Take Your Elevator Speech to the Next Level with Executive Speech Coaching

improve your elevator speech

Very few people are fans of public speaking. It’s one of the top phobias, right up there with spiders and death. But if you’re a professional in virtually any field, chances are that you’ll need to get in front of a group of people and give a speech or teach a class or make a presentation at some point.

And even if you can completely avoid these group situations, what about one-on-one interactions? How prepared are you to comfortably and confidently answer the question, “So what are you working on?”

Whether you run your own small business or work in a big company, the day will inevitably come that you’ll need to present yourself and your work. You might be trying to:

  • land a new client
  • sell your products or services
  • get a promotion
  • land a new job
  • form a partnership
  • or simply expand your network

Whether you’re on the phone, at a conference, or heading into an important meeting, being able to give a good elevator speech is a vital part of furthering your career and building upon your success.

What’s an Elevator Speech?

The whole idea behind the term “elevator speech” is that you should be able to sell an idea to a perfect stranger that you meet in an elevator using the fifteen to thirty seconds that you have with that person.

In this case, the thing that you’re trying to sell is you. Being able to tell people in a direct, clear, concise, and entertaining way what you have to offer will make you more hirable, more connected, and better positioned for promotions.

Business cards get thrown away. A nice website or written memo is just a first step. At the end of the day, what people connect with and remember is personal interactions.

If the idea of making a good first impression puts a lump in your throat, it’s time to consider the benefits of working with an executive speech coach.

Whether you need more a compelling elevator speech for an upcoming conference, more confidence for off-the-cuff meetings, or help making it through a big presentation, an executive speech coach can help. A good coach will evaluate your speaking style and go through your presentation (if you have one) with you. He or she will create a customized plan to help you improve your tone of voice and projection, body language, articulation, and speaking rhythm. Your voice coach can also help you craft a message, presentation, or pitch that tells a clear story, expresses a point of view, and captures the attention of your intended audience.

To learn more about our Chicago executive speech coaching services, give our office a call today.

Child Apraxia and Its Impact on Speech

childhood apraxia and speech

Apraxia is a speech sound disorder that is, fortunately, quite rare. Only one to two children out of a thousand are affected by apraxia. It is most frequent in children with Down Syndrome, Galactosemia, or  fragile X syndrome, but it can occur in otherwise healthy children, as well.

There are two types of apraxia – acquired apraxia and childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Acquired apraxia occurs when a brain injury causes damage to the part of the brain responsible for speech. CAS is a condition that is present from birth. It is sometimes called developmental apraxia, but that is a bit of misnomer, as CAS will not correct itself as your child gets older.

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

As they learn to talk, all children have trouble making certain sounds. There is a learning process during which every child discovers how to move their lips, jaw, and tongue to make certain sounds. However, when a child has CAS, they know what they want their mouths to do, but their mouths simply don’t respond the way that they want. CAS isn’t caused by any sort of muscle disorder or paralysis. Instead, for some as-yet-unknown reason, the signal from the brain to the mouth gets disrupted, and the muscles involved in speech don’t do what they’re supposed to.

Because CAS is so rare and can be confused with normal speech development, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a speech language pathologist if you suspect that your child might have a speech or language disorder.

CAS can be characterized by:

  • Difficulty imitating words or sounds
  • Frequent consonant and vowel substitutions or distortions
  • Long pauses between sounds
  • A limited number of sounds
  • Difficulty stringing different sounds together
  • Not always saying a word the same way or using the wrong emphasis (prosody issues)
  • Eating problems

If some of these characteristics sound like your child, it may be time to schedule an evaluation with a Chicago speech language pathologist. An SLP can examine your child’s sound production, language skills, prosody, and more to determine if any speech issues are present. If there is a concern that should be addressed, your SLP can then work with you to create a customized therapy plan that helps you and your child move forward.

CAS is not a condition that will go away without treatment, but with regular speech therapy, significant progress can be made, helping you and your child communicate with each other more clearly and more effectively.

To learn more or to schedule an evaluation with a speech language pathologist in Chicago, give our office a call today. 

Set a Goal to Become a Better Speaker in 2018

Chicago Executive Speech Coach

As you consider your professional goals for 2018, finding ways to better yourself and thereby further your career opportunities should certainly be on the list. That might mean taking business classes, learning a new program or a new language, or it might mean investing in executive speech training.

There is a rampant misconception in the business world that public speaking is a talent, not a skill. Yes, some people might be more persuasive, clearer, or more confident speakers than others based on natural talent alone. But if you’ve never been a great public speaker, stop assuming that you can’t become one. Talent can make you good at something, but only practice and training can make you great.

