Bert Decker is the founder and president of Decker Communications, a San Francisco-based communications training company. He has served as a media consultant for dozens of politicians including Robert Kennedy and Ed Muskie. His company trains over 10,000 professionals and executives each year, for corporate clients that include Lockeed, AT&T, Citibank and various others. Decker has been featured on ABC's 20/20" and in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Success, and Fortune. Bert is the author of several Nightingale-Conant programs including"High Impact Communication" and "How To Speak With Confidence".
|New Communication Standards
Your ability to communicate well with others will have a greater affect on your success than any other factor. Here is Bert Decker with three key elements of the new communication standards that you must know to be as effective and influential as you possibly can.
Communication is different today. We are in a television age. We are a society where news is dominated by the sound bite, and the attention span, of not only teenagers but adults as well, is getting shorter and shorter.
My son Ben is in college now, but when he was a teenager he would study, have the TV on, and be talking on the phone at the same time. Concentration on one thing seems to be a thing of the past. The psychological set of people is different today, and we have to be more stimulating, more visual, more energetic and more focused if we want to communicate with people and get our message across.
The age of rhetoric is dead. Too many speech teachers are still teaching that speaking is a medium of words, rather than a medium of sight and sound, which happens to use words. Reading speeches doesn't work, or at least it doesn't work well. So why do so many executives still write and read speeches? Because that's the way they've been taught. But that doesn't make it right.
I'd like to give you the new standards of communication, of spoken communications. There are three key elements that you must have to be successful.
First, make the emotional connection. You as a communicator must connect at an emotional level with your listener. Whether you are talking across a desk, speaking to a thousand people, on the phone with your parents or children, or running a meeting. If you don't connect at the emotional level, you won't connect at all. At least not enough to make a difference. You might be able to get facts and data across, and intellectually communicate, but you won't motivate and persuade, and certainly won't lead people to what you want them to do.
The second of the new standards of communicating is to be focused. Sounds simple, doesn't it. It is, if you are conscious of it, which few people are, and if you learn a few tools to quickly establish your point of view on any subject, and develop focused messages quickly and easily.
Without that focus, the power of your presence has no place to go. There are powerful acting and sounding people who exhibit little direction. Their speeches make a big noise but don't carry a big stick. They don't point in a strong direction. They may personally ramble, and waste time. You don't have to. You can be on target all the time.
The third new standard is to communicate face-to-face. So, you say, of course! That's what communication is, isn't it? It should be if you want to get something done, if you want to persuade and to create action. Too many people dilute their impact by using computer text messages, or voicemail, when they should be talking face-to-face.
If you want to succeed, create action, lead others to your view, you must be able to communicate face-to-face.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to improve your speaking skills with others.
First, make an emotional connection with the other person. If you want people to become excited about your ideas, you must first become excited yourself. Put more of yourself into the message.
Second, take the time to think through the essence of your message before you open your mouth. Then be absolutely focused on getting across your key point and your central argument. Summarize your ideas in a few words.
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