Wednesday, June 14, 2017

5 Features of a Great Business Card

Business cards are often the foundation of a good networking program.  Not only do they allow you to quickly and easily share your contact information, they represent your name and your brand. 

There's a whole lot riding on that little piece of cardstock, and because of that, designing the perfect business card takes some effort.

There are some key features you need to get right in order to make sure your business card helps you make the best impression.

1.  Make sure the font is easy to read:  

  • Take care to chose a font that is large enough to read.  Tiny letters may allow you to include more information on your card, but if it's so small it can't be seen, then you need to think again.

  • Fancy letters with swirls, curves or thin lines can also be difficult to decipher, so save them for another project. You don't want there to be any guessing when it comes to your phone number or email address.

  • Choose a font that is consistent with your brand.  The letters you select for your business card should be the same as on your website, flyers, postcards, banners, thank you notes, etc.

  • The most important information on the card should really stand out, so a larger or bolder font is recommended for your name and your preferred contact number. 

2.  Make sure the design is simple 

  • Business cards look best and are most effective when they are clean and uncluttered. A card that is jumbled with information looses its impact and leaves the impression that YOU are jumbled. Not good.

  • Begin your design using your logo, name and contact information, and create from there.   Any other design elements can be placed around these important pieces of information, or they can be eliminated altogether. 

  • Empty spaces are okay.  In fact, a blank area on the card allows the receiver to jot a quick note if necessary.

  • Just because you have a slogan or tag line, doesn't mean it has to be included. Make an effort to remove unnecessary information.

3.  Make sure all information is relevant and correct 

  • You never want to have to write or correct information on a business card as you are handing it out. It gives a bad impression, and you don't want that.

  • Be thoughtful about the type and amount information you include.  Do you really want everyone who receives your card to have your personal cell phone number?  Is your fax number really relevant to the people you meet? If not, it's got to go.

  • A business card should direct a client or other interested party straight to you, with as little friction as possible. Carefully select the contact information you include on your card so that you are easily reached.

4.  Make sure the card is memorable 
  • Business cards are a reminder of an interaction that's taken place...make it a memorable one!
    • Use a bright color to highlight information
    • Include a photo of yourself
    • Consider a vertical layout
    • Make it an unusual size- bigger can be better
    • Make it an unusual shape- square, circle, triangle
    • Use a large, colorful image
    • Try a different material- metal, wood, plastic

  • Don't forget to use the back of the card.  Take advantage of this space to include additional information or supplemental branding. Moving important but non-essential information to the back of the card helps to keep the front of the card clean.

  • Photos and product images can be placed on the back of the card. Point this out as you hand out your cards. Not only does this make you more memorable, it gives you credibility.

5.  Make sure you pay attention to finishing touches 

These days, there's just no good excuse for a bad business card. With so many wonderful designs and unique finishes, it's almost impossible to be plain.  Here are few things to consider:
  • thick cardstock
  • rounded corners
  • embossing
  • raised letters
  • dye cutting
  • foil bloquing
  • varnish and spot UV
  • folding
If you want to check out some excellent examples of these finishes, just click here

Before you order your next batch of business cards, stop to consider if your card has these 5 key features.  If not, invest in yourself and your business, by hiring a professional to create a fresh, new design for you.

Now get out there and hand out your cards! Whether you choose  networking events, marketing campaigns, cold calls, conferences or conventions, sharing your business card will help you grow your network, which will in turn, help you grow your business.

Want to learn more about networking? Spontaneous Speech Coach offers personal and group training on networking techniques. Call us today at 361-271-1700 to learn more.

Opportunities often start with just a simple conversation.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Pictures for Progress: Clear Cut Answers to Your Top Questions

Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Spontaneous Speech 
But Were Afraid to Ask

What is spontaneous speech?
  • Unprepared speech that is natural, instinctive and unconstrained - impromptu
  • Spoken language that occurs without prompting or during an unstructured interview- can we talk?
  • Expression of thoughts, ideas, opinions, feelings or preferences- all the good stuff that’s on your mind
  • The ultimate goal

