Latest "communication skills" Posts
Listening … it is the most used communication skill but is the least taught. We often assume that we are good at listening. But, are we?
Have you ever been on a conference call and realized that everyone was waiting for your response to a question you didn’t hear? Have you tried to tell someone the key outcomes of a meeting that you attended, and realized you missed out on important information (maybe, while you were handling an emergency via e-mail)?
We actually cannot listen well unless we remove the barriers to listening:
1. Multi-tasking – Also referred to as “switch-tasking” because the brain was not designed to perform two tasks simultaneously, this barrier to listening is the easiest to address. If you need to focus on something other than the conversation, make an intentional decision — you may need to reschedule a meeting, or if it is an informal exchange, you may say, “Excuse me for one moment, so I can take care of this and then give you my full attention.”
A recent participant in a BRODY training program contacted me last week via e-mail.
“I’ve been put in charge of a large project and was told to choose my own team from any departments in the organization,” she wrote. “If successful, it will be the beginning of a whole new direction for our company. I’m very excited.”
She went on to tell me that as she was still fairly new to the company, she didn’t have a title that afforded her any genuine authority. In fact, some of the colleagues she wanted for her team were far more senior than her.
The participant then asked, “Why would these new team members listen to someone without any authority over them? Won’t they resent me?”
This is a classic work dilemma.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into one of the most important presentations skills anyone can master — one you definitely need in your presentation tool kit.
I’m talking about the art of storytelling, and business storytelling in particular.
Why is this such an important skill for business professionals to possess?
I’ll answer that question with another — would you be surprised to hear that science shows human beings are hard-wired for storytelling?
Stories provide a phenomenal way of grabbing attention, keeping it, getting a point across, creating rapport with an audience, and best of all, ensuring that they will leave remembering your message.
No doubt about it: When it comes to dynamic, effective and memorable speaking/presentations, storytelling is a must.
Long before humanity developed written language, our ancestors were passing along information and persuading others with stories around the fire at night.
You’re giving an important presentation to audience members who might not be entirely sympathetic.
Maybe it’s delivering news of downsizing, or a reduction in hours. Maybe it’s sharing bad sales statistics. Or, maybe it’s trying to sell an idea for change that’s not popular.
Whatever the message, the people staring back at you from the seats probably don’t know who you are.
They are a captive audience, compelled to attend your talk by company policy or their managers, whether they like it or not.
You already know they are not inclined to think about the issue or idea you’re presenting the same way that you do. So, now what?
If your goal is to open or even change their minds — to persuade, to get them to take the action you need them to take or see the issue in a more favorable light — what are your options?
How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
Some people are combative, some are over-reactive, some are immediately on the offensive, some are evasive, some are defensive, and some have a private little meltdown in the supply closet or bathroom — then emerge pretending there is no such thing as conflict.
Will you let conflict in the workplace make your “9-to-5” a misery, or can you rise above it — or perhaps even channel the conflict into something positive?
After all, conflict in itself is not inherently negative, it merely signifies differences in opinions, beliefs, philosophies, and methodologies.
If you think of conflict as a catalyst for improvement, you’ll be well on your way to mastering it and reducing the level of stress that it can cause.