Regina's Blog

Time Management Tips for Remote Workers

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Time Management Tips for Remote Workers

Getting a handle on time management isn’t that complicated once you make up your mind to just do it! There are 24 hours in every day, no more and no less which adds up to 168 hours in every week. Every person has the same amount of time, no more and no less. Every day you wake up and decide how to use your time.  

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Conversation Clues

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Conversation Clues

Every week, I meet strangers. That’s what I do for a living. I walk into a room full of people who I don’t know and facilitate training programs or get on a stage and speak to hundreds of people. Usually the audience is business professionals, once in awhile I speak to kids. Sometimes the training program is mandatory, which means the people in the room have to be there, and sometimes the training program is full of people who want to be there to learn something new. My preference, as the instructor, is to work with employees who want to be in the room and are open to learning something new.  

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The Gift of Empathy

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The Gift of Empathy

The first time I learned about empathy was when I was taking graduate classes in counseling. We practiced listening and responding with empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand where someone else is coming from. Empathy and sympathy are two different reactions. Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone else's misfortune. Active listening and responding with empathy are skills which can be learned. When you listen and respond with empathy it communicates to the other person that you are really paying attention to what they are saying. You are also paying attention to their visual language and their tone of voice. During the past five months, I have been interacting with hospice professionals. Hospice professionals interact with dying people and their families every day. Their empathy is incredible, so much better than mine. It’s hard for me to understand what it must be like facing death. I imagine that a dying person has mixed emotions, scary on the one hand and peace on the other. I remember when my mother in law was dying of pancreatic cancer, she told me that she was ready to die but the dying process was really getting to her. Watching a loved one suffer and lose their ability to function is heart wrenching. It’s also physically and mentally exhausting for the caregiver(s). This morning I found my 90-year-old father, who is slowly dying of COPD, at my back door with the door wide open yelling for help. When I found him, my empathy did not kick in. I was more focused on his safety. I should try to be more empathetic, my excuse is that I’m tired and sick of being tired. The past few months have given me a brand new respect for anyone who has ever been a caregiver.  

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Public Speaking Skills Come in Handy

by Regina Clark - on Friday, August 31, 2018
Public Speaking Skills Come in Handy

I just returned from a few days in San Francisco. One of the highlights of my trip was visiting Alcatraz. I learned so much history. I'm always amazed at how much I don't know! As soon as we arrived a Park Ranger met us. He was funny, engaging, knowledgeable and a pleasure to listen to. His public speaking skills were awesome! During my vacation, I was constantly reminded how useful public speaking skills are. September is always a good time to refocus on our personal development. If improving your public speaking skills is part of your 2018 personal development plan, give me a call and we will schedule a training program or some individual coaching. The ten tips I cover during Presentation Skills Training include: 

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The Power of We

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The Power of We

Most employers would love for their employees to behave as if they were part of a high-performance team. A team who shares the same goals, supports each other, resolves conflict in a timely manner and has each other's back. One of the easiest ways to be perceived as a team player instead of an individual contributor is to adjust your language. Instead of saying, I did this and I need that replace the I with we - we need this and we need that to complete the project on time. It’s such a small change that can have a huge impact.When I think of a high performance work team, a NASCAR pit crew comes to mind. Everyone in the pit crew has a specific job to perform using specific tools but no one job is more important than the other. The power of the team is that they function as we instead of me.
 

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Six Sigma Speaking

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Six Sigma Speaking

  

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Engaging a Remote Audience

by Regina Clark - on Friday, September 22, 2017
Engaging a Remote Audience

  

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Six Secrets to Superb Facilitation

by Regina Clark - on Friday, December 09, 2016
Six Secrets to Superb Facilitation

Facilitation is an art. When done well, it adds value to the organization by reaching win/win outcomes efficiently. When done poorly, time and energy are wasted. Effective meetings, remotely and in person, typically have effective facilitators. Many organizations use internal employees to facilitate meetings which make good business sense as long as the employees know how to facilitate. Organizations also hire external facilitators for a variety of reasons; the meeting is highly confidential, the meeting participants are extremely challenging to work with, the content is challenging or there is no internal facilitator available.  

