How does this differ from other communications training programs?
Because of our background, we approach training from a unique vantage point, utilizing specific directing and performing skills. These are skills that must be identified, developed, and practiced. We work with people on their feet, in real time, coaching them on their presentation, whether it's for a large lecture, a meeting, or a one-on-one interview. We set up the training room as a facsimile of the appropriate work environment -- standing in front of people, talking on the telephone, reading from a computer screen. It’s hands-on, experiential learning.
What do your stage and acting skills have to do with my business-communication issues? I’m not Lawrence Olivier!
All good presentations are performances, and all performances are about effective, compelling communication. We’re not talking about putting on a “persona” that’s not you or becoming an actor in a play, but we will teach you the same skill set that a compelling performer uses. These skills are modified to the situation that’s appropriate for you, your team, or your company. We work from the outside in: when you change the way the body moves and breathes and speaks, you change the way the mind works.
How quickly will I see changes?
Improvement is immediate. Once the skills are identified and you begin to practice them, you see how down-to-earth and practical they are. Also, we stay in touch with our clients after a workshop. We go back to the original work environment, review the videotapes, and see how participants are using the skills.
We've tried all the latest training fads—the effect never seems to last. Why is your approach different?
The practices we’re advocating and teaching are not theoretical or hard to locate -- they’re right in front of you. They're based on principles that have been proven over and over in the performing arts. We’re well aware that skills decay; that’s why we’re also interested in reinforcement as part of the program. The great thing about people who work together is that they can help each other.
What benefits should I expect to see?
Our clients will have greater confidence in themselves -- and inspire greater trust in others. They will be more effective and compelling communicators. Meetings, teleconferences and presentations will be more productive and persuasive.
We don’t stand up and present—we’re on the phone all day. How will your program help us?
We talk a lot about phone conferencing, when all you’ve got is your voice to communicate a message. Your voice has to have a listenable quality, color, inflection, and implied structure. Diction is critical.
Can you put together something for a couple of hours? A couple of days?
We’re completely flexible: last month, we did a workshop on two successive days; yesterday we did a half-day session, next week we’re beginning a series of four 90-minute sessions with a client. We love to do conferences and offsite retreats. We can also help clients gear up for a major, specific event such as a sales conference or customer showcase. Recently, we were presenters at the annual National Association of Professional Financial Advisors (NAPFA) conference and Envestnet's annual Advisors Summit.
I understand that every training is different, but can you give me a sense of what a “typical” program consists of?
Here’s an agenda from a recent two-day program:
Day 1 is devoted to developing specific skills of presentation including the use of breath, gesture, vocal projection, posture, diction, word stress, text analysis, intention, and goals. This is achieved through the use of breathing and posture exercises, simple drills, discussion, and "first impression" exercises and individual coaching.
On Day 2,participants present actual presentations and material specific to their work, we videotape presentations, and follow up with individual coaching and discussion. We also discuss how to organize presentations for best effect. After a second videotaping, we view the tapes, offer additional coaching, and discuss strategies for developing and maintaining the skills learned.
Is there a minimum or maximum group size?
The size ranges from one to over a hundred. We help executives work on their own skills through personal, one-on-one coaching, and we work with teams and large groups. Personal coaching often leads to team training, and from there to the larger organization.
What factors affect the cost of the program?
Length of training
Preparation: Initial meeting, on-site observation, room specs
All of this is built into the total price. Since every workshop is custom designed, we can tailor it according your specific needs and budget. Please contact us for more information.