Chances are, you got into sales because you’re good at talking. But a natural affinity for speaking can only take you so far -- to become a truly skilled speaker, you’ll need to identify your weaknesses, learn rhetorical strategies, and consistently practice.
You might be wondering how you’re supposed to find time for those things when all of your work hours are spent selling. Good news: These seven apps will improve your speaking skills quickly, effectively, and best of all, in real-time.
No matter how many times I try, I can never break my habit of using filler words. If you also struggle to avoid “um,” “so,” “like,” “I mean,” “actually,” “hmm,” “right,” etc., try LikeSo.
This app monitors how many filler words you’re saying, your pace, and your overall “articulate score.” You can either use the FreeStyle mode on calls, or practice with the TalkAbout mode, which gives you suggested prompts.
Have an Android? Um Counter is just what it sounds: An app that tracks how often you say “um.” It also lets you add filler words, so you can monitor your usage of “basically,” “uh, “okay,” or whatever else you frequently let slip.
The problem with practicing in an empty room is that you know it’s not real. With VirtualSpeech, your practice will feel just like the real thing. This app, which works with Google Cardboard, provides hyper-realistic VR settings for presenting. Pick from a large conference room, small meeting room, sales scenario, and more.
Not only does the audience move and react like at a real event, you’ll even hear ambient sound. After you’re done, the app will analyze your performance and give you feedback.
Salespeople often struggle to keep their meetings on track. Presentation Timer Pro is a good solution: It lets you specify checkpoints throughout the presentation to help you mark time or change topics, as well as tracks your overall remaining time.
The app automatically silences your ringer while it’s on, so you don’t have to worry about being interrupted by an incoming call.
Meditation can go a long way toward soothing your nerves and making you a more confident, poised presenter. Headspace offers 10 free meditation sessions, which you can listen to at any time -- like before an important meeting.
Subscribers can take advantage of hundreds more sessions, including three-minute ones, packs with themes like conquering stress or improving sleep quality, and 10-minute “singles.”
This app analyzes your relationship-building and analytical skills to determine your basic negotiating style. Once you know your style, you’ll understand your personal strong points and vulnerabilities -- and how the other party might respond to your approach.
For example, you might be an “assertive value-creator,” who asserts their own priorities but struggles to understand what’s motivating the person they’re negotiating with.
Once you’ve learned your style, you’ll get a “negotiation scorecard” that tracks your progress on specific skills. You can even grade yourself after each negotiation.
Download these apps, and your powers of persuasion will grow even stronger. Can you say,"ka-ching"?
Originally published Jul 7, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated June 11 2021