conversation-skills

April 20, 2017
Securing an initial conversation with decision makers is tougher than ever. When you do finally get someone's attention or time, the first 60 seconds of your interaction are critical. Which is precisely why it's so important to think before you speak. To get the results you want, you must be intentional about how you engineer the first minute of your conversation. Read the blog to learn more.
April 06, 2017

What do wildly successful business people have in common? Multiple studies confirm they tend to be exceptional communicators—people who excel at moving information and insight into action. What can you learn from these communication superheroes? In all my years’ experience working in the business communication field, I’ve observed that two behaviors set exceptional communicators apart. Read this week's blog to learn what they are.

March 23, 2017

The average person’s attention span is shorter than a goldfish’s. That can make grabbing and keeping the attention of busy professionals a challenge of epic proportions. Here are 5 strategies to help you win the attention of an easily distracted audience. (Hint: Providing better information than anyone else isn’t enough.)

February 23, 2017

Business anxiety is high. Geopolitics. Trade. Cyber security. Uncertainty reigns. One former White House economist suggests we're living in an "age of anxiety." Ready-aim-fire approaches to addressing the disruptive changes ahead won't work. Instead, businesses need to be proactive. How? Equip your people with the skills needed to create clarity from chaos and decisiveness from uncertainty. Learn why clearer thinking and speaking is the antidote to business anxiety and what 3 skills your talent needs to not only survive this new era, but to thrive in it.


February 09, 2017
In this attention-anemic world, we humans are rapidly losing the ability to listen. One thing we've learned from the thousands of people who attend Mandel workshops every year is that most people have 3 damaging habits that disrupt their ability to express themselves—and also impede their ability to listen to others. This week's blog explores how to break those bad habits and replace them with ones that can help you become a truly great listener.
January 26, 2017

I think most of us would agree that nothing good happens when people stop listening to each other. So, how can you be a better listener? It may sound counterintuitive, but to be a good listener you have to learn how to be heard. This week, I want to talk about how not feeling heard sabotages effective listening and what you can do about it.

November 10, 2016
Do you have the skills you need to land that promotion or new role? Does your team have what it takes to keep your business competitive in the face of new market challenges? Because, according to a recent analysis, technical skill and subject matter expertise may no longer be enough. If you're striving for career and company growth, here are 6 smart reasons to invest in people skills.
October 13, 2016

Often when technical subject matter experts present to customers, they're so passionate about their work that they forget to filter the info they present through the “Why should the customer care?” lens. As a result, customers walk away feeling confused as to what the solution was or how it could benefit them. To successfully influence customer decision-making, assume the role of discussion leader, not data dumper. To help you, here are 3 things the best discussion leaders do exceptionally well.

August 04, 2016

Years ago, I had the chance to be coached by a well-respected professional in my field. At the end of the day, I sat poised with pen in hand to capture his wise counsel. Then, he simply said: “Just say less!” In the years since, I've come to fully realize the value of this advice. But, good advice that's simply stated isn't always simple to implement. Which is why I want to offer three suggestions to help you, as you strive to just say less.

July 07, 2016

In his 30-plus years as a communications coach and trainer, Steve Mandel says there are two concerns Fortune 500 executives raise again and again about how people communicate with them. He shares what those concerns are and how they directly correlate to steps you can take to become a more skilled, confident, and highly competent executive communicator.

Note to our readers: This is an edited version of a blog post originally published on April 3, 2014.

May 26, 2016
Many times, when people talk or present — especially when the stakes are high or the audience is tough — they struggle to be their natural, conversational selves. They needlessly worry that who they are is not enough. The truth is, people can sense when you're being real — and when you're not. Showing up as yourself is the single best way to convey credibility and trustworthiness. Here are a few tips to help you "get real" when communicating with others.
May 12, 2016
When you’re talking to colleagues and customers, what does YOUR word cloud look like? Too often, clouds are filled with crutch words like, “ums” and “ahs” and “you knows.” The good news? People can change the shape of their word clouds using an underrated, yet powerful, communication skill: the ability to say nothing at all. Using the “power of the pause” will make you a more effective communicator. Read on to learn more.
April 28, 2016
Executive time is a scarce commodity. Why do meetings squander it? Because, too often, they fail to focus on the strategic issues that are most important to executives. They fail to drive progress on the decisions that need to be made in order to move your business forward. Here are 3 things you can do to change that and to insure your executives' time is well-spent.
April 14, 2016
What do business meeting attendees have in common with parole board officers? Both suffer from decision fatigue. The consequences? Productivity plummets. Decisions get delayed. Bad choices get made. Outcomes can be disastrous. How can you improve decision quality and productivity? Help your meeting leaders and attendees overcome decision fatigue with these three proven approaches.
February 18, 2016
The decision makers whose attention you're trying to get are too distracted to hear a word you're saying. The implication: having a great business idea is no longer enough. You’ve got to be able to present it in a way that GRABS attention and KEEPS it. Your ability to do that boils down to whether you can accomplish these 3 things quickly…
December 03, 2015
I had the pleasure of having Thanksgiving dinner with Steve Faber, the writer of two highly regarded films, Wedding Crashers and We’re the Millers, along with a number of other popular screen and literary works. Over turkey and stuffing, we talked about the SECRET to GREAT storytelling. Today, I'm sharing it with you.
November 26, 2015
Expressing thanks not only makes you feel good, it makes the recipient of your thanks feel seen, heard, and valued. Saying "Thank you" is a small act with a potentially big impact. It can help you build rapport and make your future interactions with people, both, more memorable and rewarding. In business, this can be especially helpful. Today, I thought it fitting to share a few tips for making a “thank you” as meaningful as possible.
November 12, 2015

