Too bad it was raining on Wednesday night. A lot of people missed a very interesting presentation by Sarah Kipp, ‘Communicate to Connect.’
For a better connection when we communicate, we should concentrate on our clarity and our confidence. (These hints work for oral, as well as written, communication.)
Sarah spoke about many aspects of communication but, due to limited time, spent most of the class talking about preparedness. How do we ensure better communication? Preparation, engagement and feedback. Think about your speaking event, interview, or conversation/ discussion in advance when you can. Sarah suggested thinking TAP-F: Topic, Audience, Purpose, Form.
Topic: Be sure that you know your stuff! A question was asked about what to do about unexpected interview questions. Prepare as much as you can. If you are ready for the questions you can anticipate, then you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with surprises. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to gather your thoughts.
Audience: Look at your communication through the eyes of the other person.
We need to be clear about what we want to say, but good communicators should also have a good grasp about what the listener needs to hear. What is going on in their minds? What motivates them? Why do they care to be part of your conversation?
Purpose: What is the purpose of this speaking event or interview? To inform, persuade, entertain? You might have to change your style slightly to be sure that you are offering your listener what they are expecting.
Form: What is the structure of your speaking event? Will you be in an office or a conference room or an auditorium? Will you have a one-on-one interview or will you be doing a presentation in front of 200 people? Find out as much as possible so that you can have confidence in your surroundings.
After a class question about confidence, Sarah shared her Bruce Schneider poster of Seven Levels of Energetic Self-Perception. Look at yourself honestly.
How do you want to show yourself? If you want to make a confident impression, show yourself as confident. Visualize yourself in your ‘communicating’ position – what appearance to you want to portray?
What can you do to get your energy level up? Use your own strategies. When getting ready for speaking occasions, Sarah shared with the group that she uses a special song, gets the beat inside her. It lifts her up, energizes her.
We ended the class with a short discussion on Feedback. Though our feedback after speaking events is mostly self (‘I answered that question very well.’ or ‘I should have stressed my experience more.’), try to find occasions to record yourself. If you do Skype or phone calls, use a recorder to see how you are sounding to others. Then be frank with yourself - How could I have made my communication better?
I’m going to take Sarah’s advice. I need to be self-aware – stay in that confident place. I’ll spend time preparing before an interview. I’ll keep my energy level up. I’ll self-reflect afterwards. Thanks Sarah.
Posted by Linda Wagner, WIN Participant