12 Tips to Help You Choose a Communication Coach

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17 Behaviors to Avoid (to Prevent Vocal Hoarseness)

If your job requires the use of your voice (and really whose job doesn’t?), you may not be able to perform at your peak ability with a hoarse voice.  Nearly all of us use our voice in our daily routine: executives, teachers, speakers, sales men and women, shop foremen, nurses, lawyers, doctors.  Taking care of your voice on and off the job and is very important so that your voice will be available to you at all times. 

Vocal hoarseness occurs for a variety of reasons.  In this video I give you 17 reasons with explanations of vocal abuse that may cause hoarseness or vocal fatigue (and they are preventable).
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How To Stop Ho-Hum Presentations

Should business presentations be delivered as effectively as keynote speeches that are intended to inspire and engage?

Board rooms and staff meetings tend to be the most boring places to engage people.  Reports are read and too many details on too many slides are presented.  What can you differently? 

Well, how about telling stories in your presentations to sell an idea, to present your stats and/or to motivate and inspire your staff.  Your leadership skills and ideas will come through the  best by telling compelling stories that resonate with your audiences.  I’m inspired to tell you this because last night I attended the Moth in Pittsburgh and I want to share with you four tips…  Continue reading

5 Tips on Effective Communication That I Learned From My Mountain Biking Friends

Many of you know how much I love to mountain bike.  I started it a few years ago and have been hooked ever since.  My biking friends taught me how to navigate rough terrain, climb steep hills, jump logs, and make difficult turns on switchbacks. It is challenging and fun and of course, being outdoors is a big plus!

I received a lot of great advice when I started that applies to the way in which we communicate.   Let me share that advice with you. First, the piece of advice and what it means in the mountain biking world and then, how this guideline applies to the way in which you communicate. Continue reading

President Trump’s Voice Power Strategy

You may have seen the segment on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams, “Why does Trump use a different microphone than past presidents?’ Brian’s guest, Josh King, author of Off Script: An Advance Man’s Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide, answered the question.  Continue reading

A Quiz: Test Your Vocal Health Smarts

This weekend, I will be attending the 2017 Voice Therapy Conference in Pittsburgh.  I am attending for two reasons.  First of all, I must get my Continuing Education credits to maintain my license to practice. Secondly, my absolute favorite part of speech pathology when I was in graduate school was in the area of voice.  I had a fabulous professor who got me hooked on the capabilities of our tiny instrument, the larynx.  I just loved to learn about the anatomy, diagnosing voice problems and helping patients learn to use their voices in better ways.

I still love to learn about our amazingly unique and complex larynx and I want to stay current with trends in techniques, so I am excited to attend!  Here are a few amazing facts that I found fascinating…. Continue reading

The Pros and Cons of Losing a Foreign Accent vs. Reducing a Foreign Accent

Maybe you are struggling with a foreign accent and have lost some self-confidence at work because of it.  You are repeating yourself frequently (and that’s getting old real fast), other people jump in and explain what you just said or meant, you see blank stares or people responding off-topic to what you just said, or someone at work has told you were not selected to do the presentation because of your accent.

Research shows that your listeners grow tired of having to try to translate the message when you hard to understand.  Your listener will stick with you for only so long before shutting down and stop listening.  This puts you at a disadvantage.  You have a couple of choices: Lose your accent completely or reduce your accent.  Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both.  Continue reading

First Impressions Matter: What Can You Do in Seven Seconds?

It only takes seconds to make an impression.  It seems the research varies from 1/10th of a second to 30 seconds (with an average of 7 seconds).  The fact remains, we judge quickly and others are doing the same when we first meet.  The question is, what can we do about it?

A lot of people take for granted the powerful tools they have to create lasting impressions that help them every day in their communications with business customers and colleagues and help them to achieve their goals and aspirations.Continue reading

3 Vocal Tones to Avoid in the Workplace

Your tone of voice says a lot.  It indicates your friendliness, confidence, and how authentic you are.  People will choose whether they want to do business with you based on the way you sound.  There are both positive, uplifting tones that we can feel encouraged by and there are other tones of voice that can demoralize and demotivate.  Sometimes, people don’t recognize that their vocal tone is so disheartening.  Even if they do, they aren’t sure what it is about their tone that makes them sound that way.  Below are three vocal tones that should be avoided in the workplace and an explanation of what is happening through speech, language and voice characteristics.  Continue reading

Understanding Cultural Differences Saves You From Embarrassing Faux Pas

It’s not all that difficult to get caught up in our own little world and forget that differences exist between us and our foreign colleagues with whom we interact and/or do business.  I’ve been guilty of it and was it ever an awkward and embarrassing moment when I found out I committed an egregious faux pas.  (I wanted to hide when I was calmly and tactfully corrected.   Luckily, I had a forgiving friend.)  Here are some terrific tips to help you understand cultural differences.  They come from Rhonda Coast, who is an expert on cross-cultural training in the workplace. It’s a must read to help you to avoid making a mistake that leaves you embarrassed.Continue reading

How “Fox in Socks” Helps Busy Executives (Speak More Clearly)

When I work with an executive on diction and pronunciation, I always check their jaw/tongue/lips for signs of tension.  Usually, it’s visible.  The lips are clenched a little and the mouth doesn’t open very widely.  It’s no wonder that they sound like they are mumbling and are difficult to understand.  In the case of tension and “tongue tied”, we often work on relaxation exercises to realize the potential the muscles of our vocal tract have.  We practice an exaggerated mouth opening on counting and other automatic speech tasks.  (Most clients find their jaw exhausted after our exercises.)

Then, we find ways to incorporate this skill into everyday activities.  If my clients have young children, the first thing that I recommend is to read, “Fox in Socks” by Dr. Seuss. Continue reading

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