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October 2015 - BM English Speaking

How to Communicate Effectively | Effective Communication Skills

Effective communication skills are fundamental the essentials to achieve success in life.  As many jobs require strong communication skills and people who have taken steps to improve communication skills usually enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

Effective communication is one of the most important key to interpersonal skill and by learning how we can improve our communication has many benefits.

Improving your English speaking  skills will help you communicate more easily and effectively, so follow certain tips to make your communication more effective:

Practice where you can, when you can. Any practice is good – whether you speak to someone who is a native English speaker or not.

  • It’s important to build your confidence. If possible, use simple English sentence structure that you know is correct, so that you can concentrate on getting your message across.
  • Try to experiment with the English you know. Use words and phrases you know in new situations. Native English speakers are more likely to correct you if you use the wrong word than if you use the wrong grammar. Experimenting with vocabulary is a really good way of getting feedback.
  • Try to respond to what people say to you. You can often get clues to what people think by looking at their body language. Respond to them in a natural way.
  • Try NOT to translate into and from your own language. This takes too much time and will make you more hesitant.
  • If you forget a word, do what native English speakers do all the time, and say things that ‘fill’ the conversation. This is better than keeping completely silent. Try using um, or er, if you forget the word.
  • Don’t speak too fast! It’s important to use a natural rhythm when speaking English, but if you speak too fast it will be difficult for people to understand you.
  • Try to relax when you speak – you’ll find your mouth does most of the pronunciation work for you. When you speak English at normal speed, you’ll discover that many of the pronunciation skills, such as linking between words, will happen automatically.

Remember these, when speaking English…

Try to become less hesitant and more confident.

Don’t be shy to speak – the more you do it, the more confident you’ll become.

Remember to be polite – use “please” and “thank you” if you ask someone to do something for you.

In conclusion, organize your thoughts before you speak. Think twice before you open your mouth. Always keep the message simple and clear. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Never lie and never mislead anyone. Say it with style, confidence and enthusiasm. Make sure you’re understood. Make sure you practice a lot and rehearse. You’ll soon be an efficient communicator. In fact, to say is one thing to do is another. It’s easy to say but uneasy to work.

Email Etiquettes

As we expect the etiquettes to be followed while we converse to people, the same should be followed for emails also as it is the most popular form of online communication.

Following are certain tips that we may follow:

1.Write well-structured emails: Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an email is harder than reading printed communications. Use bullets when possible.

2. Use short, descriptive subjects: This will help the recipient as well as yourself if you ever need to find the email again. If previous email subject lines are used to open a new email, change the subject of the new email to avoid confusion.

3. Use a spelling checker: Embarrassing spelling errors can easily be avoided.

4. Read your email before sending Many people don’t bother to read an email before they send it out. Simply by rereading an email before it is sent out will help you reduce errors and improve the effectiveness of your message.

5. Do not send unnecessary or large attachments via email: If possible include a link to a downloadable document instead. Large attachments (over 10 MB) are highly likely to be blocked along the way.

6. Do not write emails in capitals: Capitals in emails come across as AGGRESSIVE. Usually this is not the intention of the sender, but nevertheless the recipient can be intimidated by use of capitalization.

7. Do not use abbreviations such as OMG and LOL: This is not appropriate for business communications.

8. Do not use cc: or bcc: fields for mailings: Valuable customer contacts can be exposed in this way and your company can face a privacy breach lawsuit. Instead, use company-designated mail merge software.

9. Do not use email to discuss confidential information:: Sending an email is like sending a postcard. If you don’t want your email to be displayed on a bulletin board, don’t send it.

10. Do not use the delivery or read receipt option:: You will irritate the recipient, and the receipt will probably be removed from the email.

11. Don’t send or forward emails containing libelous, defamatory, offensive, racist or obscene remarks: By sending or even just forwarding one libelous, or offensive remark in an email, you and your company can face court cases resulting in multi-million dollar penalties.

12. Do not overuse the cc: field: Try not to use the cc: field unless the recipient in the cc: field knows why they are receiving a copy of the message. Using the cc: field can be confusing since the recipients might not know who is supposed to act on the message.

Communication Channel – Choosing the best medium!

The essence of good communication remains the same despite the technological advances.. Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are important for you in communicating with others. You need to think through not only what to say and how to say it but also how your message is influenced by the technology you use.

While choosing a medium of communication, the most important decision is to consider who is the respective audience and the objective of the message itself. To help such decision, it is important to refer to the list of mediums below.

Team meetings

Team meetings give an opportunity for discussion, feedback, questioning and ideas and can help build understanding and involvement. It can make communication personal and relevant to the team involved.

Email

It can reach mass audiences fast. It is cost effective and simple to use. Also consistent and controlled message reaches the recipient directly. It is good for information, awareness or instruction

Video

It is also consistent, controlled and a creative and entertaining medium as it shows real people talking about their experiences. The camera never lies so it can show proof or progress of any kind.

