INSIGHTS

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What do unproductive meetings have in common? Poor or delayed decisions and decisions made too slowly. In meetings where you must share information to support critical business decisions, what can you do to get better results faster? In our experience, high-performers approach meetings differently. Here are 3 high-performer strategies you can use right now to get better results.
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Today, decision quality alone is no longer enough to gain and keep a competitive edge: good decisions also need to be made quickly. Too often, the structure and flow of information presented in meetings add complexity and slow down the decision-making process. Busy, distracted decision-makers and team members need more help to make better decisions faster. Here's what you can do to address this challenge.
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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.
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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.

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At the front of the room, the session leaders spoke what must have been profound words for the 200 people gathered that day, as nearly every person sat silently, head bowed. No, this wasn't a religious service — it was a global sales meeting. Professionals had gathered from around the world to learn how to execute their company's new go-to-market strategy. And, no one was paying attention. Sadly, this scene is not uncommon in business today. Fortunately, the root causes that drain the ROI out of meetings and training events like these are not only identifiable, they’re preventable. Here are the top 3 reasons audiences are likely to pay more attention to their smartphones than your content — and what you can do about it.
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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.
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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.
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Is your organization stuck running mediocre meetings that fail to move the needle on important projects and business goals? You're not alone. Distraction and disengagement have reached epidemic proportions and it's killing the "Return on Meeting Time" of companies everywhere. What's the antidote? A common meeting communications framework. Here's why...
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Did you know that nearly a third of Americans surveyed said they'd rather clean the bathroom than try to solve a math problem? It’s no wonder presenting technical data can be a huge challenge. Next time you have to present numbers to a number-phobic audience, don't panic. Here are three tips to help you keep listeners engaged in what you have to say…instead of daydreaming about cleaning the bathroom.
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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…
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The scientists and staff at Polar Bears International are dedicated to polar bear conservation. And, they face many of the same challenges business presenters do: they need to present complex data in ways anyone can understand and they need to suggest solutions that others will buy into and adopt. They asked Mandel for advice on how to do that. Here are three tips we shared with them...
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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!)