Sunday, January 6, 2013



Experts say that communication is composed of different methods: words, voice, tone and non-verbal clues. Of these, some are more effective in delivering a message than others. According to research, in a conversation or verbal exchange: 
Words are 7% effective

Tone of voice is 38% effective

Non-verbal clues are 55% effective

Non-verbal clues include:

.Body language (e.g., arms crossed, standing, sitting, relaxed, tense),
.Emotion of the sender and receiver (e.g., yelling, speaking provocatively, enthusiastic),
.Other connections between the people (e.g., friends, enemies, professional similarities or differences, personal similarities or       differences, age similarities or differences, philosophical similarities or differences, attitudes, expectations).
One of the classic examples of great verbal communications is Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech.
Why was it such a great speech? It was filled with powerful visual images that provoke strong emotions, delivered with passion by someone who captured the dreams of an entire race. Over time, the speech has transcended its original message to be a message of hope for all people, regardless of race.

Elements of Speaking

* Body language
* Voice quality
* Intention
* Manner: directness, sincerity
* Dress and clothing (style, color, appropriateness for situation)
* Visual aids, animation
* Eye contact
* Emotional content, energy, strength
* Self-concept
* Concept of others
* Listening, hearing the underlying message
* Speaking from the heart
* Energy
* Setting, time, place, timing
* How the messenger holds the message
* Sensitivity
* Rhythm and pacing
* Attitude and confidence
* Rapport
* Agenda
* Purpose of communication - knowing what you want to communicate
* Clarity
* Silence, centering, looking

Elements of Listening

* Attentiveness to speaker
* Eye contact
* Intention be fully awake and aware
* Openness: to other person and your own
* Paying attention
* Listening to yourself
* Feedback
* Body language
* Change in pattern
* Expectations about person speaking, about their message, about their agenda

Notice that between the sender and the receiver the path appears to be straight. However, this is rarely the case. There are many different ways to distort the message or to filter it (both in delivering the message and in receiving the message). All of the distortions can occur for both the listener and the receiver.
Improving verbal communications requires first that we understand that communication is rarely perfect or clear in and of itself. We must learn to listen better and speak more clearly. We must also check whether our message is delivered correctly and whether we have heard a message clearly.
Making effective presentations to groups or key individuals is a regular part of an executive's job. Delivering a clearly understandable message that gains the support of the listeners obviously requires expertise in public speaking. Less obviously, it requires that you understand the perspective of your audience and be willing to adjust your presentation based on feedback during the session.
Experts tell us that public speaking ranks highest on the list of situations people fear most (followed by death!). Overcoming this fear requires education and practice, practice, practice!

Some tips for improving presentation skills:

1. Know your subject! This is most important.
2. Prepare for the speaking situation (outline, writing the entire presentation, delivering it to friends or whatever works for you). Even     professional public speakers take time to prepare themselves.
3. Prepare outlines and overheads to help develop your confidence in your    presentation part of knowing your topic well).
4. Have your outline (or overheads, slides or note cards) with you to refer to    as you make the presentation and to trigger your     thoughts as you speak.
5. In the early stages of your preparation, ask someone you trust to listen to your presentation and give you honest feedback in a    one-on-one situation. Ask them what works well and what needs improvement. The more important the results of your     presentation    are to you, the more important it is to get help in refining your presentation.
6. Take classes where you are able to develop presentations and have them critiqued (e.g.,classes in public speaking or verbal     presentation skills, Toastmasters).
7. Tape your presentation (videotape is best) and ask others to critique your presentation. Watch yourself and learn to look for     subtle body language clues to your confidence or insecurity.
8. Talk to people you respect about how they learned to speak well. Ask them to coach you (if that is appropriate) or try to find     someone you admire who will work with you.
9. When you are confident, relaxed and enthusiastic about your topic, that comes through strongly to your audience. Remember     how much comes through non-verbal clues.
10. Ask for feedback from your audience about your presentation and pay attention to what they say.
11. In a management presentation especially (e.g., to present your new budget or present sales information), stop occasionally to      ask if people understand what you have said.
12. And, most of all — Practice, practice, practice! 

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