Thoughts + Articles

Communication Road Blocks You Can’t See On Your Own

Are there some elements preventing you from connecting and communicating with others? You have a great potential inside of you! How can you unlock it?

Are there are some elements preventing you from connecting and communicating with others? For example, having a thick southern accent does not help you in New York City to get your dream job in public relations. Or maybe having a Brooklyn accent in Alabama. Your accent is costing you!

What other things can distract people that you are trying to connect with?

Moving like a panther can be distracting when you are trying to get your message across to close a sale! Use of verbal filler words um, ah, like, you know are also a deal killer and detract from connecting with people. Sometimes you don’t even realize what you are doing and people won’t tell you.

People don’t know what they do, until it is pointed out to them. My husband and I saw one of these communication distractions in a recent revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” in New York City. Eliza Doolittle speaks with a thick cockney accent selling flowers outside of Covent Garden. Professor Henry Higgins, an expert on improving accents, hears Eliza speak and compares her voice to a “bilious pigeon”. Eliza immediately imitates expertly, the sound of the pigeon. As he speaks in his clear speaking voice, Eliza realizes her thick cockney accent is not helping her sales. 

She listens when he says his address. She has saved her money and visits Higgins hoping to engage his services for speaking lessons. She’s decided she wants to invest in hiring Professor Higgins to make a better life for herself. Higgins sees a challenge and has a wager with Colonel Pickering, a linguist and agrees to assist Eliza to improve her speaking to help her get a better job.

The audience watches fascinated as Eliza Doolittle changes, step by step, as Professor Higgins mentors her. 

On reflection, Professor Higgins, pin pointed a few things that Eliza needed to modify to improve her speaking skills. He did not overwhelm her. Higgins observed her, offered critique, encouraged her to change specific things, had her practice them, and then he listened again.

Just as there may be little things you are doing wrong, a coach, can help you pin point a few things to modify, to improve your performance.

Graduate concert at University: 

One of my students, Mandie, at the university was preparing for her graduation recital. She was practicing in the hall with her pianist, Jay. The pianist was covering up her beautiful playing on the violin. The balance between the instruments was not right! 

I immediately stopped the rehearsal! 

I went over to the piano, put the lid down, to soften the piano, and asked the pianist “very softly”, to play softer when the violinist was playing so as not to cover up the violinist’s beautiful phrasing.

Then I worked with them showing them, how to reshape the musical phrases with a full controlled range of dynamics and accents.

As we worked together to paint a picture of the music with beautiful phrasing, the two musicians began listening and supporting each other and playing together as a team.

 After working with them for 30 minutes, I walked to the back of the hall to listen and experience what the audience would hear from the two performing. It was an amazing transformation. The violinist and pianist were making beautiful music together, that their audience would enjoy! 

The key is to find a coach, or mentor who is an expert at the skill you want to excel at.

 Coaching others to improve their speeches: 

When I’m coaching a beginning speaker student to write out their first speech, they ask me, what do I do first?

I ask them: 

1) What is the purpose of your speech? What do you want your audience to do when they leave your speech? What is your “Call to Action?” 

2) What stories do you have to support this speech? 

Then I ask them to write out their stories and then write out a one-line point of the story. (Tell a story, make a point. Then tell another story and make another point.)

Every top performer, communicator, or professional understands finding a qualified coach or mentor helps them reach their goal faster.

Building the habits of improving your speaking and communication skills will improve your life professionally.

Madeline Frank, Ph.D., is a 2014 Certified World Class Speaking Coach. She has been coaching and mentoring business professionals to be champion speakers for over 7 years. She is an Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful.  Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold.  

If you need a speaker or coach contact Madeline at:

This entry was posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019 at 3:36 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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