Developing effective speaking skills
Long-term research has shown that speaking to more than one person at a time is a widely held fear by most people. To comfortably convey the spoken word to others requires considerable practice in many key areas.
People usually possess one of three common speaking habits, which include:
- Avoiding public speaking – would rather write a memo or note to others.
- Providing no background information – does not want to bore anyone.
- Using big words – wants to impress everyone.
Without the ability to communicate confidently and effectively, you may lose respect.
The biggest source of listener boredom is when the speaker is long-winded! Important points of the conversation are lost due to wordiness. Some people will actually shift their attention completely away from the speaker and begin concentrating on anything but the meeting.
If you have ever perceived that your audience has lost interest during a weekly meeting or during other conversations, perhaps they are victims of verbosity. You may become a more concise speaker by
- Narrowing the focus of your discussions.
- Editing out non-essential information.
- Noting how others are responding during your meetings or discussions; lost eye contact indicates you are drifting off the subject.
- Privately asking a reliable friend or co-worker if you are too wordy; use pre-established signals to subtly indicate that you are drifting.
- Keeping answers to questions as brief and clear as possible.
- Asking audience members to summarize key points to verify that you have communicated clearly.
Established habits are hard to break. Use every occasion to rehearse speaking more concisely.