With an executive speech coach, you can get an accurate assessment of your current speaking abilities and create a plan for measured improvement. Even if you think you’re a decent speaker, an executive speech coach might help you identify weaknesses you weren’t aware of and help you emphasize your best speaking qualities. A speech coach can help you:

Project credibility and confidence to your audience through posture, tone, and pacing.

Entertain and inform your audience through organization, streamlining, and optimization of your content.

And engage listeners by expressing your passion, injecting your personality, and making space in your presentation for questions and thoughtful responses.

If you want to rise up the ladder in your organization, speaking persuasively and confidently will undoubtedly be an essential part of your journey. Through speech, you can convey your other skills and talents – your planning, dedication, knowledge, and ambition. But if you are unable to give an effective speech, whether to your boss or a whole room of investors, those other skills and talents will all get lost in the shuffle. Even if your presentation has great content, your message is sure to get lost if your presentation lacks confidence, organization, or clarity.

Setting the goal of becoming a better speaker in 2018 will broaden your avenues for career growth. Learn more about Chicago executive speech coaching by giving our office a call. One of our experienced executive speech coaches can assess your current abilities and work with you to create a training program to help you meet your goals for a better and brighter 2018.

What to Look For When Choosing a Speech Language Pathologist

Chicago Speech Therapist

Finding the right Chicago speech language pathologist for your school, hospital, clinic, or private sessions can feel like a daunting challenge. What separates one speech language pathologist from the next? Is there a difference between speech language pathologists and speech therapists? What qualifications should you be looking for? We answer all of these questions and more below.

Getting Started – The Basic Requirements

The first thing to know is that speech language pathologists (or SLPs) and speech therapists are the same thing. The former is the official term and the latter is the more colloquial term for the profession.

The next thing to know is the education and licensing requirements that SLPs must meet. A working speech language pathologist should:

Have at least a master’s in Speech Language Pathology.

Be a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). To become a member, SLPs must complete coursework, pass a national examination, complete a supervised internship, and receive a Certificate of Clinical Competence.

Be licensed by the state in which they practice, if required by the state.

Some SLPs will be subject to additional requirements. For example, SLPs who work in schools must often meet requirements set forth by the state board of education. SLPs can also gain specialty certifications to show that they are trained to work in rehab centers, schools, homes, research facilities, or in private practice, among other specialties.

Hiring a Speech Language Pathologist

Whether you need to hire an SLP for your school, health practice, or to work with your own child, your first step might be contacting ASHA for a referral. If you already have a referral or want to find out whether a particular SLP is qualified, follow these steps:

 

  1. Check his or her credentials. Make sure that he or she is properly licensed and doesn’t have any disciplinary actions from your state licensing board.
  2. Talk to your SLP candidate about their experience with your particular needs, such as a unique disability that they will need to address.
  3. Check their references, and get feedback from past clients.
  4. Ask about their continuing education. SLPs should continue to learn about their practice throughout their careers in order to best serve their clients.
  5. Make sure you’re comfortable with the person. Your SLP’s approach to therapy and their personality is an important part of working with them. For example, in a school setting you may want to find an SLP who highly values play therapy and who easily communicates with young children.

If you’re currently looking for a speech language pathologist in Chicago, BNM has a network of highly experienced SLPs available for in-school placements, temporary assignments, and private sessions. Give our office a call to learn more about our services. 

What to Look For When Choosing a Speech Language Pathologist

Chicago Speech Therapist

Finding the right Chicago speech language pathologist for your school, hospital, clinic, or private sessions can feel like a daunting challenge. What separates one speech language pathologist from the next? Is there a difference between speech language pathologists and speech therapists? What qualifications should you be looking for? We answer all of these questions and more below.

Getting Started – The Basic Requirements

The first thing to know is that speech language pathologists (or SLPs) and speech therapists are the same thing. The former is the official term and the latter is the more colloquial term for the profession.

The next thing to know is the education and licensing requirements that SLPs must meet. A working speech language pathologist should:

  • Have at least a master’s in Speech Language Pathology.
  • Be a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). To become a member, SLPs must complete coursework, pass a national examination, complete a supervised internship, and receive a Certificate of Clinical Competence.
  • Be licensed by the state in which they practice, if required by the state.

Some SLPs will be subject to additional requirements. For example, SLPs who work in schools must often meet requirements set forth by the state board of education. SLPs can also gain specialty certifications to show that they are trained to work in rehab centers, schools, homes, research facilities, or in private practice, among other specialties.

Hiring a Speech Language Pathologist

Whether you need to hire an SLP for your school, health practice, or to work with your own child, your first step might be contacting ASHA for a referral. If you already have a referral or want to find out whether a particular SLP is qualified, follow these steps:

 

  1. Check his or her credentials. Make sure that he or she is properly licensed and doesn’t have any disciplinary actions from your state licensing board.
  2. Talk to your SLP candidate about their experience with your particular needs, such as a unique disability that they will need to address.
  3. Check their references, and get feedback from past clients.
  4. Ask about their continuing education. SLPs should continue to learn about their practice throughout their careers in order to best serve their clients.
  5. Make sure you’re comfortable with the person. Your SLP’s approach to therapy and their personality is an important part of working with them. For example, in a school setting you may want to find an SLP who highly values play therapy and who easily communicates with young children.

