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13 Tips for Hosting Perfect Panels

So you’re going to moderate a panel, congratulations! Your job is easy, right? Just show up and read the questions and smile a lot, right? Hold on, not so fast, the success of this event rests squarely on your shoulders.

Changing What Your Customers Think of You

Recently, the CEO of an IT company approached one of his disgruntled customers with a simple message: “I know you’re unhappy with our customer service over the past few months. I imagine you’ve developed some rather negative beliefs about us and I’m here to find out exactly what those beliefs are, so we can change them.” After the surprised customer delivered a detailed description of her beliefs and the experiences that had created them, the CEO surprised her again by saying, “These are not beliefs we want you to hold, so we’re going to create a whole new set of experiences for you—experiences that will lead to brand new beliefs about us.”

For the next several minutes the CEO discussed the new experiences that he and his organization were going to create in a determined effort to change the customer’s beliefs. For example, they would acknowledge the customer’s request for service […]

5 Big Deal Selling Tips

five image croppedThink back to the last time you had to make a big purchase, for example a new car. There were some obvious factors to consider such as price, quality, safety, and gas mileage and then you decided which minivan or Ferrari made you feel the best.

Then you paid attention to the salesperson. Which one did you like the best and trust the most?

Whether you’re selling a new product or your business is trying to promote a new service, the quality of the product is a given. It’s not just about the actual product anymore. It’s often about how “trustable” and likable you are. This speaks to your professional presence and public speaking skills.

People are more likely to buy a product from someone who is likeable and someone who demonstrated that down the road, when something does go wrong, it will […]

Let Us Introduce Ourselves

We are Alexis Blevins and Katya Kantar, the new summer interns at Accent On Business. As interns we were very excited to sit in on our first client session. We observed a small business entrepreneur who is developing a 45-minute keynote speech for marketing an innovative, new product. The session included an overview of basic presentation skills and how to deliver the content of the speech in a more significant and memorable manner. It began with Ellen Dunnigan, President and CEO, inspiring the client to think and question how she wanted her audience to perceive her and what the main goals of the speech are for both the speaker and the audience. We recognized that the client truly believed in the content she was presenting to us. She wanted to be perceived as relaxed and insightful while giving her speech, but she had no way of explaining what it meant […]

There is No Such Thing as “Perfect” English

An English dictionary is not a rulebook, but a suggested guideline. It is based on the pronunciation, spelling, and usage of most educated speakers.

What it Really Takes to Nail Your Presentation

board room

There are several “must-haves” for every great presentation. Of course, depth in your content is vital. Without stellar content, there is just no reason to stand before us as a presenter. Of course, your content must be carefully crafted. Always think about your purpose and your audience when crafting the content of your speech. Beyond depth of content, making sure you are properly channeling your energy (sometimes referred to as anxiety) allows you to show up as the capable and confident speaker that we’re expecting. We advocate our four-part process for mastering your fear of public speaking and for showing up with professional-level energy.

While the four-part process is an effective and essential component, it is not the only formula for successfully delivering your […]

Invest in Your Future! Improve Your Communication Skills

Uh oh, it’s happened again.  You’ve been able to avoid it for the last 3 years.  Now here it is again…the dreaded presentation.  Ever been in one of these situations?

  • You’ve been invited to make a key presentation at a Board of Directors meeting.
  • Your dream job just opened up and you will need to interview for it.
  • You have one single opportunity to have lunch with a prospective major account client.
  • You have three months to prepare your 25th high school class reunion’s keynote address.
  • You’ve been asked to fill in for a colleague in teaching a training session to senior management.
  • Your company is in the peak of a crisis or incident and you need to speak about it live on television or on radio.
  • You volunteered on a mission trip sponsored by a large company in your area and are […]

Purpose + Audience = My Action

Purpose: What are your purposes in presenting your idea? How is it good for your organization? Why should you be the one to deliver this message to your boss (or other targeted audience)? What do you want from this pitch for yourself and/or your team?

Audience: Knowing what you know about your boss (from the first two steps above), what do you expect from him or her? What are her questions going to be? What will she be concerned about? What amount of detail will he want? When is the best time of day to talk to him? What behaviors does he really admire from his employees? What does he loathe? What are the questions you hope she doesn’t ask – and what are the answers to those tough questions?

My Actions: Knowing your purpose(s) and your audience tells you the behaviors and actions you should display. What will be your actions […]

How to Land Your Dream Job, Position, or Project

partnership-526413_1280Most people spend a great deal of time and effort crafting a stellar message when trying to land their dream job or next great assignment. Professional credentials, experience, power words… these are all details we include in attempts to get the interest of a prospective employer. Not that this isn’t an important piece to the puzzle…it is… but there is more. Would you believe me if I said that if this prospective employer HEARD your pitch when they read it – even if you used exactly the same words – they would rate you above others and would be more likely to hire you?

A new study by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business found that when employers listened to job qualifications from prospective candidates, they rated the candidates as more competent, thoughtful, and intelligent than when they simply read a […]

The Very Real Science Behind your Fear of Public Speaking

fear-617132_1280The sometimes debilitating fear of public speaking, technically called “glossophobia”, affects a large portion of the population. It is known in medical communities as a type of social anxiety, similar to “stage fright”. This includes symptoms of: a feeling of impending doom, obsessive thoughts of failure and worry, trembling and shaking, dizziness, accelerated heart rate, sweating, and nausea. You might also find that your mouth dries and your voice weakens and cracks.

When you get up to the podium, notes shaking in hand, feet nervously fidgeting, it seems like all the information you know well and rehearsed, delivering has just gone whirling away with your confidence. At that moment, staring at your anticipating audience, all you really want to do is flee. However, this reaction is a response to your brain’s necessary “fight or flight phenomenon”, the physiological response to a threatening situation.

For […]

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