What are Spontaneous Speech Therapy Tools?
  • A collection of fun and functional materials designed to provide opportunities for exchange- emphasis on real life topics, items and scenarios
  • A great option for adult speech therapy- they’re appropriate for grown ups
  • Relevant and practical stimuli for simple discussion or complex therapeutic intervention- how appropriate
  • High quality, professionally created tools- products that represent the super star you are
  • Easy breezy- don’t stress about what to do in therapy today, just grab and go

What are Pictures for Progress?
  • Flashcards that provide an easy breezy way to expand communication opportunities between two people
  • Colorful, contemporary photographs depicting real life items, situations and scenarios- just what you’ve been looking for
  • Large images on sturdy cards- nothing flimsy about these 8 ½ x 5 ½ cards
  • Five questions right on the back of the card- we’ve done the hard work for you
  • Appropriate for enhancing every language modality- from comprehension to cognition and everything in between
  • Adaptable to severity of impairment- so simple you can use them to practice answering yes/ no questions, yet challenging and thought provoking for higher functioning clients
  • A great addition to your therapy toolbox- fun and fresh stimuli for you and those you work with
  • Easy to use- open box, remove card, discuss picture, read questions, repeat
  • Extend your possibilities for functional intervention- another great therapeutic tool
  • Expand their capabilities- take communication to the next level

Who are these cards made for?
  • Adults- young and old
  • Individuals with communication disorders and impairments- resulting from stroke, head injury, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease/ Dementia, etc.
  • Field tested on patients with Cancer, COPD and voice disorders- yes, a wide variety of people can benefit
  • Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy- promotes a hierarchical progression of complexity
  • Simple to complex concepts- something for everyone
  • Adaptable for mild to severe impairments- there is no limit to what you can do
  • SLPs- provide pertinent treatment during adult speech therapy sessions
  • Healthcare providers- so many professionals, so many possibilities
  • Friends and Family- supplement the work the pros are doing, maintain momentum or pick up where therapy left off

Are they helpful for specific disorders?
  • Sure!
  • Aphasia- expressive and receptive
  • Apraxia
  • Anomia
  • Dysrarthria
  • Memory impairment, memory loss, memory disturbance
  • Symbolic Dysfuction, Cognitive Impairment
  • Voice Disorders
  • Reading Difficulties, Dyslexia
  • Writing Difficulties, Dysgraphia

Are these cards durable?
  • Yes!
  • Double thickness- super sturdy
  • Laminated- wipe them clean
  • Rounded corners for durability- won’t get bent
  • Rounded corners for safety- won’t poke you in the eye
  • Sturdy box- designed for years of consistent use
  • Magnetic closure- keeps your cards under control

Will my patient/ family member be able to recognize the photos?
  • Yes!
  • Large 8 ½ x 5 ½ inch size cards- easy to hold
  • Image expands to edge of card- easy to see
  • Contemporary photos- easy to recognize
  • Adult men and women- representing a variety of ages and ethnicities
  • Feature things you use and activities you do on a daily basis- pertinent and practical
  • Written cue on back- allows quick orientation if unfamiliar

Interested in having a box of Spontaneous Speech Tools' flashcards for your very own?  It's easy...just stop by the website and shop our store at
Your patients will be glad you did!

One good conversation can shift the direction of change forever.
Linda Lambert

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Keeping It Relevant: What NOT to Include in Your Next Resume

Writing a resume is a really big deal!

You've got just one page to record the pertinent details about your education, your work experience, your job skills... and it needs to be visually attractive.  That's not easy to do!

Today, instead of focusing on what you must include on your resume, take a look at five things you might as well leave off.

5 Pieces of Data to Ditch
When You Write Your Next Resume

1.  The year you graduated:  

Unless you graduated in the last five years, the year you finished high school or college should not be listed on your resume.  In fact, it will give away your age and potentially make you seem outdated or irrelevant. Trust us, you can definitely leave this off your next resume.

2.  An average GPA: 

Just last week, I saw a resume where a 2.5 grade point average was prominently listed next to the name of the university where it had been obtained.  My first thought, "Oh, look.... a C+ student."

I was an excellent student, but no where, ever, was my GPA listed on a resume. Leave this off of your resume too!  

Even if you had a 4.0 average, prospective employers really don't care about what kind of student you were, they want to know what kind of worker you will be.

3.  Obvious skills:

Most employers assume and expect you to have basic computer skills, including the ability to use Word, Excel and/ or Power Point. Therefore, there's no need to take up precious space on your resume with this kind of information. 

