Archive for the ‘Communication Skills’ Category


Posted on: December 14th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

CTCollegiateBizPlanCompetition14SpringPutting people in situations where they can succeed is the essence of good leadership. When our teams and team members fail there can be many adverse effects. The repercussions can go far beyond those directly involved. Check out this list to see some of the other stakeholders and how they are affected.

For the Under-performing TEAMS and TEAM MEMBERS

  • Their performance spirals down as they see no path to success
  • They disengage and turnover
  • They become anti-sponsors of your organization and you


  • Poor individual performance leads to poor service
  • Continued poor service leads to lost customers
  • Lost customers leads to negative promotion


  • They observe and learn less productive methods and processes
  • They carry more load when their peers and teammates under-perform
  • They get frustrated, disengage and turnover


  • It costs you time, reputation and results as team members don’t realize their potential
  • Your sales and revenue declines, customers and reputation are lost
  • Team members will turnover creating production instability and your career path becomes vulnerable


Join us for the “Stop Defining Insanity: Set Them Up for Success” webinar on Monday, December 19 at Noon ET. More information and register.


Test My Pitch – Private communication skill development platform. Think Toastmasters online. Engage, empower and accelerate your communities communication confidence and competence.

Ask us how we can help you successfully democratize pitch event results in your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at or +1 (860) 573-4821.

10 Unintended Consequences of Bad Evaluation Criteria

Posted on: August 21st, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

LLV Demo Day 130626Organizations use evaluation criteria in many ways. When the criteria are inadequate a variety of unintended consequences occurs. Here’s our top 10 list of things that go wrong with bad evaluation criteria.LLV Demo Day 130626

  • Bad decisions are made
  • The wrong people and ideas are recognized
  • The wrong entrants are modeled
  • The wrong behaviors and activities are reinforced
  • Educational value is lost
  • Participants are disenfranchised
  • The community is misinformed
  • Future participants disengage
  • Judges wisdom isn’t leveraged
  • Participants chose the wrong path and perform the wrong activities

Evaluation criteria affect much more than most of us would image. Making sure that the appropriate criteria are used is fundamental to a successful program.

Would you like to learn more about developing effective criteria? If so, then join us for the Criteria Conundrum: Developing Your Ultimate Pitch Evaluation Rubric webinar on Tuesday, August 23 at Noon eastern time. Follow this link for more details and to register.


Score My Pitch is a pitch event judging and feedback system. Harness the wisdom and potential energy in your community. Produce reliable results. Share contextual and actionable feedback. Watch the video.

Ask us how we can help you successfully democratize pitch event results in your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Practice, It’s Not Just for Olympians

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Lavern practice

With the Olympics in “full on” mode at the moment, a post about practice seems like a perfect topic. Bobby Knight, the one-time Olympic basketball coach from Indiana University said “The key is not the “will to win” . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

Imagine if your professionals, students or entrepreneurs could execute their communication like a gold medal winning Olympic athlete competes in their event. How much better would your team perform? Imagine if they could articulate a podium worthy value proposition, class presentation or venture pitch. Imagine if they could connect with the audience and compel them to action. Would they sell more? Would they get better grades or a better career path? Would they raise more money?

Indeed champion athletes and award-winning performance artists embrace volumes of focused practice to assure peak performance. While the numbers vary considerably by sport and art form, athletes and performing artists practice somewhere between 2-50 times more than they play in actual games or perform shows. They train physically and mentally, they do dress rehearsals and walkthroughs and they focus on specific skills some days and the entire game or performance others.

Practice is safe and collegial. Practice might also be competitive to replicate a game environment or opening night performance. The championship is not won in practice, but it can be lost by how we practice. Practice helps individuals evolve from conscious competence to unconscious competence. The best practices see performers stretching beyond their current skill set to manifest higher levels of ability.

Watch this brief video where Michael Jordan shares his thoughts on the importance of practice.

