Blog - Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Does making a presentation in front of people send chills down your spine?

 

You’re not alone. Research shows that at least 75% of people struggle with some degree of anxiety or nervousness when it comes to talking in front of people.

 

Kevin Swayze, former journalist and communications consultant, hopes to help quash these fears by providing tips about good communication at our virtual YIP Growth Learning Series on April 28 entitled ‘Public Speaking 911’.

 

“I think that most people stand up in front of a crowd and think everybody there is against them, when in most circumstances they’re there with you and want you to succeed,” says Kevin.

 

He says the key to good communication centres on connecting with people, whether it’s one-on-one or in a large group, which is something he will stress during his learning session.

 

“I’m going to show how to polish your elevator pitch when you’ve got only a minute to talk to somebody; to connect with somebody and make yourself memorable.”

Kevin says stories are the best way to accomplish this and during his 30-year newspaper career tried to do just that.

 

“The best stories are always told through a person. I’ve always tried to do that with my writing,” he says. “People don’t want to be lectured at, they want to connect, and the best stories connect with people. The best communication is conversation.”

 

Kevin, a client communications teacher at Conestoga College, says he finds inspiration from the international students he instructs. Not only does he admire their bravery for travelling to another country to study, but the fact they will question his use of any corporate jargon or slang.

 

“I get the look from them,” he jokes, adding good communication doesn’t involve slang or jargon. “It’s pervasive everywhere and it kills communication because you’re either in or you’re out; jargon is exclusive, and it pushes people away.”

 

Kevin says the use of ‘buzz’ words doesn’t further proper communication and hopes to convey that to participants.

 

As well, he will also touch on some basic tips surrounding presentation, such as holding on to a piece of paper while standing up to speak.

 

“I like to give them something to hold in their hands so they’re comfortable,” says Kevin, who has been involved with Cambridge Toastmasters for the past four years.

He says the club, which consists of several groups under the Toastmasters banner, has helped him considerably.

 

“I’ve seen the change myself. I would not be able to teach as effectively,” says Kevin, explaining club members evaluate every aspect of any presentation by their fellow members. “It’s hard to find anyone who will give an honest and reasonable evaluation of something.”

 

He hopes YIP participants will leave the session understanding the importance of being an active listener when it comes good communication, noting the temptation of cellphones is difficult to ignore.

 

“Even if you leave your phone upside down on the desk it still draws your attention,” says Kevin.

 

He expects participants will already arrive with a set of their own communication tools.

 

“They will know how to communicate in bits and pieces. My goal is to reflect on what they do and think about what’s working well and where they can build,” says Kevin. “And encourage them to practice what really works well.”

 

He says most people don’t think about communication deliberately anymore.

“There’s no app that replaces face-to-face communication,” says Kevin.

 

The YIP (Young Innovative Professionals) Public Speaking 911 session, sponsored by Deluxe Payroll, will take place virtually Tuesday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

For information, visit: https://bit.ly/3cF92MN

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As the days turn into weeks in the battle against COVID-19, it’s imperative for businesses to adapt to this new reality.

 

Many are now using videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom, Cisco Webex, and GoToMeeting as a method to not only keep in touch with their co-workers but as an important tool to conduct business.

 

Mastering this technology is key when it comes to marketing your business says Mike Jennings, president of the Cambridge-based digital marketing agency MoreSALES.

 

“A lot of companies will judge you based not only on your ability to communicate but your ability to use technology well,” he says, explaining tech-based firms, along with banks and insurance companies, are more willing to work with organizations that are comfortable with technology.

 

Mike says Marshall McLuhan’s famous quote, ‘the medium is the message’, still holds true, especially in today’s technologically advanced business world.

 

“Marketing is really about building trust as quickly as possible so the more you can look competent and communicate your message clearly and efficiently, the better,” he says. “That’s where Zoom can really be a benefit to companies.”

 

Mike says his company had used GoToMeeting in the past but switched to Zoom approximately two years ago after finding it more reliable and easier for clients to navigate.

