Category Archives: Blog

Boost Your Resiliency

Are you or your colleagues feeling stressed? Would it be helpful to get a booster dose of Resilience Skills? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Over the past 6 months we have noticed an increase in the number of inquiries about Resilience Training – from health care workers, to large companies, to branches of government – it seems that everyone could do with a booster dose of resiliency. Ask us about how a One Day Resilience Training Session can help your team grow attitudes, skills and knowledge that impact your resilience at home and at work.

How to Deliver a Stand-Out Presentation While Seated

Do you make more presentations sitting down versus standing up? Wonder how to highlight key points while seated? Not sure what to do with your vocals when delivering over phone or computer? These questions are frequently asked of our expert Presentation Facilitators when we work with companies to grow their teams’ public speaking skills.

These days, many professionals deliver presentations via webinars, phone calls, or in small meeting rooms where sitting down makes more sense. So how do the stand-up delivery skills work in these sit-in situations? Turns out that all the speaking skills that are traditionally used in a stand-up forum are transferable to a seated speaking engagement, with some adjustments. For example, eye contact is just as important sitting down as standing up; even more so when you are in a small intimate meeting space. So use your eyes to connect briefly with each person around the room. Similarly, gestures are important for stressing key points, and changing the pacing of your verbal remarks. While your gestures may be smaller in a boardroom versus a ballroom, the same principles of delivery are important to consider. Think about your timing, your gesture zone, and your placement of your hands; keeping your gestures above a meeting room table is key to ensuring people “see” your message.

What about your vocals? Think you can forget about varying your pitch, your pace, your projection or your passion? Definitely not; a boring, monotone presentation is killer especially if you are speaking via teleconference. So remember the importance of varying your vocals, changing your pitch, adjusting your projection and emphasizing key words while seated. It will be the difference between a mediocre presentation and a great one!

Bottom line, if you deliver presentations seated or standing up, it is extremely valuable to learn how to use expert performance skills such as eye contact, vocals, body language and gestures. Check out our Powerful Presentations training course for a good overview of speaking skills that deliver – whether you’re sitting down or standing up!

How to Boost Your Resiliency

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work? Too many projects on your To-Do List? Or, are you feeling out of step with your workload and home tasks?

It’s easy to discover that the juggling act we often call “Work-Life Balance” gets out of wack. It may be that there are a lot of stresses in one or more areas of your life that are getting you down. Professionals who work full time and run a family or home life often report feeling stressed keeping it all together.

Do you need a jump-start for your Resiliency? Here are three tips that can help you feel better at work or at home.

  1. Focus on your Successes. Remember to take stock of all that you are accomplishing. This might be itemizing a list of actions or tasks you have taken toward a goal. Or even something simple like cleaning off your desk so you feel more organized. It is better to count your successes than your failures; you’ll feel more capable to move forward in a positive way.
  2. Find some Supporters. Surround yourself with friends and colleagues that you trust, and with whom you feel nurtured. Spend some time with them over lunch or coffee break to get a boost of their energy. Depending on the situation, ask them to let you chat for a few minutes about what’s stressful in your life, then brainstorm a few supportive steps in the right direction.
  3. Change your Scenery. If you are feeling overworked, or overwhelmed staring at your computer screen, get out for a walk. Pick a green park or waterfront trail; somewhere that you can be in nature. Take this opportunity to shift focus, breathe and appreciate the beauty of nature. Taking a 30 minute walk can change up your internal landscape enough that you will return to work with a renewed perspective.

It’s easy to find yourself feeling dissatisfied, or stressed or overwhelmed at work. Most of us experience these ups and downs from time to time. The real question though, is what are you going to do about it? Try these three tips to shake up the situation so that you can reclaim your innate resiliency at work, and at home.

Boost Communication Skills for a profitable New Year

Ready to grow your professional skills as we hit another New Year? A quick survey of top professionals in the communications field identified that three skills can help you to to grow your professional mastery, no matter the industry. These three skills include:

  1. Improve your Presence
  2. Improve your Presentations
  3. Improve your Listening

All three of these skills include a combination of self-awareness and relationship awareness, cornerstones of EQ otherwise known as emotional intelligence. They also involve communication skills. No matter what industry you work in it helps if you can improve how you relate and interact with others. You can build these three skills by reading books, taking an onsite training course and setting attainable goals. Focus on improving your communication skills as you head into the new year and you and your career will benefit. Learn more by looking at the many free tools and onsite courses offered through Bold New Directions.

