A Few Stories

Sharon

(PRESENTATION SKILLS)

SITUATION: As a senior executive for a Fortune 50 retailer, Sharon was responsible for launching a new online gift registry. Her project was starting to acquire a poor reputation and her Steering Committee meetings had become very challenging.

OUR APPROACH: We immediately focused on building Sharon’s confidence through behavior changes and shifting her focus. Then, we simulated meetings to help improve her impromptu speaking skills focusing on her communication structure, strategy, and style. Sharon looked for creative, positive ways to express the project’s challenges. She gave more credit to her team members and employed techniques to more fully engage the committee.

THE RESULT: In the end, Sharon led a successful launch without a hiccup. She is still feeling the ripple effects in her career.

Dan

(EXECUTIVE COACHING)

SITUATION: Dan is a senior manager from an international professional services firm. He was managing a team of twenty people. He said members of the group had become quiet and passive. He suspected they were speaking badly about the initiative to others outside the team.  

OUR APPROACH: We focused on changing his leadership style by teaching him consensus building communication techniques. Through a series of role playing exercises, Dan was able to practice delivering information and directives to his team in a more interactive, inclusionary manner. 

THE RESULT: Team members began to work harder and channels of communication began to reopen. Not only did team members start sharing more ideas, they became more productive. 

Rajesh

(EXECUTIVE COACHING)

SITUATION: Raj is from India and has been working in the U.S. as a Director in an international consulting firm for the past three years. He routinely delivers tough messages to C-suite individuals, executive committees, and Boards of Directors, all based in the U.S. Although highly respected by his clients, they did have some negative feedback: Raj is usually frowning and appears unhappy with the decisions we’ve made. Raj interrupts us and doesn’t give the impression that he is listening. 

OUR APPROACH: We focused on sharpening Raj’s cultural bridging and rapport-building skills. By videotaping Raj during simulated presentations, he was able to see his confusing nonverbal behavior. We helped him expand his communication style to include more humor and storytelling. We worked on
his vocal tone, pitch variety, rate of speech, as well as his social speaking skills. 

THE RESULT: Raj was promoted to Partner the following year. 

Victor

(accent reduction)

SITUATION: Victor was a broadcaster for a Spanish television station. He was seeking to cross-over from Spanish speaking news to English speaking news. Grammatically, he spoke excellent English, but his speech was significantly accented. 

OUR APPROACH: We took him through a 13-hour course in accent reduction. He practiced diligently every day, recording himself reading news articles and critiquing his progress. He made lists and lists of words to practice with his coach during sessions. After thirteen hours of training, he reduced his foreign accent by 75%. This wasn’t enough for Victor. We created another round of advanced accent reduction coaching for him to focus on rhythm and stress. 

THE RESULT: After about thirty hours of coaching, he was hired by one of the major networks. He can be seen every night speaking accent-free English. 

Linda

(PRESENTATION SKILLS)

SITUATION: Linda is president of a PR firm. She requested our help in preparing to deliver a presentation at an industry conference.

OUR APPROACH: During the first meeting, we performed a thorough audience analysis and reviewed her presentation outline, deleting content that didn’t apply to this audience’s needs or interests. We videotaped her delivery and practiced areas where she seemed disconnected until the message was clear and interesting. We helped her craft an introduction and closing, design seamless transitions between thoughts, and prepare stories that revealed her personality and sense of humor. Finally, we helped her prepare for audience interruptions and her Q&A. She was ready for anything!

THE RESULT: Linda was very happy with the end product and especially flattered when the audience of her peers asked when and where her next talk would be.