All Articles Tagged "effective communication"
The results are in. President Obama was bested by Mitt Romney in the first Presidential debate. The critics claimed Obama seemed lackluster, tired, unenthusiastic. Whereas Romney looked refreshed, talked with emotion, and seemed confident.
So, what if you have to speak publicly or do a presentation to a new client or your colleagues at your company? We asked professional consultant/life coach Anita Davis-DeFoe for some tips. She has served countless times at a keynote speaker, workshop and learning circle facilitator for organizations and events around the globe. Her biggest piece of advice is to always strive to practice the 7 Cs of effective communication when making presentations or at meetings. They are:
- Clear – Plainly share the intent of your message.
- Concise – Stick to the point and remain focused.
- Concrete – Provide clear examples absent of generalizations.
- Correct – Research and make certain you are sharing correct information.
- Coherent – Present the information in a logical order that is easy for the listener to understand.
- Complete – In a complete presentation, the audience has everything they need to be informed and when applicable, take action. Strive to always offer a solution to any issue you address in a presentation.
- Courteous – Ensure that your content is not biased or politically incorrect and that different opinions do not derail your composure.
In addition, Davis-DeFoe suggests knowing your audience and your material. Always make sure that the content of the presentation is relevant to the people you’re addressing and always in terms that they understand.
Talk to the audience, not at them. People do not remain focus or engaged when they are talked at, so work to interact with your audience by creating a conversation. Scan the audience by varying eye contact across the room. Ask questions and let the audience ask you questions throughout the presentation. Or open with a relevant story, parable or humorous example as a way to ignite interest and as a way to brand your presentations or style of work.
Here’s a little unknown fact about me, I grew up with a speech impediment. I used to have a stuttering problem, which really began to suck, because I felt like I had so much to say, but people would get frustrated listening to me. Something that would take other people a few seconds to say would take me a few minutes. I began to get a rush out of conversations, my sisters became my interpreters and would have to become almost clairvoyant so they could tell people what I wanted in a shortened way. I actually had an uncle who would feel sorry for me when I was talking, and if he rushed me off he would come back and give me some money to make up for it. For years my pockets were loaded with guilt money, which was great for buying candy, but not for helping my verbal skills.
After going to a speech specialist when I was in preschool, I’ve been able to talk without stuttering… even though it tries to rear it’s ugly head whenever I get too flustered (hey, I think it’s cute, but wha-wha-wha-whatever). But an upside to not being able to speak correctly was that I was able to hone my listening skills. While people avoided conversations with me (how sad is that?), I would listen to conversations and arguments and would be able to see both sides. However, I did begin to notice a few things that baffled me about communication. A lot of arguments can be avoided if people adhered to the simple understandings of what true communication is. To me, communication is like a four way stop; it’s a breeze when all the parties participating know how to work it, but can be dangerous if people jump the gun. So to you, you amazing Madame Noire readers, here are a few things I would like to share about communication.
There is a difference between hearing and listening.
Have you ever been in a heated discussion (because you’re too classy to argue) and you make your point, and the person who is verbally combating you, says their side, and then you do your confused head tilt because you’re thinking: ”Wait, I just said that!” (And if that never happened, maybe I’m talking about you…) The person in question clearly wasn’t listening.
According to dictionary.com, one of the definitions of hearing is “the act of perceiving sound,” and listening is: ”give attention with ear… to pay attention.” Listening is an action, whereas hearing is passive. To better understand, see it this way: you might hear a song while you’re in a restaurant eating, but are you listening to it? Just because you hear what a friend is saying, are you really comprehending it?
So now that you know the difference, let’s take it a step further…
Listen to what a person is saying, instead of waiting for your turn to speak.
Oh, I feel your pain, this person just said or did something and you GOT something for them! You’ve got a verbal backhand in your mind, and all you’re doing is waiting for them to shut their mouth so you can put some baby powder on it and smack them with it! Well, before you do that, consider holding off your attack.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone has a point and their feelings are valid, but a lot of times, a lot of strife in communication is due to people just waiting for their turn to speak. They allow hurt and anger to stop them from listening to what’s being said to them and in turn their comments are not only unhelpful to the conversation, but they might continue to beat a dead horse. If you just listen to a person you might be able to understand their point, or you’ll be able to have an actual conversation with them instead of making some random comment that sets the conversation back ten minutes.