This year I have looked and worked at improving my communication skills. I believe that communication is an important tool and something that needs to constantly be built on and developed - as a communicator I am always looking to improve so that the message I am conveying, and those who are investing time to listen, is the best it can be!
Last week I spoke at my home church. Often my talks are one-off's but to speak to the 'home crowd' (so to speak) has meant receiving feedback. This week people were quoting me and asking questions on things I spoke on last week (which is great as it means I have communicated something memorable!). One person however reported back they were telling someone (who was not present) how much they had enjoyed the talk and his response was 'hey well he's improving'. This was meant as a put down but the reality of all communication is that we always need to be improving. Communicators always need to be looking at ways of improving, of developing, of creating a better experience for those listening (or reading).
So here are some of my thoughts on good communication (in terms of public speaking):
Stick to time - I once spoke at a large event in Bradford Cathedral with various dignitaries and an audience of 300 or so. A few groups each had 2 minutes to share about the work they are involved in. I was on 3rd - the person before me spoke for 40 minutes! This is so disrespectful to those who had invited the group to be part of the event. Always stick to time! If you have 2 minutes speak for 2 minutes! Don't overrun - it is an insult to your audience to do so! It is far better to leave people wanting more than wishing you had shut up 38 minutes ago!!!
Stick to the script - don't go off on personal agendas, don't labour a point, do know where you are heading, have clarity and flow for your talk.
Tell Stories - stories relate well and keep your talk real! Share your journey with people. Use the normal to connect.
Build People - when you communicate your aim is generally to build people up. The aim is to help make people flourish. Life is a whole serious of moments - help people to have moments within your talk that become memorable and life building. If you can relate to other people's life defining moments (this is where story telling comes in!)
Use Multimedia Well - (unless it becomes an hinderance) - last Sunday I used a trailer for Eddie the Eagle film as the basis for my talk and later on a clip of Street Angels Magaluf on BBC's Newsnight - everyday things people can relate to. Although when sharing the Street Angels story to an after-dinner group, small group, etc or when in a school I don't use multimedia at all - it becomes hassle to set up and if the sound doesn't work or the sun shines onto the wall you are projecting onto it loses impact!
So yes I am improving - yet all those who communicate need to be improving and reinventing to become a better version of you. Like a computer we all need an upgrade from time to time!
So to all communicators - communicate well....