Print magazine

Even time-pressured staff can read in coffee breaks, on trains, etc. It can address/reflect staff feedback and respond and can show how everything fits together and reinforce company brand. It can reach the entire company with a consistent message.

Audio

It is good for remote workforces and also effective for information and instruction.

Notice boards

It is visible and may catch people’s eye when too time pressured to read anything else and also good for instructions and information

Text messaging

It is good for reaching remote workers and crisis communication. It can be used to direct people to further sources of information. It can be used to update senior managers on important news whilst on leave

Events/ road shows

It acts as an opportunity for key people to reach mass audiences face-to-face. It is flexible and responsive. It can include Q&A sessions, break-out groups and involve people. It can build team spirit and motivate and also used to address controversial issues

Open forum

It gives opportunity to raise and discuss the real issues and also helps leaders to understand how things really are. It also enables people to feel heard.

Voicemail

It is helpful for remote workers. It also provides opportunity to hear about issues from senior leaders.

The communication options you choose will depend on what you want to accomplish and what you and your clients find comfortable.

Difficult Situations & Nerves during Presentation

You need to develop some strategies and techniques to manage your nerves so you can concentrate on delivering an effective and engaging presentation.

To harness your nervousness and bring it under control, there are six key tips to remember. These tips are designed to help you focus on your audience and their needs rather than on yourself and how you are feeling.

Six Steps to Conquering Your Presentation Nerves

Know Your Audience

The more confident you are that you are presenting them with useful and interesting material for them, the less nervous you will be overall. You really don’t want your presentation to be a surprise. If it is, you lose complete control over the audience’s reaction and that is a large factor in nervousness. So:

Know Your Material

Nothing is worse than trying to give a presentation on a topic you are not well prepared for. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert beforehand, but you’d better know it backwards on presentation day. And making sure you’ve understood your audience and their needs properly will help you ensure that your material is on target to meet their needs.

Structure Your Presentation

A common technique for trying to calm nervousness is memorizing what you intend to say. But all this does is make your delivery sound like it is coming from a robot. If you miss a word or draw a blank, your whole presentation is thrown off and then your nervousness compounds itself with every remaining second.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Although you should avoid memorizing your presentation, you do want to be very comfortable with your delivery. Familiarity brings confidence, and practice helps you to deliver the words naturally.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You also need to prepare yourself for the actual delivery.

  • Decide what you are going to wear – make it comfortable and appropriate.
  • Arrive early and get your equipment set up.
  • Anticipate problems and have backups and contingencies in place in case something doesn’t work, you forget something, etc.
  • If possible, give everything one last run through in the real environment.
  • Prepare responses to anticipated questions. Try to think like that one person in the front row who always tries to trip the presenter up.

Calm Yourself from the Inside

  • Practice deep breathing. By breathing deeply your brain will get the oxygen it needs and the slower pace will trick your body into believing you are calmer.
  • Have a glass of water handy. Take sips occasionally, especially when you want to emphasize a point.
  • Smile – this is a natural relaxant that sends positive chemicals through your body.
  • Use visualization techniques  – imagine that you are delivering your presentation to an audience that is interested, enthused, smiling, and reacting positively. Cement this positive image in your mind and recall it right before you are ready to go on.

Grooming for Fitness

It is equally important to look your best when you step off the treadmill. If you work out before the office or at lunchtime, your post-gym grooming regime is the only thing that can save you from returning to work a crumpled, sweaty mess. So here’s a head-to-toe guide to ensure your form is as good outside the gym as it is on the squat rack.

Gym Wear

Have the right gym wear with you as you might not want to exercise in your office clothes or nightwear. Choose the gym wear carefully. It would be good if it is stretchable. It will help you in stretching and exercising without tearing your clothes.

Shoes

Always opt for sports shoes for gyming or any fitness program as it will help you keep your feet free. Avoid heels or any other stylish shoes.

Shower

When you hit the shower, you don’t have to endure an icy blast of cold water to cool off. Pack a mint or menthol shower gel. Just like chilli is naturally hot, mint naturally cools, even when it’s on your skin rather than inside your mouth. It is also important to ensure you don’t immediately start sweating into your work clothes when you’ve dried off.

Hair
Sweat increases the rate at which your skin regenerates and flakes away. To avoid dandruffs on your newly-broadened shoulders, include an anti-dandruff shampoo into your routine. If you get out of the shower and you’re still overheating, remember that most of that heat will escape from your head. You just have to let it. That means no thick, clumpy hair products.

Face

After your workout your facial skin also needs certain amount of care as your rest of the body. Tackle redness, unsightly blotches and general sensitivity with a soothing cleanser. Your skin will also have dried out so pack a moisturizer.

Armpits
After a thorough wash to remove some of the malodorous bacteria causing a stench in your pits, spritz yourself dry. You’ll need a deodorant or antiperspirant that is alcohol free to avoid irritation.

