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Swing and a Miss

baseball-player-583658_1280Today’s guest blog post is written by Matthew Williams, Communications Intern at Accent on Business.

For a long time, networking evoked a negative albeit vivid image in my mind. A large group of middle-aged strangers getting together in a large conference room drinking, laughing at unfunny jokes, and passing around business cards all the while trying to sell insurance or burial plots. I’m not entirely sure where this image came from but I was certain it was not the game I wanted to play.
From the time I entered college until the time I left, I would constantly hear professors espouse the virtues of networking:

“It’s not just what you know,” they would say. “It’s about who you know. If you don’t learn to network the odds of finding a good job are slim.”

I’d like to say that hearing this message repeatedly over time softened […]

The Bottom Line: Re-stating Your Value

Here’s food for thought: when you meet with senior management in your organization, do you know what to say? More importantly, do you know how to say it and when to say it? If not, then you may be selling yourself short when it comes to stating your value to the organization.

For junior executives in particular, learning how to speak to and with upper management is an invaluable skill. In fact, communication skills coaching in this precise area is one of the most frequent requests from Accent On Business clients.

Getting the results you want in the boardroom and similar settings can mean the difference between being “listened to” and just “being heard.” Likewise, senior managers want to know that you are listening to them and that you understand their message.

Consider the example of one of our “executive communication skills” success stories, who we’ll […]

It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It

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We all use “credibility detectors” when listening to someone talk to us.  These sensors in the brain are activated by tone of voice and body language, not words.  They give us important information about the speaker’s sincerity, integrity, and emotional intelligence.  Some people equate this to the “gut-level hunch” we often sense.  When kids listen to adults speak, they listen to the “strength” of the message for cues about whether or not the adult means what he or she is saying.

Do you “say it like you mean it”?  Women often are not taken seriously for one of three reasons.  First, her voice may be too quiet, making her sound unsure and non-authoritative.  Second, she is too high-pitched, making her sound like a little girl or a cheerleader.  Or third, she puts more inflection at the end of a sentence, making her sound […]

2017-06-15T21:07:43+00:00 By |Categories: Professional Communication|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on It’s Not Just What You Say, It’s How You Say It

Eliminating Throat Clearing

 

Throat clearing is one of the most traumatic things you can do to your vocal folds. When you clear your throat, you create an extreme amount of movement of your vocal folds, causing them to slam and rub together.  Sometimes people do not even know that they are clearing their throats; it has become a habit.  Often they say that they feel something in their throat, like phlegm or mucus.  The majority of the time; however, when you clear your throat, there is simply nothing there.  One thing you have accomplished is to create more vocal fold trauma.

 

We […]

Capitalize on Social Opportunities

In a crowded room you should see a bubble over each person’s head that reads “OPPORTUNITY!” in big bold letters.

Listening is a Sign of Respect

listening-157386_1280Think of your last conversation.  If you remember what you said more clearly than what you heard, you probably need to work on your listening skills.

Listening is a sign of respect.  It shows that you value what the speaker has to say.  If you take the time to listen to someone, take the time to listen properly.  Set aside what you are doing so you can focus on the speaker, showing them that they are important to you.  This will encourage the speaker to crystallize his message instead of giving you a shortened and vague version.  If you continue to focus on your work, you may miss key gestures or facial expressions that may indicate the speaker’s true feelings differ from his words.

It’s not always easy to focus on what a speaker is trying to say, especially if he has distracting idiosyncrasies.  […]

Stuttering: Advice for Listeners

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Often, people are unsure about how to respond when talking to people who stutter. This uncertainty can cause listeners to do things like look away during moments of stuttering, interrupt the speaker or fill in words, or simply not talk to people who stutter at all. None of these reactions is particularly helpful, though. In general, people who stutter want to be treated just like anybody else. They recognize-in fact, they may be acutely aware-that their speech is different and that it takes them longer to say things. Unfortunately, though, this sometimes leads the speaker to feel pressure to speak quickly. Under such conditions, people who stutter often have even more difficultly saying what they want to say in a smooth, timely manner. Thus, listener reactions that suggest impatience or annoyance may actually make it harder for people who stutter to speak.

When […]

What is Stuttering?

Stuttering is a communication disorder that affects the rhythm or “fluency” of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, persists throughout llife. The disorder is characterized by disruptions (or “dysfluencies”) in the production of speech sounds. Most speakers produce brief dysfluencies in speech from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by interjections such as “um.”   Dysfluencies are not necessarily problematic; however, they can impede communication when a speaker produces too many of them or they are drawn out and lengthy.

Many of us find we’re out of breath or anxious when speaking in front of an audience.  Speakers who stutter exhibit excessive physical tension in the throat, mouth, and jaw and may appear to be unable to recover from the tension when talking. At times, the forward flow […]

Sharpen Your Skills Before Your Next Interview!

interview-861513-mIf you’ve been considering a career change, or know someone interviewing, take time to consider a few additional items critical to the success of your interview, namely your style of presentation and your communication skills.  Being mentally prepared for the interview is very important. Presenting yourself as an effective communicator qualification in great demand by employers.

Here are a few tips for before and during the interview process:

  1. Exercise.  A short workout the morning of your interview will get your blood and breathing going and will help you present yourself with energy and vitality.
  2. Breathe.  Take slow, deep diaphramatic breaths before the interview.  This will help you center yourself, reduce stress, and keep your voice steady and confident.  Your abdomen should extend outward upon inhalation and deflate upon exhalation.  Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  3. Be positive and enthusiastic.  Speak with a positive […]
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