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3 day training Programme for Executives of
Power Grid Corporation of India
Developing Communication Skills
June 17-19th, 2009
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Defining communication and communication concepts:-
Communication is the process of exchanging information usually via a common system
of symbols. It is a process of giving the intended message to the intended receiver, in a
manner that the receiver fully receives, registers and understands the message in its
entirety including subject, purpose, content, intent & expectations. The communication
process is complete when the sender is assured that the receiver has actually received
and understood the message in the way it was meant.
We can understand the concept of communication as the cement that binds the bricks to
make a wall and in the organizational context, is the lifeline of an organisation or group
of people & joins minds, feelings, thoughts- intellect as well as hearts and souls. It is
impossible to be productive in today's business environment without being an effective
communicator, especially if achievement of your goals depends on your ability to
influence others. You need to be able to communicate your visions, ideas, instructions,
thoughts, and feelings accurately which is not easy. Ineffective communication is often at
the core of a high proportion of the errors, misunderstandings, and conflicts that occur in
the workplace. As senior personnel you play important roles that require you to achieve
results by being able to influence other people
Why is communication important? Good Organisational Communication is a “Big Payoff”
and is good business. Communication should be carefully planned from top down,
should be supported in writing wherever applicable and made part of a supervisor’s
performance evaluation and focused on the business. Thus, in organisations,
communication is a dynamic, continual and complex process.
The Process of Interpersonal Communication:-
It is almost impossible to be productive in today's business environment without being an
effective communicator. This is particularly true if achievement of your goals depends on
your ability to influence others. You need to be able to communicate your ideas,
instructions, thoughts, and feelings accurately. This is not as easy as it may seem, and
ineffective communication is often at the core of a high proportion of the errors,
misunderstandings, and conflicts that occur in the workplace.
Senior personnel within the organization play important roles that require them to
achieve results by being able to influence other people such as colleagues, senior
managers, or clients.
The Communication Process helps in identifying the benefits of improving the
effectiveness of interpersonal communication as well as the objectives for the aiming,
encoding, and transmission stages of the communication process. It also analyzes the
details of an interaction between two people to determine which communication
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objective(s) were not achieved and characterize the various types of feedback which can
be given in relation to a communicated message. This is a useful way to determine the
methods of building rapport to improve the clarity of interpersonal communication, in a
Using Communication Styles to Connect
identify the benefit of being able to recognize and respond to the preferred
communication styles of staff, colleagues, and clients.
identify the characteristics of people with a preference for the auditory
communication style and respond appropriately to a person with an auditory
communication style, in a given situation.
identify the characteristics of people with a preference for the visual
communication style and respond appropriately to someone who prefers the
visual communication style, in a given situation.
identify the characteristics of people with a preference for the kinesthetic
communication style respond appropriately to someone with a preference for the
kinesthetic communication style, in a given situation.
Models of communication:-
Communication models help us understand what are the ingredients of the
communication process, and how they are related to each other. Various models have
been propounded and we shall in this workshop look at some of them:
A standard communication model : The parts of this model are as follows:
Sender: The sender is what or who is trying to send a message to the receiver.
Encoder: In the general case, it is not possible to directly insert the message
onto the communications medium. For instance, when you speak on the
telephone, it is not possible to actually transmit sound (vibrations in matter)
across the wire for any distance. In your phone is a microphone, which converts
the sound into electrical impulses, which can be transmitted by wires. Those
electrical impulses are then manipulated by the electronics in the phone so that
they match with what the telephone system expects.
Message: Since this is a communication engineer's model, the message is the
actual encoded message that is transmitted by the medium.
Medium: The medium is what the message is transmitted on. The phone system,
Internet, and many other electronic systems use wires. Television and radio can
use electromagnetic radiation.
Decoder: The decoder takes the encoded message and converts it to a form the
receiver understands, since for example a human user of the phone system does
not understand electrical impulses directly.
Receiver: The receiver is the target of the message.
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The Shannon Weaver Model is one such typical transmission model of
communication which brings in the concept of noise or distraction with the need for
feedback to ensure that the message has been received by the other party.
The strategic communication Model: Another model is the Strategic communication
model. This model suggests that we think strategically about communication and it is a
model for analysis.
