Monday, March 30, 2009

Some Seats Open for BRODY BOOST Camp – Because, Professionalism is Even More Critical

Four day countdown to the next BRODY Professional Development BOOST Camp …

Self-development is even more critical than ever before.

If you are still employed, you need to present yourself and your ideas in a clear/concise/courageous manner.

If you aren’t employed, you again need to sell yourself and your ideas in a clear/concise/courageous manner – to get a new job.

Contrary to what the news media would like you to think, companies are still operating – and, in many fields, people are getting hired.

As I’ve said before, if you’re unemployed, getting depressed and giving up isn’t an option.

Or, if you fear that you will be in the next round of layoffs, don’t adopt a “there’s nothing I can do” attitude.

What do you need to do to boost your own presence and professionalism? Join me on April 2nd and you’ll find out!

We have a few more seats still open at our open-enrollment career development workshop -- BRODY BOOST Camp.

Click here to learn more and register today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Present Like a Pro: It's All About the Audience

Last week, I did a webinar on presentation skills.

One question I was asked at the end was, “What is the number one mistake that people make when it comes to giving presentations?

My answer? “Not knowing the audience.”

Think about it...

As a speaker, your information may be excellent, but if it doesn’t relate to the audience, what’s the point?

If the vocabulary, acronyms and jargon are correct, but the audience doesn’t understand them, what’s the point?

If your audience members like to learn by listening, but you use lots of PowerPoint slides, what’s the point?

Preparing a presentation should be all about the audience.

Instead, most presenters see things from their own lens.

Here are some critical factors to consider about your audience members, the next time you prepare a presentation:

•What is their demographic? After all, the examples you use must be understood by them.

•What is their attitude toward your topic and you?

•What experiences do they have relating to your topic?

•How do they like to learn?

•What are their hot buttons?

•How do they make decisions?

•Who are the decision-makers, and who are the influencers?

There are three times to get to know an audience.

The first is when you start your preparation; do your research.

The second is to arrive early, ask questions, and observe what is happening around you.

Finally, you can learn about an audience during the presentation itself. If the audience seems perplexed, is hostile or falling asleep, change what you’re doing. Do a quick reality check and shift gears.

There isn’t one speaker or speaking style that works with all audiences.

But, as a presenter, you can flex your style and your content.

Keep in mind the name of my popular book Speaking is an Audience-Centered Sport.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Message to President Obama & His Support Team: RE Communicating & Selling Ideas

I’ve been listening to members of the Obama administration present their ideas.

They are smart people. Their ideas are well thought out (even though many of you reading this may not agree with the philosophies and/or solutions that they have crafted).

But, many of these administration members fail to sell their ideas.

Part of the problem is that they need to see themselves as salespeople, and they don’t.

But, they are – they are selling their credibility, experience, ideas, and themselves.

Subsequently, some of them fall flat.

Ideas rarely stand on their own merit.

President Obama knows this, and understands that style doesn’t replace substance ... but it is a critical part of selling the substance.

Passion sells. People connect on an emotional level, not just logical.

Perhaps one of the best communicators ever, Aristotle, talked about the necessity of using pathos (emotional appeals) as well as logic.

Our audiences – Congress included – respond to the emotion, not only in examples used, but also in message delivery.

People ask if I am a motivational speaker. My answer is no.

I am a content speaker who can motivate.

Of course, I love to hear, “You are so motivational.”

Isn’t that what we need from our leaders, and those who support them?

President Obama: With all due respect, some of your team members need speech coaching -- in order for them to get buy-in for their (and your) good ideas.
My blog this week is all about the need for (and benefit of) professionals improving their communication skills.

With that thought in mind … seats at my April 2 open enrollment career development workshop -- BRODY BOOST Camp -- are filling up. To learn more about how BOOST Camp can help your career outlook/job security, and secure your seat today, click here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Effective Communication is Critical – Especially When Triaging (& Caring for) Hospital Patients

Last week I wrote about the pharmaceutical industry.

This week, it became more personal.

My 84-year old mother passed out in her apartment. Fortunately, she had a medical alert button. So, she ultimately was taken to the hospital.

Hospitals are scary places. You don’t want to be there without an advocate. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

If you are old, sick, or unassertive, you can become a nonentity.

For example, my mother had four different health professionals (nurses, medical students, interns and residents) ask about the medications she is taking.

Did they compare notes? No, they didn’t.

They panicked when they saw something going on in her brain – but no one had recorded the fact that she had surgery 30 years ago for a condition, and there was some scar tissue. My mom told the nurse that, but no one found that note.

My mom told me that she liked a particular doctor. Why? Because she listened. Mom spent days being tested and no one told her for what, and why.

Here’s my take and recommendations for all hospital personnel -- and the irony is, for the most part, the negatives weren’t clinical or medical in nature, they were about good communication.

•Treat patients as people, not a disease state.

•Ask questions – listen – record responses when essential.

•Communicate these answers with all people involved in the “case.”

•Ask the patient what he or she needs – food, drink, the bathroom, medication, etc. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel still works.

•Keep family members updated frequently – let them decide what information may not be that “essential.”

I realize that hospital personnel are overworked. However, if they treated each patient as though it was their mother (or parent); they might make the experience a bit more pleasant.

Typically, a hospital stay is not a choice, so, please don’t make it any worse!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

“Without Promotion, Something Terrible Happens: Nothing” – PT Barnum

For years, I have worked with many clients in the pharmaceutical industry, and thought that the companies – and the industry as a whole – needed to communicate more effectively in promoting the great work they do.

Do they make a profit? Let’s hope so!

After all, that helps to develop new drugs, which can cure diseases, and help with chronic illness, etc.

In my family alone, we benefit from their drug development in the areas of high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, allergies, a host of infections, the flu, and, of course, the common cold.

I personally am grateful for drug development.

Do they make a profit? Yes.

I know I already said that, but it’s worth repeating – because making a profit helps the economy.

They pay taxes, and they have people who buy goods and services, and, therefore, pay taxes in turn. I believe this is a way to stimulate the economy.

America is a capitalist country – there is nothing wrong with making a profit.

The goal is to do good, and do well.

20 years ago, I used to say to my pharmaceutical clients that they needed to promote their industry differently -- in terms of the good that they do in the world, the lives that are saved and have been changed as a result of their efforts and products.

Somehow, the message has been lost on the public.

Why am I on a rant about this today?

I spent this past weekend in Texas, with eight other BRODY facilitators, presenting/facilitating at a Physician Speaker Training program.

I was impressed with the client’s commitment to drug development, clinical education, and patient care.

I understand and support rules, regulations, and compliance regarding promotion in the pharmaceutical industry. But, let’s not get so restrictive that education stops, and we, the public (and patients), suffer.

What’s the bottom line here?

Don’t assume that anyone knows the good that you do. It’s up to you to make sure that your message is widespread.