No one is born with great public speaking ability.
I. Two keys will help you succeed in public speaking: taking control of the situation, and preparing yourself to succeed. To do that, consider a number of issues as you prepare for a management speech:
II. Develop a strategy for the speech. This involves developing a reason for speaking, a knowledge of who will hear your speech, and some sense of the context in which it will occur.
III. Get to know your audience.
A. This involves knowing something about the people you speak to and knowing why people listen.
B. Certain categories of information may be useful to focus on as you begin to learn about your audience.
3. Personal Beliefs.
6. Socio-economic status.
7. Ethnic origin.
9. Knowledge of the subject.
10. Attitude toward the subject.
IV. Determine your reason for speaking.
A. All speaking is persuasive, but managers must know if they are expected to take a position regarding the subject of their speech.
B. All public speaking should inform without telling people what they already know.
C. Learn what you can about the occasion.
1. Certain holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Independence Day lend a clear and useful tone to a manager’s talk.
2. Other occasions such as commencements or rites-of-passage call for different themes.
3. Managers must choose their theme carefully because the audience will pay close attention to their words, the tone of their speech, and to their approach to the subject.
V. Know the three basic reasons why people will listen to a speech.
A. Their own self interests.
B. Who is telling the story.
C. How it is told.
1. Audiences react positively to speaking styles regarded as warm, friendly, knowledgeable, and creative.
2. On the other hand, audiences often react negatively to styles they regard as pompous, vague, or irrelevant.
VI. Understand the seven basic questions listeners will bring to any listening situation.
A. Do you know something I need to know?
B. Can I trust you?
C. Am I comfortable with you?
D. How can you affect me?
E. What’s my experience with you?
F. Are you reasonable?
G. Who do you represent?
VII. Recognize the most common obstacles to successful communication.
A. Stereotyping is to ascribe to all members of a group or class those characteristics or behaviors observed in just one or a few. To succeed as speakers, managers must put aside whatever stereotypical views you may hold of your audience and try with an open mind to treat them as individuals.
B. Prejudice is to judge before knowing. Managers are often forced to judge before we have all the facts because of time constraints. Speakers must disclose their lack of information and thus admit their prejudicial thinking whenever possible.
C. Feelings and emotions are personal thoughts on the issues being discussed. Managers must control their emotions because they can blur important distinctions that exist between factual data and our affective interpretation of what they mean. When possible, managers should try and use feelings to advance their cause.
D. Language or words used in a talk are assigned different meanings by different people. Managers should work around the difficulties inherent in language by offering multiple examples to illustrate key points. Consider using graphs or other visual displays that can help convey meaning.
E. Culture is everything we have, say, think or do as people. Response to cultural habits and preferences of others is a mark of your respect for them and thus adds to the willingness of the audience to listen to your speech.
F. Communication obstacles can provoke negative reactions. Cater to the needs of your audience to attain their attention and willingness to think about your ideas.
VIII. Support your ideas with credible evidence:
A. Begin with your own experience and interests; your audience is likely to respond positively and approvingly.
B. Consider new ideas, information, and techniques to bring your audience up-to-date on the subject.
C. Consider the availability and quality of information on your topic to ensure that you can support your principal contentions.
D. Respect the time limits imposed on you and carefully consider the amount of detail you plan to include in your talk
IX. Organize your thoughts.
A. Each speech should include an introduction. A good introduction will help you to get the audience’s attention, allow them to settle in and focus on your topic and your reason for speaking to them. A number of proven methods are available to construct an introduction.
1. An anecdote.
3. A prediction.
4. A dramatic forecast.
5. A striking example.
6. A climactic moment.
7. A suitable quotation.
8. A reference to the occasion.
9. A provocative question.
10. A description.
11. A statement of opinion.
12. Current or recent events.
B. Consider placing your strongest points either first or last for emphasis. Many patterns of organization are available:
1. Chronological order.
2. Topical organization.
3. Cause and effect.
4. Problem solution.
C. Aside from structure, several bits of forensic wisdom may prove helpful to managers.
1. Keep it simple.
2. Talk, don’t read to your audience.
3. Breathing steadily and naturally will help you focus, relax, and deliver a convincing, entertaining, and interesting speech.
D. Conclusions are among the most important portions of a public speech.
1. They represent one last chance to say what you really mean, to reinforce your purpose for speaking, and to ask for their support or compliance.