All communication situations are different. But there are some general questions you can
ask about any communication situation that will help you respond more effectively to it.
Questions for Analyzing Communication Situations
MOTIVATION: Why is effective communication necessary in this situation?
Where does the need for communication come from? (This gets at the problem:
the gap in knowledge, belief, attitude, or action that generates the need for
What is the purpose? (This is what you hope to accomplish in the communication
situation. Stating the purpose outright can help you to figure out what strategies
you must take to achieve the purpose.)
AUDIENCE: Who is the audience in this situation?
What do you know about the audience? (This is a way of getting at the needs and
assumptions and values of the audience, also what the audience knows and needs to
What is the audience's relationship to you? (What's their role in relation to you
and what's yours in relation to them?)
How is the audience going to use the communication? Or, what effect should the
communication have on the audience? (This helps you to think about how to
communicate effectively to meet the needs of the audience.)
DESCRIPTION: What are the important features that describe the type of
communication needed? This is where purpose and audience come together to help you
to construct an effective communication performance.
What kind of communication is appropriate in this situation? (This is getting at
genres: types of communication that share features of structure, style and
What is the typical structure of this type of communication?
What is the typical style of this type of communication?
What level of formality /tone of voice is appropriate to this type of
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APPLICATION: How do I put all this information into action so that I can speak or write
effectively in this particular situation? This is the point at which thinking strategically
about communication turns into action. Effective application means taking what you have
learned from these general questions and using that knowledge in your specific
MOTIVATION + AUDIENCE + DESCRIPTION = EFFECTIVE APPLICATION
We now look at the BEST Model which has an Indian flavour This was evolved by two
doctors, Rajeev Gupta and Romesh Gupta and shows how we can be better
Begin with non-verbal cues. Soften (pleasant gestures, handshake, eye contact, nod)
Establish information gathering with informal talk
Support with emotional channels: -Body language + tone of voice + words = total
Terminate with positive note
The Johari Window
About thirty years ago, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingram created a set of squares
to reveal what we know or don't know about ourselves and what others know or
don't know about us. This can be applied usefully to the field of communication to
make us aware of how we can improve our openness in communication. They
called it the "Johari Window of Opportunity" (from JOseph and HARrIngton):
Known to Others Unknown to Others
Known to Self
Unknown to Self
The communications process occurs at two levels:
The overt level - what was actually said.
The convert or hidden level - what is actually meant?
Sometimes we say one thing, but mean another:
Cell 1 - Known to self and known to others. This is what we communicate to others.
It is what the communication process is all about.
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Cell 2 - Known to self and unknown to others. This is what we conceal from others.
Sometimes there is a good reason for holding something back, e.g. gossiping. At
other times it might be bad for the communication process; e.g. holding something
back because it gives us a false sense of job security.
Cell 3 - Unknown to self and known others. Sometimes we communicate something
we are unaware of. For example, I might say, "I'm not angry," while slamming my
fist on the table. Yet, others are able to see the mood or trait in others.
Cell 4 - Unknown to self and unknown to others.
The Johari window help us analyze areas where we can improve our communication or
encourage others to give us feedback to help improve ourselves.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to say something, but preferred to
avoid doing so in order to avoid having a disagreement? You have assumed a “passive”
approach. Or perhaps you got so angry that you had a violent outburst and regretted it
afterwards. This would be an “aggressive” approach. These are examples of where
assertive communication would have helped. Assertiveness is the middle path between
passivity and aggressiveness.
Assertion is a style of communication. All of us have learned different styles of
communication as we have adapted to the various situations of our lives. If some of our
styles of communication do not work well in our current situation, they can be changed
and replaced with new behaviors. Though there are times when it is best to be passive
and times when it is best to be aggressive, in most situations it works best to
Lack of assertiveness can affect your relationships and quality of life as you fail to
communicate effectively and end up not getting what you want. Family life, career
prospects and stress levels can all be affected by lack of assertiveness. By looking
carefully at how you communicate with others, there are a number of ways in which you
can begin to assert yourself, helping to improve your quality of life.
