Technical Oral Communication skills


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What is communication process?

  • Stimulation & Motivation are two important factors for any type of communication. The sender must be stimulated for the discussion and receiver must be motivated to listen or respond.
  • People have different frame of reference – the sender and receiver should be aware about this to avoid miscommunication.
    • No two people have identical frame of reference
    • It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure that the message is received by the receiver the way it was sent.
  • About 70% of the communication happens through non-verbal mode. It is not just the content but, even how it is delivered is critical.
  • Listening is one of the important parts of the communication.
    • Paraphrase what you hear to show 1. You listened 2. You respect the person 3. You have heard it right

Attributes of informative presentation:

  • Steps in informative presentation:
    • Analyze potential listeners
      • Know who they are? What do they expect? Their skill level, etc.
    • Be clear with the purpose
      • Audience should know what you are talking and why should they listen in the first 30 sec
    • Plan the body
      • Relevant content
    • Prepare conclusion and introduction
      • Most important part of presentation/speech
    • Use visual aids
  • State the purpose at the beginning and set the right expectations.
  • The introduction and conclusion should be very well planned. Audience usually remembers the beginning and the end for a long time. The core is also important but the conclusion reinforces what you intended
  • Remember “say what you are going to say, say what you want to say, and say what you said” this shows how important is introduction and conclusion.
  • Confidence is a key attribute of the delivery.
  • Research well on the topic to be presented. Be prepared for the latest and greatest news on the topic, there might be questions on the current trend.
  • Research need not be limited to internet alone, other sources are:
    • Printed material – newspaper, magazine, books, brochure, etc.
    • Commercial database – IDC, ProQuest, HBR, etc.
    • Personal interview with experts
    • Internet – you can find the soft copy of most of the above sources on the internet
      • At least just google the topic and read the top sites on first few pages
  • Information communication should be filled with facts, statistics, and updates
  • Justification should be given only upon asking
  • Always start from high level information as senior management might be interested in yes/no, or go/no-go type of information

Usage of Visual aid:

  • Benefits of Visual aid are:
    • Speeds comprehension of the topic
    • Improves listeners memory
  • Most used/ accessible types of visual aids are:
    • PowerPoint/ Audi/video
    • Flipcharts/posters
    • Marker board/chalk board
  • Best practices of PowerPoint or any visual aid include:
    • Entire slide should be understandable in under 6 sec
    • Use big fonts size (around 30 size fonts)
    • Use around half the number of visual aid of speaking time (3 slides for 5 min talk)
    • Do not read from visual aid
    • Use proper font style (Times preferred)
    • 4 to 6 lines of text per slide with max 40 characters per line
    • Use phrases/words, and avoid sentences
    • Use graphs instead of reports if possible
    • Clean the graph to show the most important information

Attributes of Persuasive presentation

  • Components of a persuasive speech are: evidence, confidence and credibility.
  • It is better to present both sides of argument if you are speaking to audience who has some prior knowledge in the topic.
    • It is more persuasive to talk about both sides, present why it is more positive, and how does it overcome its negative
    • However, avoid presenting arguments about both sides to those getting introduced to the topic
  • Credibility of the speaker is the most important factor for persuasive speech
  • Credibility of the speaker sometimes can fill the gaps on the content of the argument or evidence and still be persuasive
  • Credibility can be achieved by:
    • Trustworthiness:
      • Do not avoid eye contact; do not look on the ground, over the head, etc.
      • Don not move eyes rapidly, look at each person/group for 2-3 seconds
      • Honesty, fairness and integrity in the argument
      • Good voice modulation
      • Show passion
    • Competency:
      • Be fluent in thought process
      • Avoid fillers and fill them with pauses to generate curiosity in the audience
      • Use anecdotes and examples
      • Citation from reliable source
      • Good visual aid
      • Proper dressing
    • Dynamism:
      • Forceful, enthusiastic and voice modulation
      • Be conversational at all the time
      • Over dynamism without being conversational is a negative factor towards creditworthiness
      • Example of good dynamic personality: Obama, stand up comedians, etc.
      • Example of bad /over dynamic personality: ‘God TV’ preachers who shout but are not conversational
    • Objectivity: Be open minded, unbiased, non-critical, etc.
    • Position: Higher the rank in business, the better is perceived credibility.
  • Psychological needs of listeners: the speaker should motivate the listeners on theirs needs based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
  • Steps to prepare in persuasive speech
    • Analyze listeners needs
    • State your purpose
    • Plan your credibility
    • Research your topic
    • Organize the body with a storyboard

Listening skills

  • It is THE MOST important skill in overall communication skills
  • Some of the common mistakes to avoid:
    • Don’t assume that the speaker’s topic is boring
    • Never be critical of speaker’s English, grammar, usage of words, body language, etc.
    • Understand the emotions behind the facts
    • Pay attention and do not day dream
    • Never cutoff people or start arguing when they are not finished
    • Never prepare your counter statements until they are completely finished

Interpersonal skills:

  • It was interesting to see there are 4 different types of communication styles to build rapport
  • I always used all 4 types of conversation with all my managers/ co-workers, which I know was a wrong thing
  • Open and candid approach with an introvert makes him uncomfortable
  • Open style of communication with closed style type of person, will threaten him/her even if he/she were your manager
  • Ways to communicate with closed managers:
    • Don’t expect any praise, guidance, criticism or help
    • Maintain low profile and don’t make waves
    • Don’t ask questions
  • Ways to communicate with blind manager
    • Take their criticism
    • Show respect
    • Let him feel the control
  • Ways to communicate with hidden manager
    • Don’t expect the boss to disclose fully, watch for non-verbal communication
    • Give public appreciation to boss
    • Be tactful in confrontation
  • Ways to communicate with open managers
    • Be open and honest
    • Don’t hesitate to share job feelings, doubts, concerns

Non-verbal communication:

  • This consists of 70% of the communication skills
  • Face expressions and eye contact play a key role
  • Body gestures to be sensitive to cultural differences
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Distance and personal space
  • Punctuality
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