Personal traits should also be eliminated from your resume. Rather then using words and phrases like good work ethic, great communication skills, reliable, dependable, disciplined and personable, highlight your specific job skills and technical knowledge. It's a much better use of space.

4.  References:

When searching for a job, be sure to have an assortment of personal and professional references you can submit to a hiring official. They do not need to be listed on the resume. 

Instead, they can be printed on to a separate page with a title that simply states, References for Your Name. Be ready to send these references...upon request.

5.  Repetitive language:

It can be challenging to summarize your work experience and job responsibilities over and over again, particularly if you've held similar roles throughout your career.  In this case, get creative!  

Spice things up with a little verbal variety.  Beginning each job description paragraph with the words Responsible for will cause your resume to blend in with the crowd. Instead, make it stand out  with a few thoughtfully selected words. 

Here are just a few examples of ways you can add interest while eliminating redundancy:

  • Manage=  administer, direct, lead, preside, orchestrate, facilitate, oversee, supervise
  • Develop= construct, design, engineer, produce, spark, establish, build, conceptualize
  • Improve= expand, enhance, innovate, rebuild, perfect, modify, strengthen, upgrade, optimize
  • Increase=  advance, expand, extend, amplify, maximize, promote, boost, elevate

Do you need expert help writing or updating your resume? 

The pros at Spontaneous Speech Coach can assist you every step of the way. Call us today:  361-271-1700.  We'll work with you to create a high impact resume that is optimized to get you noticed.

The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.
Elbert Hubbard 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Cold, Hard Facts About First Impressions

The Science of First Impressions

First impressions are everything.
In most business situations, you only get one chance to sell your product or yourself. Whether you’re at a networking event or you’re doing a sales pitch to a potential client, you must focus on presenting yourself in the best way possible.

Here are three hard facts about first impressions and the science backs them up...

#1  First Impressions Are Immediate

Researchers have proven that first impressions are made in less than one second.  That’s fast!

In a study conducted by Princeton University, researchers found that, in approximately 1/10 of a second, people are able to draw conclusions about your:

  • Likeability
  • Trustworthiness
  • Competence
  • Aggressiveness

#2  First Impressions Are Accurate

David Funder also studied first impressions and found that they are accurate.

In his study, subjects were given an extensive personality test that was scored and rated by a professional psychologist. 

Then, a group of volunteers who were non trained raters, watched a video of the subject that was less than 1 second long.

When correlating the scores made by the trained evaluators and the study volunteers, it was determined that scores matched 76% of the time in the areas of:

  • Personality
  • Character
  • Trust

#3  First Impressions Are Based on Non Verbal Factors

Another research study proved that first impressions are heavily based on non verbal messages.

Frank Burnery studied body language and other non verbal factors.  He had one group of trained interviewers judge participants in specific areas after conducting a 20 min interview.

Then, he had a second group of trained evaluators watch a 20 second video of the subject during an introductory greeting.

After watching just 20 seconds of footage, researchers found that interjudge reliability matched in the areas of:

  • Likeabilty
  • Self Assurance
  • Competence

These studies, and many more, prove that humans are incredibly smart at detecting emotions and feelings through body language.

Even if you’re speaking eloquently, if your body language isn’t on par, you’re not going to make a good impression. This is because nonverbal signals are 12 to 13 times more influential than accompanying words.

Your grand entrance, opening line, initial handshake are all essential parts of your first impression that you can use wherever you meet someone.

The right body language can show whomever you’re interacting with that you’re calm, confident and powerful. In a business situation, it can help you make a sale, get people interested in who you are or what you represent and encourage others to work with you.

Whether you want to increase your impact in business, romantic or social situations, you have to make your first impression count.

If you need help making an outstanding first impression, contact Spontaneous Speech Coach.   We will help you make sure that your first impression is a lasting one.  Call today for a free consultation:  361-271-1700.  

