This is the 3rd and final instalment of Colin James’ insightful article ’11 Ways To Be A Master Communicator’ written originally on the platform of www.addicted2success.com
It has been reproduced and republished many times over, a typical indication of how beneficial the article has been to thousands of readers. It is hoped that readers who are able to access this on our platform have found it just as useful.
9. Communication is not a perfectly practiced play
Memorising speeches is death. A good communicator does not go off and memorise text. A good communicator has a structure and free forms around this structure. This is more elegant because then you can adjust to the audience in front of you. Memorising text is a play, and that’s not communicating.
10. Be careful using acronyms out of context
It’s all about context. As an example, describing scientific processes can be a challenge because the full terms will make your sentences very long, and science has convoluted descriptions for almost everything. In this scenario, acronyms can be very handy when communicating your point.
Where the risk is with acronyms is that there is a presumption of understanding. When presenting acronyms to an audience, it’s always best to do it this way:
– Say the acronym in its long form description
– Introduce the acronym
– Repeat the long form of the acronym
– Reinforce the acronym
Before using an acronym ask yourself, does it serve the context and does it provide a neat shorthand, if it ticks these two boxes then its use is valid. The way you know not to use an acronym is if its use is lazy, doesn’t respect the audience’s level of knowledge or makes assumptions that people know what it means.
11. Your body has a language of its own – — USE IT
Posture – the way you carry yourself communicates something about you. All of us have been in situations
where someone walks into the room, and you say to the person next to you, “who is that person?”
What makes you say that is because the person looks like they carry themself with dignity and authority. There is an assumption of some competence just in their physicality, and most of this is posture related (this doesn’t mean that you strut around like some arrogant peacock, though).
So if you are going to walk up to the front of the room to deliver a presentation, you should be walking as tall as you can be right from the start.
Gestures – you need to develop a gesture vocabulary Colin says. One habit to avoid with gestures is your hands becoming a distracter. If you have ever seen someone speak who is flapping their hands all over the place, it becomes very distracting, and the hand becomes the focus instead of what the person is saying.
To demonstrate this, imagine you’re in a room with a speaker and the speaker says, “are there any questions?” If they did this with their hands open (palms facing up), you would feel that they are genuinely interested in the audience asking questions.
If they did this with their palms down it means the exact opposite and that they’re closing the conversation. Your hands have their own vocabulary, and they can give very different meanings to what you are saying.
Movement – if you are going to move then move with purpose – you’re not just supposed to waltz around a
space. If you’re in a meeting, and you’re facing somebody, and you’re trying to influence them, everything you do should be from their left to right, not your left to right.
As an example, if you are tapping the table with your hand to signal three things that you want to talk about, you would tap them out from your right to left (their left to right). That’s the linear progression for them to follow what you are doing in the clearest possible way.
Facial expressions – be aware that your face is another communication tool. People seek meaning and cue off your facial expressions and voice tone more than off the words you are speaking. Colin used an example of a video he saw of me where he said that my words were very passionate, but my face came across very masked and not reflecting the same passion. It could cause a person to doubt my words.
A tip Colin gave me to help solve this issue when shooting a video for Youtube, is to make my facial expressions exaggerated and animate my face. To animate my face I could say something like “I am passionate,” so my whole face now goes into an expression of passion.
This might result in my mouth opening, my eyes closing, my face lighting up. After you have the first take, you go back and have a look at what you have recorded. If you have followed Colin’s tips, your face might look over the top although sometimes, Colin says, you look fine.
The reason for this is because at first we can think we are being over the top but in fact we are being appropriate, ask others for their feedback. On the second take, you might just modify your facial expressions to be one notch back if the first take looked too over the top.
Learn your face, play with expressions in the mirror. Go for exaggeration initially and then pull back a little bit from there. Most people in a corporate environment mask their face and become very formal which is why a lot of presentations in this context become very dull.
If you would like to know more about Colin’s training programs or watch some videos of him in action, then visit his website colinjamesmethod.com