Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Communication Skills

The Crash Course in Communication

Talking is very easy, but communication, that means an exchange or communion with the other person, requires the greater skill. An exchange which is the communion demands on the way we listen and do speak skillfully, and just not talk mindlessly. Interacting with the fearful, angry, or the frustrated people will be even more difficult, because we are less skillful when we are caught up in such kind of emotions. Do not despair or resign yourself to the lifetime of miscommunication at the work or at home! Good communicators can honed as well as born. Here are few of the tips to get you started.

This will remind us how difficult it is to communicate effectively in any of the organization. The problem is not that we have got the bad people, the problem is that we have got the poor systems. This guide will teach how to overcome the communication barriers and also hone the communication skills.

The Communication is the skill and like any other skills it also requires the practice. It is improved through practice which differentiates the skill from other forms of the knowledge. Understanding a theory of the communication and the effective presentation will not make you brilliant communicator or the presenter but should make you aware of how to maximize a impact of the presentations.

Most important thing to remember is a message which you intend to communicate is most likely to be misunderstood by the listeners. Therefore, in addition to the carefully preparing and presenting the message, stay alert for any of the signs which your audience are mis-interpreting it. It is up to you, a presenter, to continually check if your message have been received, understood, interpreted correctly and is filed in the receivers mind.

Effective Communication Fundamentals

Communication is the complex two-way process, involving encoding, translation and the decoding of the messages. The effective communication requires a communicator to translate their messages in the way which is specifically designed for the intended audience.

Creating and delivering the effective presentation requires basic understanding of a communication process. Most of the business presentations require a clear and an unambiguous communication of the message in the way which can be clearly understood by a recipient.

Tps for Effective Communication

  • Be honest while communicating. Dishonesty will somewhere show up along a line.

  • Take interest in the people you are communicating with. Remember the people are more attracted towards those who have interest in them, and pays more attention to what they say.

  • Think before you speak or put pen to paper: what message you trying to convey? What outcome do you want to elicit?

  • Be direct and not aggressive. Lot of flannelling around can make the people lose interest and miss a vital point.

  • Don’t use the jargon – and acronyms, and also the technical expressions, unless you are sure about that your listeners do understand

  • Write the way as you will speak. Do not fall into a trap of using the long words just because it is written down.

  • Take time. Whether in the speech or in paper, rushing will make you seem nervous, unconfident and like downright scared.

The Interpersonal Communication Skills

Ability to ask the questions and listen are vital to the good interpersonal skills. In fact the empathetic listening is a number one skill which can help to build the relationships.

Ten Tips for Good Interpersonal Skills

  • Listen to the person first. Communication is the two-way process; getting all your message across depends on understanding a other person.

  • Be interested in people you will be communicating with. Remember that the people are more attracted towards those who have interest in them, and therefore will pay more attention to what they will say.

  • Relax. The bad body language like hunched shoulders, fidgeting, the toe-tapping or the hair-twiddling all give a game away.

  • Smile and use the eye contact. It is a most positive signal which you can give.

  • Ask the questions. It is great way to show the people that you really are interested in them.

  • If the other person has different point of view towards you find out why they have such point of view. More you understand reasons behind their thinking more you will be able to understand their point of view or can help them understand your point of view.

  • Be assertive. so that we can try to value their input as your own inputs. Do not be pushy and do not be a pushover. Try for a right balance.

  • When you will be speaking try to be enthusiastic in appropriate context. Use voice and the body language to show this.

  • Immediately don’t try to latch to something which someone has just now said … “oh yes it happened to me” and immediately go on and telling your own story. Make sure that you ask questions about them first and then be careful while telling your story so as not to sound like a competition.

  • Learn from the interactions. If you have a good conversation with someone try to think why it all went well and remember key points for the next time. If it did not go well - again try and learn something out of it.

Body Language

We all do communicate with one another through our look as well as what we do say and how do we sound. In fact what our body is doing while we are talking (i.e. the body language) could often play much greater part in the communication than we do think.

Most obvious form of the paralanguage is the body language or the kinesics . This is a language of the gestures, expressions, and the postures. In North America, for the instance, we commonly use arms and shake hands and say good-bye, point, count, express an excitement, beckon, warn away, a threaten, etc. In fact, we will learn many subtle variations of each of the gestures discussed above and make use of these gestures situation. We will use head to either say yes or to say no, to smile, frown, and wink acknowledgement or flirtation. The head and the shoulder in combination may shrug to indicating that we do not know something about the topic.

The eye contact
The eye contact helps to create the better interaction and the rapport with the listeners. Always try to look at listener at the end of the sentence to reinforce a message in that sentence.

The gesture
The gestures can help to give your voice the extra energy and the confidence Try to gesture on some of the key words – this will give the words a greater emphasis.

The Presence
Adopt ‘Anchor Position’ whenever you do want to keep the body language calm and controlled. While sitting do keep the small of back into back of the chair. This will help and support your posture and do maintain the energy and the confident style. Aim to keep the body language open and be relaxed all the times. Physical attitude can affect the psychological attitude.

The Movement and the Space
Be sensitive towards the people’s space and try not to intrude into it. To achieve the report when speaking to others try to match up the levels –like either both are sitting or standing with a body angled in towards other person.

Presentation Skills

Remember nobody is born as natural speaker. Of course we can bawl the heads off and make heck of the noise when we were been born - but it is is not quite same!

Greatest speakers today have not just become great overnight! They do have spent lot of time practicing reviewing and reading about the way to improve getting the specific one-to-one feedback on how to improve and also having lots of specialized training and the coaching.

It will take time and also effort to read absorb and apply. It will also takes time and efforts to attend the training courses or the seminars and get a good professional training. If we want to differentiate yourself at the work by becoming great presenter however then it is something which is certainly worth investing the time in.

There is the simple structure into which nearly all the presentations must fit. This comprises of the three clearly identifiable parts - Introduction followed by the main body and finally the conclusion.

Often this is expressed as:

  • Tell what you are going to tell them

  • Tell them

  • Tell what you have told them.

The good guide for breakdown of the presentation is 10/80/10 rule - where the introduction and the conclusion are each allotted of 10% of a presentation time with a main body comprising of about 80%. For example the 30 minute presentation should have 3 minutes for introduction and conclusion each and the main body lasting for 24 minutes. This formula may be applied for any length of the presentation - as it do reflects the good breakdown from audience’s perspective.


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