Improving your communication skills can improve your leaderships skills as well, according to Jason VanderPal. VanderPal a sales trainer with a a very successful sales career under his belt, discussed this during a recent meeting of Rotary Club of New Berlin. VanderPal walked us through his formative years with a major retailer out west.
Employed at Guitar Center in California for several years, VanderPal was asked to give a speech during the firm’s 2007 national conference. That presentation was so well received, he was offered the manager’s position at Guitar Center’s Hollywood location – their flagship store. “I have a 20-minute speech to thank for that,” he says.
Interested in enhancing his public speaking skills, VanderPal joined Toastmasters, then enrolled in an intense, three-day workshop created by renowned public speaking trainer Bill Gove. VanderPal shared some important tips from that training.
1. Make a point, then tell a story. Segue into your story by saying, “Let me give you an example.” Examples and stories help audience members understand your point.
Have you ever attended a presentation that put you to sleep? (Maybe one of your presentations had that effect!) Or, how about the presentation that all but slipped your mind by the following day?
A presentation can fail for a number of reasons. One cause is a lack of stories. Good stories are powerful tools, noted Rob Biesenbach during this month’s Milwaukee PRSA meeting.
Biesenbach, who owns Rob Biesenbach LLC, kicked off his presentation with a few stories of his own. A long-time Chicago resident, Biesenbach has “commuted” to Milwaukee at least 150 times over the years. He has also traveled around Wisconsin. He learned to ski in the state, observed the infamous goats atop Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, and got married in Lake Geneva.
As a result, we in the audience developed a connection to Biesenbach. Which is one of his points. “Story telling is one of the most powerful forms of communication,” Biesenbach says. “It breaks down barriers.”
Our brains are naturally receptive to stories, Biesenbach says. Research has shown that 63% of an audience will remember stories told during a presentation, while only 5% will recall the stats that were provided.
Stories work because they:
Speaking clearly is important all times. We accept that in business settings. We sometimes let our guard down, though, during private conversations. Of course, some of that is acceptable. After all, no one is perfect and no one expects perfection from others.
There is a fine line between casual and sloppy conversation. If you want to be–and remain–a polished speaker, you should practice the fundamentals in every instance. Some people think they can switch on the communication skills when needed (say, for a business presentation). That’s not as simple as it seems. Speaking clearly when necessary becomes easier when you commit to speaking clearly all the time.
Consider your phone or Skype calls, social gatherings, and other private events. Every time you open your mouth to say something, use the opportunity to practice what you’ve been taught. Eventually the principles become second nature, and you’re speaking well in all circumstances.
You’ve heard of Millennials, Generation X and Generation Y. Now comes Generation C. Who it is, what they do, and how to market to them was the subject of a fascinating presentation during yesterday’s PRSA luncheon in downtown Milwaukee. A panel comprised of staff from Bader Rutter, a business marketing agency in Brookfield, Wis., provided a thorough review of this dynamic group.
First, unlike the other groups listed above, Gen C is not age related. The term, coined by rating service Nielsen, means Generation Connected. These folks are defined by their actions, mainly through social media. With their smartphone always (or nearly always) on, Gen C’ers are:
Communicating and connecting: among other social media users near and far
Creating: content and posting it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. They are very passionate about brands, and use social media to share their opinions.
Changing: forcing marketers to change they way they do business in light of the exposure brought through these social media posts.
Why should marketers care about this group?
Bill Walsh, CEO and Founder of Powerteam International, offered some keen business ideas Tuesday night to a group of entrepreneurs at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee. Walsh spelled out four qualities needed to be successful.
1. Be an expert. You have to be someone who “owns the space.” People want to hire those who are experts at a skill set, Walsh says. The money is in being a specialist.
It is a mental process, as well. Get accustomed to identifying yourself as an expert. When asked, reply, “I am [a great communicator/an author, etc.]”