Two great reasons to become an effective communicator.
Empowerment is to have the resources, information, and attitudes that allow you to take action to achieve a desired goal. Being a skilled communicator will give you an edge that others lack (even those who are more educated, have better training, or who may even have better ideas). This is because being able to communicate and to position yourself for leadership puts you “ahead of the pack”.
When you are confident in your communication skills, you are able to express yourself with assurance, conviction, and confidence. This makes others confident in you and your message. Being an empowered speaker can open up career and leadership opportunities. This is because doing so gains you respect and gives you confidence.
Employment is to gain employment. If you speak well, you possess a skill that others value highly Whether you are currently employed at an entry-level position or aspire to climb the corporate ladder, being able to communicate effectively (and “talk yourself up”) is the key to success – in any line of work.
The skills needed (and most sought by employers) in terms of communication include:
- Ethically adapting information to listeners
- Organising your ideas
- Persuading others
- holding listeners’ attention
Communication skills is a significant factor in helping graduates and advanced degree holders gain employment.
Interviews: People interviewing you rely on what you’ve written on your application and how you present yourself and communicate with them. What carries more weight? Being able to communicate in person and talk about yourself and your abilities is much more important than what is written on your application. The application only lists what you have done, the communication part of interviews tells or shows prospective employers what you can do.
As a communicator, you will need to learn to make decisions on your feet.
These decisions will be based on:
- Your knowledge of your listeners
- Your listeners’ expectations for your speech
- Their reactions to what you are saying
Public speaking is more planned than conversation. you should spend plenty of time practicing your speech as you are practicing (both alone and in front of others), you should also be revising and editing your speech. Unlike conversation, public speaking is formal. as a result, slang or informal language is NOT APPROPRIATE.
Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression. If you have to present information twice, your audience is already lost and will have preconceived notions.
Understand Your Nervousness
Your body summons more energy to deal with the conflict you are facing (shaking, knees quivering, stomach fluttering, etc.) and you are experiencing physiological chances because of your psychological state.
The most common causes for feeling nervous when speaking publicly:
- Fear of humiliation
- Concern about not being prepared
- Worry about one’s looks
- Pressure to perform
- Personal insecurity
- Concern that the audience wont’ be interested
- Lack of experience
- Fear of making mistakes
- Overall failure
People feel the most nervous right before giving their speeches, the 2nd highest level of anxiety is when you undertake the assignment, the least amount of anxiety is experienced when preparing for a speech.
There are four styles of communication apprehension:
- Average – a generally positive approach to communicating in public
- Insensitive – tend to be less sensitive to apprehension because of previous experience in public speaking
- Inflexible – highest heart rate when speaking, uses fear to motivate them
- Confrontation style – high heart rate at beginning, but tapers off to average levels
It is important to understand your style of communication apprehension because: it helps to know that you are not alone in your experiences having an idea of your own style may give you greater insight into better manage your apprehension.
Research supports the idea that communication apprehension is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Anyone can improve their communication abilities during public speaking
Almost everyone has the ability to speak and lots of people have the “gift of gab” but to express oneself clearly in front of a group your own age is a real talent.
Often there is a fearful reaction to a speech. It even strikes people who speak to groups nearly every day as part of their job. Anyone can get nervous. But it can be overcome. The ability to talk effectively to other people is one of the most vital skills you can develop.
PRACTICE DOESN’T NECESSARILY MAKE PERFECT, BUT IT SURE DOES HELP IMPROVE SPEAKING EASE… AND IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT DOES!
The idea of getting up in front of your friends is a little bit scary. Try to think of public speaking as talking to a friend. Use the same words you use normally. Be yourself in your speech. Trick yourself by not calling it public speaking but just talking.
- Choose a topic which is related to some experience you have lived through, your favourite hobby, or something you are interested in.
- More experienced speakers should choose topics that they can go into a bit deeper. This could be current affair issues or a talk on the mis‐use of alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t use an over‐talked about topic. If your idea is new and interesting, your audience will want to listen.
PREPARE FOR YOUR TALK:
You may need to do some reading about your topic ‐ remember to summarise what you read into your own words.
Discuss the subject with informed persons
Think about it yourself for a few days before you begin writing; jot down a few notes when you think of them and then you’ll have them to put together at a later time.
Outline For Preparing a Speech
- Start by addressing the audience.
- Speakers should not introduce themselves;
- Make it a different opening ‐ ask a question to start off ‐ that usually gets people’s attention;
- Then introduce your topic, “The topic I am going to speak on is ….” or “Today I’m going to talk to you about… or” ______ is important to me.” I’m going to share a few thoughts with you on that topic;
- Your introduction should get attention and give a clear idea of what the speech is about.
- The main part of your talk
- Use illustrations or examples
- Make them timely, close to home and personal, if possible.
- Have something on hand you can show.
- A brief summary of your main points. (no new ideas at the end)
- Make it a natural ending — think of a catchy way to let people know you are finished — ask “Doesn’t this make you want to go out and get a pet for your family?” or “Life sure was good back then, wasn’t it?” “I’m concerned about this topic. I hope you’ll think about it, too.” or “I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences with you today.”
- The words, “thank you” do not constitute an effective way to end a speech. It usually feels very natural, though, to say thank you just before you sit down upon finishing your speech. (But, instead, it is the audience that should say “thank you” to you ‐ not to them – and they do it by clapping.) So, practice, especially, your ending so it is effective and not awkward.
Write your talk using your outline as a guide. Then go over it several times. Make up notes that pick out the main parts of your talk. Then try to go over the speech just using your notes. It may be different from when you wrote it out long. Don’t worry ‐ only you knew just exactly what you had before. As long as it still says what you wanted ‐ that’s all that’s important. Keep your notes then and that’s all you’ll need.
When you get your speech written PRACTICE TO YOUR FRIENDS,
PRACTICE TO YOURSELF IN FRONT OF A MIRROR,
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
PRESENTING YOUR TALK:
- Try to be natural. Speak as you would talk normally.
- Short sentences are more effective.
- Look at the audience. Pick out a couple of people you know in different places and change your focus every little while. That makes it look like you are talking right to the people.
- Use your notes – glance down when you need to or want to. Don’t take your written speech up front with you – you will be tempted to read it. You should always take notes with you. You might think you know it well enough but you’re just being safe if you take them with you – whether you use them or not.
- Speak up !
- Sound confident
- Sound like you want everyone to know what you have to say
- Try to speak at your natural speed ‐ this usually means “slow down.” We tend to speak too fast. (Practicing
will help you with this.)
- Be enthusiastic! Think that what you are talking about is the most important thing in the world!
- Smile! Look like you are enjoying it!
- Stand still ‐ don’t pace back and forth, but don’t act like a statue! Have your feet slightly apart with your hands at your sides, or holding your notes at your waist.
- Use a few gestures ‐ hand movements to emphasise a point, show direction or size, or to count – facial expressions to show emotion. AVOID OVER GESTURING! Gestures help to get the interest and attention of the audience, but they should be natural.
- Think about the amount of time you can hold the interest of the audience and the depth to which the topic is considered. A good short talk is better than a long one the audience gets tired of.
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