presentations and speeches, you will have new things to try in your own presentations.

 

2. Find a Way to Be Enthusiastic

All great presenters show enthusiasm. An uninterested, bored presenter will quickly lose the attention and interest of their audience. Unfortunately, it is common for people to have to do business presentations about things that don’t interest them. Few people in the business world can always present about something they find fascinating. You need to find a way to be enthusiastic about a topic you are not passionate about, as your enthusiasm level could be the factor that determines how effective your presentation is.

One way to incite enthusiasm is to think about the audience. Expand your focus to include the impact your presentation is having on the people listening. Consider how your presentation will improve their business or lives. It will be easier to be excited about your topic if you feel like you are making an impact on those listening.

 

3. Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to improve any skill is by asking for feedback. You may finish a presentation with an idea about how it went, but another person can offer a different viewpoint that may provide valuable information about how you can improve your technique. When analyzing yourself, you are more likely to have a skewed opinion, either overly positive or overly negative. You also have no way of knowing how your presentation impacted the audience. Someone in the audience can tell you how effective you were and what impression you gave to your listeners.

There are many ways you can get feedback from audiences. In certain situations, you will receive feedback from leaders without needing to ask for it. For situations where feedback is not automatic, choose someone who will have an objective opinion and can deliver blunt information, and ask them what they thought after the presentation. Listen intently to any feedback you receive so you can adjust your style and become as effective as possible.

Shapiro Negotiations has numerous professionals who have experience giving and critiquing presentations. We can spot people’s strengths and weaknesses with presenting and know how to best remedy the latter. Our presenting skills workshops have helped many people in business hone their presentation skills and become effective presenters.

5 Essential Presentation Skills to Develop

Presentations are a part of most jobs in the business world; you must be able to give a solid, informative presentation. Though they may seem simple, there are many aspects of a presentation and skills that you need to deliver a successful one. The experts at Shapiro Negotiations understand the importance and impact of a great presentation, and know how best to teach professionals the skills they need to give one.

 

1. Enthusiasm and Honesty

One of the most painful things in a presentation is listening to a presenter who is clearly bored and uninterested in the topic. For a presentation to be effective, you need to get the audience excited. It is almost impossible to excite your audience if you are dull or monotonous. Show enthusiasm about the topic and people are more likely to be engaged.

Along with being enthusiastic, you need to be honest. Even a distracted audience can tell when a presenter is lying or exaggerating. If they sense you are not being honest with them, both you and your presentation will lose credibility. A great presenter is honest and transparent with the audience, while simultaneously showing enthusiasm about everything.

 

2. Focused on the Audience

Effective presenters build and deliver presentations centered around the audience, not themselves. Focus on what the audience can get out of your presentation.

The key to any great presentation is engaging and appealing to your audience. Each audience is different, so it is important to keep in mind the people you are talking to and what interests them. You are more likely to gain their attention if the topic is relevant and helpful for them.

 

3. Ability to Keep Things Simple

Great presenters know how to make complex topics simple. Often, you will give a presentation to a group of people who do not have any previous knowledge about the topic. If you use complex language or concepts, you will confuse your audience and they will not listen as attentively.

A presentation is essentially a teaching tool. You are teaching your audience about the topic. Any great teacher knows that you need to simplify things to ensure everyone can learn and understand what you are trying to say. Effective presenters can do this for their audience.

 

4.Being Personable

Being personable is a great quality for every aspect of business, including presentations. People will listen more intently if they like you and see you as relatable. Some good ways to be personable are by making eye contact with your audience and smiling. These simple actions build rapport and increase the chances of the audience feeling like they can connect with you.

 

5. Great Body Language

Your body language says more than you think. More than three-quarters of communication is non-verbal. Though your speaking holds the meaning, body language could determine whether an audience listens to you and how they interpret your speech.

Great presenters stand up straight and confidently. They do not cross their arms in front of their chest, as this comes off as cold and distant. They also avoid pacing or holding their hands behind their backs because it makes them seem nervous. Keep your body language open and welcoming, and your audience will see you as more credible and trustworthy.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we know what skills are most important for people trying to become excellent presenters. Our presentation skills training works to help many businesspeople become persuasive and effective presenters in the workplace.

 

 

Why You Should Invest in Communication Training

Arguably one of the most important skills to have in any setting is communication. The business world is no exception. If you have a team with fantastic communication, your chances of success are significantly higher. Communication is beneficial not only in interpersonal matters within the company, but also with customer and client interactions. Communication training is becoming widely accepted as a great way to teach people how to be effective communicators in the workplace for many reasons.

 

Better Relationships With Customers and Clients

The quality of customer service can be the factor that makes or breaks a company. If customers and clients trust and like you, they are more likely to become loyal to your business and continue coming back. Communication coaching will ensure you can establish a great rapport with customers.

Customers want to feel understood and appreciated by a company. If they think you only care about them because of their wallets, they will be more hesitant to give you their business. Most businesses involve a certain amount of customer interactions, and many depend on these interactions for success. Poor communication skills will inevitably lead to poor customer interactions. Investing in communication classes for yourself or for your team could make a significant difference in your company’s success.