 

“We’ve been using it ever since and we’ve also been using it as a marketing tool,” he says, referring to the way Zoom allows his company to present ideas to clients through screen sharing and webinars.

 

However, Mike says prior to the arrival of COVID-19 his staff often didn’t use the video portion of the platform which can take up a great deal of bandwidth unless there is good connectivity. And while some companies have been scrambling when COVID-19 struck to find ways for their employees to work from home, that wasn’t the case at MoreSALES.

 

“Our staff has been able to work remotely for years so it wasn’t a cultural shift at all,” he says, noting in 2016 his company switched to a smaller office footprint.

 

When it comes to using Zoom, or other videoconferencing platforms, Mike is a firm believer that “familiarity breeds confidence.”

 

“Getting really familiar with the platform is important because it makes things go a lot smoother,” he says. “So, get familiar with the platform and learn where all the buttons are.”

 

He says getting to know how to use the ‘mute’ button can be key during an online meeting or discussion. 

 

As well, being aware of what may be in your background is also important.

“Nothing is worse than people seeing stupid stuff there, and it’s distracting,” says Mike, adding common sense should prevail.

 

Also, he says camera position is another big consideration a participant in a videoconference should think about before joining the group.

 

“It’s all about camera work in a sense. Ideally, the camera should be pointing dead on or pointing down,” says Mike, adding the same principles people use when trying to take that ideal selfie can be applied in this situation.

 

And when it comes to ‘Zoombombing’, a concept which has seen a recent surge of hackers and jokers interrupt online discussions, he says there are steps that can be taken to discourage unwanted ‘guests’ from joining.

 

“You can set up a password and email it to those only in the meeting,” says Mike. “You can also set up a waiting room and participants can be accepted before coming into the meeting.”

 

Most importantly, he says do not advertise your Zoom meeting on social media to ward off potential hacking.

 

He believes using platforms like Zoom will likely become the norm for many businesses once the crisis finally ends and people become more comfortable with the technology.

 

“If you know what you’re doing and you’re able to quickly adapt your process to video marketing and video calls, and still communicate clearly and well – and not have clutter in the background and fumbling with buttons and being useless with technology – that goes a long way,” says Mike.

 

Here’s a few Zoom tips that may help:

  • Use a Zoom-generated meeting ID, rather than your personal ID;
  • Have attendees register to attend to dissuade crashers;
  • Select one or more alternative hosts to help you manage the meeting in the event of an issue;
  • Discuss potential issues with your co-hosts and create a plan to respond to technical difficulties or other disruptions;
  • Disable the option for attendees to join before the host and enable the option to mute participants when they enter the meeting;
  • Control screen sharing during the meeting;
  • Close the door if you can between you and anyone else in your living space, or use headphones;
  • You can also download the Zoom app to your phone and go audio-only;
  • Automatically schedule meetings – and let people know about them;
  • Create recurring meetings with saved settings and one URL;
  • Record the call as a video.
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The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce has a brand-new online look.

 

The Chamber’s new website offers visitors a fresh and vivid digital experience as they access information on the many learning programs, incentives and events we offer that benefit our local business community.

 

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer a new site that is easy to navigate and still provides our Members with the valuable information they’ve come to expect,” says Chamber President and CEO Greg Durocher.

 

With a click of a button on the home page or from the ‘events’ page, Members will be able to easily access and manage their own accounts using a simple username system. They will not only be able to update their profiles to add or delete employees but will also be able to pay bills online.

 

“This feature will be a huge benefit to our Members and streamline our operation so we can concentrate on what we do best: helping businesses grow and prosper,” says Durocher.

 

The site itself is much brighter and colourful and contains fewer links which in turn will make using it a far more engaging experience for visitors.

 

As well, a new mobile site is included which means much clearer access on all digital devices.

 

“We have no doubt users will find this feature a huge bonus,” says Durocher, noting how much communication is conducted on smartphones.  “It’s important for all businesses to adapt to the latest trends.”

