Monthly Archives: August 2016
Delivering an oral presentation is always unnerving, even for the best speaker in the world. Standing in front of an audience and trying to deliver a message through a presentation is what people tend to shy away from, for the fear that the audience may not receive you well. However, so that this doesn’t happen, it pays to know your audience well. Apart from this small tip, there are several other skills that you should acquire if you are required to make presentations often. Whether your audience is large or small, your job is to ensure that they have thoroughly comprehended what you have spoken for the specified time duration, and that they don’t go back with any questions or doubts. Think you can master the art? Of course you can! Here’s how you can develop some very effective oral presentation skills.
What Skills are Necessary to Deliver an Effective Oral Presentation?
An oral presentation requires you to possess some very necessary skills so that it is appreciated and remembered by your audience. Here’s a checklist that you can keep at hand when preparing and delivering any presentation.
Prior preparation is the key to delivering a good oral presentation. How do your prepare? You prepare by following this checklist:
Thoroughly understand the subject of the presentation.
Understand who your audience is going to be: age group, gender, work background, small/large, interest, etc.
Keep small notes to guide you through the presentation.
Determine the length and duration of the presentation.
Keep a minimum duration per slide of the presentation (which should ideally not exceed one minute).
Rehearse the presentation at least once before giving it.
Take deep breaths to tackle nervousness and let confidence radiate through your mind.
Importance of Visual Aids
Providing visual aids with any presentation is essential because it helps tackle several issues at once. A visual aid is important because:
It helps retain the attention of the audience.
It provides a reference to the speaker.
It helps generate interest if supporting images and comprehensible diagrams or graphs are used.
In order to develop a good visual aid, there are some tips you should follow:
It should only have the key points mentioned in bulleted points. Avoid putting long paragraphs on it.
Use a large but simple font so that it is legible.
Don’t use too many unnecessary words.
Use color to distinguish between different types of text and images.
Provide supporting images or diagrams with text, wherever possible or necessary.
Ensure that each slide makes a smooth transition from the previous to the next.
Now it’s time to actually go up there and speak in front of your audience; how do you handle that? Here’s how:
Feel confident and walk in with a warm smile to greet your audience.
Greet them with a ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen’.
When giving your presentation, ensure that you are audible to everyone.
Make eye contact with your audience. It reflects great confidence.
State the theme of your presentation right at the beginning, and keep it concise.
Ask questions to keep them involved. Try to include rhetorical questions for greater effect.
Talk to your audience. Don’t read from notes; only use them for reference.
Body language has a very important role to play in delivery of oral presentations. You can use hand gestures to point out facts on the visuals you are providing, you can walk and talk, and you can be slightly animated for effect. Don’t go overboard with the hand gestures though.
Control the tone and pitch of your voice. Raise the tone when you have to make a significant point or statement. Pause after making such a significant statement, for the sake of emphasis. Tone it down when you are stating general facts. There should be a rise and fall in your tone of voice so that your audience is engaged. Just don’t shout or get very excited while talking.
Talk slow and breathe normally. Voice modulation requires that you breathe properly so that you don’t run out of breath while talking.
Leave room for questions. After every slide, ask the audience questions such as, ‘May we proceed?’ or ‘Any questions?’ These show that you care about whether your audience has actually got the message and are not just in a hurry to wrap up the presentation.
Once you are done with your presentation, clarify your audience’s doubts and make sure you have answered all their questions.
Nothing is more important than practice to make sure that you give a good presentation every time. Also, an evaluation of your performance, the audience’s reaction, and your abilities as a presenter should be made by you yourself after every presentation. This will help you improve on key aspects of your oral communication skills to give better presentations the next time.
Communication has to be the crux of all relations – professional or personal. Don’t you think? Unless you are able to communicate your point of view well enough for the other person to understand, how else will it lead to any action? And though this point seems simple enough, we still find that there are several problems being brought to the fore because people don’t communicate effectively. That is why, there is a need to reiterate exactly what these communication skills involve and to understand how to improve them. Even though a person might be of the firm belief that he/she can communicate effectively, it is still advisable to go through these communication skills in the workplace so that the facts become reiterated. In this following section, we will concentrate on the ways in which good communication skills at work can be brought into the picture.
Improving Your Communication Skills at Work
There are certain key pointers in the list of communication skills which when followed well, will lead to an improvement in the person’s communication skills. Let us review some of the ways of improving communication skills in the workplace in the following paragraphs.
Listen, then Listen Some More
How important is it that you listen, and listen well enough? Really important. Listening allows you to understand the other person’s point of view and what they are saying effectively well. When you listen, you are respecting that person and showing them that what they say is important and that their opinion matters. But when you listen, listen to understand. Repeat and recall what they’ve said so that you know that you really are listening. Do not interrupt the other person when they speak because there is nothing more irritating than that. This is the most important factor when it comes to improving one’s communication skills.
Another effective tip is to try to understand what the other person is going through by empathizing with him/her. When you and him have different positions or different natures of jobs, it can become easy to not consider what the other person is going through. Do not make this mistake. If the other person has done something that you haven’t liked, first try and imagine yourself in that situation and speak to them calmly about what they could’ve done instead.
