Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen

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Thanks to a training session, I recently found myself on the other side of the public-speaking coin: in the audience. As I watched Japanese salespeople give presentations in English, I observed various levels of pre-presentation anxiety. Despite that fact, each presenter made successful speeches. Nothing went wrong.

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Who Is Your Customer?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at a typical (yet highly simplified) supply chain:

From the perspective of the manufacturer, who are the customers in this diagram?  Many people go for the obvious answer:  the end users.  Indeed, down the line, they are customers that need to be served and satisfied.  Don’t forget, however, the manufacturer also has more immediate customers: the retailers.  They, after all, are buying products directly from the manufacturer to be resold to customers. Continue reading

Embrace Feedback

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It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that most people resist and fear criticism.  This makes sense.  It’s not easy to hear that the great class, lecture, or presentation that you worked so hard on wasn’t perfect (or perhaps majorly flawed).  However, if you are truly committed to becoming a better public speaker, you not only have to learn how to accept feedback, but you must also learn to embrace it.  In fact, you may even have to actively seek it out criticism. Continue reading

Avoid Assumptions About Your Audience

One of my first clients as a business English instructor used to be a constant source of anxiety. Although they seemed to enjoy their class and were fun to teach, they didn’t seem to take it very seriously. Their attendance was sporadic and their homework performance was no different. Upon hearing that I would have to have a meeting with the company president (and that he would sample my class), I feared my teaching days were going to come to an abrupt end. With the students behaving as they were, naturally, their English was not improving very quickly. I was positive the president wouldn’t be satisfied with their progress (and therefore my performance). Continue reading