Get Assertive in Fast-Moving Conversations: 8 Strategies

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You’re in a conversation with multiple colleagues or clients. You want to speak up, get assertive, and get your perspective heard. But the conversation is being dominated by a few loud and confident voices (usually those with the highest status in the group). And there’s a lot of quick comments being exchanged from multiple people. … Read more

Why Assertiveness is a Challenge for So Many Professionals

presentations for creative professionals

Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. It can often bring about an uncomfortable feeling that we’re rocking the boat or disrupting the status quo. So many of us are inclined to try to “fit in”, whether that’s within our families, with colleagues or friends. Nevertheless, assertiveness is an important skill to master … Read more

Networking Skills: How to Start Conversations at Expos and Conferences

Getting Started with Networking Skills Expos, trade shows and conferences are great opportunities to build new connections in your industry. But what’s the best way to start conversations with people at these events? Here are some simple strategies to get things moving. I also discussed networking skills and a variety of tactics with Julie during … Read more

No More Wallflowers – How to Master Group Conversations (Videos)

I gave a presentation recently here in New York about group conversations. We discussed: The basics of group dynamics. Understanding the types of group situations there are, dynamic vs rigid group situations, and how to take pressure off of yourself when approaching a new group. How to contribute and engage with a group even if … Read more

How and Why to Become More Concise When Speaking

Concise communication is a frequent challenge we see with clients and students. Concision is hard because professionals have lots of information to convey in a very limited time. Important decision-makers are usually very short on time, and have a limited attention span. You have to get your point across quickly and efficiently. Another reason it’s tough … Read more

How I Learned to Love Small Talk, Even as an Introvert

Introverts are notorious for hating small talk. I used to be one of them. I avoided small talk, and situations where I would need to partake in it. I preferred to focus on important discussions about things that mattered to me: philosophy and metaphysics, culture, psychology, business, economics, etc. In other words, heavy and fascinating … Read more

The Right Way to Interrupt Someone

A client of mine is working on her networking skills. She recently mentioned she was having trouble with managing a conversation when the other person won’t stop talking. Understandably, she does not want to be impolite or rude. But at the same time, allowing the other person to drone on and on about unimportant details … Read more

Ask the Right Questions: Don’t Make this Subtle But Damaging Mistake

Asking open questions is a great technique for rapport-building and connection. An open question is a question that gives the recipient the opportunity to express themselves: for example “what’s your favorite thing about living here?” or “how did you get inspired to work on that project?” (One reason why so many conversations stall out in … Read more

Doctor’s Weak Communication Skills Hurt His Important Message (video)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clearly a very intelligent and experienced physician, has trouble getting his message across. In this 3-minute segment with three goofball news anchors, he tries to communicate some points about salt, but quickly loses control of the discussion: Scientists: Everything we've been told about salt is wrongWatch this video on YouTube As the only one … Read more

Good Networking Feels Like Making New Friends

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that good networking feels a lot like meeting new friends. Oftentimes we associate “networking” with a very business-focused, “formal” kind of vibe. But that’s just one, very specific type of networking. People definitely want to hire or do business with someone who is professional. But they also want someone … Read more