2. Clue the audience both verbally and nonverbally to the fact that you are just about done speaking.
3. Leave the audience with a clear, simple, unambiguous message.
E. Keep your audience interested.
1. Provide the audience with order and structure so they can easily follow the argument presented.
2. Give the audience something they can use as soon as they leave the room.
3. Make the speech logical because the more logically sound your arguments are, the greater chance your listeners will understand and adopt your viewpoint.
4. Make the speech reasonable to increase the chance of convincing the audience of your viewpoint.
5. Make the intentions of the speech clear to listeners.
6. Use plain English in your speech to help insure the audience understands the message.
7. Keep the speech moving to increase the chance the audience will stay interested.
8. Answer audience questions to help advance your argument.
9. Allay audience fears by redirecting the energy inherent in audience fear into excitement for the speaker’s proposals.
10. Respect the information needs of the audience to help further their acceptance of the argument.
X. Select a delivery approach.
A. Memorized speeches are delivered verbatim, word-for-word, just as the authors wrote them. These speeches are difficult to deliver with any real conviction.
B. Manuscripted speeches ensure the manger will include each key point and resist the temptation to ad-lib, but they might lose eye contact with the audience and seem distant or remote to them.
C. Extemporaneous speeches are thoroughly researched, tightly and sensibly organized, well-rehearsed, and delivered either without notes or with visual aids to prompt memory. These speeches can be especially convincing to an audience.
D. Impromptu speeches are delivered without preparation at all. This approach involves no preparation or rehearsal. Here are a few points to remember when giving an impromptu talk.
1. Maintain your poise.
2. Decide on your topic and approach.
3. Do not apologize.
4. Summarize your point and position.
5. Be sincere, honest, and direct.
XI. Develop your visual support. Visual information is often used best when you are presenting new data, complex or technical information, or working in a new context. Good visuals:
A. Are simple in nature.
B. Explain relationships.
C. Use color efficiently.
D. Are easy to set up, display, and transport.
E. Reinforce the spoken message.
XII. Rehearse your speech.
A. Rehearsals will limit timing.
B. Rehearsals will improve transitions.
C. Rehearsals will polish your delivery and build confidence.
D. If necessary, use projected visuals instead of notecards to prompt your memory.
XIII. Develop confidence in your message and yourself.
A. The knowledge that you personally arranged and rehearsed the talk will give you confidence.
B. The more confident you are, the more credible you are.
XIV. Deliver your message. Consider the following details:
A. Date, time, and location.
B. Room layout.
C. Microphone and acoustics.
F. Time limits.
J. Try out your equipment.
XV. As you speak, consider the following ideas to keep your audience interested.
A. Share your own experiences, values, background, goals, and fears.
B. Talk process first, then detail.
C. Blueprint the speech: tell them where the talk is going.
D. Use interim summaries and transitions.
E. Use yourself and involve them.
LISTENING AND FEEDBACK
“Listening is hard work.”
I. Most recent studies have shown that adults now spend more than half of their daily communication listening to someone else speak.
II. Studies of listening skill show that the average North American adult listens at an efficiency rate of 25 percent.
III. There is a substantial difference between hearing and listening.
A. Hearing is merely an involuntary physical response to the environment.
B. Listening is a process that includes hearing, attending to, understanding, evaluating, and responding to spoken messages.
IV. Why should we listen?
A. Poor listening can cause simple mistakes, lawsuits, and even deadly disasters.
B. Listening is the central skill in the establishment and maintenance of interpersonal relationships.
V. There are many good reasons to improve your listening.
A. The act of listening to another person demonstrates that you value him or her and care about what he or she is saying.
B. Listening to your employees promotes problem solving activities. By listening carefully and reflectively, a supervisor can guide a subordinate to a solution that has a greater chance for success and greater levels of employee buy-in.
C. Listening increases your receptiveness to the thoughts and ideas of others.
D. Listening helps you to increase the self-esteem of the speaker. Increasing your employees’ self-esteem can help them to concentrate on the tasks at hand and compete successfully.
E. Listening helps you to overcome self-consciousness and self-centeredness.
F. By listening to the concerns and interests of the other person first, you are more likely to get what you want sooner and with substantially less angst.
VI. The first step in becoming a more effective listener is to identify poor listening habits we have developed over a lifetime and replace them with effective, productive habits.