 

Improved Presentations and Speeches

Many jobs in the business world involve giving presentations and speeches. Whether you are trying to convince a customer to invest, trying to inspire others in the industry, or selling company leadership on an idea, being able to speak to a group precisely and effectively is an invaluable skill.

People are much more likely to listen and trust someone who is speaking confidently. Nervous speakers can come off as hesitant or unsure – a quality that will make most people pass on a deal. You want to be clear and assertive in your presentations and speeches. Communication training can help teach you how to be a great speaker and presenter.

 

Improved Clarity

No matter what your role is in a company, you need to be clear about what you want. Companies with employees who don’t understand what the company wants of them are confused and they are bound to face issues. Every member of your company needs to be on the same page about company goals and projects. Like improved presentations and speeches, communication coaching and classes will help you be clearer when explaining things to peers or leadership.

 

Easier to Resolve Interpersonal Problems

Interpersonal problems can tear a company apart. Employees who are upset with leadership or a co-worker are significantly less likely to produce high-quality work. They will feel less motivated to give everything their best effort.

Poor communication is often the cause of problems within a company. People either do not feel comfortable confronting and discussing their issues or do not feel welcome addressing them. Employee feuds do not resolve without both parties feeling capable of clearly and calmly expressing their frustrations. Often, the solution to disagreements lies in understanding the other person’s position. Communication training can give you a greater sense of empathy and improve your ability to talk about why you are unhappy and understand the other point of view at the same time.

 

Improved Comfort and Confidence During Tough Times

It is inevitable that your company is going to face difficult times, if it has not already. In hard times, employees become stressed and nervous and may even leave. Retaining workers during tough times is vital if you want your company to survive. If people in leadership roles do not address the fears or try to cover the issue, employees may experience even more anxiety.

Being empathetic and transparent is a vital management skill, especially during tough times. Not only will it show that you respect your employees, but they will trust you more and have more confidence in the future of the company. You need to know how to communicate with your employees during difficult times.

 

Improved Written Communication

In the business world, people are constantly communicating through the written word. Whether it is an email, a text message, or a social media post, it is important to know some basic rules about how to communicate through business writing. If you are too aggressive, impersonal, or short with your message, people are less likely to respond positively, losing you important potential customers.

Business writing also needs to be clear. If you send an email outlining a project that is unclear or vague, it may confuse people and the project may become a mess. Communication training can help people understand how to effectively portray a point over email, social media, or through other written messages.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we have experts who can offer you and your employees communication training and coaching that can improve all aspects of your company and ensure you can continue thriving in the business world.

 

 

How to Prepare for a Keynote Speech

The primary objective of making a keynote speech is to captivate and influence your listeners. To do so, the speech must be highly persuasive and successfully inspire the audience to take swift action. No matter where you are speaking or what you are speaking about, there are a few fundamental components that are instrumental in preparing to give a keynote speech. Refer to the following guidelines in hopes of delivering a compelling and eloquent keynote speech.

 

Remain in Sync With Your Goal

Maintaining the attention of an audience depends on you pacing and your ability to align with the purpose of your speech. Make your purpose clear and the chances are you won’t need a teleprompter or notecards.

 

Be Passionate

Speaking isn’t only about providing people with information. People attend a keynote speech because they want someone to move them. Tap into this desire and never hesitate to display your passion when delivering a keynote speech.

 

Make a Connection with Listeners

Without establishing a connection to your audience, your words will be essentially meaningless. Start by respecting your audience and recognizing you are on stage to please. Establish an authentic connection using stories from the real-life experiences of your audience and relate them to your own experiences.

 

Tell Stories

Teachers have used stories as a means of communication since the beginning of human history. To this day, storytelling remains the most efficient method of presenting meaning in a truly unforgettable way, and a compelling story is a key element of a successful keynote. Use stories relevant to your own experiences or look for current topics in books or the newspapers. If you want to make your speech memorable, pick an original story rather than an overused one. Avoid repetition to keep your credibility in front of your audience.

 

Be Confident

Maintaining your composure and confidence is vital to ensuring an audience’s attention. Individuals who demonstrate confident vibes draw people to them, so be sure you walk out on the stage feeling great about yourself. If you are prone to stage fright, take time to address what is hindering you before it’s time to make your speech.

 

Use Visuals

Visual aids can be excellent when you use them optimally. Incorporate relevant pictures or videos into your keynote speech when appropriate. These visuals can serve as a means of grasping audience attention and of inciting their imagination.

 

Utilize Humor

Display humor in keynote speeches through powerful stories, particularly within the dialogue. Insert humorous lines within your stories to add some comedy to your speech. A major advantage of placing humor inside dialogue is it that even if listeners don’t get the joke or miss the humor, they will still grasp the nature of your story. This reduces the risks associated with making a direct joke and failing.

 

Express Your Own Inner Dialogue

Sharing your inner dialogue with the audience is a great way to establish a firm connection and insert humor into your speech. Since your inner dialogue is usually personal, sharing its contents in front of a big audience allows listeners to realize your honesty and authenticity, which can help secure a connection and increase audience engagement. Adding excerpts from your internal dialogue is also an excellent opportunity to add some comedy to the speech. Hearing someone’s internal thoughts can be a funny experience, so try making your thoughts both funny and truthful to make give listeners inset into your personality and make your speech truly memorable.