Communication is an important component in most areas of our lives. We use it at home, in the workplace, and almost everywhere else when we deal with people. That is why ineffective communication can hinder our aspirations and effective communication can promote them.
How can you develop effective communication skills that will ensure everyone hears and understands your message? Presentation is the key. Here are a few areas on which to focus your attention:
Effective presentations consist of verbal and visual components. It is important to include both, if possible, because various individuals respond differently to each component. Some people learn better through visual aids, some through words, and still others through a combination of both.
The verbal element of your presentation clarifies and explains your thoughts and ideas. When addressing your audience, consider how to make your core thoughts clear and concise. Following a format or plan often allows your ideas to flow, rather than cause confusion. Whether the verbal element of the presentation is written or oral, it is important to avoid complex or uncommon vocabulary and run-on sentences that present difficulty.
The visual element of your presentation supports and clarifies the verbal element.
The visual element should be simple and not distracting, but it should still be interesting. A simple, creative visual can spark ideas and thoughts in your audience that would not otherwise be awakened.
- Visuals are a great way to include your audience in your presentation, rather than just having them listen to you. If your audience is an active part of the process, they will retain more information, making for more effective communications.
- Body language is another component which adds congruence to the spoken words. Unfortunately, although everyone agrees to the power of body language in communication, there are very few people and cultures who actually use it. And the power of this medium is most effectively demonstrated by professionals in the performing arts and cinema. For example, just see Al Pacino’s ‘Deadbeat Leads’ scene in the movie ‘Glengarry GlenRoss’. (Warning: The scene has foul language)
Effective use of time and space in your presentation, when it comes to body language and the visual component, can contribute greatly to effective communications.
Your goal is to convey as much information as possible, while keeping the interest of your audience. Therefore, in the oral component of your presentation, you should not take up too much time or they may lose interest, nor should you take too little time for they may not receive the necessary information. Keep your focus clear and prove your point. After that, allow them to go further if they wish through a question and answer period.
In the visual component of your presentation, it is vital to use a good portion of the space provided to you, so people do not feel like you are cramming information. Bigger images are often clearer and more direct than smaller ones.
When setting out to improve your effective communications skills, do not limit yourself. Be creative. And remember: your presentation, done well, can be the key to attaining your aspirations.