Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Communication Alumna Terri Sjodin Supports Research and Power of Speech 

Partnering with the School of Communication, Sjodin has published deep dive research on the State of Sales Presentations 2020

Communication Alumna Terri Sjodin Supports Research and Power of Speech 

by Sofia Bert

July 17, 2020

SDSU School of Communication alumna and founder of Sjodin Communications, Terri Sjodin, is one of America’s most highly sought after female speakers and has trained and motivated thousands of people from all over the world.

Sjodin credits the foundation of the success of her business to what she learned from the speech and debate team and as a speech communication major. At SDSU, Sjodin competed on the Forensics team at the national level during her junior and senior years.

“I use classic, practical ideas that I learned as a student and speech competitor and apply them to a business environment so it’s easy for the private sector to relate to; employing finesse, not force. I teach people how to be in sales without being a hard sell,” said Sjodin.

Sjodin Communications will celebrate its 30th anniversary of business success on November 15, 2020. In addition, Sjodin has authored five books, including the New York Times bestseller Small Message, Big Impact (Penguin Portfolio).

In March 2020, Sjodin published a research study that partnered with the School of Communication. Sjodin worked with Stephany Hidalgo, an undergraduate research assistant, and partnered with Associate Professor Dr. Rachel Record and Director of the School of Communication Dr. Heather Canary.

The study, titled The State of Sales Presentations 2020, covers an exploration of the common sales presentation mistakes professionals make in today’s market. Sjodin used the original mistakes she identified in her book, New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes & How to Avoid Them and did a deeper dive, which led to this new formal research study.

Through this research, they were able to find:

  • #1 Mistakes people reported seeing in others? Boring, Boring, Boring.
  • Today’s sales professionals are still making the original nine presentation mistakes, regardless of their gender, generation, or whether they sell a product, service, or cause.
  • 3 New Mistakes have been added to the list.
  • 60% of the study participants reported receiving little to no presentation skills training over the course of their careers.

Sjodin is also taking into account the new normal of virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is using this time and her recent research to evaluate the effectiveness of virtual meetings and speeches to help expand her business to this platform.

“The spoken word has become an even more valuable skill, especially in a virtual environment, whether it’s via Zoom or Teams or other virtual platform. If you can deliver an effective presentation online, then you will have a distinct competitive advantage in this new market,” said Sjodin.

Sjodin believes that verbal communication is a lost art, and encourages students to consider competing on the forensics team for at least a semester to not only sharpen skills but observe the way other people communicate at an award-winning level.

“I love to serve as a judge at speech tournaments and support the forensics team and their philanthropic projects,” said Sjodin. “I’m really proud of my time at SDSU—I try to stay connected and to give back to my alma mater when I can..Go Aztecs!”

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

More PSFA Stories