This is what we do.
We teach skills in four primary areas. And all our classroom content is tailored for our clients: it can be taught to large or small groups, remotely or in-person, from one-off 90 minute sessions to year-long multi-topic onboarding curricula. Click on the program titles below to explore.
Executive Presence 1.0
Spoken communication is a physical art. We often hear or say the phrase, “I could have said that better.” However, being at a loss for words during communication opportunities has more to do with what your breath and body are doing than what your mind is (or is not) thinking. We start this program learning foundational ideas on how to improve the impression you make, both in terms of content (what you say) and delivery (how you say it).
Participants will then learn and practice kinesthetic tools for being concise, mastering silence, and projecting authority, regardless of confidence or anxiety level. Some of the specific topics include: avoiding the trap of “professional mode;” how a communication warm-up can increase energy and clarity; and using the 5 P’s of Vocal Variety to capture and keep your audience’s attention. This program is all about examining presence holistically: its definition, misconceptions, best practices, and more.
Executive Presence 2.0
Building on the foundational skills of Executive Presence 1.0, this program shifts the focus to both content and impromptu speaking.
Participants learn a straightforward system for creating structured and dynamic content, a step-by-step approach to asking/answering questions, a sequence of “Breathing Time Techniques” to learn how to buy themselves time without denting their credibility when impromptu speaking, and more.
We start this program by exploring the GRACIOUS model, which is a clear roadmap for other-focused, persuasive sales conversations. The model covers concepts like: fostering personal relationships, how and when to “pitch,” and what needs to happen in order to seal the deal. Participants will also learn a simple, non-“salesy” idea for how to frame sales conversations that takes the pressure off of a potential lead but doesn’t let them off the hook. We’ll also go over a precise methodology for overcoming objections and navigating difficult conversations in four simple stages, while also eliminating defensiveness. Finally, no sales program would be complete without learning the 5 essential types of questions and how to use them effectively, how good questions go bad, and how to ask questions with linguistic precision.
This program has one essential goal: to teach participants concrete, effective, and reliable techniques to present more effectively, regardless of the circumstances. We share GK’s writing methodology as it relates to building clear and compelling slide decks, unexpected truths and falsehoods about presence and presenting, kinesthetic drills to address common problem areas (filler language, rambling, etc.), and best practices to set yourself up for success for any presentation.
Learning is a full-contact sport. When you’re the one presenting information, you’re the coach, teammate, and referee all-in-one. The most important thing to know about presenting is…you can’t simply present material with no interaction and hope your audience retains it.
You must change your perspective to actively facilitate and not just present. In this program, participants take their facilitation skills to the next level by focusing on: 1) activating a learner’s five senses, which aids in engagement and retention; 2) practicing with best-in-class sensory stimulation learning activities; and 3) creating personal and unique sensory-based exercises/tools. We’ll also cover: what defines sensory engagement in the context of facilitation and why it matters; illustrate examples of learning techniques that activate different senses; and share classic sensory-involvement exercises as a jumping off point for much broader discussions. In essence, participants experience what it’s like to involve an audience, not just talk at them.
Leadership Communication Styles
How does a good leader lead? There’s lots of advice and opinions about what defines good leadership, but in reality there’s not much consensus. GK Training takes a different route to building leadership skills by teaching reliable and repeatable behaviors to light the path to leadership. In this program, we examine leadership through the lens of four key behaviors: 1) we use our proprietary leadership style assessment to examine each participant’s leadership strengths and weaknesses; 2) we explore the five different types of questions and how to use them to lead through listening; 3) we practice how to increase clarity when delivering directions, feedback, or agendas; and 4) we learn a framework to acknowledge mistakes or challenges with transparency and a lack of defensiveness. Participants will leave this program having explored their own leadership style, the leadership style of others, and how to build bridges between the two with intention and clarity.
Remote work has changed the workplace forever – and will continue to as technology improves. As the world continues the slow transition to a post-pandemic reality, it’s time to give remote work best practices the attention and refresh they deserve. We start off with how to set your workspace up most effectively with lighting, camera angle, and background. The next part covers the 3 major surprises of good communication and 5 good rules to continuously engage those surprises. Participants will also get acquainted with our highly effective transparency model and why being transparent builds credibility – and doesn’t dent it. Participants also explore the power and effectiveness of Vocal Variety, and why engaging it with intention levels up your remote interactions. Finally, we take a look at content-building tools and how to apply them to keep an audience of one or hundreds engaged, even while remote.
