Photo by Anthony Melone on Unsplash

The hardest and most important aspect of good communication is making sure the human on the other side can understand it. Actually, not only understand, but relate to it.

I think about the subject of ease all the time when it comes to communication. Our audiences won’t spend time trying to decipher messages. We can’t make it hard — whether we’re communicating with colleagues, clients, or customers. We must be direct, honest, clear, empathetic, and often creative when we are trying to be heard. Furthermore, we need to be sure that we don’t mislead anyone along the way.

This topic…

When leading a virtual meeting or workshop, it’s difficult to re-create the richness of being together physically. As much as I love technology, it’s a simple fact that Brady Bunch grids of people on a screen can’t replicate the experience of being in a room with other human beings!

However, that doesn’t mean your virtual meetings or workshops can’t be engaging or that you can’t do things to help your attendees feel more seen, heard, and involved.

Here are a few tips:

1. Look and Sound Your Best on Camera

When I run workshops, I use a green screen with a professional virtual background, a nice lighting setup…

Photo by Sandie Clarke on Unsplash

Our strengths are powerful — until we overdo them.

What’s an overdone strength? Basically, it’s the old adage that too much of a good thing can backfire. In fact, when we rely on a strength so much that we don’t see when we’re overdoing it, it can be perceived as an annoyance, and even worse, a weakness.

At my company, we use an assessment tool called the Strength Deployment Inventory® (SDI). It reveals why you do what you do, and how you relate to others. …

Every time I veer from my purpose as a teacher and coach with a passion for helping others be better communicators, I get lost.

It seems easy to look back and pinpoint exactly where I’ve gone off course in the past. Reflection is powerful, isn’t it? There were times when I was making a decision based on what I thought was the “right” move but that was not necessarily what was true to my purpose, or vision for my future. Sometimes I even made decisions based on what other people wanted me to do. We’ve all done that, I know…

I received a nice compliment yesterday. A client said, “You really invest yourself in other people. You’re always fully there; truly wanting to know about me and also hearing what I have to say. Thanks for that.”

What a kind thing to say. I’ll admit that I am a guy who really wants to help others unleash the power of their strengths. I see the good in people, almost to a fault. And I know the power of good communication — especially listening.

The truth is that the investment I make in my clients is done with the goal of…

“Nothing can help the person who does not practice.” I read that in a Forbes article about public speaking tips. It made me stop and think about how easy it is to look at someone you admire and think they are a natural at something. The truth is that they worked very hard to be so awe-inspiring.

While it’s likely that highly talented people possess genetic factors that play an important role in their successes, training is necessary to become an expert. And with any kind of training, practice is key to honing one’s craft.

My first full-time job after…

When you give a presentation, your slides should be simple and clear. They should support you as you convey your messages, whether you’re persuading, entertaining, inspiring, or educating. They should never cause your audience to have to read or decipher too much information. If that happens, then you’ve lost them. They are no longer listening to you.

I teach people how to create and deliver powerful and engaging presentations. Part of that training is focused on the right balance of text and graphics on slides. …

I teach and coach people about a variety of communication and leadership topics. No matter which topic we’re discussing, we almost always come back to discussing their audience. In fact, I always tell people that the first rule of good communication is to know your audience — really understand who they are. Whether you’re leading a team or building your own business, if you haven’t spent the time to consider the true needs of your stakeholders, you’re in trouble.

And by audience I mean real humans. Not just some demographics on a piece of paper. People want to do business…

We all know that the more you prepare and rehearse, the more confident you’ll feel when giving a presentation or speech. Even if you’ve prepared and rehearsed a lot in your head, you still need to do it out loud. Trust me, you don’t want the first time you’re hearing your own words to be the same time your audience is hearing them!

Have a Dress Rehearsal

When you can, recruit a few people to give your presentation to. You can do this remotely over Zoom, or better yet in person once we are able to safely gather again. …

I’ve coached a lot of professionals on pitching to investors. Much of the time I spend with clients is on helping them tell a clear story — one that will resonate with their audience, and that will make a clear case for the investment opportunity at hand.

The Initial Pitch is Only the Beginning

When my clients pitch, they are fully prepared with a compelling presentation that looks great, and that they deliver with brilliance.

But the fact is that you rarely get a “yes” from an investor the day that you pitch. You often hear, “Sounds great. Keep us updated…” or “Thanks for the presentation. …

Michael Piperno

On a mission to improve the business world through better communication.

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