What characteristic do we prize most in the people with whom we interact? Learn how our perception of this trait is influenced by communication skills.

October 29, 2015

Everyone has had to answer tough questions in their careers. Questions that challenge your ideas and opinions – perhaps even your credibility. How you respond to tough questions can make or break your relationship with listeners. Here's how to handle tough questions, while staying calm, cool, and collected.

October 15, 2015
Did you know that 58% of B2B sales processes end in "no decision" rather than "won" or "lost"? Is "idea voodoo" to blame? Find out why it's so darn hard to get buyers to make decisions these days and what you can do to overcome it.

September 17, 2015

If you think about it, your organization’s performance depends on its best ideas being turned into profitable innovations. Yet, 87% of executives believe major unexploited opportunities, ones that could make their companies market leaders, are overlooked. Why are so many companies struggling to innovate? (Hint: It's not a creativity problem!)

June 11, 2015
In building Mandel's global training capability, one of the most thrilling things I realized is that there are ways of communicating that transcend borders. I want to tell you about 3 “tools” in particular that were instrumental in helping me to build stronger relationships with my new colleagues and partners around the world, from Shanghai to Buenos Aires.
May 14, 2015
I walked away from last month’s Association of Briefing Program Managers (ABPM) annual spring conference more convinced than ever that customer intimacy is the key to customer loyalty. Let me explain why, and also what you can do to build longer-lasting, more satisfying relationships with your customers.
April 09, 2015
Executives today are making or influencing more and more buying decisions (especially when it comes to technology).  Is your sales team ready to engage executives in conversations about the business challenges that keep them up at night?  This is where traditional sales training fails. Here’s how you can fix it.
March 27, 2015
It's just business - nothing personal." How often have you heard someone use that phrase to justify a decision based on the bottom line, even when that decision created pain and problems for employees or customers? It's called the "It's just business trap," and it can sabotage your organizations ability to succeed. Here's how to avoid it.
March 12, 2015
Let's face it. We're losing the ability to listen in this always-on, multi-tasking world. And, we're paying a price for it. When we fail to listen well, we miss vital info, misinterpret messages, or even damage our relationships with others. But, still, there have always been those special people who seem to have a natural gift for knowing how to make you feel heard. People like Grandma Hendrickson. Here's how she practices the gracious art of listening...and how you can, too.
February 26, 2015
I’ll be the first to admit that the proper use of acronyms can benefit listeners. First and foremost among the benefits is increased memorability. But, overusing acronyms unconsciously can be damaging and abusive to listeners. Here are 3 keys to using acronyms effectively in your communications. And, don't miss the fun and illuminating Mental Floss video on what many of our most-loved acronyms and initials really stand for.
February 12, 2015
Leadership gaps are a top business challenge today, despite strong corporate investment in leadership development. Why is that? Leadership development programs may be missing the most critical skill set of all...
December 18, 2014
Have you ever made communication resolutions? As the New Year approaches, I always like to reflect on what I’ve done well and what I could improve next year when it comes to communicating with my colleagues, employees, and clients. You may be surprised at how much doing so can strengthen your relationships with the people around you.
November 26, 2014
Expressing thanks not only makes you feel good, it makes the recipient of your thanks feel seen, heard, and valued. Saying "Thank you" is a small act with a potentially big impact. It can help you build rapport and make your future interactions with people, both, more memorable and rewarding. In business, this can be especially helpful. Today, I thought it fitting to share a few tips for making a “thank you” as meaningful as possible.
November 20, 2014
When you present to senior executives, you expect scrutiny. You know they'll be evaluating whether what you have to say is of value to them. But, there's something else they're looking for from you.... And, it's further proof that when the stakes are high, both what you say AND how you say it can make all the difference.
November 13, 2014
Can conversation and presentation skills save wild lions, zebras, and elephants? Recently, I traveled to Kenya to conduct training workshops for people who work with the wildlife conservation groups Ewaso Lions, Grevy's Zebra Trust, and Save the Elephants. These organizations focus a lot of their efforts on global education, outreach, and collaboration with governments and local people. Their ability to communicate well is essential to their success.
November 06, 2014
Many people feel like they're being sent into the proverbial lion’s den when they have to present to senior executives. While there's reason to be wary, take a lesson from Androcles: Find the thorn and pull it out. Here's how to turn scary lions into career-building advocates.
