Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mattson on Communication: Public Speaking Training Improves Effectiveness in...

Mattson on Communication: Public Speaking Training Improves Effectiveness in...: Public speaking training is about more than just public speaking.   We are convinced the principles that guide effective speeches and ...

Public Speaking Training Improves Effectiveness in All Communication Events

Public speaking training is about more than just public speaking.  We are convinced the principles that guide effective speeches and presentations are just as effective in all other communication situations.

Communication can be challenging in these fast paced times involving high technology and our face to face dealings with a wide diversity of people.  More specifically, communication mediated with smart phones, voice messages, text messages, and video conferences all provide advantages, yet lose the richness that can only be achieved in face to face communication.  One problem is we reduce our face to face practice by relying on high technology; therefore, we become less effective and often find ourselves with heightened anxiety.

Have you ever experienced anxiety in the following situations:  You are a project manager and need to ask your superiors for more resources i.e. money, supplies, equipment, time, man hours etc?  You are in line for a promotion but must get through an internal panel interview?  You have gone a long time without a raise and you deserve one but are afraid to ask?  Your ideas are good, but you are reluctant to bring them up at a meeting, then someone says your idea and gets the credit?  You can clearly see a solution to a problem, but the boss intimidates you and you are afraid to point it out, then someone else points out the same solution and they again receive the credit?  You have been working on a solution to a work problem and getting it OK’d rides on your skills to competently present it a decision maker?  You are having a conflict or major problem with a co-worker, but don’t know how to approach the boss about it?

Executive managers:  Are these doubts going through your managers minds?  These are communication problems that can cost your organization, division, department, or team money and time; however, all these challenges can be solved.  The principles that can solve these problems are the same principles that drive highly effective speeches.

We teach these principles.  In any communication event, an audience analysis must be completed whether it is one-on-one or one to many.  Several questions must be answered because selection of the right communication principles is situational and relational.  You must have a purpose, and you must have one main idea.  That’s not enough; the main idea must be communicated and supported with evidence.  These are all public speaking principles which must be applied in the right way, at the right time, for the right person(s) or situation.

We can teach these principles in a customized way.  We are asked by some people the following:  Why shouldn’t we just send our people to a Dale Carnegie Course or Toastmasters?  Our answer is we believe these two organizations are excellent choices; however, both demand an extended commitment to time, or money, or both.  We can laser in on the challenges and by customizing, we can be more effective with you or your people in 1-5 hours (depending on situation, needs, and size of group), not weeks or months.

Imagine more effective communication.  Things will get done right the first time.  There is an old saying, “Why is it that you never have time to do things right, but you always have time to do things over?”  With good communication principles, things can get done right the first time.
Many major projects have gone over costs because of communication errors.  Poor skills in giving instructions, listening (not listening or hearing issues), using metaphors not understood by all peoples, not identifying a purpose, poor question asking abilities, not understanding the audience—person(s) you are addressing, paraphrasing abilities, etc. 
All these things greatly affect the bottom line.  The State of Washington is about to lose $10 million (the 520 floating bridge pontoons), the Space Shuttle exploded after take off, a KLH passenger jet was shot down, and countless other major disasters happened mainly due to poor communication.

Public Speaking is the most studied discipline in the history of mankind.  One reason is because mastering its principles will make your everyday communication more effective resulting in higher income, getting jobs done, making jobs secure, and making organizations more profitable.

I urge you to call us for a public speaking assessment, because if you do, you will improve your workplace satisfaction, solve problems faster, make more money, and improve your relationships.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mattson on Communication: Presenting the Presenter

Mattson on Communication: Presenting the Presenter: The Speech of Introduction is very important.  It sets the tone for the speaker and helps the speaker with getting the attention of the...

Presenting the Presenter

The Speech of Introduction is very important.  It sets the tone for the speaker and helps the speaker with getting the attention of the audience.  It is critical to know the pronunciation of the speaker's first and family name.  People's names are very important and if you can pronounce their names properly, you will gain the respect of the audience and the speaker.  If you think mispronouncing people's names is no big deal, then go into any town in America and you will see streets, buildings, and hi-ways named after them.  These people work hard and spend their life building their character and contributing to their communities so they can be honored with such recognition.

The main point to learn here, is "practice" your introduction speech.
This is the criteria for the speech of introduction:

Topic:  Simply state the topic first (do not introduce yourself).

Importance:  Why is this topic important to the audience.  The speech must have something in it for the audience.  You have to make the connection for the audience on what benefit they will receive by listening to this speech.

Credibility:  Answer the following questions:  Why should the audience listen to the speaker?  What credentials related to this topic does the speaker possess?  How long has the speaker been involved in this topic?

Name:  Give the Speaker's name very clearly.  Look at the audience when saying the speaker's name, not the speaker.  The speaker already knows her/his name.  It is good to have a pause between the first and family name.  One way to do it, is to look at one side of the audience when stating first name, then look to the other side before you state the family name.  You can also do this technique by looking at the front row of the audience for the first name, then the back of the audience before stating the family name.