Talk the Talk
How you speak is also an art. Many times, what you want to say is lost in translation only because it has not been formulated well. So, formulate what you want to say with clarity – think what you need to convey and then form the message in the best possible manner so that it can be understood. Change the pitch and the way in which you talk to make it less monotonous and more interesting. All these techniques definitely help in making the message more clear and there are less chances of miscommunication.
Concentrate on Body Language
..Theirs and yours. Body language is an important factor that you need to factor in. You need to learn how to read their body language so that you know what they are saying, and then you also need to concentrate on your body language so that you can make your speech more effective and strong.
Careful when Criticizing
There are bound to be mistakes when it comes to the workplace, but the ability to understand how to handle that situation with maturity is what matters. Instead of being harsh and criticizing a person for their mistakes, try and tone it down. Criticism can be very difficult to take and if you are harsh about it, the attention gets taken away from the mistakes of the other person to the way in which you spoke to them. Thus, the scope for improvement gets compromised. One useful tip is to use ‘I’ (I really don’t like it when this happens) instead of pointing fingers at them and using ‘You’ (You always bungle up like this).
Own up to Things
Another very important factor is to understand how important it is to own up to things that have gone wrong at your end. This means that you take cognizance of things and admit to the mistakes that you’ve made. This shows your character, and the respect for you will naturally follow, which then leads to an improvement in the communication skills.
Encourage Communication in all Sectors
It is important that the employees are comfortable with each other and are able to communicate with each other on a daily basis. If they aren’t, one cannot hope that they will be able to communicate about other problems as well. When proper communication channels are open to people, it will then transcend to include communication in the workplace. When there is effective communication in the workplace, the varied problems in the different sectors will also come to the fore. One way in which this can be done is to undertake several communication exercises that concentrate on improving the communication styles.
Conflicts and Silence
Sometimes, there can be conflicts which can get to be very ugly. Hurtful things can be said in the heat of the moment which can cause for souring of professional relationships and will thus have an adverse effect on the quality of work. One has to develop the skills to handle a situation well enough, to know what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes, taking a break and keeping silent is the smartest thing to do. One has to learn to distinguish the requirements of each situation and what will work when.
When you work on these and understand how to master them to make the most effect, the results will be clear in the way your relations with the others improve and the positive results that they bring forth. Do not underestimate them at all.
Business communication can be written and oral. But, as we have all learned in grade school, it has to be formal. However, grapevine is a very common style of alternate communication, as well. Here are a few tips that one can follow to maintain efficient communication skills in a corporate. While these tips may be commonly known, seldom do people follow them effectively.
In any business, everything has to be legitimate; it’s a fact. Hence, it is very important to maintain written proof of all communication and correspondence. For instance, in case you are planning on ordering a few sample pieces of a certain commodity, you need to make sure that you send in a written request for it. Often, in the corporate world, simply oral requests work wonders; however, the written words act as an empirical proof. As such, even though the deal was cracked in person orally, it is essential that you send a formal written confirmation of it, as well.
Listening is very important in business. One needs to know the difference between hearing and listening. You need to listen, pay attention, and retain each word and expression that the opposite person may express. Do not be biased while listening; this gravely hinders the conversation. Be attentive and observant. This can be advantageous when you need to remind a person of the interest he had shown earlier or something similar that may work for your benefit. Be a good listener. If you give attention to another’s word, they will respect you for it, hold you in high esteem, and listen to what you have to say with a positive mind.
When you are trying to show a positive response, don’t fret over being direct. It is better to let the person know that you agree before they think that you don’t. However, don’t react till you are completely sure of your answer. If you are undecided about agreeing to certain terms and conditions, then you can avoid giving a response until you are sure. This will not only help you to make better and more informed decisions but also indirectly convey the other person that you cannot make impulsive decisions. Vulnerability can be a major reason for downfall in today’s turbulent times; however, others’ awareness of this vulnerability is more threatening comparatively. So, make sure that you react when you are sure; do not let trivialities allow you to change your mind.
When engaging in written communication with a certain party, stick to unambiguous and definite language. Keep the same policy for conversations, too. Avoid using ambiguous terms, and make sure that you are definite in what you are saying. Also, make sure that you use easy language. Business communication thrives on good interpersonal skills and not good vocabulary. Avoid the use of bombastic words, and stick to simple and everyday terms. This way you don’t intimidate the recipient into having a negative feedback about you. In fact, you make him feel comfortable. This will make you more endearing to him.
Use the industry grapevine to your advantage; every industry has it. It is the source for confidential and timely information. You can plant a few of your own people in the grapevine. This can help you to stay updated with the latest news and whereabouts in the industry in general. More so, you can keep an eye out for possible business, market conditions, and several other details that one cannot control otherwise. Another way to use it to your advantage is to spread the word that you wish to spread. If you wish to let the market believe that you are going for a massive expansion, spread the word through it. It is indeed faster and much more profitable. Another way of having a controlling hand on the grapevine is that in case someone is bothering to spread negative rumors about your business, you can know about it before it spreads too far and wide. You can take preventive and controlling measures in time this way.
Apart from the aforementioned points, there’s a cheat code that can help you to be more perfect than others. All are aware regarding the standards such as Be formal, All telephone conversations should be confirmed via email, etc. These five simple-to-follow tips will help you to gain control over the effectiveness of your business communication.