Your Communication Style

Communication Styles are Often Situational.

IMG_2915Communication is a two-way process for reaching mutual understanding through verbal, non-verbal, and written messages.   Determining your own communication style can help you improve how you share information with others.  Learning how to communicate effectively with styles that are different from your own, will enable you to establish effective relationships and create better understanding. 

Some communications styles are Sociable – Decisive – Cautious – Patient. When Collaborating with other we may be Cooperative, Spontaneous, Competitive or Precise. When sharing feelings with others we are sometimes Reserved, Private, Sympathetic, or Self-assured.  How others perceive us is also important.  Some may perceive you to be Gentle – Result-oriented – Fun-Loving or Disciplined.  The goal of understanding your communication style preferences is to communicate with others in a way that is comfortable and effective when we find ourselves in different settings.

It is important to recognize how effective communication can affect your interactions with others. It can lead to higher efficiency and good moral in the workplace, increased innovation and creative potential in groups, and satisfactory personal and familial relationships. Communication styles are often situational. Be sure to monitor your application of communication styles.

Decide if your current style is effective based on feedback and outcomes. If necessary, adjust your behavior and adopt new styles to fit a situation, team, or person. Recognize and adjust your style of communication to reach a mutual understanding.

Direct: This style is decisive, competitive, independent, and confident.  Direct communicators prefer you to get to the point quickly and in a succinct manner.

Initiating: This style is sociable, enthusiastic, energetic, spontaneous, and fun-loving. Initiating communicators value interacting with others and sharing stories.

Supportive: This style is calm, steady, approachable, sincere, and gentle. Supportive communicators appreciate a calm, steady approach.

Analytical: This style is precise, exact, analytical, and logical. Analytical communicators like facts, data, and figures.

It is my hope that you can now better understand your communication style.

Speechwriting Secrets

Borrow From the Pros

IMG_3137 (1)To quote Dr.  Ralph C Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters, “Speech is much more than merely standing before an audience and saying something”, however, when you get an opportunity to say something to an audience, you want to make sure that opportunity is not wasted.  So what do you do when you don’t have an army of speechwriters like presidents, politicians, and CEOs – You borrow from the pros.

There are many examples of great speeches written and delivered by professionals that can be used as excellent examples of good speechwriting. What is most important to look for in those examples is their structure. In order to better understand what structure is all about, you have to write out your speech.  Many good coaches can look at your structure to conclude if your speech is good or bad.

David Brooks, a speechwriter, and coach I admire often says in his coaching sessions, “great speeches are not written they are rewritten”. After getting down the basics; a strong beginning, an informative middle, and a memorable ending, that is when the rewriting begins. Have a well-defined structure that both you and your audience can follow.  Don’t wait until you face your audience to start your rewriting on stage,  don’t try to wing it, that’s when most speakers get into trouble.

While it is great to have a well-rehearsed strong opening, being in the moment also makes for a good opening. Tagging a line from the previous speaker to maintain the power already created in the room works well for most audiences, however, you should choose that tagline carefully. From there go back to your script. If you can deliver eighty percent of what you have written, you should be in good shape. The other twenty percent should be those spontaneous opportunities you observe to connect with your audience.

The personal stories you tell can leave a lasting impression on your audience, therefore they should be delivered from the heart and not read.  All of my mentors strongly emphasizes that “good speeches are delivered not read”. Even if the personal stories included in your speech are written in some format, switch the eighty-twenty rule for that part of your speech. Eight percent Off-Script and if you must, twenty percent scripted. Your stories will be much more believable and better received.

Create your own power or catchphrases to make your message resonate with your audience. Those phrases will resonate with both you and your audiences even long have you have given that speech. As you continue the process of rewriting, you will begin to see more and more opportunities to add humor and phrases that will personalize your speeches. Power statements and catchphrases add life to your speeches. They should roll off your tongue as if you are releasing a small part of you.

I always recommend that you “Open to Close”.  Go back to the opening to recall the statements that laid the foundation for your speech. The statements you stated as the reason for you facing that particular audience. Your closing is your opportunity to drive home your message. It is your opportunity to close the deal. And if after all is said and done, your audience is just all revved up and ready to take some actions all because of your message, you would have done much more than merely stand before an audience to say something. You are now well on the road to presenting as a pro.