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Black Diamond Speaking

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, April 07, 2016
Black Diamond Speaking

A black diamond indicates an expert slope in skiing. For years, I have avoided skiing down black diamond slopes even though my family members would go ahead without me. Just the thought of the slope scared the heck out of me. I didn’t have the courage, the nerve, or the skills to attempt skiing down a black diamond until last week when my youngest son cheered me on, “go ahead mom, you can do it!” The experience was monumental for me. For years, I had imagined an impossible task when in reality the task was very doable. After my skiing breakthrough, it occurred to me that there are many parallels between speaking to an audience and skiing down a black diamond. Many of the executives who I work with fear public speaking. They actually panic before getting in front of an audience. According to popular polls, public speaking is the number one fear, death is number two. Who knows, maybe skiing down a black diamond is also on the list.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you overcome your fear and become an expert.

  • First of all, you have to be willing to move out of your comfort zone. All of us have comfort zones; there are things we do that are comfortable for us. Comfortable meaning that we don’t stress about these things, get anxious, or lose sleep. It takes courage to move out of your comfort zone. John Wayne once said, “courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Many executives don’t have a choice when it comes to public speaking; it is a requirement of the job. The good part about moving out of your comfort zone is that you learn something new.
  • Develop skills. Before attempting to ski down a black diamond, a skier must learn how to turn and stop. The more the skier practices, the more skilled he will become. It’s the same with becoming a skilled speaker. At a minimum, a speaker should learn how to use visual language (facial expressions, hand gestures, movement) and verbal language (sounds and tones) to engage an audience. It also helps when the speaker has great content. A good coach can help with advanced speaking skills like crafting relevant stories and interacting with the audience.
  • Practice, practice, practice. There is an old saying that proper practice prevents poor performance. The more you practice and get constructive feedback, the better you will be. Every ski resort that I know of offers lessons for every type of skier from beginner to expert. Trained coaches know how to deliver relevant feedback to move their students to the next level. If you ski or speak once a year, you probably won’t develop expert skills. If you consistently ski down more challenging slopes or speak to larger audiences, you will develop expertise!
  • Prepare for disruptions. No matter how much you prepare, there is always something that can go wrong. When you ski, it could be crowded, icy, or below zero. Every day is different just like every audience is different. Years ago a very loud fire alarm went off during my keynote speech to Con Edison in NYC. I stopped talking immediately and waited for instructions from the event planner. She told me that we didn’t have to evacuate the building. As soon as the alarm stopped, we took a short break. After the break, I was able to get the audience focused again.
  • Plan your course. Every good speech has a beginning, middle and an end. Commit to where you are going and go that way. Stay within your timeframe.
  • Create smooth transitions, be predictable. Make sure that your content makes sense and that you share relevant stories and examples.
  • Learn to recover quickly. It doesn’t matter if you fall or make a mistake, what matters is how you recover. Great speakers use self deprecating humor or other techniques and move on. Great skiers get up and learn from their mistakes.
  • Invest in quality equipment. I have fallen many times on ski slopes and thank God my helmet has protected my head! Investing in a helmet is smart.I have also invested in other equipment. I use my own projector, laptop and clicker when speaking to an audience. I prefer to use my equipment because I know how it works. When I can’t use my equipment, I arrive early and rehearse. Running through a sound check and playing videos ahead of time is critical.
  • Do your best and don’t apologize. You may not be the best skier or the best speaker but you are trying. Give yourself credit for trying to develop new skills. Eventually, you will become an expert. Expert performance doesn’t happen overnight, it happens after years of focused practice. You are on your way.
  • Have fun. At the end of the day, ask yourself, did I have fun? If the answer is no, perhaps you should be doing something else. If the answer is hell yeah! You might be wondering what took you so long.
 

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Smile! It Shows the Audience that You are Enjoying Speaking to Them

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Smile! It Shows the Audience that You are Enjoying Speaking to Them

Effective speakers use visual language to engage the audience. Your hand gestures, facial expression, posture, movement and eye contact are critical components of your visual language. When you take the stage, always maintain eye contact with the audience, not with the screen behind you. Make sure you are appropriately and professionally dressed for the occasion. Make sure your appearance is neat and clean. You don’t need to have a $1000 suit but you need to be dressed appropriately. You don’t want the audience to remember you because your slip was showing or because your shirt was wrinkled. Don’t wear anything that is distracting and takes away from your message. For example, 20 bangle bracelets that make noise every time you gesture is not a great idea. Practice your hand gestures and body movement when you rehearse your speech. Your hand gestures should complement your language, not distract the audience. If you are a mess, the audience will perceive that you don’t know what you are talking about. Don’t forget to smile! When you smile it looks like you are enjoying the audience. 

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