In the words of novelist Doris Lessing, “The human race has been telling stories since it began.” Humans are wired to understand information when it’s embedded in stories. Participants in this program learn why they should tell stories (because they work!), when to tell stories (more often than not), and how to create stories (structure, devices, takeaways, and more). We’ll cover the importance of storytelling; the classical 5-part storytelling structure; an easier 3-part structure to create stories quickly; and innovative ways to craft stories by starting with the middle and working your way out. We’ll cover the under-utilized skill in today’s workplace of out-loud drafting (in other words, creating content out loud and on your feet – not on your computer screen). Participants will also experience a tactile way to construct their stories using post-it notes, liberating them to workshop their ideas by shifting pieces tangibly.
Is communications training different for women? Should it be? Much is the same for both women and men when it comes to communicating in the workplace, and yet, it’s hard to ignore how differently they can be subsequently judged – overtly or not. Try asking a room full of women if they’ve ever been told to “speak up” and are then admonished for being “too aggressive” when they do. Most will answer they’ve encountered this very paradox. This phenomenon has a name – the Double Bind – coined in the 1950s. When women attempt to adopt what they believe are qualities that their male counterparts use in the workplace, they’re often criticized or even punished. In this program, participants get techniques to adjust or eliminate the five most limiting behaviors in our ten years of coaching female executives: monotone, rambling, up-speak or vocal fry, speaking too fast, and having a “small” physical presence. Participants will also learn how to decipher feedback and make it more behavioral and actionable.
Hybrid workforces are here to stay. No matter if you’re working in a boutique firm, a Fortune 500 company, or a multinational corporation, everyone needs to know how to make hybrid communication opportunities effective and engaging. This program covers all hybrid situations: leading or participating, in-person or remote, audio-only or video, and more. Participants will learn hybrid best practices like: setting up a roll call at the top of hybrid meetings, narrating your gaze when you’re remote, how to create engaging slides, being a good visuals traffic cop by showing people where to look and what they can ignore, passing the baton skillfully to colleagues, and interjecting with intention. We’ll also explore how to manage communication after a hybrid event and what pitfalls to avoid. Hybrid work can be just as fruitful as all in-person or all remote. The key is knowing which hat to wear – and how many hats at once.
Fewer, Faster, Better
The mantra of this course is fewer, better, faster emails, and it teaches exactly that. We share a three-step process that starts with generating ideas, then moves on to creating a structure, and only then setting about actually choosing words and crafting a message. Each participant spends the bulk of the program actually working: learning new skills and applying them right away to a real-world email task. At the end of the session, participants will have a polished email completed.
Coming across expertly on content and subject matter you’ve rigorously prepared is one thing — but what about all the things you can’t predict nor necessarily prepare for: interruptions, technology issues, challengers & hecklers, or just your garden variety “what if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?” In this program, participants explore the subject of conversational agility: what it is, how it works, and why it can unlock better performance and even save time. Participants learn GK Training’s five types of intentional questions, breathing time techniques to gain control, transparency tools to embrace mistakes and mishaps, and more. At the end of the program, participants get access to GK Training’s interactive practice app Question Roulette, so they can use their newly acquired conversational agility skills instantly, but in a zero-consequence environment.
Effective Meeting Management
Executive Presence & EQ
IQ alone isn’t enough to be a successful communicator. This program is all about participants opening up their awareness to using their EQ, or Emotional Quotient, and not just their IQ. In other words, how can being aware of your own emotions and the emotions of others foster connections and positive interactions? How can being emotionally intelligent help you achieve your professional goals? We’ll explore a unique model that makes the answers to these questions easy to remember and call upon. Looking through this EQ lens, participants will then explore how to merge their EQ with Executive Presence, or the impression they form on others. Through using our suite of kinesthetic tools developed over a decade, participants experience what it’s like to apply their EQ when using skills like the 5 P’s of Vocal Variety, the 3 S’s of content creation, the power of transparency, and more.
