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Two Flavors of Crises: Tips to Improve Your Crisis Plans

July 28, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic was a wakeup call for organizations that have neglected their crisis plans and preparedness levels. A worldwide survey conducted just one year before the pandemic hit revealed that 95% of leaders believed they would face a significant crisis within two years. As a follow up, only 35% of those leaders said they had “very relevant” crisis plans to help them cope with the challenges of the global shutdown. This should serve as a warning for organizations Read More


A Whale of a Tale: How to Master Storytelling

February 23, 2021

Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to connect with people, influence audiences and advance your career. People love stories because the brain is wired for stories! One of our passions is helping people become effective storytellers so they can be their best… and have some fun! A few years ago, we helped an executive with a worldwide consulting firm master storytelling. He immediately called us after he delivered a keynote at an industry conference in Florida, “You didn’t Read More

Effective Messaging

How Effective Presenters Match Messages to Audience

January 26, 2021

Each year people deliver more than 30 million presentations and speeches as part of their work. The most effective presenters and speakers know how to match messages to their audience. In turn, they build trust with their audience. This is important because trust opens doors to opportunities. But a new worldwide poll shows building trust might be harder than ever. The 2021 Edelman Trust Study was just released and shows public trust levels plunged last year. People now have lower trust Read More

Drama Queen Language

Drama Language: When Does It Work?

September 23, 2020

How many people do you work with that have a propensity for creating drama? You may not think of yourself as a drama person, but you may be guilty of using dramatic language. Most people do! Is it a bad thing? The correct answer is, “That depends on the context and goal of your communication.” As with most things, if you overuse or abuse it, then you may harm your professional reputation. But, when used sparingly and strategically, drama language can be useful! This is why it is worthwhile Read More

2021 New Years Goals

Loading 2021: 3 Steps to Build Resilience

July 15, 2020

2020 is not what most people had in mind! As a matter of fact, towing 2020 to the junk yard sounds like a great idea. 2020 has presented everyone with trials and tribulations. Home and work life routines have been tossed into one big blurry blender. Winston Churchill said it best, "When you are going through hell, keep going!" So think like Churchill and begin “loading” your brain with things that will strengthen your resilience and set you up for a much better New Year in 2021. "When Read More

Communication skills for virtual meetings

Communication: Virtual Meeting Challenges

June 29, 2020

Zoom Fatigue Toll Virtual meetings are now a daily reality and they come packaged with two major challenges. Mental health and communication experts call the first challenge “Zoom Fatigue”. Days filled with virtual calls and meetings are making people feel anxious and stressed. People dread being tethered to their computer screen for hours on end. It is a bit like cabin fever! According to InnerHour, a mental health platform, there is a 70% increase in therapy bookings as Read More

battle of words chess

The Battle of Words: Negative Vs. Positive

June 10, 2020

Effective communicators understand the power of words to influence others. The best communicators are aware there is a daily battle of words with consequences in how their words impact others. The type of words you use triggers chemical reactions in the brain and those reactions greatly affect how people respond to you. "The meaning of your communication is the response you get." - Benchmark Communications Word patterns fall into three major categories: negative, neutral or positive. And Read More

ted talk nonverbal skills graphic

Nonverbal Skills for Presenters: Top TED Talks Secrets

June 10, 2020

The most influential TED Talk presenters have one thing in common: they have exceptional nonverbal communication skills! The people at TED Talk collect a lot of data to understand why some of their speakers are more popular than others. Their research shows top-rated presenters use almost double the number of hand gestures as lower-rated speakers.  Nonverbal Skills Not Equal! But do not be deceived into thinking that gesturing for the sake of gesturing will Read More

Disney brainstorming strategy graphic

The Disney Brainstorming Strategy

June 3, 2020

Brainstorming is an important part of effective decision making and team planning! If you do it well, then it can be fun and extremely profitable to your organization! But most people are doing brainstorming all wrong! As a result, it is often a waste of time and money. This is why it is important to use proven brainstorming strategies to help your team achieve goals and move projects forward! One of our favorite tools is the Disney Brainstorming Strategy. Our team uses this strategy to help Read More