How can Assertive Communication help you become more successful? Assertive
communication can strengthen your relationships, reducing stress from conflict and
providing you with social support when facing difficult times. It can help you handle
difficult family, friends and co-workers more easily, reducing drama and stress. To sure
Make sure your body reflects confidence: stand up straight, look people in the eye,
Use a firm, but pleasant, tone.
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Don’t assume you know what the other person’s motives are, especially if you
think they’re negative.
When in a discussion, don’t forget to listen and ask questions! It is important to
understand the other person’s point of view as well.
Try to think win-win: see if you can find a compromise or a way for you both sides
to get your needs met.
Speaking clearly and audibly.
Using facial expressions and gestures to add emphasis to your words.
The table below gives some examples of the differences between passive, aggressive,
and assertive behavior.
The Passive Person The Aggressive Person The Assertive Person
Is afraid to speak up Interrupts and Speaks openly
'talks over' others
Avoids looking at people
Glares and stares at others Makes good eye contact
Intimidates others with Shows expressions that
Shows little or no
expressions match the message
Stands rigidly, crosses Relaxes and adopts an
arms, invades others' open posture and
Slouches and withdraws
personal space expressions
Isolated from Group Controls groups Participates in groups
Agrees with others, despite Only considers own
Speaks to the point
Values self more than
Values self less than others Values self equal to others.
Does not reach goals and Reaches goals but hurts Usually reaches goals
may not know goals others in the process without alienating others
Hurts self to avoid hurting Hurts others to avoid being Tries to hurt no one
others hurt (including self)
You're okay, I'm not you're not I'm okay, I'm okay you're okay
Tips to communicate more assertively
Think and talk about yourself POSITIVELY.
Reduce tag questions (e.g., “does that make sense?”, “is that okay?”).
Consciously take responsibility for yourself and avoid taking responsibility for
Eliminate “should”, “ought to”, and “have to”.
Practice using the phrase “I choose to”.
Giving and getting information
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Recognize yes/no questions. When you are asked a yes/no question respond
with a yes/no answer. You do not need to elaborate upon or justify any response
Recognize information questions. Give as much information as you feel
comfortable in response to the question but don’t feel you have to justify your
“I” statements -Avoid using “you” statements that distance you from your feelings.
Instead, use statements that begin with “I feel ______”.
Avoid using “you” statements that accuse. Many people interpret statements that
begin with “you” as blaming and often become defensive in response.
Although it can be daunting, the benefits of being assertiveness are excellent.
Assertiveness allows you to communicate better, command respect, and be listened to
within respectful, negotiating relationships.
Communication filters: There are 5 types of filters:
2. Emotional states.
3. Beliefs and expectations.
4. Differences in style.
When you say something to your co-worker/ partner do you have his/her
External things like a hearing problem, or background noise can be a problem.
Internal factors are such things as preoccupation, feeling tired, planning what
else is to be done that day, etc.
Make it easier to pay attention to your partner. Ask for their attention.
Moods greatly affect communication.
Studies have shown that we tend to give people more benefit of the doubt when
we’re in a good mood and less when we’re in a bad mood.
When we’re in a bad mood we are more likely to perceive whatever our co-
worker says or does more negatively no matter how positive he/she is trying to
Don’t use a filter such as a bad mood as a reason to treat your co-worker badly.
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Talking about how you feel may be the best first step in starting a conversation,
especially if is about important matters.
Beliefs and expectations:
Many studies have shown that we tend to see what we expect to see in others
and in situations and it takes humility to recognize and admit that you do this.
It has been shown that expectations not only affect what we perceive but can
influence the actual behavior of those around us. For example, if you believe that
someone is an extrovert, he is more likely to sound like an extrovert when talking
with you, even if that person is normally introverted. We “pull” behavior from
others consistent with what we expect.
We can easily get into “mind reading”, thinking that we know what someone else
means or wants.
Differences in style:
One person may be more expressive and one more reserved.
Styles are determined by many influences including culture, gender, and
All families develop spoken as well as unspoken rules for conversing, caring,
making decisions, and otherwise relating to each other. The key is to become
aware of the unspoken and therefore assumed rules that you have grown up with
and learn to adapt them to living in your current family.
This filter comes from the fear of rejection we struggle with in our relationship.
