Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do people come to an organization like Speak for Success for help?
- Aren't basic communication skills taught in college?
- Is public speaking still the number one fear of most people?
- Is it really possible to overcome your fear of public speaking?
- Why do presentation skills matter?
- This might be important for CEOs, but people in engineering and technology jobs don't get hired for their communication skills
- Who really needs to be taught how to use email? It's not so difficult!
- Memos, letters and reports might be different, but can't you just have an administrative assistant take care of cleaning up any problems?
- I work very hard as a professional, have great technical skills and am good at my job. Why isn't that enough to succeed?
1. Why do people come to an organization like Speak for Success for help?
People call Speak for Success when facing one of these four communication challenges:
- The High Stakes Presentation
- The Dreaded Conversation
- You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression
- That’s Not What I Meant!
The High Stakes Presentation
A company may be in startup phase raising money from investors and needs to tell a story in a compelling and inspiring way. Or, a more mature company may be seeking to reposition itself or be preparing to go public. In these type of situations, Speak for Success is brought in to work with the executive team to help them polish both their presentation and delivery skills to help them get the results they seek.
The Dreaded Conversation
A change may need to be implemented across the organization and it might be perceived negatively. An employee might need construction criticism about job performance. We’ll be called in to come and work with managers to help them deliver these important messages clearly with compassion and respect for the well-being of the employee or customer. We see clear communications as the vehicle to show appreciation, build morale and help people positively move through challenging times and situations.
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression
Companies know that each employee who interacts with a customer is both the face and voice of the company. Companies who want those interactions to be positive experiences and leave positive impressions with both their prospects and customers call Speak for Success. They know that their investments in communications training and coaching pay off many times over in both customer retention and new customer acquisition.
That’s Not What I Meant!
Sometimes critical communications inside organizations can be misunderstood or misinterpreted when sent via email. Projects can be stalled and deadlines can be missed due to poor communication. We help business professionals write clearly and succinctly for their busy readers who need to get things done.
2. Aren’t basic business communication skills taught in college? Yes, they are. However, many people who come through our presentation skills programs, haven’t given a presentation since college and are a bit rusty! Or, they may even have avoided taking public speaking courses because of fear and discomfort. A critical part of our programs is to help people develop self-confidence, so that they can build rapport and a positive connection with their audiences. Those skills are typically not taught in college!
For written communications in academia, more is better. Often, complex lengthy content is desired and will get the student a better grade! In business, the opposite is true. Executives want to know the bottom-line and you better get there quickly.
Even fewer people receive formal training in the use of technology as communication tools, such as PowerPoint, email and voicemail. All of our programs teach the communication skills to be successful in the fast-paced workplace of today.
3. Is public speaking still the number one fear of most people?
Yes. A Google search for “fear of public speaking” returns over four million links. About 90% of the professionals who come through Speak for Success programs find public speaking uncomfortable—and often, one of their greatest fears—leaving only about 10% who actually enjoy it. Today, more people are being required to, as part of their roles, give formal and informal presentations.
4. Is it really possible to overcome your fear of public speaking? Yes, by getting expert help, mastering a few basic concepts and putting them into practice. Dana Bristol-Smith, the founder of Speak for Success, learned how to get past her fear of public speaking by learning on-the-job how to give presentations to large audiences. She made many mistakes along the way and it was a slow and painful process! Dana founded Speak for Success to give professionals both instruction and practice in a “safe” environment so they could make mistakes, learn on their feet, and not suffer humiliation or embarrassment when giving important presentations for their companies.
5. Why do presentation skills matter?
A commanding and confident presence is essential when you are in a leadership role or aspiring to be in one. By speaking up at meetings, leading meetings, and giving presentations, you become much more visible inside your organization. In fact, you become more promotable because of the positive impressions you make on others.
If you are in a sales position, a decision to award a contract or sign a sales agreement will be based on your ability to develop rapport and give an effective presentation that provides solutions to your client’s problems. Your presentation skills clearly affect the bottom line of your entire company.
6. This might be important for CEOs, but people in engineering and technology jobs don’t get hired for their communication skills.
Technical professionals represent your company at trade shows, conferences, customer sites and with the public and unfortunately, they may not be great communicators. We’ve worked with many scientists, engineers, and IT professionals, who after attending our programs are much better able to share their knowledge and expertise with both technical and non-technical audiences. By training technical professionals to improve their business presentations, Speak for Success helps organizations achieve much better results and win more business.
7. Who really needs to be taught how to use email? It’s not so difficult!
Just because email is easy and fast DOES NOT mean that it is the most effective communication medium. It can create misunderstandings due to lack of organization, rambling, or the hurry that the writer was in when she wrote it. It can delay decisions by slowing down a conversation. It can present a sloppy image due to typos and errors. Worst of all, your email may be ignored, or not even opened if you don’t know how to catch the reader’s attention and get to the point right away! Many companies today are communicating with their clients via email. Is your company sending clear, professional and effective communications via email?
8. Memos, letters and reports might be different, but can’t you just have an administrative assistant take care of cleaning up any problems?
Many companies don't have the luxury of support staff anymore. Managers are expected to create their own communications. If your writing isn't clear and easily understood, you could damage your company's image, create conflict, and hurt important business relationships.
9. I work very hard as a professional, have great technical skills and am good at my job. Why isn’t that enough to succeed?
Effective communication skills are critical for your success in business today. If you want to advance within your company into a management or executive position, you need to be visible and leave a positive impression on those you communicate with.
Having the ability to give an effective business presentation; speak up at meetings with your good ideas; lead meetings; communicate your ideas clearly in proposals; motivate and inspire others to work together to complete projects; and, win new business will allow you to be seen and heard, and come to mind when promotions become available.
These critical communication skills will help you get to where you want to in your career and in your life!
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