Applause: After stating the speaker's name with correct pronunciation, you face the audience and lead the applause (hand clapping).  Then, you turn to the speaker and continue your applause for a brief few seconds.  This shows respect for the speaker.  You then pass the speaker in a prearranged fashion i.e. you shake hands, you smile at each other and pass on the right, you hug, etc.  Whatever you do is fine; however, plan it ahead of time and practice it once.  This will avoid the awkwardness of bumping into each other because one was passing on the right, and the other passing on the left.  Other things that can cause awkwardness, is one holding out a hand for a shake, and the other is so caught up in the moment s/he does not see to accept the handshake, or one planning on a traditional business handshake, and the other going for the bumping of closed fist knuckles, or some other cultural style of handshake.  The type of handshake or hug is not important; however, both knowing and using the same type is important.  Practice and proper performance will add to the credibility of both and avoid any awkwardness if front of an audience.

The introduction should be written by the speaker and given to the introducer far enough in advance for the introducer to have time to practice.  Don't make it difficult for the introducer, thus making the audience uncomfortable if the delivery is rough and clearly not practiced, by giving your introduction card just before your speech.  It shows a lack of preparation and respect by you towards the introducer and the audience

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mattson on Communication: Determine the Needs of the Audience—Then Focus

Mattson on Communication: Determine the Needs of the Audience—Then Focus: Make these common assumptions and you are doomed to failure   Dr. Chris Cross, who works at Harborview Hospital, hurried into Room 214...

Determine the Needs of the Audience—Then Focus

Make these common assumptions and you are doomed to failure

 Dr. Chris Cross, who works at Harborview Hospital, hurried into Room 214 where Donna Chang was lying in bed. Nurse Pat Goldstein was fluffing bed pillows. Dr. Cross asked, “Why isn’t this room ready?” Pat’s face reddened and the Nurse in Charge said it would be ready in a few minutes.

From this story, answer the following questions: Is Dr. Cross a man in a hurry? Did Dr. Cross enter a room in Harborview Hospital? Is Donna Chang a patient at Harborview? Is Donna Chang Chinese? Is Dr. Cross a medical doctor? When Dr. Cross asked Nurse Goldstein why the room wasn’t ready, she got mad? Is Nurse Goldstein, who is Jewish, the Nurse in Charge?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you made an inference or an assumption. We can’t answer “yes” for a fact to any of these questions without more information.

When analyzing an audience to prepare for a presentation, the biggest mistake we can make is confusing fact with inferences or assumptions. I made this mistake once when I gave a talk that was received well and earned lots of laughter. It was such a success; I gave the same talk to a different group. Big mistake! It was a dud with no laughter. I prepared and delivered the same way; however, the audience, situation, and occasion were all different.

Remember, public speaking is a balance between an art and science and that balance changes for every audience, situation, and occasion. You can’t assume all audiences are the same. Make the following assumptions and you might be doomed to failure.

Assume you have all the knowledge and answers on your topic. A healthy dose of self-confidence is a good thing and you should know a lot about your topic. However, no matter your expertise, the collection of knowledge in the minds of an audience usually outweighs your knowledge.

Assume you know what the audience wants to hear. You can’t possibly know this unless you talk to the point person arranging your talk and ask if you can talk to a few people who will attend your talk. Ask them what they expect, their views on your topic, what issues concern their group, etc.

Assume the audience will be impressed with you. Quite frankly, most audiences do not care about the speaker. They only care that the speaker cares about them. Be “audience centered” and cater your talk to their wants, needs, and desires—not yours. The only way you can do this is to ask them.

Assume you need to gain the audience’s approval. Again, they are not concerned with you. Seeking to gain the audience’s approval is too much pressure on you, and a waste of their time. Gaining approval of everyone in an audience is almost impossible, even Jesus Christ could not gain everyone’s approval. Social science research tells us that on average, no matter your proposition, 10% will agree with you, 10% will disagree with you, and the other 80% will be somewhere on the continuum in between these two extremes.

Prepare for each individual audience and don’t make assumptions or inferences about them—ask questions. Doing this will increase your odds of giving a successful talk.

Now for the question to the opening story: Dr. Chris Cross could be a man in a hurry unless her name is Christine. Dr. Cross might have entered room 214 at Harborview Hospital, but the story says he/she works at Harborview, not that s/he was at Harborview, s/he could have hurried into another hospital. Donna Chang may have been a patient, or could have been a relative of a patient, a tired worker, or any other possibility. The story isn’t clear.

Donna Chang may be Chinese, or may be married to a Chinese man, or may be adopted, we don’t know. Dr. Cross may be a medical doctor, but s/he could be a psychiatrist, or a psychologist, or any other type of PhD, or DC, or PsyD, etc. Nurse Goldstein may have got mad, but we only know his face got red. Yes, his face, maybe Nurse Pat Goldstein is Patrick and not Patricia. We don’t know if Nurse Goldstein is Jewish nor if he is the Nurse in Charge. Another Nurse could have been in the room—the Nurse in Charge.

Rod Mattson
Copyright April 2013 Mattson Communication Training