Regina's Blog

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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Keep Your Customers Coming Back

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, August 18, 2016
Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Plenty of business owners and employees are focused on keeping their customers happy and going the extra mile for their customers. Here are a few examples of great customer experiences.
 

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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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Improving the Patient Experience

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Improving the Patient Experience

Today’s healthcare environment is challenging. Physicians in private practice are being eaten up by larger medical groups and waiting over an hour to see a physician is becoming the norm instead of the exception.Many healthcare providers have become accountable care organizations (ACO). An ACO is a healthcare organization characterized by a payment and care delivery model that seeks to tie provider reimbursements to quality metrics and reductions in the total cost of care for an assigned population of patients. One quality metric that everyone is talking about is patient satisfaction. Patient satisfaction is a measure which is arrived at when data is collected. The patient experience is much more personal.  

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The Employee Engagement Puzzle

by Regina Clark - on Friday, June 07, 2013
The Employee Engagement Puzzle

A few weeks ago, many hospitals and healthcare organizations throughout the Unites States celebrated Nurses week followed by Hospital week. Healthcare organizations held lunches, hosted parties, gave away free stuff, and took out advertisements in the newspaper to thank their employees for their hard work and dedication. Some of you who are reading this blog post participated in some of these activities. What the leaders of these healthcare organizations failed to realize is that employee engagement is not something that can be taken care of during one week; employees want to be appreciated and engaged all year 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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Speaking Secrets to Engage Remote Audiences

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Speaking Secrets to Engage Remote Audiences

In today’s global business environment, sharing information with remote audiences via web conferencing and webinars has quickly replaced face to face meetings and live training. Web conferencing is convenient and cost effective for global organizations. There are a variety of vendors that offer web conferencing and webinars at a variety of price points. I use Citrix Go to Webinars to deliver webinars; it is user friendly and affordable. Some of my clients use WebEx, Adobe Connect and Microsoft Office Live Meeting for their conferencing needs. WebEx is the most senior Web conferencing provider on the market today. Whoever you chose to work with, make sure that they offer technical assistance. 

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Dealing with Nerves Before a Presentation

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Dealing with Nerves Before a Presentation

Nervous energy is good. It means that you care. Learning how to use the nervous energy to pump you up instead of paralyzing you is not as hard as you might think. Here are a few things that you can do to reduce your nerves prior to a presentation. 

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10 Presentation Tips

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
10 Presentation Tips

Business presentations do not have to be boring! As a matter of fact, most content is not boring, it’s the speaker who is boring. Usually speakers are boring because they don’t know how to have fun when standing in front of an audience. If the speaker is boring, the audience will definitely be bored. If the speaker has some fun, the audience will be engaged and retain the information that the speaker is communicating. Having fun is definitely the way to go. Here are a few ways to add some fun or spice to your business presentations. 

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