How To Grab Your Audience’s Attention From The Start & Improve Engagement

As a presenter or public speaker, the first minute of your remarks is the most important.  It’s the time to grab your audience’s attention, establish credibility, and let them know what to expect. Your introduction is one of the most critical elements of your talk and it can literally make or break your presentation.  Experienced speakers know that a well-crafted opening is worth its weight in gold. How can you make your opening remarks stand out from the crowd?  Try these three strategies below.


Get the Audience’s Attention

Say something interesting right away. Don’t waste time focusing on housekeeping details, off-color jokes or even your name; instead get the audience’s attention immediately.  Here are a few speaker strategies that can help:

  • Share a compelling statistic.

Statistics that point out an important issue help you captivate audience attention.  They make an impact and persuade the audience to listen.  Statistics can also help people understand the magnitude of the problem or opportunity at hand.

  • Provide a powerful quote.

Think about some of the great leaders of the world and see if there is a quote that relates to your topic.  There are some amazing quotes that are compelling and speak to an audience.  Choose a quote that is relevant to your topic and provides meaning about what you are going to say.

  • Make an outrageous statement.

A good hook is one that gets the audience engaged and makes them want to hear more.  You can make an outrageous or provocative claim such as, “Everyone in this room has one thing in common…we are all dying.”  While you may not agree with the comment, it certainly engages the audience and gets them to listen to your next remarks.


Weave a Compelling Story

Now that you have your audience’s attention, make your intro even more compelling by sharing a real-life story.  Storytelling is an extremely compelling tool for a public speaker.  Most people are interested in the experiences of others; and want to learn about humankind.  Stories teach us lessons and remind us of our own lives.  You can tell a personal story that will give audience an idea of your own experience with the topic. You can also share a story about a third party to convey a point. Storytelling is a powerful way to captivate listeners and convey a message about your topic.


Use Props or Visual Aids

We are all familiar with the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  That’s because images grab our interest, create imagery and evoke emotions.  They are also wonderful tools to make an important point. You can use a short video clip or series of images.  You can also use a prop such as a shovel, clock, arm-chair or shopping bag – as long as you can tie it to your topic.  I have seen speakers use sneakers, back-packs and chewing gum to connect stories and inject humor into their remarks.  Think about what props could be symbolic to your story-line and weave them into your next presentation.



Making use of all of these devices will not only help you create a compelling introduction but will allow you to entertain people throughout your remarks.  And that’s a great way to create a compelling presentation.


What are 3 Top Benefits of Improving Coaching Skills For Managers?

Looking back on your career, which boss stands out as the most helpful?  Was it the one who was quick to criticize and put you in your place?  Was it an intellectual bully? Or, was it the one who asked you important questions and mentored you to success?  Chances are it was the latter, assuming you were one of the lucky few that had a boss that knew how to use coaching skills effectively.

Many professionals share that their own experience with bosses was difficult; they worked for bosses who wanted to own the glory but not share the struggle.  How might it have been for you if your past boss had helped you to hone your skills and improve your confidence?  And what if you could do that for your direct reports?  Imagine how morale, productivity and overall effectiveness would change. So how does coaching help?  Here are three benefits of growing the coaching skills of your managers; increased morale, increased productivity and increased effectiveness.

1. Increased Morale:

Staff members who feel supported report that they feel better about their work and specifically that they feel better about their relationship with their boss.  They are more likely to share anecdotes and participate in joint discussions and problem solving, rather than try to hide problems under the rug.  Overall, team members who have received coaching say they feel valued and appreciated; and their overall morale improves.

2. Increased Productivity:

Ever spent too much time worrying about making a mistake, or trying to cover your tracks for fear of getting in trouble with a difficult boss? What if you didn’t have to do all that? What if you could decrease the down time of worry and anxiety, and instead focus on getting tasks done.  Over time, staff members who are in a positive relationship with their manager indicate they feel increased confidence in their roles, and that they can contribute in more productive ways since they are not fearful of failure. The coaching relationship helps to change the culture of the workplace to one that rewards innovation and effort and this in itself creates more productivity within the team.

3. Increased Effectiveness: 

Just like a well-oiled machine, a company that works together smoothly hits less snags and has less downtime.  Direct reports who spend less time feeling frustrated, worried or bullied, have more time to devote to getting things done – well!  Coaching can even be the oil that lubricates the various cogs in your company machine; preventing and dissolving friction that might occur, lubricating the innovation and creativity of your workers.  By increasing effectiveness of key players on your team, coaching helps your organization perform at a higher standard.

All in all, training programs that help your managers develop coaching skills pay off in spades.  By assisting your managers to develop the attitude, knowledge and skills of how to coach an employee to success you set up your organization to receive multiple benefits from increased morale, to increased productivity, to increased effectiveness.  Ask us about our Coaching Skills For Managers Training Program which can be delivered onsite at your organization.  The immediate results and the long-term pay off will make you glad you did.