Fear is the enemy of a secure and warm attachment. It will stop us from saying
what we truly feel or want.
Points to remember:
Gentleness and humility are two of the most powerful forces for keeping a
healthy relationship alive.
We all have filters; become aware of yours.
Think about your filters and how they may distort your communication.
Reflect on what you could do or have done to derail hurt and move toward your
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Personality types: understanding your own and other diverse personalities
Our personality is a mixture of “nature” and “nurture.” Our thoughts, feeling, attitudes
and approach are a complex mixture of some of our genes as well as the
experiences and the upbringing that we have received from our family. Yet, it is well
to understand that despite having a common family or social background, each
person in this world is unique. It is this uniqueness that needs to be understood if we
are to be able to work and communicate effectively with different personalities.
However, before we understand others, let us first understand ourselves. A short and
simple exercise called “the Cognitive Style Inventory” is given in the exercise section.
This will help you understand something of your own personality. There are 16
personality traits which are given to help you understand the various permutations
and combinations. However, once again, this is a guide and the number of
personality types equals the number of people in this world – so let us be ready for
real variety of people to deal with!
Relationship building : The power of Rapport is the ability to reach out to another
person through the heart and creating goodwill. As a result, the receiver feels the
sender genuinely cares for him/her and a feeling of understanding is generated
between the parties and consequently, misunderstandings are easily sorted out. It
makes it that much easier to persuade the receiver to accept your point of view. How
can you effectively persuade people to appreciate if not agree with your point of
Walk your Talk
Make an objective assessment of the situation and present facts & figures not
personal beliefs and assumptions
Be a team player not an individualist - “I, Me & mine” should be minimal
Stress final goals to be achieved
First Impression is often the last Impression -The best impression is within the
first few minutes – even seconds!!!
Be mentally calm & poised- exude confidence
Consider alternative viewpoints & be ready to face questions/ objections with a
positive frame of mind
Let us consider the life cycle of a relationship below
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Listening & understanding skills
Feedback is Essential
•Ensure that the other person gets feedback
•Your Junior feels part of the project and can work to improve himself/herself
•Your superior feels confident that the work is being attended to
•The Group gets a report of how the project is doing & can analyze & plan for
•Feedback is for IMPROVEMENT not criticism
Listening is an important component of good communication: In the his best seller
“Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen covey talks of the 5th Habit as “Seek
first to understand & then be understood.” This is the Principle of empathetic
Listening Continuum : As we learn to listen we move up the continuum from pretending
to listen to trying to understand what situation the other person is while he is trying to
5 Empathetic Listening Listening Within the other person’s
frame of reference
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4 Attentive Listening
3 Selective Listening Listening Within ones own frame of
2 Pretend Listening reference
Let us learn to communicate with people with our hearts and minds!
Writing skills: using the written word to effectively communicate
Many people are intimidated by writing. However, often the written word is the best way
to communicate, and oftentimes the only way to get your message across.
When writing, be mindful of the fact that once something is in written form, it cannot be
taken back. Communicating in this way is more concrete than verbal communications,
with less room for error and even less room for mistakes. This mode of communication
presents you with new challenges that including spelling, grammar, punctuation, even
writing style and actual wording.
Some of the most basic tips to remember when writing include:
Avoid the use of slang words
Try not to use abbreviations (unless appropriately defined)
Avoid the use of symbols (such as ampersands [&])
Clichés should be avoided, or used with caution
Brackets are used to play down words or phrases
Dashes are generally used for emphasis
Great care should ALWAYS be taken to spell the names of people and
Numbers should be expressed as words when the number is less than 10 or is
used to start a sentence
Quotation marks should be placed around any directly quoted speech or text and
around titles of publications.
Keep sentences short
Read, re-read and edit your matter for greater clarity and avoid typographical
errors before sending it
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Writing a report: The main purpose of a report is to provide information so that others
can make a decision or take action. Examples of written reports include a company’s
annual report or a report to management summarising customer feedback.
HOW LONG SHOULD A REPORT BE? Reports can vary in length, as long as they
meet the required outcomes. A report of one or two pages may be presented in memo
format, providing a brief summary of activities. Longer reports will need to follow the
structure outlined below.