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Hello Chamber members,

 

Happy New Year to all Chamber Members and their families! With the holidays behind us, it's time to get back to the grind. There is no better time to start with attending our first Business After Hours  of the year on January 13th at Betroth … The Wedding Store in downtown Hespeler. I had the opportunity of attending there grand opening and I encourage you to attend to see this unique facility !! Many thanks to Information Network Systems for sponsoring the entire year of Business After Hours come on out and speak to their reps they offer some significant savings to Chamber Members for office equipment.

 

Thanks to the Chamber members who supported with ads our Relocation Guide should be ready soon. The Winter Spectrum will be hitting the streets soon and the magazine just gets better and better if you are interested in the Spring issue let me know the deadline is March 10th.

 

Welcome to new Chamber Members in the last week or so…Retire at Home Services, Warriors Through Time, Danipa, ROI Capital, Argosy Securities and Long Bridge Inc, . Welcome to all these new members.

 

Hope to see you sooner than later. Happy New Year and remember shop Chamber members first!!

Scott

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Chamber Members,

 

It was great to see so many faces, new and old at the Christmas Business After Hours held here at our office on December 9th.. Thanks to Bruce and his team at Scotiabank for sponsoring and the fantastic food from Zoup and Strodes Catering. Cambridge Chambers Business After Hours provides a great networking opportunity (but only if you attend!!)..the good news is there is always another BAH right around the corner.

 

Interested in promoting to potential NEWCOMERS moving to Cambridge?....The Chamber is currently working on our new Relocation Guide (only printed every 2 years)….so if you are interested in marketing to this very targeted audience please drop me an e-mail at sbridger@cambridgechamber.com and I would be happy to assist.

 

Welcome to lots of new Chamber Members in the last week….Emote Media, Warm Embrace, Sharkeys Insurance Group, Forbes Hobbies, ATZ Electric, Protrans Personnel Services, Ontario Sports, AMG Electric and Mill Creek Electric. Welcome to all these new members.

 

Hope to see you sooner than later. Happy Christmas Shopping and remember shop Chamber members first!!

 

Scott

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Hello Chamber Members!!....Although it’s getting cold outside things are still heating up here at the Chamber.  On November 27th we hosted a round table discussion with 24 New Chamber Members sponsored by Cowan Insurance Group.    It was great to hear their individual stories, which they shared amongst each other and it was rewarding for us at the Chamber to see business being done.  “People Do Business with People They Know”.  Our goal is to try and bring people together through networking, providing our members with opportunity to make those connections.

 

We are looking forward to another busy week ahead with my favourite Breakfast of the year, the Annual Mayors Breakfast next Wednesday at the Galt Country Club. Thanks again to our breakfast sponsors Andrew Johnson of Sun Life and Graham Mathew. 

 

Our inaugural year for the Not-for-Profit Series wraps ups with month and we were pleased that all 6 sessions were widely attended by our members in the not-for-profit sector. The new initiative was designed to help local non-profits learn, grow, and connect.   All sessions were made available complimentary to our members, sponsored by Graham Mathew.

 

It’s beginning to feel like Christmas at the Chamber office as we get ready to host the Christmas Business After Hours.  We hope that you will mark December 9th on your calendar and join us!  Zoup and Strodes Meat & Deli will be providing the munchies this year and you will need to join me in the Scotiabank Photo Booth! It is also great opportunity to get reacquainted with the Chamber office.

 

The Business Development department will be soon selling two fantastic publications; The Relocation Guide is a very targeted magazine sent to people who are looking at relocating to our City and a brand new publication that will contain all the Chamber University online courses, which will be sent to 45,000 homes in Cambridge.  If you are

interested in promoting your business in one or both publications, touch base with Brandi or I at 519.622.2221.

 

We welcome the following members that join us in the past couple of weeks:  My Walk In Closet, Kids Alive international, Valet Car Wash, Bloomingdale Auto Sales and Leasing, Canada Heavy Equipment College, Your Advantage Insurance and Fuzion Fitness.   We hope that you will also welcome them.

 

Remember to support Chamber Members First!

 

Hope to see everyone sooner than later!!

 

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