Why is Resilience So Popular Now?

Do you ever notice there’s a run on avocados?  Or that every restaurant you visit has guacamole on their menu?  Sometimes life’s like that; a new topic comes along and everyone’s asking for it.  For us that avocado is Resilience Training!  Of late, the phone rings frequently and email inquiries arrive daily asking “how can we improve resilience in the workplace?”.  But why is Resilience so popular now?  Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the world around us and how  its creating a momentum for greater resilience training in the workplace. We’ll explore what’s happening on the national, organizational and individual level, drilling down to the essential undercurrents that are stirring up stress and discontent.  Then we’ll consider what to do about it.

On the national level, recent events in security, politics, and the greater environment have been troubling to many households. Watching the nightly news can expose us to stories of tragedy and destruction that chip away at our core “good feelings”.  Similarly, on the organizational level many government groups are experiencing funding cuts and downsizing.  The remaining employees feel the uncertainty and the overwhelm as they have to take on additional tasks once handled by their former colleagues.  On the individual level, the overall stress takes a toll.  Working parents may be alarmed about finances, crime, and child care all in the context of trying to juggle busy work and home lives.  All in all, it makes for a troubling time for the individual.  Too much stress, too much overload, too much overwhelm.

In the midst of all these factors, Resilience Training is like a beacon of hope. With it’s emphasis on the whole person, strengths and resources, Resilience Training helps employees access tools to remain optimistic, buoyant and upbeat.  Who wouldn’t say more of that please.  So pass the Avocado’s would you, they are good for us.

Can Sales Teams Improve Their Presentation Skills & Product Pitch?

Does your company have a sales team?  Do they ever struggle to meet their goals?  Want to know a sure fire way to get them engaged and more effective?  Consider a refresher of Powerful Sales Presentations Skills.  While its true that many good sales professionals have taken a presentation training course at some time in their career, a refresher offers a lot of great value.  First there is the teamwork and camaraderie which boost morale; second there is the renewed focus on wording messages to land clearly on the client; third, there is a focus on body language that exudes confidence and success.  At the end of our presentation training sessions, we are continually amazed at the number of sales professionals who tell us “I wish I had taken this training 20 years ago when I started my career!”.  Nonetheless, it’s never too late to boost your sales teams’ ability to pitch their products with greater polish and success.  Ask us about Powerful Sales Presentations Training for your team or take a few minutes to look at some free resources on our RESOURCES page to help you boost your own presentation skills.

Is an Interactive Keynote Right For You?

This past week has brought a flurry of interest in Interactive keynotes on topics from Resilience to Leadership to Negotiations.  What’s an Interactive Keynote you might ask?  How does it differ from more traditional training sessions?  Is it a lecture or lengthy speech?  These are all great questions that bear exploration.  Over the past decade we have honed our skills delivering interactive training sessions that help transform people and performance. The interactive nature of the sessions, which use learning partners, role-plays, small group activities and large group discussions, is a huge part of our success.  By getting participants interested and engaged in activities that stimulate their heart, soul and mind – our interactive training gets better results than the old-fashioned lecture.  So it goes for our Keynotes too.  Instead of leading a 2 hour keynote in lecture style, our expert speakers incorporate activities and exercises into the agenda thereby engaging audience members in deeper exploration of topics.  This week we’re in Chicago and New York leading interactive keynotes, and our team has worked with groups that range from 25 to 500 in the audience.  So next time you have an important event or transition, consider the benefits of an interactive keynote for your crowd!

How To Present to Executive Audiences

Are you expected to give updates and presentations to your Executive Team?  Do you ever feel disappointed with their reaction to your presentation? Want to know how to get a better response and feel good about your presentation experience?  Remember these three simple tips to boost your success when your audience is made up of busy executives.

  1. Keep it Brief – Executives have a lot of responsibilities and tasks to complete.  They don’t need extra background information but typically want key points only.  So keep your presentation brief and focus on key messages.
  2. Paint a Big Picture – Since your executive audience most likely has staff to implement a new initiative they don’t usually need details but prefer a big picture overview.  Focus on Who, Where, What, When and Why.
  3. Focus on Outcomes – Don’t get lost in the weeds of how a process was created, or what happened last time around.  Most executives want to see how a project is tied to concrete outcomes such as outputs, revenue or cost savings.

By keeping these three tips in mind you can craft more powerful presentations that keep your executive audience interested and engaged in your remarks.  Not only will they get their needs met, but you will feel more successful in your public speaking skills. So get started; keep it brief, paint a big picture, and focus on outcomes. Learn more at our sister site or look at our Presentation Training solutions on the homepage.