If you’re currently looking for a speech language pathologist in Chicago, BNM has a network of highly experienced SLPs available for in-school placements, temporary assignments, and private sessions. Give our office a call to learn more about our services. 

What’s the Secret Behind Memorable Business Presentations?

Memorable Business Presentation

There is one key secret to giving a memorable business presentation. It isn’t in-depth knowledge of your subject matter – plenty of speakers who know everything about their subjects give boring presentations. And it isn’t speaking clearly or having great visuals or even using props.

The answer is passion. If you’re not passion about what you’re presenting, you’ll never be able to make your audience passionate about it either. In order to change hearts and minds, you need to both show your passion and clearly explain why you feel so strongly.

Let’s use the example of a presentation at a business conference. Maybe you have the opportunity to speak about a project you’ve been working on for the last year. This project has consumed all of your days and more than a few of your nights, and it’s finally ready to share with the world. Your blood, sweat, and tears are all in this project.

The best way to connect with your audience is to show them exactly that.

Don’t be afraid to include your personal experience. You’re the one giving the presentation – it should have something to do with you. Your presentation will resonate if you make the content personal and then show the audience why they should make it personal as well.

Share anecdotes. Speak with conviction and personality. Don’t simply relate dry figures and selling points. By showing your audience why you care about your project, you’ll bring them into your world.

Now let’s imagine you have to give a presentation to your team about filling out tax forms. You couldn’t be less passionate about anything in the world, and neither could your team. What to do then? Latch onto an aspect of the presentation that you are passionate about, and focus the presentation around that.

In the case of tax forms, maybe the thing to latch onto is the rebate you’ll get when all is said and done and what you intend to do with it. Use that to get people excited and engaged.

Giving great presentations, even on topics that you are passionate about, is no easy task. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to get your passion across, or if you need help finding your passion, executive speech training could be the answer. Our Chicago presentation training can help you overcome anxiety, find your footing, and take your career to the next level. Specifically, a qualified executive speech coach can help you hone your speaking skills, the content of your presentation, your organization, and even your body language.

To learn more about our Chicago executive speech coaching, give our office a call.

The Role of Speech Language Therapy when Addressing Executive Function Challenges

Executive Function Challenges and Speech

Executive function is the term given to the set of mental skills that allow you to plan out your actions, organize your thoughts, and see activities through to completion. Executive function challenges often arise for children who have trouble with learning and/or attention. If your child has trouble focusing on one task at a time, planning out daily activities (such as getting dressed in a reasonable order), sitting through tests in school, or limiting how much they talk to themselves, it may be time to consult with a speech language pathologist.

These are just a few examples of executive function challenges, and kids can obviously have difficulty in one or more of these areas without requiring any sort of additional attention. That said, if you notice these sorts of issues worsening or failing to improve, talking to a child speech language pathologist can help assuage your concerns or provide you with tools for moving forward.

You may be wondering, “What do executive function challenges and speech therapy have to do with one another?” While your child’s speech may be perfectly clear, language issues and executive function issues are often linked and can be approached with similar therapies.

A speech language pathologist can help a child dealing with executive function challenges learn the necessary skills for making goals, managing their time, and visualizing the steps they need to take in order to complete a task. The skills involved in executive function that a speech therapist can help with include: attention, focus, planning, organizing, utilizing working memory and recall, evalutation problem solving, self-monitoring, and follow-through.

One exercise that your child could complete with his or her speech language pathologist to help develop executive function might include making a written or verbal plan to complete a challenge or puzzle. Your child and the speech therapist would go over each step together, and the therapist would encourage the child to ask self-monitoring questions along the way, such as, “How much time do I have left?” “Who can I ask for help?” “What obstacles are in my way?”

If you think your child may be struggling with executive function challenges, give our office a call to set up a free consultation with a speech language pathologist. 

Is Less More When Answering Post-Presentation Questions?

Executive Presentation Training

 

Before giving a presentation at work, you might spend weeks in advance preparing your Prezi or PowerPoint presentation. You could spend hours going over your talking points, working with an executive speech coach, and making sure that everything about your presentation is organized exactly right. You might even spend a few minutes daydreaming about how this presentation will show your boss (or their boss) that you’re someone who can go far in this company.

But what about the post-presentation questions?

Depending upon the subject of your presentation, it can be incredibly hard to predict what your audience members will ask you following your big presentation. That means you’ll have to give off-the-cuff answers, which is fine, because you know the information backwards and forwards. However, all of that presentation prep probably means you know the information a bit too well.