Building Better Decks
No one likes to read lots of text on slides: it’s not only visually unappealing, but it also distracts from the actual presentation. With too much text on slides, the audience is confronted with a visual overload. How, therefore, do you minimize text and maximize visual impact? In this program participants learn the principles behind effective visual vocabulary and design. They are lead through an examination of text overload (how much is too much? how small is too small?), visual element cohesion, repetiton, structure and more. Participants learn design exercises featuring post-it notes to physically manipulate ideas and build their deck slide by slide and create a deck through a process that starts with ideation, then structure, and ends with choosing the appropriate words.
The Art of Better Questions
What makes a conversation a dialogue and not a monologue? Question awareness and agility. In this program, participants learn the essential types of questions and how and when to deploy them. We highlight each question type’s definition and purpose and address common pitfalls – like phrasing questions in the negative or rapid-firing multiple consecutive questions. Participants learn how to ask questions with linguistic precision and then tolerate relaxed silence at the end of questions – a skill that sounds deceptively easy. Participants also learn to use questions to: cold call with intention; create a sense of comfort and safety; and narrow the field of responses for negotiation or sales situations.
Content Workshop: Choosing Your Words
The pen is mightier than the sword; but when facing speechwriter’s block or email exhaustion, it can be as heavy to pick up, too. For many, choosing what to say — either impromptu or for a planned piece of communication — can be a toilsome process, the dread of which drives people to either “wing it” and just let words fly haphazardly out of their mouths, or procrastinate to the 11th hour and then dutifully slave away at the keyboard all night creating a document or deck that will be delivered with an equally dutiful and joyless white-knuckled focus on perfection. Sounds fun, no? But creating content doesn’t need to be a grind — and it doesn’t even need to be time-intensive! In this targeted session participants learn a stream-lined process for creating great content fast. Using an alliterative system of S’s (so the system seriously sinks in!), participants learn, use, and memorialize a new way to write or speak better stuff, faster.
Rhetoric in the Real World
Elocution; declination; speech; rhetoric. Students of the past often studied the art of persuasive public speech. Our modern world and current educational curriculums emphasize these less, but it doesn’t mean these tools are any less useful. Far from it! Equipping yourself to use alliteration, repetition for emphasis and contrast, antithesis, personification, and other poetic devices can give the modern professional access to glossed-over but powerful tools to win in a world of words. Participants in this session rediscover time-tested rhetorical tools of spoken language and when and how to apply them in a modern business context where functional jargon like “next steps,” “best practices,” and “stakeholder engagement” dominates our discourse. In this program we’ll also learn the structure and power of stories, perhaps one of the most important rhetorical tools available, and why humans are wired for them. All of these tools, when used with intention, can create powerful communication.
Establishing Trust Early
Without trust in our institutions and the intentions of others, society can break down. Trust takes time to build and once broken is hard to restore. In a fast-moving society in which decisions need to be made early and often, establishing trust is essential. Trust isn’t a magical force; it can be built and lost. In this program, participants examine with new eyes the human behaviors that establish and grow trust such as: the power of transparency; the meaning and benefits of other-focused vs. self-focused vulnerability; the trust-building behaviors of physical and vocal expressiveness; how non-verbal mirroring and contrasting aid in establishing trust; and the power of pushback. Participants will also assess their own dominant communication style using GK Training’s proprietary assessment that maps their style to one of four memorable and evocative archetypes. Finally, participants learn how to leverage their natural strengths to build trust in people with opposite styles.
Breathe to Speak
This program is all about releasing the restorative power of breath in the everyday moments of our jam-packed professional lives. Breathing in (and crying out!) is the first thing most babies do upon entering the world. Yet this first and most essential thing we do is woefully under-utilized in our day-to-day as adults. Modern adults breathe less, more shallowly, and with less intention than we could and should. In this program, participants learn: 1) why conventional wisdom to “breathe before speaking” is misleading and counterproductive; 2) how to use performance and meditation breath practices to transform focus and speech; 3) how to release natural breath rhythms, capacity, and coordination; 4) how to use intentional breathing in order to add relaxation and rejuvenation without adding time to workdays; 5) how to use breath to convey poise and gravitas; and 6) how to speak with a supported sound that improves vocal production.