Athletes and artists who don’t practice, don’t play. Practices are mandatory and integrated into the performance process. Practice is not only a base requirement, it is essential to maintaining and evolving skills. The emphasis on practice doesn’t stop when athletes and performers move from junior levels to the Olympics or professional ranks. In fact, practices get longer, harder and more sophisticated as performers mature towards their peak. Specialized coaches, trainers and consultants are hired to maximize performance at the top levels.

So here are a couple of challenge questions, if your team isn’t prepared and communicating at a gold medal level:

  • What’s your team’s practice to performance ratio? Remember top athletes and artists practice 2 to 50 times more than they play and perform.
  • Do you have a method to diagnose each individual’s skill and performance gaps? Left to our own devices, most of us will practice our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. Identifying and overcoming deficiencies is where major performance leaps occur.
  • Are you providing good benchmarks and references? While each individual understanding their performance and growth opportunities is important, this information is abstract. Seeing their performance in comparison to peers and past performers creates even better reference points. Sometimes it is hard to improve until you know what better looks like.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then is not an act, but a habit”.

Test My Pitch – Private communication skill development platform. Think Toastmasters online. Engage, empower and accelerate your communities communication confidence and competence.

Ask us how we can help you improve your team’s success through practice. Email or call Bill Kenney today at or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Stop Thinking and Start Doing: The Power of Practicing More

Posted on: March 25th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

This a really powerful article about the value of practice in skill building. Look at the ratio of practice to competition for athletes or the ration of practice to performing for any type of performing artist. Do business professionals practice to perform at similar ratios? What would change if they did?


Reprinted from Medium. Written by @james_clear

Stop Thinking and Start Doing: The Power of Practicing More

We all have goals that we want to achieve in our lives. These goals may include learning a new language, eating healthier and losing weight, becoming a better parent, saving more money, and so on.

It can be easy to assume that the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future is caused by a lack of knowledge. This is why we buy courses on how to start a business or how to lose weight fast or how to learn a new language in three months. We assume that if we knew about a better strategy, then we would get better results. We believe that a new result requires new knowledge.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that new knowledge does not necessarily drive new results. In fact, learning something new can actually be a waste of time if your goal is to make progress and not simply gain additional knowledge.

It all comes down to the difference between learning and practicing.

The Difference Between Learning and Practicing
In Thomas Sterner’s book, The Practicing Mind (audiobook), he explains the key difference between practicing and learning.

“When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal. The words deliberate and intention are key here because they define the difference between actively practicing something and passively learning it.”  — Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind

Learning something new and practicing something new may seem very similar, but these two methods can have profoundly different results. Here are some additional ways to think about the difference.

  • Let’s say your goal is to get stronger and more fit. You can research the best instructions on bench press technique, but the only way to build strength is to practice lifting weights.
  • Let’s say your goal is to grow your startup. You can learn about the best way to make a sales pitch, but the only way to actually land customers is to practice making sales calls.
  • Let’s say your goal is to write a book. You can talk to a best-selling author about writing, but the only way become a better writer is to practice publishing consistently.

Passive learning creates knowledge. Active practice creates skill.

Let’s consider three more reasons to prioritize active practice over passive learning.

  1. Learning Can Be a Crutch That Supports InactionIn many cases, learning is actually a way to avoid taking action on the goals and interests that we say are important to us. For example, let’s say you want to learn a foreign language. Reading a book on how to learn a foreign language quickly allows you to feel like you are making progress (“Hey, I’m figuring out the best way to do this!”). Of course, you’re not actually practicing the action that would deliver your desired outcome (speaking the foreign language).

    In situations like this one, we often claim that we are preparing or researching the best method, but these rationalizations allow us to feel like we are moving forward when we are merely spinning our wheels. We make the mistake of being in motion rather than taking action. Learning is valuable until it becomes a form of procrastination.