October 31, 2014
What effect will Internet of Things devices and technology have on how you talk with your customers? How will this technology change the way you plan for your customer engagements or briefings? I’m reminded of an adage from my youth: “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Here's why you should never lose sight of time-proven principles for engaging customers.
October 16, 2014
When you break rapport, you've communicated that you don't have your listener's best interests at heart. And when that happens, you lose your ability to keep his or her attention or to influence his or her thinking. So this week, I thought I’d focus on ways people break rapport and how to avoid them.
August 14, 2014
Could your meticulous focus on the details be off-putting to others? What can you do to avoid this? Here are a few simple things you can do to better communicate with non-analyticals and big-picture people, so that they feel more connected and satisfied in their interactions with you.
July 17, 2014
Not only are quotes a great way to punch up what might otherwise be a dry presentation, but they lend credibility to your thoughts and ideas. Here are a few tips on where to source quotes and how to use them effectively in your presentations.
July 10, 2014
Do you ever feel awkward about what to do with your hands when you give a presentation? You're not alone. Isn't it strange, though, that people almost never feel this awkwardness during everyday conversation? Gesturing comes naturally outside of the presentation environment. Anxiety interrupts the ability to gesture when presenting. Here's how to overcome your anxiety and use gestures effectively.
June 26, 2014
In the business world, people and events seem to move faster than the speed of light. You've barely completed one task, when five more appear needing your attention. And, they were all due yesterday! Given that you can't stop the earth from spinning, or time itself, here are a few things you can do to keep your communications efficient and relationship-positive amidst the chaos.
June 05, 2014
Everyone has had to deal with questions that are difficult, asked in an angry voice, or just plain hostile. And, when you're caught off guard by such questions, it's easy to be thrown into a panicky state and not answer well, jeopardizing your credibility. Here's how to avoid losing your cool under pressure.
May 29, 2014
By asking better questions, your sales team can engage in stimulating and productive customer conversations. A recent book demonstrated how a lesson from the elementary classroom applies to Fortune 1000 sales executives.
May 22, 2014
While customer-driven dialogue should be the goal of every sales meeting, make no mistake: there are key “moments of presentation” during these conversations that can determine your success or failure. The best sales people know when they need to shift gears and jump into presentation mode, and they do it well because it's a skill they've practiced.
May 08, 2014
It's not uncommon to talk too fast and speed through a presentation. Too often, people fill potential pauses with filler words such as, “like” or “ya know” or “um” or “ah”. But, the effect on your audience can be devastating. Instead, learn how to use pauses effectively to enhance your audience's understanding of your message and their esteem of you as the messenger.
May 01, 2014
I recently had a conversation with a former client that reminded me of how small changes in how you communicate can effect big results. Something as simple as mastering how to pause can influence how you're perceived by others and what you're able to achieve. Here's what she told me.
April 24, 2014
Employee-contributed innovation happens at every level of your organization. Are the best ideas being heard within your organization?
April 03, 2014
In Part I of this two-part series, Steve Mandel shares two common concerns Fortune 500 executives have voiced again and again about how people communicate with them. Their concerns directly correlate to steps you can take to become a more skilled, confident, and highly competent executive communicator.
March 06, 2014
On any sales call, your goal is to get as much valuable information as you can from the client—information that can help you recommend a relevant solution or service, build trust, and close the sale more quickly. Here are 9 questions to help you gain the insight and info you need to build better relationships with clients and close deals faster.
February 20, 2014
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who averted eye contact with you? It feels awkward and off-putting, at worst. At best, it can be difficult to connect with what that person is saying. A presentation is a conversation with your audience. The degree to which you use eye contact effectively will help you and your audience feel more comfortable and engaged.
Enter your email address to get the latest insights and news from Mandel.





Featured video:
Customer Insight
How BMC Software Arms Its Sales Team for More Profitable Selling

Introduction to Presentation Skills

Three Principles to Win Executive Approval

Three Keys to Influencing Others

The Voice of the C-Suite Customer In Appreciation of Mandel
Jason Andrew of BMC Software, Inc.


View All Videos




About Mandel

Mandel Communications is a global consulting and training services firm that has helped 100,000+ professionals from more than 500 companies in 55 countries develop Moment of Truth Communication and Selling Skills.
Site Search