A. Here are a few poor listening habits you must recognize and correct to improve your listening skills:
1. Being preoccupied with talking, not listening.
2. Calling the subject uninteresting.
3. Letting bias or prejudice distort the messages you hear.
4. Oversimplifying answers or explanations.
5. Yielding to external distractions.
6. Yielding to internal distractions.
7. Avoiding difficult or demanding material.
8. Rationalizing poor listening.
9. Criticizing the speaker’s delivery.
10. Jumping to conclusions before the speaker has made his/her point.
11. Being overly concerned with your response instead of focusing on the message of the speaker.
12. Assigning the wrong meaning to words.
13. Listening only for facts and not context, connections, and rhetorical ligatures that link facts to human experience.
14. Trying to make an outline of everything you hear or trying to force information into artificial patterns.
15. Faking attention to the speaker.
16. Letting your heightened emotions regarding word choice or subject matter distract you from the conversation or speech.
17. Interrupting the speaker to express your own opinion.
18. Wasting the differential between the rate at which we speak and the rate at which we think.
B. Here are a few habits you may want to substitute to effectively improve your listening skills:
1. Stop talking.
2. Participate in only one conversation at a time.
3. Empathize with the person speaking.
4. Ask questions if you are confused, lost, or need information.
5. Although asking questions is useful, don’t interrupt your conversation partner for a bit.
6. Show complete interest in what is being said to you.
7. Attain the privacy or proper environment to discuss the matter at hand to ensure you will give the speaker your undivided attention.
8. Listen critically by evaluating all the facts and evidence.
9. Look beyond your assessment of the speaker to the ideas contained in the speech.
10. Realize that just because you want to hear it, that does not mean that the speaker is saying it.
11. Match your expectations of the speaker’s content against what you actually hear and think carefully about what has not been said.
12. Tune into the speaker’s mood and intention, as well as the content of the speech.
13. Focus, concentrate, ask questions, and pay attention to what is going on to make sure you understand the message.
VII. To become an effective, empathetic, and skilled listener, you must participate in dialogue. Here are five skills that may help to increase your chances for becoming a successful, active listener.
A. Paraphrase as others speak to show you are actually listening to their words.
B. Summarize the feeling of the speaker.
C. Reflect the cognitive or logical content of a discussion.
D. Review what you have concluded.
E. After you have listened, follow through with actions.
VIII. Periodically review your communication practices, and your listening habits in particular, to monitor your improvement.
A. Here is a four-step process you should use to complete this review:
1. Review your listening inventory.
2. Recognize your undesirable listening habits.
3. Refuse to tolerate undesirable habits.
4. Replace undesirable habits with effective ones.
IX. You can significantly increase the probability of communication success if you understand the role of feedback in both personal and professional communication.
A. Here are some guidelines for constructive feedback:
1. Acknowledge the need for feedback to assist in bettering your organization.
2. Give both positive and negative feedback.
3. Understand the context of the feedback (i.e., where it happened, why it happened, what led up to the event).
4. Make sure you are using words whose meaning you both understand.
5. Do not speak in a language your conversation partner is likely to misunderstand, misconstrue, or misinterpret.
6. Do not assume anything about the other person - ask for clarification.
7. Defuse the hostility, minimize the fear, and depersonalize the conversation by focusing your comments on the behavior involved not the people.
8. Know when to give feedback.
9. Know how to give feedback.
B. Here are a few specific instances when you should not attempt to give feedback:
1. You do not know much about the circumstances of the behavior.
2. You do not care about the person or will not be around long enough to follow up the aftermath of your feedback.
3. The feedback, positive or negative, is about something the person has no power to change.
4. The other person seems low in self-esteem.
5. You are low in self-esteem.
6. Your purpose is not really improvement, but to put someone on the spot, or demonstrate how smart or how much more responsible you are.
7. The time, place, or circumstances are inappropriate.
C. Here are a few suggestions to provide helpful feedback to another person:
1. Be descriptive and provide examples.
2. Be objective, if possible
3. Be clear, specific, and unambiguous.
4. Do not exaggerate.
5. Do not be judgmental or at least do not use the rhetoric of judgment.
6. Take responsibility for your own job - do not refer to absent, anonymous people.
7. Try to use first-person statements (“I” or “we”) so the effectiveness of your comments is not lost in accusation.
8. Phrase the issue as a statement, not as a question.
9. Focus on issues that are both important to improvement and well within the power of the other person to change.
10. Restrict your feedback to things you know for certain.
11. Use each opportunity for feedback to establish useful working relationships and build long-term trust.
12. Help people hear and accept your compliments when giving positive feedback.
D. Here are a few ideas to help refashion criticism so that it conforms to the rules for constructive feedback:
1. Take full, deep breaths to force your body to relax and allow your brain to maintain greater alertness.
2. Listen carefully to the person delivering the criticism.
3. Ask questions for clarity.
4. Acknowledge the feedback with both verbal and nonverbal indicators.
5. Agree to valid points.
6. Do not be defensive.
7. Try to understand the objectives of the other person.
8. Ask the feedback-giver for time to think about what was said and how you feel about it.
“Understanding nonverbal communication is not simply useful for a manager. It is essential.”