7 Steps to a Well-Formed Outcome

May 28, 2020

Crisis Lessons Learned Every crisis has a silver lining IF you identify and act on the lessons learned. The USA has learned many things from the COVID-19 crisis. But the most worthwhile lesson has been the importance of having a Well-Formed Outcome to achieve goals! Below you will see this goal-setting model called 7 steps to a Well-Formed Outcome. Your odds of actually achieving a goal are greatly increased when these seven steps are in place! The USA (like many countries) learned Read More

COVID-19 crisis emotions

The 4 Stages of Crisis Emotions

May 28, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has been surreal. It has plowed up deep rows of emotions across the Earth. The deepest emotions have been fear, anxiety and anger. For months people have hunkered down in their homes and learned to adapt to new realities. Sadly, some people have died alone without family. Many have lost jobs and savings. Tragically, some lost all hope during the shelter-in-place order and gave up. World economies are terribly shaken, and the future is a big question mark for Read More

Virtual Meeting Presentation Skills

May 14, 2020

Virtual meetings are the new normal. But what’s not normal is having a close-up shot of your face on-camera for everyone to see at all times throughout a meeting. Do you have an annoying habit that is out of your awareness? Your computer camera never blinks, so little things that didn’t matter during live office meetings now matter! Your face is constantly in front of everyone and this requires better virtual meeting communication and presenting skills. Virtual Read More

The Virus that Contaminates Your Communications

March 17, 2020

News reporters are spewing out COVID-19 crisis stories around the clock. There is another virus worthy of your full attention as you help lead your organization through this time of testing. It is a communication virus that our team at Benchmark Communications calls a Thought Virus. This virus contaminates your daily messaging and communications. It impacts your ability to positively influence others and can harm your credibility as a leader. If undetected, a Thought Virus comes with a long Read More

Voice Tips

3 VOICE TIPS the Best Speakers Know: Coronavirus Interview Lessons

February 27, 2020

The best speakers know how to use voice patterns to earn credibility. Most likely you have heard someone say, “It is not what you said. It is how you said it.” Every day your voice patterns greatly impact if people accept or reject your ideas. This is why when we coach people to be better speakers and spokespersons we often address voice patterns first. Unfortunately, men and women are not judged with the same criteria when it comes to voice patterns. But there are some voice principles Read More

Conflict Resolution Skills in the Age of Rage

February 18, 2020

Flexibility and conflict resolution skills are essential career tools! The odds are you will be challenged by someone or something every day of your life. Workplace conflicts are taking a costly toll on businesses. This could be why HR leaders and job recruiters consistently rank flexibility skills and conflict resolution skills in the top ten of the most desirable soft skills. Conflicts are also increasing among airline travelers where air rage is a real problem. Case Study: Air Read More

10 Signs Your CRISIS RESPONSE is Like a Box of Chocolates

February 16, 2020

If Forrest Gump were a reputation management consultant he would say that crisis response is like a box of chocolates! You never know what you might get - when your crisis plans sit unused and untested. How do you know if your crisis response will be like a box of chocolates? According to PR studies, 62% of US companies do have crisis management plans. However, fewer actually keep their crisis plans updated and tested. All teams and department leads must know and test their crisis Read More

Media Attacks: Crisis Lessons from CBS News’ Kobe Bryant Interview

February 10, 2020

What should you do when the media attacks or a reporter misquotes you? What should you do when they take your comments out of context? Corporate spokespersons deal with these dilemmas all the time. So, it is ironic that CBS News anchor Gayle King is now asking this very question of her own network. CBS has been in crisis mode for days trying to deal with this major fight with its most popular news personality. King is mad. She says CBS News clearly messed her over. Welcome to the world of Read More

5 Team Presentation Tips: Lessons from Senator Kamala Harris’ Public Scolding

February 3, 2020

Have you ever been distracted by someone giggling or picking their nose during a team presentation? It happens. Team presentations can be dynamic – or they can backfire. This week we saw a great example of things backfiring when a group of US Senators held a team press conference about the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was speaking when he became distracted by giggling and chatter going on behind him. Senator Kamala Harris was joking around Read More

Handle 3 Major Presentation Distractions Like a Pro!