Before preparing a report, it is important to clarify what information is required, and how
much detail the person requesting the report needs. A checklist for preparing and
finalising a report is given below:
1. Is the information contained relevant?
2. Has all the necessary information been included
3. Is the information organized in a manner that clearly conveys the message?
4. Are the recommendations supported by facts?
5. Is the language grammatically correct and free of typographical errors?
6. Did you use research to support your analysis?
7. Is the report well formatted and does it have a professional look?
Transactional analysis (TA) as a tool to understand communication
Transactional analysis, commonly known as TA to its adherents, is a psycho-analytical
theory of psychology developed by American psychiatrist Eric Berne during the late
Unhealthy childhood experiences could damage the Adult or Parent ego states, which
would bring discomfort to an individual and/or others in a variety of forms, including
many types of mental illnesses. Berne considered how individuals interact with one
another, and how the ego states affected each set of transactions. Unproductive or
counterproductive transactions were considered to be signs of ego state problems.
Analysing these transactions, according to the person's individual developmental history,
would enable the person to "get better". Berne thought that virtually everyone has
something problematic about their ego states and that negative behaviour would not be
addressed by "treating" only the problematic individual.
Berne identified a typology of common counterproductive social interactions, identifying
these as games. As a theory of personality, TA describes how people are structured
psychologically. It uses what is perhaps its best known model, the ego-state (Parent-
Adult-Child) model to do this. This same model helps understand how people function
and express themselves in their behaviour. As a theory of communication, it extends to a
method of analysing systems and organisations. It introduces the idea of a "Life (or
Childhood) Script", that is, a story one perceives about ones own life, to answer
questions such as "What matters", "How do I get along in life" and "What kind of person
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am I". This story, TA says, is often stuck to no matter the consequences, to "prove" one
is right, even at the cost of pain, compulsion, self-defeating behaviour and other
The Ego-State (or Parent-Adult-Child, PAC) model
At any given time, a person experiences and manifests their personality through a
mixture of behaviours, thoughts and feelings. Typically, according to TA, there are three
ego-states that people consistently use:
Parent ("exteropsychic"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in
response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental
figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a
person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an
influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating
Adult ("neopsychic"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in
response to what is going on in the "here-and-now," using all of their resources
as an adult human being with many years of life experience to guide them. This
is the ideal ego state, and learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of TA. While
a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective
appraisal of reality.
Child ("archaeopsychic"): a state in which people revert to behaving, feeling
and thinking similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who
receives a poor evaluation at work may respond as they did in their childhood, by
looking at the floor, and feeling shame or anger, as they used to when scolded as
Transactions and Strokes :
Transactions are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken
psychological flow of communication that runs in parallel. Transactions occur
simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels. Example: sweet caring voice
with sarcastic intent. To read the real communication requires both surface and non-
Strokes are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives another.
Strokes can be positive (nicknamed "warm fuzzies") or negative ("cold pricklies"). A key
idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek
whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as
children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can
People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in
a way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling
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parent will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those
employees who resist may get removed or labeled as "trouble".
Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative depending on the nature of the
strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is preferred to no transaction at all,
because of a fundamental hunger for strokes.
The nature of transactions is important to understanding communication. There are
various kinds of transactions
Reciprocal or Complementary Transactions
A simple, reciprocal transaction occurs when both partners are addressing the ego state
the other is in. These are also called complementary transactions.
A: "Have you been able to write the report?" (Adult to Adult)
B: "Yes - I'm about to email it to you." (Adult to Adult)
A: "Would you like to come and watch a film with me?" (Child to Child)
B: "I'd love to - where shall we go and see?" (Child to Child)
A: "Is your room tidy yet?" (Parent to Child)
B: "Will you stop worrying me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)
Communication like this can continue indefinitely. (Clearly it will stop at some stage - but
this psychologically balanced exchange of strokes can continue for some time).
Communication failures are typically caused by a 'crossed transaction' where partners
address ego states other than that their partner is in. Consider the above examples
jumbled up a bit.
