Enhance Your Presentation by Creating a Solid Outline

Outline for Presentation

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when planning a presentation is to simply start planning what you want to say without creating an outline first. An outline is an incredibly helpful presentation tool that can help keep your presentation focused, to the point, and engaging.

Before you begin your outline, think about the topic you’re presenting on and the audience that you’ll be presenting to. Think about what knowledge they already have of the subject, if any – you don’t want to give a beginner explanation to a group of experts, or vice versa. Then think about a central theme or image that will help you organize your presentation. For example, using a metaphor throughout your presentation can be a helpful way to reinforce your points and keep people engaged.

When you start building your outline, write it down. Create a bullet point for each idea that you want to cover, and put them in an order that makes sense. The structure of your outline doesn’t need to follow a specific model, but it’s often helpful to think about presentations in three parts. You can think of these parts as the beginning, middle, and end. That might sound overly simplistic, but you’d be amazed how many bad presentations fail to fit this structure. 

Another way to think of these three parts is the problem, the solution, and the results. You want to give the most time to the solution (about half of the presentation), and equal time to the problem and the results. Without an outline, you might spend all of your time on the problem and not leave enough time for the solution, or you might forget to mention the results entirely. An outline helps you keep balance and organization.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind with your outline:

  • It should include call outs to any photos, graphics, or charts that you want to include in your presentation so that you know where those elements fit in.
  • Your outline isn’t the same thing as your presentation. You shouldn’t write down every word that you plan to say. It’s much better to remain conversational and flexible during your presentation.
  • If you present a theme at the beginning of your outline, remember to tie it back in at the end.For more help with your presentation skills, consider an executive speech coach. The right coach can help you improve not just the content of your presentations but also your speaking voice, body language, self-confidence, and engagement with your audience. Chicago presentation training is an investment in yourself and your career. Learn more by giving our office a call and inquiring about a free consultation for our Chicago executive speech coaching. 

Addressing Behavior Feeding Difficulties

Behavior Feeding Difficulties

If you’re having difficulty at meal times with your baby, toddler, or child, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a speech language pathologist (SLP). SLPs are experts when it comes to the muscles and mechanics involved in eating and swallowing. They are also experts on behaviors associated with everything oral, and that includes feeding.

If your child refuses to eat her peas, that’s not something to call an expert about. But if your child refuses to eat a wide range of foods or seems to have difficulty swallowing or chewing, an SLP can help.

Many feeding issues found in children are sensory. Your child might be over-responsive or under-responsive to different sensations involved with feeding, including the appearance, temperature, taste, smell, or texture of their food. If your child exhibits fear, anxiety, or distress at meal times, you might be dealing with a sensory issue that causes a behavioral response. These are problems that an SLP can help you evaluate and address.

Some behavior feeding difficulties are the result of underlying medical problems like muscle control issues, atypical anatomy, or other medical issues. Other behavior difficulties related to feeding are learned behaviors. For example, a bad burn could cause a child to become scared of all hot foods. The first step in either case should be a consultation with an SLP.

An SLP who works with feeding issues can help you discover the root of the problem, whether it’s a swallowing issue, a sensory challenge, or a response to a past eating trauma (like a burn or a choking incident). Once the issue is identified, your SLP can help you come up with an appropriate course of action, which could include a referral to a medical doctor, an occupational therapist, or a dietician. It could also include working with both you and your child to identify patterns at mealtimes and create habits that reinforce positive behaviors. In the case of picky eating, for example, shifting the power away from the child and back to the parent is an important part of the process.

To learn more about behavioral feeding issues or to schedule a consultation with a Chicago speech language pathologist, give our office a call. A free consultation with a speech language pathologist in Chicago will empower you with knowledge and help you find the best path to move forward.

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.