When asked an unexpected question, it’s easy to rattle off fact after fact, giving far more information than the person actually asked for. Long-winded answers can undo all of the good work you did in your presentation by rehashing what you already covered, boring your audience members, and eating up time for other questions.

So as you prepare for your next big work presentation, remember that brief answers to follow-up questions are almost always better. Here are four reasons why:

  • Brief answers are more memorable. They help the audience retain your point.
  •  Brief answers are easier to follow. They ensure that you don’t go too far off topic and answer the questions you wish you were asked rather than the questions you actually were asked.
  • Brief answers are more forgiving. They help you maintain the interest of your audience.
  • Brief answers are more engaging. They give your audience the opportunity to ask more follow-up questions about the parts of your answers that interest them most.

If you could use some help preparing for your next big presentation (and all of the questions that follow), BNM offers Chicago executive speech coaching services. Our Chicago presentation training can cover everything from the content of your presentation to your speaking skills. Give us a call to tell us about your presentation, discuss your needs, and come up with a personalized executive speech training plan.  

Improving Language Development through Play

Chciago Play Therapy

Play is an important part of all of our lives. The way that we choose to play develops throughout our lives, but from our very first days until the end of our lives, we all take great joy and satisfaction from play.

For young children, play is a way to explore the world, learn new skills, and meet developmental milestones, all while having fun. Play should be a part of every daycare and elementary school environment, and it should also be part of speech therapy.

Play is regularly used to improve language development in children under the age of five. By combining speech goals with games, therapy feels less like “work” for children and becomes a more enjoyable experience. This is referred to as play therapy.

In school settings, play therapy and language development often get separated. Many school speech language pathologists overlook the benefits that play therapy can have for older children. Whether your child is just learning to speak or several years into school, your speech language pathologist can – and probably should – use play therapy to help your child achieve their speech goals. In addition to making learning more fun, play therapy also makes learning more effective. Children are more likely to pay attention and stay focused if they are engaged and having a good time.

Creating a play therapy session begins with your child’s speech and language objectives. (Play therapy can also be used as a diagnostic tool to assess vocabulary skills, ability to follow commands, and other functional language skills.) With your child’s goals in mind, the speech therapist can create a game that lets your child practice their communication skills without feeling like he or she is being drilled or tested. Games can be designed to suit the interest, maturity level, and age of the child.

Play therapy is particularly well suited to teaching basic language concepts, phrases, sentences, and requesting skills. For example, a simple game of “restaurant” can help a child identify different objects like a spoon and a cup or practice their articulation of words like “salad” or “soup.”

If you think your child would benefit from speech therapy, give us a call to schedule a consultation with a highly qualified Chicago SLP. A short assessment can help you determine if your child is dealing with any language disorders. If needed, we can work with you to create a personalized plan for play-based therapy in your home or school to help your child communicate more effectively. 

What Issue Costs Companies $62.4 Million Per Year?

Chicago Executive Speech Coaching

A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees found that each of those companies was losing an average of $62.4 million every year due to poor communication. The problem extended to smaller companies as well. Companies with one hundred employees lost on average $420,000 every year to poor communication.

Clear communication is vital to the health and success of any business. It must be found between co-workers, between managers and their team members, and perhaps most importantly between the company and its clients.

To that end, one of the core focuses of BNM’s executive speech training is presentation skills. Being able to organize, edit, and orate a great business presentation is essential to both overall company success and individual advancement.

Here are some of the most common problems that hold back company presentations and the executives who give them:

One-size-fits-all presentations. If your company is using the same basic presentation to market to all of your potential clients, you’re missing huge opportunities to show off the greatest strengths of your business. Likewise, the presentation should be customized to the person giving it. If every executive is making the same cookie-cutter pitch, the individual strengths of each speaker are likely not being utilized.

Presentations that aren’t up-to-date. If your presentation relies on stats from a few years back, uses your company’s old logo, or relies on dated references, it is unlikely to resonate with clients. Customers want professionalism and attention to detail. An out-of-date presentation is a sign of carelessness.

Unskilled communicators at the helm. You may know the topic you’re presenting on inside and out, but if you don’t also know how to captivate an audience and read the room, your presentation is likely to flop. Skills like pacing, clarity, energy, and appropriate emphasis can make or break a presentation.

Stress. Perhaps you know exactly what to say and exactly how you should say it, but stress and/or stage fright can get in the way.

Working with an executive speech coach can help address all of these issues. By helping executives learn not just how to focus their presentations but how to speak in a way that connects with listeners, the right speech coach can help executives overcome their nerves and better represent both themselves and their companies.

To learn more about Chicago executive speech coaching, give our office a call.