A: "Have you been able to write that report?" (Adult to Adult)
B: "Will you stop worrying me? I'll do it eventually!" (Child to Parent)
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is a crossed transaction likely to produce problems in the workplace. "A" may respond
with a Parent to Child transaction. For instance:
A: "If you don't change your attitude you'll get fired"
A: "I can never trust you to do things!" (Parent to Child)
B: "Why don't you believe anything I say?" (Child to Parent)
Duplex or Covert transactions
Another class of transaction is the 'duplex' or 'covert' transactions, where the explicit
social conversation occurs in parallel with an implicit psychological transaction. For
A: "I need you to stay late at the office with me." (adult words)
body language indicates sexual intent (flirtatious child)
B: "Of course." (adult response to adult statement).
winking or grinning (child accepts the hidden motive).
Series of transactions
A ritual is a series of transactions that are complementary (reciprocal), stereotyped and
based on social programming. Rituals usually comprise a series of strokes exchanged
between two parties.
For instance, two people may have a daily two stroke ritual, where, the first time they
meet each day, each one greets the other with a "Hi". Others may have a four stroke
ritual, such as:
B: Hi! How do you do?
A: Getting along. What about you?
B: Fine. See you around.
Philosophy of TA
People are OK; thus each person has validity, importance, equality of respect.
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Everyone (with only few exceptions) has full adult capability to think.
People decide their story and destiny, and this is a decision that can be changed.
Freedom from historical mal-adaptations embedded in the childhood script is
required in order to become free of inappropriate inauthentic and displaced
emotion which are not a fair and honest reflection of here-and-now life (such as
echoes of childhood suffering, pity-me and other mind games, compulsive
behaviour, and repetitive dysfunctional life patterns).
TA is goal-oriented, not merely problem-oriented.
The aims of change under TA are autonomy (freedom from childhood script),
spontaneity, intimacy, problem solving as opposed to avoidance or passivity,
cure as an ideal rather than merely 'making progress', learning new choices.
Presentation skills – with a practice session:-
Have you listened to a good speaker who has inspired you and made you think about
what he or she said long after the talk was over? Have you at some point in your life felt
the need to communicate your ideas with people and develop the ability to move them.
However, when the time comes, you increasingly start sweating and getting an uneasy
feeling in your stomach. This is what makes the difference between individuals who have
developed the art of presentation skills and eventually become winners from those who
As you grow in your organizational hierarchy, the need to effectively present your ideas,
performance, strategy or vision to different groups of people increases. It is necessary
that you rise to the challenge and prepare to develop yourself as a good presenter.
The good news – we all have the ability to become good presenters! Be rest
assured that the ability to make a good presentation is neither in-born nor hereditary for
the privileged few. Like all talents, we all have this ability and it is up to us to develop
and exercise it.
There are some simple rules to making a good presentation. The more you sweat in
advance, the less you will have to sweat once you present! However, let us identify our
feelings about making an effective presentation with a simple exercise below.
Which are the most critical issues for you? Check off the relevant issues
1. Controlling Choking, Panic Attacks, Nerves And Stage Fright
2. Improving Confidence
3. Recovering From Mistakes Better
4. Removing A Self-Critical or negative Attitude
5. Reducing Frustration, Fears, Or Worries
6. Dealing With Unmotivated, Negative And Hostile Participants
7. Pre-Speech Mental Preparation
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9. Controlling Energy Levels
10. Mental Stamina
11. Resolving The "I Perform Well In Practice, But Not In The Presentation" problem
12. Improving Practice Efficiency And Effectiveness
13. Staying Relaxed And Focused Under Pressure
14. Reducing Self-Consciousness And Shyness
15. Positive Thinking
16. Overcoming The Fear Of Failure
17. Understanding the audience
18. Audio-Visual presentation
19. Handouts And Other Audience Materials
20. Question And Answer Sessions – what if I am asked a question I cannot
21. Information for preparing the Speech - Speech Writing and Editing
22. Speaker Notes And Memory Strategies
23. Speaker Introduction
24. Speech Opening
25. Body Language including Eye Contact
26. Vocal Variation, Volume And Tone
27. Strong Closing
28. Presence And winning ways
29. Working as a Master of Ceremonies
Nerves: The main enemy of a presenter is tension, which ruins the voice, posture, and
spontaneity. The voice becomes higher as the throat tenses. Shoulders tighten up and
limits flexibility while the legs start to shake and causes unsteadiness. The presentation
becomes "restricted" as the speaker locks in on the notes and starts to read directly from
them. Do not fight nerves, welcome them! Then you can get on with the presentation
instead of focusing in on being nervous. Actors recognize the value of nerves...they add
to the value of the performance.
