Sunday, November 04, 2007

Don’t Talk If You Have Nothing To Say

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.

It is very likely that a bulk of us don’t volunteer to make a speech (public speaking/presentational speaking.) Instead, something that we have done or are doing catches someone’s attention and that leads to the speech. In your social circles it may have been noticed that you have been traveling and taking photos. Your associates decide that they would enjoy seeing the photos and listening to where you have been and what you’ve been doing. And so the pressure begins to prepare a presentation and deliver it to a group of friends and colleagues which will number around 28. Please note: it is always easier to say yes and then hope something happens and you never have to speak. But, with friends and colleagues that is probably not going to happen.

The next thing that is easy is to assume that you there is no need to prepare. And whatever preparation you do need won’t take very much time. Big mistake. With all communication you need to setup a procedure and then stick to it. If you’re talking to your boss, a fellow employee, your best friend, your spouse, your child and so on, you need to have a procedure that you follow so that you always have something to say. Remember, life is a process, and so is communication.

Setup the process immediately and begin work on what you are going to do and say. That way, no matter how much you fear the occasion you will know that you have something to say. In most cases, this thought or one like it will be useful: provide for your listeners what they need in order to appreciate and understand what you’re talking about. If you can have more concern about them than yourself, you will do better.

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