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A CEO's Guide To Speaking Up In The Age of Trump

BY JANE PRAEGER

In Hollywood, a damning Tweet from President Trump often has a positive ripple effect. Just ask Meryl Streep.

In the business world? A 6AM Trump Tweet about your company could send your stock into a tailspin, prompt a product boycott, or pressure you to publicly comment on an issue prematurely.

Not surprisingly, companies everywhere are bracing for the worst. Consulting firms are flooded with crisis communications work from companies who fear they might be next. 

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HAS TED REALLY TAUGHT COMPANIES TO BE BETTER STORYTELLERS?

BY JANE PRAEGER

Imagine you had just 18 minutes to rally a team of 150 burned-out employees to stand behind your company's new mission. Or convince a dream client to hire your firm to handle their biggest campaign of the year.

The best TED presenters have tapped into the power of storytelling to do far more in their 18 minutes in the spotlight. We've watched them change our minds, open our hearts, and­ even alter our behavior.

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THERE ARE 4 KINDS OF BUSINESS COACHES. FIND OUT WHICH ONE YOU NEED

BY COELI CARR

As a company owner, you're a walking, talking billboard. "You communicate your character and trustworthiness through your presentation, and venture capitalists typically base part of their funding decisions on whether they have faith in the CEOs in front of them and are inspired by their founding stories," says Jane Praeger, owner and CEO of Ovid, a media-training and presentation-coaching firm in New York City whose clients include small-business owners. 


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THE TOP 5 WAYS YOU ARE KILLING YOUR NEW BUSINESS PITCH

BY HEATHER THOMAS

Most agencies can relate to this scenario: "We’ve got one week to prepare a pitch deck to win this business. Let’s just Frankenstein together some creds slides and case studies from the last three pitches."

I would know. I’ve been that new business executive, obsessing over which slides I needed to create from scratch, and which ones I could just copy and paste from last week’s pitch presentation.

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THE SECRETS OF THE BEST PUBLIC SPEAKERS

BY JESSE SCINTO

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Jane Praeger, who teaches storytelling in Columbia University’s Strategic Communications programs, adds, "In order to sound spontaneous, you have to be prepared." She likens it to the way actors rehearse their scripts for more natural delivery. "It’s the preparation that allows you to be spontaneous," says Praeger.

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7 STORYTELLING TIPS THAT EVERY JOB SEEKING NEW GRADUATE SHOULD KNOW

BY GRACE BELLO

Jane Praeger, founder and president of the media training firm Ovid, Inc., lectures for the master’s programs in Strategic Communications and Communications Practice at Columbia University. In her class The Strategic Storyteller, she outlines the importance of narrative as a way to persuade, inspire, and cultivate empathy. Here, she adapts her top storytelling tips for job-seeking new graduates, who can use narratives to distinguish themselves in everything from their About Me pages to their resumes to their job interviews.

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HOW TO GIVE A GREAT SPEECH

BY JACQUELYN SMITH

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Use anecdotes. “People would find speechwriting much easier if they realized that all they needed to do was find a key message and three great stories to support it,” says Jane Praeger, a Columbia University professor and the president of the speech presentation and coaching firm Ovid Inc. “Those kinds of speeches are also easier to deliver because they don’t have to be read.  If you’ve lived a story, you can tell it from memory and with genuine feeling.  And stories stick in people’s minds.  When you tell people a story, it arouses their emotions and releases dopamine in their brains, which makes that content sticky.  In other words, if you make people feel what you are talking about, they won’t forget it.”

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WHY PUBLIC SPEAKING SCARES YOU AND HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR FEAR

BY SUSAN ADAMS

For Jane Praeger, a New York City media and presentation coach, helping people overcome those fears is a critical part of her coaching.  Praeger (full disclosure: a friend of mine) coaches corporate, non-profit and academic clients to make presentations on camera and in front of groups. She teaches in  Columbia University’s graduate program in strategic communications, runs group trainings and she also does a lot of work one-on-one, with people who are paralyzed by their fear of public speaking.

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THE POWER OF STORYTELLING IN BUSINESS

BY JOAN DOWLING

As you’ve all probably noticed, the use of stories and storytelling is emerging as a powerful communications tool and becoming integral to how communicators define their content marketing approach. While we’ve all seen or experienced the use of a dramatic story in a television commercial or customer testimonial, many businesses are finding that stories offer a new and relevant way to connect with audiences in other forums beyond advertising. Businesses now use storytelling in presentations, meetings and as a way to present research or motivate employees.  

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EVERY BUSINESS HAS A STORY TO TELL

BY JOANNA L. KROTZ

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And make no mistake. It’s feelings that seal a deal. “Decision-making is an emotionally driven process,” says New York communications coach Jane Praeger, who runs Ovid Inc. and teaches “strategic storytelling” to business students at Columbia University. “When people make a business decision, they start with emotions, and then post-rationalize the decision with facts.” She cites the work of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio to prove the point.

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