January 29, 2020

Presentations do not always go as planned – even if you are part of the famous Jonas brothers. The brothers were touted as one of the hottest acts at this year’s Grammys and they did go viral! But not for their flashy performance or nomination as best pop duo / group. Instead, it was a piece of spinach lodged in Nick Jonas’ teeth that lit up social media. Jonas laughed it off and made fun of himself on Twitter. Presentation distractions happen every day and seasoned Read More

Sticky Messages: How to Influence Decisions

January 14, 2020

Effective Messages People who know how to create and deliver sticky messages have more influence! How many times this year will you try to get someone to understand your ideas? How many times will you succeed in making your ideas stick so that others accept and act on your advice? Creating and delivering Sticky Messages is the key to selling your ideas and influencing others. The truth is that if people do not quickly use the ideas and information you share, they will lose it and forget it! Read More

The #1 Career-Boosting Habit for 2020: Gratitude

January 7, 2020

There is a new habit you can choose in the new year to transform your career; showing more gratitude has the power to increase your happiness and those around you! It is so simple, yet studies show it is one of the most powerful daily habits you can build into your life. Whether you choose to tell someone “thank you” or you write them an email or note, neuroscience says gratitude rewires your brain and gets amazing results! It changes how people perceive you and it changes how you see Read More

Who Wins the Worst Crisis Interview of 2019?

December 31, 2019

CSI: Crisis Scene Investigation - By Gail Borden THE CASE 2019 will be remembered as a booming year for train wreck media interviews and crises. However, the one that earns the crown as “king of the worst 2019 crisis interviews” is a real prince. Really! Prince Andrew is now out of a job, thanks to one ill-advised media interview that could go down as the worst public relations decision of all time.  Prince Andrew being grilled by BBC journalist Emily Maitlis. Photo: Read More

Trust On Teams: How To Tell If You Can Trust Someone

November 18, 2019

HOW GOOD ARE YOU AT READING TRUST? Trust is the foundation of building strong teams at work, so how good are you at judging who is trustworthy? Do you sometimes pick up cues and ignore them – only to realize later the cues told you someone was not worthy of your trust? If you were to compete with a dog on “reading” who is trustworthy, who would win? Odds are the dog would get the gold medal. Dogs are intuitive and read your emotions extremely well because their life depends on Read More

Social Media: Boogeyman or Trust Builder?

November 18, 2019

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO BUILD TRUST Can you build stakeholder trust with a good social media strategy? Trust is now considered to be the currency of the new economy. Simply put, people are attracted to organizations they trust. With 2020 approaching, many businesses are refreshing their strategies to boost stakeholder trust. You cannot buy trust on Amazon or at the bank. But, can you buy trust with a good social media strategy? No, but you can certainly earn it on social media if you Read More

Employee Ambassadors: Key to Earning Public Trust

November 4, 2019

BUILDING TRUST WITH EMPLOYEE AMBASSADORS Stakeholder engagement is crucial at a time when the public's trust of business leaders is shrinking faster than an ice cube in hot coffee. This is bad news for companies since corporate profits are tied to public trust. A recent Pew Research Center study says the American public trusts business leaders even less than they trust news reporters or government agencies. Company leaders rank number two (right behind politicians) as the least trusted Read More

Overcoming Team Negativity: 3 World Series Leadership Lessons

October 27, 2019

Negativity can crush a team faster than anything. Have you ever been guilty of being negative at work? It happens and you have to be careful because negativity can be habit-forming and contagious! You can learn three valuable leadership lessons from the Houston Astros and their struggle to rebound after losing the first two games of the World Series. How you respond when the going gets tough says a lot about your leadership skills and your team’s full potential. Here are three things you Read More

3 Tips for Taming the “Meeting Monsters”

October 21, 2019

Today there will be up to 41 million meetings across the USA and many people count them as a waste of time. Creating an effective meeting is possible, but it requires taming the “meeting monsters” that make people dread meetings! It is so simple that most leaders miss it! A Gallup study shows that highly engaged employees thrive with regular meetings - but only if the meetings are worthwhile. According to a Harvard University survey, 71% of people say the vast majority of meetings are Read More

Crisis Ready? Know The Media’s Top Crisis Questions

May 12, 2019

When your organization is hit with a crisis you can expect news reporters to corner your spokesperson with tough crisis questions! Daily you see more organizations being slammed in news headlines and on social media about crisis issues and events. Thankfully, many companies quickly address issues, so they never make the news. But recent evidence shows more incidents are morphing into full-blown corporate crises, with a whopping 80% increase in the number of headlines with the word Read More