  2. Practice Is Learning, But Learning Is Not PracticePassive learning is not a form of practice because although you gain new knowledge, you are not discovering how to apply that knowledge. Active practice, meanwhile, is one of the greatest forms of learning because the mistakes you make while practicing reveal important insights.

    Even more important, practice is the only way to make a meaningful contribution with your knowledge. You can watch an online course about how to build a business or read an article about a terrible disaster in a developing nation, but that knowledge is unproductive unless you actually launch your business or donate to those in need. Learning by itself can be valuable for you, but if you want to be valuable to others, then you have to express your knowledge in some way.

  3. Practice Focuses Your Energy on the Process“Progress is a natural result of staying focused on the process of doing anything.”  — Thomas Sterner, The Practicing Mind

    The state of your life right now is a result of the habits and beliefs that you have been practicing each day. When you realize this and begin to direct your focus toward practicing better habits day-in and day-out, continual progress will be the logical outcome. It is not the things we learn nor the dreams we envision that determines our results, but rather that habits that we practice each day. Fall in love with boredom and focus your energy on the process, not the product.

The Bottom Line
Is passive learning useless? Of course not. In many cases, learning for the sake of learning can be a beautiful thing. Not to mention that soaking up new information can help you make more informed decisions when you do decide to take action.

That said, the main point of this article is that learning by itself does not lead to progress. We often hide behind information and use learning as an excuse to delay the more difficult and more important choice of actually doing something. Spend less time passively learning and more time actively practicing. Stop thinking and start doing.

Standout in 30-Seconds for Professionals

Posted on: March 14th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Standout in 30-Seconds

Connect at every opportunity

Make your networking self-introduction ROCK!


  • Do you get anxious or nervous?
  • Do you forget what you wanted to say?
  • Do you wish you had a clear and powerful message?
  • Is your value proposition simple and effective?
  • Do you wish your introduction would attract the right people?

Join our Standout in 30-Seconds program and deliver your compelling self-introduction with confidence every time.

Our system will help you develop an effective script and then practice and perfect your delivery.

What’s included:

  • Two (2) x 1-hour workshops – delivered live online and recorded
    • Introduction to Standing Out (Monday, April 11 at 4pm ET)
      • getting started
      • creating a script
      • delivery techniques
    • Advanced Standing Out (Monday, April 25 at 4pm ET)
      • assessing the audience
      • developing a hook
      • closing with confidence
  • Three (3) rounds of formalized practice rounds with feedback from our expert coaches on the Test My Pitch platform.


Register by Friday, April 1 and SAVE $30

More Information

Price = $149 if you register by April 1, 2016


Subject to the standard Test My Pitch Term of Use.

Test My Pitch is a product of Test My Pitch, LLC

What Are the Most Important Job Skills?

Posted on: March 4th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

According to a report just published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, verbal communication is the most important job skill.

When asked to assess candidate skills/qualities, employers rated verbal communication skills the most important, according to NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 report.

Employers rated verbal communication skills (4.63 on a five-point scale) highest this year, above teamwork (4.62) and the ability to make decisions and solve problems (4.49), the two skills that tied for the top spot last year.

The remainder of the list has not changed at all in terms of order compared to last year. The one difference this year is that more of the skills/qualities were rated just below 4.0 (“very important”) than last year. Just two skills/qualities were rated below 4.0 last year—ability to create and/or edit written reports and the ability to sell or influence others.

While those two remain at the bottom of this year’s list, they are joined by technical knowledge related to the job and proficiency with computer software programs with ratings under 4.0.

The Job Outlook 2016 survey was conducted from August 5, 2015, through September 13, 2015, among NACE employer members. A total of 201 NACE employer members participated in the survey—a 20.1 percent response rate. NACE members can access the Job Outlook 2016 report through MyNACE.

Results of the annual Job Outlook survey—especially employer insight into the skills they seek in new college graduate job candidates—served as one of the foundation pieces upon which NACE constructed its Career Readiness Competencies.

View the rest of the report including how employers rate the importance of candidate skills/qualities.