Communication

Communication

Leave that Tiara at Home

Leave that Tiara at Home - Strange as it may seem, some Chicago restaurants are banning crowns and sashes and other princess paraphernalia. It’s all about pre-wedding hoopla. You’d think they have bigger fish to fry … or bigger T-bones to broil … but the upscale restaurants are getting serious about dress codes, trying to preserve (or maybe to create) a sophisticated atmosphere where it doesn’t seem incongruous to shell out hundreds of dollars for steaks and seafood and high-end cocktails.

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photo of people dining out
Business Communication, Communication

Why Don’t We Have a Conversation?

Why don’t we have a conversation? No matter what business you’re in, I’m betting this sounds familiar. Email’s long since become the default for interacting with customers and colleagues and everyone else. At big companies, people notoriously send Slack messages to individuals sitting right down the hall or across the room. Younger people gravitate toward texting instead; many millennials never answer their phone, they don’t even listen to voicemails. Sure, you can call them—you’ll get a text in return. If you’re lucky. There are some advantages to typing versus talking. But, oh, what we give up!

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photo of two business people enjoying a conversation
Business Communication, Communication, Speaking

Some Like ‘em Strong and Wrong

Some like ‘em strong and wrong. It seems as true today as it was then. Former President Bill Clinton told the Democratic Leadership Council in 2002, “When people feel uncertain, they’d rather have someone strong and wrong than weak and right.” It was his post-mortem after Democrats went down to defeat in that year’s midterm elections. Fast forward to the present and notice how often you hear Donald Trump’s supporters say they’re with him because, “He’s strong.” “He’s a leader,” and “He fights.” They’re not agreeing with some arcane policy positions, they’re reacting to their perceptions of Trump’s personality. Loud, aggressive, freewheeling. And they like it.

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Strong and Wrong
Communication, Speaking

Talking with Your Hands

Talking with your hands My sister and I were chatting with our aunt’s neighbors at a senior residence, when one of them commented on the way I was chatting. Apparently, it involved gestures. Which is not unusual. We all use our hands when we talk. Clients sometimes tell me they think they over-use their hands. They’re usually wrong. The truth is, your hands really are almost as important as your words. And sometimes you can speak volumes with your hands. Using gestures when we speak is not only natural. It’s also highly correlated with charisma. That makes sense, right?  A speaker who stands stock still and doesn’t move their hands will be much less magnetic than a speaker who creates a visual experience for their audience as well as an auditory one. Where? Bottom line: wherever you’re talking, your gestures matter. So what gestures should you use?

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business person gesrturing with hands
Business Communication, Communication

What does a Leader Look Like?

What does a Leader Look Like? When you conjure up an image of a leader, what do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel about that person? When I started coaching on presence and presentation skills, the assumptions were clear and widely shared. They’ve changed quite a bit, especially in the past decade or so. Let’s delve into the differences. Senior business leaders long looked for confidence, decisiveness, and a blue-chip pedigree in each other, in the executives they brought onto their teams, and in the consultants, lawyers, and others they worked with. When it came to communication, they expected great speaking skills, forcefulness, and the ability to command a room. And they valued a polished appearance along with tallness, youthfulness, and slimness. (Are you thinking what I’m thinking?) Some of that is still at play. And some of it is played out.

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