I. A few basic considerations about nonverbal communication:
A. Communication experts have established that less than a third of the meaning transferred from one person to another in a personal conversation comes from the words that are spoken.
B. Nonverbal communication is widely regarded as the transfer of meaning without using verbal symbols.
C. Separating the effects of nonverbal and verbal behavior are never easy because they are always in some way about each other.
D. With the exception of emotional displays and certain facial expressions, virtually all nonverbal communication is culturally based.
II. The concept of nonverbal communication can be organized into a number of different areas, steps, functions, and principles.
A. Communication researchers have outlined three basic categories of nonverbal language.
1. Sign language can be as simple as the extended thumb of a hitchhiker, or as complex as the complete system of sign language for the deaf.
2. Action language includes all movements that are not used exclusively for communicating. (i.e., walking).
3. Object language includes all objects, materials, artifacts, and things that we use in our daily lives.
B. Nonverbal communication is really a three-step process involving a cue, our own expectations, and an inference.
1. We first look for a wordless cue - a motion or an object.
2. We then look to match the cue against our expectation, asking what seems reasonable or obvious, based on our prior experiences.
3. Finally, we draw an inference based on the nonverbal cue and our expectations.
C. Nonverbal communication can serve any number of important functions in our lives, but the following six functions are deemed the most important by researchers:
1. Accent some part of a verbal message.
2. Complement the general tone or attitude of our verbal communication.
3. Contradict the verbal messages we send, sometimes deliberately, sometimes unintentionally.
4. Regulate the flow, the pace, and the back-and-forth nature of verbal communication.
5. Repeat what verbal messages convey.
6. Substitute for verbal messages, particularly if they are simple or monosyllabic.
D. Fifty years of research and five thousand years of human experience with nonverbal communication have identified six principles thought to be universally true. Nonverbal behaviors:
1. Occur in a context;
2. Are usually packaged and thus are difficult to isolate;
3. Always communicate, even when we are not speaking with or listening to others;
4. Are governed by rules, just like spoken and written language;
5. Are highly believable, even when they contradict a verbal message;
6. Are meta-communicational, or simply, communication about communication.
III. The code of nonverbal communication is organized into different dimensions, each with the power to encode and carry messages from one person to another.
A. The Communication Environment is a collection of nonhuman factors that can, and often does, influence human transactions.
B. The manner in which we move and position our bodies tells people something about us. The five basic categories of body movement are:
1. Emblems - nonverbal acts which have a direct verbal translation or dictionary definition, sometimes a word or two or a brief phrase.
2. Illustrators - gestures that often complement our verbal signals, helping to illustrate what we said verbally.
3. Affect displays - behaviors that indicate the type and intensity of the various emotions we feel.
4. Regulators - body movements that help to control the flow of communication.
5. Adaptors - movements or behaviors that involve personal habits and self-expressions; these methods help us adapt to the world in which we live.
C. Direction, duration, and intensity of eye contact play an important role in human interaction. Such contact:
1. Indicates interest, attention, or involvement between two people.
2. Varies in meaning among different cultures.
D. A communicator’s physical characteristics and overall appearance often affect how others react to the conversation. Attractive people are frequently better received by an audience.
E. Artifacts or objects that are human-made or modified affect our interactions.
F. The act of touch greatly affects the way we perceive the communicator.
1. Positive and negative influences of touch depend greatly on the environment and context for the interaction.
2. Touch ungoverned by rules is no longer welcomed in workplace exchanges.
G. Paralanguage which refers to how something is said and not what is said influences communication.
1. It deals with a range of nonverbal cues involved in speech behavior, such as voice qualities, vocal characterizers, vocal qualifiers, and speech segregates. These are sometimes referred to as vocalics.
2. Often the only real clues we have to a person’s actual intent as we listen to him or her speak are found in paralanguage.
H. Our use of space in the office or in a social setting affects our interaction. Here are four categories of distance which help to define the relationship between communicators:
1. Intimate: ranges from actual touching to a distance of about 18 inches.
2. Personal: ranges from about 18 to 30 inches.
3. Social: ranges from about 4 to 12 feet.
4. Public: ranges from about 12 to 15 feet.
I. Our use of time and how we view its role in our personal and professional lives play a role in our communication. The meaning of time and its importance varies from culture to culture.