 Your customer's perception is your reality.
Katie Zebritsk

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3 Reasons to Skip the Sippy Cup

Step Away From the Sippy Cup
Today, sippy cups are marketed to parents as a vital piece of feeding equipment, causing parents to consider sippy cups an essential part of a baby’s development. As a speech-language pathologist and feeding specialist, Melanie Potock couldn't disagree more.  In a recent ASHA Leader blog post, Melanie states her case. 
Here are three great reasons to skip the sippy cup:

#1: As a baby matures, so does their swallow pattern, and over-use of hard sippy spouts may get in the way of development.
During the first year of life, a baby primarily uses an anterior-posterior tongue movement to propel soft solids and liquids to the back of the mouth for swallowing. This is referred to as the infant suckle-swallow pattern. 

At around a year old, babies should develop a mature swallow pattern, where the tongue tip rises to the alveolar ridge (the bumpy gum-line ridges where we produce the /d/ sound) to start a wave-like motion in the tongue for swallowing more advanced textures. Drinking exclusively from a bottle or hard-spouted sippy cup might delay this feeding development

A bottle nipple or hard spout rests over the front third of the tongue, preventing that essential elevation so necessary for being an effective and efficient eater. When toddlers continue to use the infant swallow pattern, chewing and swallowing new foods can be challenging or messy at best.

#2: When a tongue can’t elevate, it tends to rest forward in the mouth, which can impede speech and language development.  
Often referred to as “paci-mouth,” the forward resting posture is seen in children who continue to use a pacifier for a prolonged period. The occasional use of a sippy cup may not interfere with age-appropriate mouth development. 

In today’s society, however, kids seem to have sippy cups with them most of the day. Strollers, car seats and backpacks usually contain special holders for a beverage container and parents often choose spill-proof, hard-spout sippy cups. 

When a child uses a “suckle-swallow” pattern past the developmental time frame of 6 to 12 months, his speech-language skills can’t migrate to more advanced skills until a more appropriate swallowing pattern is established.

#3: When a tongue rests forward, the mouth tends to stay open, which can alter appropriate facial development. 
Kristie Gatto, certified SLP and orofacial myologist, states that the overuse of the suckle-swallow uses genioglossus muscle movement and promotes a tongue that rests low and forward in the oral cavity. 

This posturing exacerbates the lowering of the jaw musculature and typically leads to mouth breathing. 

Current research helps facilitate a better understanding of the detriments associated with mouth breathing and a lack of appropriate facial development.

If you want more information about the serious downsides of mouth breathing, click here to link to read a previous Spontaneous Speech blog post:  10 Good Reasons to Stop Mouth Breathing Now.

What to Offer Instead

Terrific alternatives can still protect from spills:
Pop-up straw cups, like the Playtex Sipster, are guaranteed to be leak-free. Once the child masters straw drinking, it is recommended that parents cut down the straw so the tip of the straw just reaches the tip of the tongue when the mouth is closed around the straw. This ensures the tongue can still elevate.

Fun valved toppers, like the Good2Grow Spill-Proof Bottle Toppers, are a great alternative to the sippy cup. These character bottle toppers also help motivate kids to drink more water.
Image result for good to grow spill proof bottle toppers

Aluminum options with built-in straws, like the Kid Basix Safe Sippy Cup, feature a straw specifically designed to be short and angled for little mouths.

No Matter What...

Professionals recommend: 
  • children learn to drink from a straw cup by 9 months
  • children learn to drink from on open cup, held by a parent, in the first year of life
  • independent open cup drinking should be learned by 18 months

Selecting the most appropriate cup for drinking promotes proper development of speech, language and facial features. 

If you're concerned about feeding or swallowing difficulties or facial muscle, speech or language development, contact  Spontaneous Speech Therapy today.  Our therapists are available to answer questions, make recommendations and provide evidence based treatment for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school aged children.

Call us at 361-271-1700 to set up an appointment for a free consultation.  In the meantime, please like and share this post with someone that might benefit.

Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate.

Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, treats children birth to teens who experience difficulty eating. She wrote the upcoming book, “Raising Kids to Love Vegetables: A 3-Step Plan That Starts With Fun and Ends With Yum!” Potock also co-authored “Raising a Healthy Happy Eater: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating (2015), “Baby Self-Feeding: Solid Food Solutions to Create Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits” and “Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids, and produced the kids’ CD “Dancing in the Kitchen: Songs that Celebrate the Joy of Food!” Potock’s two-day course on pediatric feeding is offered for ASHA CEUs. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia).