It has been assumed for many years that human communication can be placed on a continuum with informative at one end and persuasive at the other end. It isn’t an unreasonable idea and it helps us to make decisions about what we ought to do under specific circumstances.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Part of communication is listening. We tend to think that if we can hear we are listening. Listening takes constant mental growth, fitness, sleep, good health and general awareness about the world around us. Nobody I know is really looking for more work and responsibility. Instead, what many of us want is less work and more fun, less responsibility and some sort of relaxing plateau.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The biggest fear many of us have is public speaking, giving a speech, talking to a relatively large audience and so on. To avoid raising our fear levels we’ll call it presentational communication. There are four.
Each one of these methods has strengths and weaknesses. I have arranged them this way to make a point. First, let’s look at impromptu speaking. Simply put, that speech is “off the cuff” and there has not be time to prepare. That means it is probably the most dangerous form of presentational communication. This method should b avoided at all costs.
So, if you want to win the friendship of another person and/or their families prepare extemporaneous communications to be delivered on demand. You already can predict most situations that will expect an impromptu speech. Things such as, “What are you planning to do with the education you’re getting at college?” The real question is “Are you just another bum or did our daughter find somebody worthwhile for a change?” A short, clear interesting answer will blow them away.
Hang in there.
Monday, November 12, 2007
There are always several ways to look at situations. Presentational communication is no exception. There is a way that might be described as the “ideal view.” In the ideal view you know how to organize anything and everything. You may have learned it in classes or you may have learned it by life exposure, but in any case you know all about organization. That doesn’t really fit most of us. Instead, we tend to learn as much as we need to in order to achieve our immediate goals. The problem with this method is that you don’t know all the goals you might have by the time you die.
Another way to look at organization is “apparent organization.” You ask yourself several questions that you will need to answer in order to reach your goals. For example:
1. What do they need to know?
2. Can that material be broken into several component parts?
3. What do they need to know first in order to understand other elements?
4. Have I explained this before and if so what made it successful?
The first element, “What do they need to know?” is basically the central idea that you should express in a simple declarative sentence. Since you probably will be using a computer, open and save a document to the desktop with a recognizable name based on the central idea. The more direct and easily understood your central idea the easier the communication will be.
Can that central idea be broken into several parts? Open your document on the desktop of your computer and list as many of those parts as you can think of. They must always support the central idea that is written across the top of the page. Later when you visit this page you may discover that one or more of these parts can be combined without doing any violence. We’re going to call these ideas that support the central idea, main ideas.
What things do they need to know and understand before they can be successful comprehending or taking action on the material being presented in the presentational communication? Can you arrange those things in some order that will enhance or make likely that those listening will understand what you’re talking about?
Your past experiences will be useful to you. What have you tried that seemed to work when it comes to ordering what needs to be presented first, second, third, etc.? Now you may have the answer to the question, “Which main idea should be first?”
This is apparent organization and all of us use it from time to time in life. Perhaps you recall what the ideal looks like.
Outline for a speech
Title of your speech
Date of presentation
A. Capture your audience’s attention with a quote, anecdote, or personal experience
B. Build up to your case or the main reason for your speech
C. Summarize the main idea of your speech. Quickly state your three main points
1. First Main Point
2. Second Main Point
3. Third Main Point
II.First Main Point: Working with outline numbered text in Microsoft Word
A. You can move an outline numbered item to the appropriate numbering level
1. On the Formatting toolbar:
a) To demote the item to a lower numbering level
(1) click a list number
(2) click Increase Indent.
b) To promote the item to a higher numbering level
(1) click a list numberThis is part of the template library which is available to Microsoft Word users and it is useful to any of us who are trying to do a good job of presentational communication.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
That almost says what we should do when people around us insist on saying nothing. A more accurate thought would be, don’t listen to the content only when a speaker appears to have nothing to say. Instead, listen with great care to what they choose to talk about and what they avoid talking about. You may learn more from that process than “listening” to the speech in the traditional sense.
1) Talk for no more than 30 to 60 seconds. During that time you should be able to say things that your audience will be able to use to build an “appropriate” context around.
2) Create fear about things that might or might not be done which will negatively impact the listener’s life. The listeners will again build a context around what is being said and may even vote that way.
2) Education—will the costs of education eventually deprive me or my children or grand-children from the education they need?
3) Health—will I be able to maintain my health and the health of my family thus assuring us of a long and happy life?
4) Environment—will the earth be substantially like it was when I was a child. Will it produce enough food, water and pure air to sustain the life I would prefer to live?
5) National posture—will nations around my country fear, hate or at least not come to the support of my nation as a result of things that my government does?
Listening to what is not being said and what is being said leads me to believe that most of the candidates are more interested in being elected than they are is making college more affordable and health care possible for my family not o mention jobs that I can work and while earning a living that might permit me to retire comfortably.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
President Franklin D Roosevelt was a skilled communicator. When he spoke about communication it was usually important. For example: “Freedom of speech is of no use to a man who has nothing to say.” We all have heard speeches that seemed to go out of their way to actually avoid saying something. We almost always wished we hadn’t been present. I should be clear that we need to have something to say when we make a speech.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Much has happened over the intervening 66 years, but the truth of those words remains. We say of life “Use it or lose it.” Certainly that applies to the freedom of speech. Mostly in the recent past we have taken that to mean that I can say anything I like because I have freedom of speech. That is true of course, but much more importantly, we have the reason to prepare ourselves to be able to use the freedom of speech to create a more perfect world. That implies a great deal.
We need to prepare ourselves to say things that will improve our lives and the lives of those around us. That means we will be aware of issues facing us all and having thought about those issues be prepared to speak to audiences of all sizes about those issues. The freedom of speech isn’t to protect those who prefer to jabber about nonsense alone, but also the those who are willing to take the risks necessary to point out basic needs facing us all.
In addition to making constant and intelligent use of the freedom of speech we need to defend vigorously the rights of others to the same freedom. That would mean we do not attempt to silence those who disagree with us. That would apply on the job, in board rooms and from the highest office in the land. Free and open discussion provides a wealth of information from many points of view to all of us.
When any group or nation follows this kind of process their freedoms are more likely to survive in the long run. It also will prod all organizations that we create or are part of to do the same thing. That will assure us of a more useful and effective media. By gathering and reporting on the intelligent and important discussions, addresses and forums going on around us all the time, the media increase the likelihood that even more of us will be aware of the content.If all we are interested in is “bread and circuses” then we are repeating what the Roman poet Juvenal said was the basic problem facing the