Thursday, April 29, 2010


When you are speaking to anyone, keep in mind that they do to you what you do to other speakers: evaluate the speaker's ability to tell you things you can trust. What we do is evaluate the credibility of speakers/sources constantly. We listen to some with great interest and ignore others. In fact, we fear recalling too much of what some sources tell us because we don't want to be embarrassed by inaccurate or outright false information.

Be careful what you say when talking. Avoid anything that will damage your credibility. Self deprecation can be a useful tool, but don't let it affect the content of what you are saying. All listeners want to learn everything they can quickly and easily , especially in the areas of their personal interest. Then, they want to feel comfortable passing on that information to others. That way they appear to be brighter and more intelligent than they really are. If the information is faulty or incorrect, they appear to be gullible or less intelligent then they really are.

The solution to the problem is two fold: 1) develop habits of regular and constant data gathering and 2) do nothing to cause your listeners to question your credibility. That way when you speak in any size group, folk will listen, because they will learn something important to them quickly and easily. You are providing a major benefit to them through your ability to learn, organize and delivery information that they need/want and will use.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Contact

The first contact with any audience is important. Often ignored it makes a huge difference to the outcome of the experience.

Before you can speak, the audience is already deciding if they are going to listen. That has to do with the way you look, walk and act. Before you can be seen last minute adjustments should have been completed, leaving nothing to chance. Now, put yourself out of your mind.

They see you and your nonverbal communications are being used by them to make decisions. If they decide they can listen to you without risk, they probably will. In some cases they have seen publicity and advertising that indicated to them that they might be interested.

When you do begin to speak, the verbal portion of the first contact needs to be well thought out, carefully worded and created to tie the audience to the speaker and the topic. The standard elements need to be present: 1) gain attention, 2) tie the audience to you and your topic, 3) assure the audience that you know what you’re talking about, 4) tell them what the topic is and 5) hit the main points you will be covering.

Don’t spend any time suggesting that what you are about to say “is the best you could under the circumstances.” Don’t suggest by your delivery that you are afraid of the sound of your own voice. Just dive into the ideas you are going to present with enthusiasm. If you’re not interested in what you are saying, why should they be? Your only concern should be the valuable service you are providing to them.

The first contact with any and all audiences without regard to size is important. Spend necessary time preparing for the best possible introduction to your communication to assure better outcomes.