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Special Feature

Improving Your Communication Skills

The men of evil or good that have influenced the world negatively or positively have one thing in common-the way they communicate their vision to others. That is the power of communication. Example: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington, Adolph Hitler-Evil.

The success of your leadership, your marriage and your relationships with others depends a great deal on your ability to communicate. Many of the best known thinkers are not leaders. Why? They cannot communicate. Your leadership rests on your ability to connect with people, share your ideas and vision and motivate them to partner with you. One former world leader said, “If I could start again, I would go back to school and learn to communicate.”

And so how must we today communicate and/or relate with our audiences? First, Simplify the Message – It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Use the power of simple, familiar narratives. When communicating with your audience, give them a point for their head and a picture for their heart. Note this: The educator takes something simple and makes it complicated. The communicator takes something complicated and makes it simple.

Here are some rules of communication: Your message must have a strong beginning. It must have one theme and simple language. Learn to paint familiar pictures and your message must have clear objectives and a heart response.

Second, Know the People – It’s not just what you say, but how they hear it. Learn to perceive your audience needs. It is difficult to communicate with an audience without knowing something about them. Most learning takes place in the arena of a person’s familiarity or interest. Identify with people. To be a great communicator you will have to become more people-oriented” and less “lesson-oriented.” Understand this, public speakers teach lessons; communicators teach people.

Note the differences between a public Speaker and a communicator: The public speaker puts the message before the people. He asks: “What do I have?” His key is techniques. He is content-oriented and his goal is to complete the message. For the communicator, he puts the people before the message. He asks: “What do the need?” His key is atmosphere (what is the atmosphere that is being created to change lives?) He is change-oriented and his goal is to complete the people. Friend, connect with people where they are in order to lead them to where they need to be.

Third, Seized the Moment – It’s not just what you say, but when you say it. Understand timing. Effective leaders know when to relay a message for best results. Questions to ask about timing: Who is my audience? What are their questions and needs right now? What needs to be accomplished most? What’s my answer to their questions and needs? Are they ready to receive it? How can I build a bridge of relationship that will bear the weight of the truth?

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Fourth, Show the truth – It’s not just what you say, but how you show it. As a leader and communicator, your credibility will not only have to come from your word, but also from your life. You must model your teaching. It must be show and tell. Understand this, every time you speak, your audience is asking: Why should I listen to you? Can I trust you? Do you care for me? Do you know your subject?

Fifth, Share the Passion – It’s not just what you say, but why you say it. Speak from convictions. Do not speak out of a routine or obligation. When you speak your words must always have great meaning. Note: There are no boring subjects-only boring speakers. There are no small audiences-only small speakers. If you are interested in your audience they will be interested in you.

Also as a leader and communicator, speak on themes that you own for yourself. Be impact-conscious rather than image-conscious. Be authentic. Look on to a pair of eyes with each point. Paint pictures in the hearts of your audience and know what your goal is when you speak. And if you are a religious person prepare with prayer and let God build a fire inside you.

Six, Seek the Response – It’s not just what you say, but how they respond to it. Ask your audience if they have understood your message. Always speak with a goal in mind. There must always be something for the audience to know, something for them to feel and something for them do. A good message always includes all three of these ingredients. This will require you to research your audience, not just your message. The fact is this: 20% of most audiences will act on their own. 80% of most audiences will not act on their own.

Friend, have a clear objective for your listener to act on. Reduce it to a simple phrase and write it down. Use a “hook” the listener can grasp and remember. Give them a point for their head and a picture for their heart. Provide a vehicle for them to use to respond and ask for what you want them to do. Lastly, believe in your message. Believe in yourself. Believe in your audience, and if you are a religious person, believe in your God.

(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership and organizational development; strategic planning and team building and management and offers on-location and train-the-trainer formats. He can be contacted through email at: dennisbc2011@yahoo.com or on phone at: 0886-264-611 or 0776545394).

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