 

 

 

10 Tips to Control Nervousness

A Prepared Speaker Should Never be Nervous:-Dr. R. Smedley

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Feeling some nervousness before speaking to any audience is natural and even healthy if you can channel that nervousness.  Some nervous energy can show that you are passionate and care about what you are presenting to your audience. Too much nervousness will detract from your performance.  Your physical preparation is a very important part of your Preparation and Practice.

10 Tips you can use to control your nervousness.

  1. Know The Room: Become familiar with the speaking are before you are called to speak. The view from the speaking are is quite different from the audience view or the view from the back of the room.
  2. Know You Audience: Meet and if possible greet some of your audience as they arrive. This can help you connect with them as you look out into the audience.
  3. Know Your Material: In the words of Dr. Ralph C Smedley “ A prepared speaker should not be nervous”. Nervousness will increase if you don’t know your material.
  4. Relax: Get on your feet, stretch a bit before taking to the stage.
  5. Visualize yourself giving your speech: Harbor positive thoughts. Visualize yourself being successful and you will be successful.
  6. Think Positive: Audiences don’t want you to fail. Smile and they will smile back at you.
  7. Don’t apologize: Don’t call attention to any of your slipups. Those slipups may very well have gone unnoticed.
  8. Focus on the message: When you focus on the message, your attention moves from your anxieties outwardly towards your message and your audience.
  9. Turn nervousness into positive energy: Add vitality and enthusiasm to harness your nervous energy.
  10. Gain Experience. Experience Builds confidence: Grasp every opportunity you get to SPEAK. Grasp every opportunity you get to EVALUATE. That is the key to becoming a better speaker.

Are Your Making Your Case

Great Speeches are not written they are rewritten:  

Topic Selection:

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WHEN YOU DELIVER A SPEECH YOU ARE MAKING YOUR CASE

The topic you choose can decide your place in any speech competition. While you should choose a topic you are passionate about, keep in mind you have to connect with your audience to be successful. Connecting with your audience is important at all levels of competition. If you turn your Real Life Events into unique Powerful Stories using persuasion and the power of the spoken you will do well.    

Avoid the following:

  • Current events that were in the news media over and over.
  • Events that may have varied audience opinions  – So too will your judges.
  • Topics too big to be delivered in 5 to 7 minutes – Keep It Simple

Purpose:

The purpose of your speech should be clearly defined very early in your presentation.

  • Are you speaking to inform
  • Are you speaking to entertain
  • What do you want your audience to Think-Feel – Or Do after hearing the speech.

Don’t Tell Them–Show Them-Take Them:

  • Be descriptive – Use word pictures to convey your message
  • Be concise but clear – Every unanswered question becomes a distraction
  • Practice your personal stories and anecdotes so that they don’t sound rehearsed-Keep them real.

Have you ever tried to buy a piece of equipment from someone who doesn’t know how to operate it? Knowing your case also means knowing exactly what you are asking for and knowing when you got it. Be factual, where possible use statistics.  Do not overstate your case. You’ll undermine your credibility.

Lead with your strongest point or argument:

First impressions are indelible. Most Toastmasters speeches are 5 to 7 minutes. In your first minute, you can win over or lose your audience.  Give some indication of where you are going or taking them. Get your audience’s permission to take them

Communicate clearly and concisely:

Make brevity a part of your style.  The most celebrated example of brevity: The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lincoln spoke for 2 minutes 270 words. Edward Everett delivered a two-hour oration before Lincoln’s 2 minutes of dedicatory remarks. Great speeches are not written they are rewritten. Write and then deliver or deliver and then write. Whatever your choice happens to be, write your speech – Focus on your choice of words.  Check to see if each sentence can be said in fewer words.

Your Delivery:

Everyone has a personal manner of speaking.  Be yourself.  Most people can process information only at a moderate rate. Find your voice. Don’t speak too fast or too slowly. Don’t try to sound like someone else.  Use strategic pauses for emphasis. Practice enunciating each word clearly.

Your Conclusion:

Your conclusion is just as important as your opening. Recall some of the main points of the presentation. Leave enough time to summarize and emphasize your take away message. The quality of your performance and not the trophy will determine if you have made your case.