Preparing the Presentation
Remember : To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.
Great presentations require planning the outline of the presentation. Who will be sitting
in the audience? What will be the methodology- lecture, exercises & interactive session?
How much time is available? What kind of visuals if any to use? The most important
question is what do you want to convey?
The second step is to prepare the presentation. A good presentation starts out with
introductions and an icebreaker such as a story, interesting statement or fact, joke,
quotation, or an activity to get the group warmed up. The introduction also needs an
objective, that is, the purpose or goal of the presentation. This not only tells you what
you will talk about, but it also informs the audience of the purpose of the presentation.
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Third is the body of the presentation. Do NOT write it out word for word. All you want is
an outline. By jotting down the main points, you not only have your outline, but also a
reminder for the actual presentation. To prepare the presentation, once again ask
yourself questions as: What is the purpose of the presentation? Who will be attending?
What does the audience already know about the subject? What is the audience's attitude
towards me (e.g. hostile, neutral, friendly or unknown)?
A 45 minutes talk should ideally have three and no more than about seven main points.
This may not seem like very many, but if you are to leave the audience with a clear
picture of what you have said, you cannot expect them to remember much more than
that. There are several options for structuring the presentation:
Timeline: Arranged in sequential order.
Climax: The main points are delivered in order of increasing importance.
Problem/Solution: A problem is presented, a solution is suggested, and benefits are
Classification: The important items are the major points.
Simple to complex: Ideas are listed from the simplest to the most complex or in
Use of visual aids will greatly help the audience understand your presentation. Develop
charts, graphs, slides, handouts, etc. However, these are to supplement not substitute
your presentation and do not be dependent on these aids
After the body, comes the closing. This is where you ask for questions, provide a
summary, and thank the participants for attending.
And finally, the important part - practice, practice, practice. The main purpose of creating
an outline is to develop a clear plan of what you want to talk about. You should know
your presentation so well, that during the actual presentation, you should only have to
briefly glance at your notes to ensure you are staying on track. This will also help you
with your nerves by giving you the confidence that you can do it. Your practice session
should include a "live" session by practicing in front of coworkers, family, or friends. They
can be valuable at providing feedback and it gives you a chance to practice controlling
your nerves. Another great feedback technique is to make a video or audio tape of your
presentation and review it critically with a colleague.
T h e V o i c e is probably the most valuable tool of the presenter. It carries most of the
content that the audience takes away. There are four main terms used for defining vocal
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Volume: How loud is the sound?. The goal is to be heard without shouting. Good
speakers lower their voice to draw the audience in, and raise it to make a point.
Tone: The characteristics of a sound. E.g. a voice that carries fear can frighten the
audience, while a voice that carries laughter can get the audience to smile.
Pitch: How high (shrill) or low (bass) a note is.
Pace: This is how long a sound lasts. Talking too fast causes the words and
syllables to be short, while talking slowly lengthens them. Varying the pace helps to
maintain the audience's interest.
Color: Both projection and tone variance can be practiced by taking the line "This
new policy is going to be exciting" and saying it first with surprise, then with irony,
then with grief, and finally with anger. The key is to o v e r - a c t .
There are two good methods for improving your voice:
1. Listen to it! Practice listening to your voice while at home, driving, walking, etc. Then
when you are at work or with company, monitor your voice to see if you are using it how
you want to. You can also use your mobile device to record and playback your
2. To really listen to your voice, cup your right hand around your right ear and gently pull
the ear forward. Next, cup your left hand around your mouth and direct the sound
straight into your ear. This helps you to really hear your voice as others hear it...and it
might be completely different from the voice you thought it was! Now practice
moderating your voice.