J. Color or shading are subtle and powerful message senders.
K. A primitive perceptive capability, smell is a powerful communicator reaching far and wide throughout human emotion and experience.
L. Our ability to taste, highly correlated to our sense of smell, is highly subjective and thus influences our communication.
M. Sound and its effects on communication are important parts of nonverbal communication. Here, the notion of sound relates to acoustics as well as the melodic ranges of the human voice, sounds produced by nature and mankind, and music.
N. Silence can be used both positively and negatively to affect, to reveal, to judge, or to activate. Research in interpersonal communication has revealed that silence may serve a number of important functions. It can be employed to:
1. Provide thinking time;
2. Hurt others;
3. Isolate oneself;
4. Prevent communication;
5. Communicate feelings;
6. Communicate nothing.
IV. Here are the six general effects of nonverbal communication every manager should know:
A. Nonverbal cues are often difficult to read. Remember not only to look at nonverbal clusters of behavior, but also recognize that nonverbal meaning rarely is limited to a single denotative meaning.
B. Nonverbal cues are often difficult to interpret. Remember that what may mean one thing in one context, culture, or circumstance, may mean something entirely different in another.
C. Some nonverbal cues are more important than others. The relative importance of a given cue is dependent on habits and usual behaviors of the speaker.
D. We often read into some cues much that is not there, and fail to read some cues that are clearly present.
E. We are not as skilled at this as we think we are; our confidence often exceeds our ability. Remember it is easy to misinterpret, misread, or misunderstand someone.
INTERCULTURAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION
“Life in the 21st Century will not be ‘business as usual’.”
I. The new century brings new intercultural challenges to communication at home.
A. Profound population shifts in the next few decades will leave the U.S. older and far more ethnically diverse than ever before.
B. Although current population rates continue to rise, after 2025 the U.S. will experience an all-time low growth rate because the aging baby boomers will begin dying faster than new Americans are born.
C. The average age of the American population is growing exponentially.
D. The shape, size, and even the definition of American families has drastically changed over the last thirty years.
E. More women are entering the workforce than at any time since the end of World War II.
1. Women are still paid about 75 percent of what men in comparable positions receive.
2. Working women still bear a disproportionate share of the burden of child care and household duties.
II. Cultural challenges faced abroad also affect our ability to communicate.
A. Many changes have caused a new world order and thus have ignited the importance of international business. The key to success in the global marketplace is understanding the culture of your suppliers, customers, and competitors.
B. Customs and cultures abroad differ from those in the U.S., often causing unknowing Americans embarrassment, anger, and sometimes imprisonment.
1. Nonverbal communication can be as much a source of misunderstanding as verbal communication.
2. Being culturally sensitive is essential to your success. Failures in an overseas business setting most frequently result from an inability to understand and adapt to foreign ways of thinking and acting.
III. Culture is everything people have, think, and do as members of their society.
A Culture is a central part of our society, our economy, and the organizations which employ us.
B. Culture is composed of the following items:
1. Material objects;
2. Ideas, values, and attitudes;
3. Expected patterns of behavior.
C. Here are a few ideas about culture that have been shown to be true across time and across both national and cultural boundaries:
1. Culture is learned.
2. Cultural is universal to human society.
3. Cultural is constantly undergoing change.
a. Changes due to internal forces, such as discovery, invention, and innovation.
b. Changes due to external forces, such as diffusion of innovation across space and time, and borrowing the traits, habits, or customs of another culture.
4. Some cultures move more quickly than others. Here are five factors which influence the rate of change as well as the kind of change a culture may experience:
a. Relative advantage;
5. Culture is not value-neutral.
6. Not all cultures are equally complex.
7. Virtually all cultures permit the development of sub-cultures.
8. Culture can influence biology and biology can influence culture.
9. All cultures display ethnocentrism, or the tendency to evaluate a foreigner’s behavior by the standards of one’s own culture and to believe that one’s own culture is superior to others.
IV. Cross-cultural communication skills are essential to success in the global economy. The skillset you need to sharpen your cross-cultural communication skills involves the following personal capacities:
A. The capacity to accept the relativity of your own knowledge and perceptions.
B. The capacity to be nonjudgmental.
C. A tolerance for ambiguity.
D. The capacity to communicate respect for other people’s ways, their country, and their values without adopting or internalizing them.
E. The capacity to display empathy, to be flexible, and to take turns.
F. The humility to acknowledge what you do not know or understand.