It’s not just what you say, but how you say it: Tips for improving your communication skills

Communication skills are critically important to success in most industries, even if a position itself does not count among its responsibilities “communication” or “public speaking” you will need to communicate well to land it. Entire books have been written on communication skills, from those specifically about public speaking, to others about designing persuasive presentations, and still more about body language. This article distills some common and key advise to help you become a better communicator. The advice that follows is declarative, and sometimes unequivocal, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions to these rules. I’ve split these recommendations into three sections, Nonverbal Delivery, Verbal Delivery, and Content, and presented it in that order because most research shows that is the order in which your public presenting influences your audience’s opinion of you and what you say. Nonverbal Delivery – Body Language Humans are attracted to, and thus distracted by motion. This is a survival skill and is innate. You want to minimize or eliminate any motion that would distract your audience from paying attention to your face (facial expressions) and your presentation (content). Body: Don’t rock, sway, step, pace or otherwise significantly move your feet during short presentations or interviews/networking conversations.  Plant your feet parallel to each other, approximately hip width apart, with both feet flat on the ground. If you need to turn to different people in a small audience, turn from your hips facing your entire body toward the individual(s) you are addressing. Try to avoid turning only your head (like a tennis spectator at half court) unless you are making an “aside” comment. When presenting in...

Shrink that giant Powerpoint file

We’ve all probably run into this at one point or other: you’ve created a visually stunning Powerpoint deck, but the file is absolutely huge! You can’t email it, or it just takes forever to open or save it… well there is a solution: In PPT for Windows, file > save as — tools, look for “Reduce file size“ In PPT for Mac, file > reduce file size This will shrink the total size of your Powerpoint file by optimizing the images you’ve...

Do you manage social media for a Washington food business?

I am conducting a survey and interviews about food industry use of social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, blogs) for a presentation at the 10th Farmer-Fisher-Chef Connection presented by FORKS on March 21st. If you are responsible for posting to social media for your Washington based food business, please take a few minutes to take the survey, you could win a registration to the event! If you’d like to have a cup of coffee and talk about how you use social media, get in...

Bernie Sanders’s Revolution Needs a Better Plan

If Bernie Sanders is serious about a political transformation in America, he needs a better plan. Source: Bernie Sanders’s Revolution Needs a Better Plan I am particularly interested in this section of the article: But Sanders could invite artists from all around the country, famous or not, to create work that spreads the message of his campaign. Culture shapes norms: about inequality,  racism, violence. And culture that isn’t made by the campaign but by the people packs a punch. Which reminds me of the Creative Action Network, of my blog post about leveraging art and artists for social change from back in 2013, and of Downtown4Democracy, which once again seems defunct, but was active in 2004, and it seems again in...

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

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