Your body communicates different impressions to the audience. People not only listen to
you, they also watch you. Slouching tells them you are indifferent or you do not
care...even though you might care a great deal! On the other hand, displaying good
posture tells your audience that you know what you are doing and you care deeply about
it. Also, a good posture helps you to speak more clearly and effectively. Throughout
your presentation, display:
Eye contact: This helps to regulate the flow of communication. It signals
interest in others and increases the speaker's credibility. Speakers who make
eye contact open the flow of communication and convey interest, concern,
warmth, and credibility.
Facial Expressions: A relaxed and smiling face is a powerful cue that
transmits happiness, friendliness, warmth, and liking. Smiling is contagious
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and others will react favorably. They will be more comfortable around you and
will want to listen to you more.
Gestures: If you fail to gesture while speaking, you may be perceived as
boring and stiff. A lively speaking style captures attention, makes the material
more interesting, and facilitates understanding.
Posture and body orientation: You communicate numerous messages by
the way you talk and move. Standing erect and leaning forward communicates
that you are approachable, receptive, and friendly. Interpersonal closeness
results when you and your audience face each other. Speaking with your back
turned or looking at the floor or ceiling should be avoided as it communicates
Proximity (closeness to the audience): If you really want good audience
interaction, do not use a podium as this shows a distance with the audience.
You can move around the room to increase interaction with your audience.
Increasing the proximity enables you to make better eye contact and
increases the opportunities for others to speak.
A c t i v e L i s t e n i n g : Good speakers not only inform their audience, they also
listen to them. By listening, you know if they understand the information and if the
information is important to them. Active listening is NOT the same as hearing! Hearing
is the first part and consists of the perception of sound.
Listening, the second part, involves an attachment of meaning to the aural symbols that
are perceived. Passive listening occurs when the receiver has little motivation to listen
carefully. Active listening with a purpose is used to gain information, to determine how
another person feels, and to understand others. Some good traits of effective listeners
Spend some time
Do not finish the sentence of others.
Aware of biases. We all have them. We need to control them.
Never daydream or become preoccupied with own thoughts when others talk.
Let the other speaker talk. Do not dominate the conversation.
Plan responses after others have finished speaking...NOT while they are
speaking. Your full concentration is on what others are saying, not on what you
are going to respond with.
Provide feedback but do not interrupt incessantly.
Analyze by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended
questions. Walk the person through analysis (summarize).
Keep the conversation on what the speaker says...NOT on what interest them.
Listening can be one of our most powerful communication tools! Be sure to use it!
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Tips and Techniques For Great Presentations
If you have handouts, do not read straight from them. The audience does not
know if they should read along with you or listen to you read.
Do not put both hands in your pockets for long periods of time. This tends to
make you look unprofessional.
Do not wave a pointer around in the air. Use the pointer for what it is intended
and then put it down, otherwise the audience will focus their attention on the
pointer instead upon you.
Do not lean on the podium for long periods.
Speak to the audience...NOT to the visual aids, such as the LCD screen or
overheads. Also, do not stand between the visual aid and the audience.
Speak clearly and loudly enough for all to hear. Do not speak in a monotone
voice. Use inflection to emphasize your main points.
The disadvantages of presentations is that people cannot see the punctuation
and this can lead to misunderstandings. An effective way of overcoming this
problem is to pause at the time when there would normally be punctuation
Presentation should be simple, clean and without too much information packed
onto one slide. Fonts should be of readable size and the colour should contrast
with the background. Text should bulleted rather than in full sentence form and
should immediately convey the meaning. Graphics also need to be simple and
easily understood by a layman.
Be prepared to use an alternate approach if the one you've chosen seems to
be inappropirate. You should be confident enough with your own material so
that the audience's interests and concerns, not the presentation outline,
determines the format. Use your background, experience, and knowledge to
interrelate your subject matter.
Consider the time of day and how long you have got for your talk. Time of day
can affect the audience. After lunch session is known as the graveyard section
in training circles as audiences will feel more like dozing than listening to a
Most people find that if they practice in their head, the actual talk will take
about 25 per cent longer. Using visual aids also adds to the time. Remember -
it is better to finish slightly early than to overrun.
Above all, remember TO BRING YOUR UNIQUE TOUCH AND PASSION!
ENJOY MAKING YOUR PRESENTATION!!!