Everywhere
The trouble with sweat, beyond the obvious sting to the nostrils, is that it takes moisture away from your skin. Keep it energized. As well as your face and body, use moisturizer on your hands and you might even skip the calluses that come with weight training. Although, they are badges of pride for lifters so we’ll leave that one to you.

Body Language in a Presentation

As the speaker is the centre of attention a certain nervousness arises naturally, being featured at the head of group, large or small. Even the best of speakers can feel uneasy or anxious, walking out to give their presentation. The main objective should be to look relaxed and not to show the anxiety.

There are five main elements of body language and key points about each:

Posture

In order to achieve an effective speaking posture, one should stand erect but not stiff, relaxed but not sloppy. One should relax the shoulders and knees. One should feel alert and comfortable and let the arms hang naturally at the sides with the fingers relaxed. Immediately before your presentation, take a few deep, slow breaths and consciously relax your shoulders, neck, and jaw.

Gestures

Gestures, are the most effective form of body language and it can tremendously enhance your words. There are three types of gestures: Descriptive gestures that clarify your words. Emphatic gestures emphasize your words, for e.g. clenching your fist or pound the podium. Suggestive gestures create a mood or express a thought, e.g. shrug your shoulders to indicate ignorance or perplexity.

Body Movement

The whole body movement is the broadest and the most visible movement you can make as a speaker. It automatically attracts audience attention and audiences stay alert with speakers who move. On the other hand, too much body movement distracts the audience

Facial Expression

Audience can scrutinize speakers’ faces, eager for visual data to add meaning to their words. Your face can reflect your attitudes, feelings, and emotions more clearly than any other part of your body-. Your audience wants you to be confident, friendly, and sincere and watches your face for evidence of these qualities

Eye Contact

After the voice, the eyes are the most powerful tool for communicating. Your eyes either bind or separate you from, your audience. Every listener wants to feel you are talking to him or her. Eye contact accomplishes this. In most cultures, direct eye contact signals sincerity; lack of eye contact signals insincerity, disinterest, or lack of confidence–all message killers.

Videotaping

It is one of the best way to discover a strong and effective body language as well as any unconscious, nervous mannerisms. One should watch great speakers for ideas of how to maximize your own body language. Relax, be natural, and let your enthusiasm and sincerity project naturally to your listeners. Finally, have fun, and you’ll do fine as a presenter!

Body Language in an Interview

Expressions and body language speak the most during interviews. As The body language can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived, so its very important to be aware of it from the moment one step through the door. one has to know that judgement begins even before one utters The first word.

Here are some tips to ensure The body language makes a good impression:

Do: Make eye contact

One of the best way to show you’re actually paying attention and engaging with the situation. It doesn’t mean to stare blankly at The interviewer, but strive to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.

Don’t: Slouch

Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed. One should not sit there tightly clutching the fists in The lap, but One also don’t want to portray a casual, not really bothered attitude.

Do: Use hands

Touching the fingertips together suggests authority but, as with all things, use it should be used in moderation.

Keeping The palms facing up is a sign of openness and honesty, so keep them in The lap. Try not to clench The fists or wave The hands around to make a point, it will make One seem nervous and unpredictable. And please don’t bite The nails. you’ll look nervous and it’s really distracting!

Don’t: Touch The face

People who play with their hair or excessively touch or rub their noses can seem dishonest and untrustworthy.

Do: Smile

Smile and nod where appropriate, and laugh when the interviewer does. One should not show that one have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said.

Don’t: Move about

This includes tapping The fingertips in the arm rest or jiggling The leg up or down. It’s a sign of boredom and impatience. Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor to avoid the temptation. It’ll help to keep the posture straight and focused on the interviewer, which in turn will make One seem more focused.

Do: Mirror

One can quickly get on good terms with the interviewer by matching their positive body language.

Nodding or a subtle shift in posture can create common ground between two people, while matching a handshake is always a good equaliser. When it comes to handshakes, always remember to stick to the middle ground. Too firm is arrogance, too weak is a pushover.

Most importantly, be respectful and keep a professional personal distance at all times. The first image the interviewer has of One is most likely the one that will stick, but a graceful goodbye is just as important as a classy hello.

The aim is to always keep the focus on the conversation, so keep the expression interested, the posture confident and the head high from the moment One arrive in the lobby until the second you’re a safe distance away.

Appropriate dressing for Women for presentations

Delivering a speech to the audience can be stressful but what racks your brain the most is the appropriate dressing for the big show that can get all the eyes on you.  Due to this reason,  looking professional and presentable is the biggest concern. A mix and match of glamour and professionalism is very important for women represent a more gracious personality than men. Everything from the head to toe should be perfectly groomed as the rolling eyes of audience will not stick to the hair but will see the dress-up as well as the shoes too.

BUSINESS FORMAL PRESENTATIONS:-  The business formal look that is common in finance, law, and insurance can have these dressing options:-

1. The Suit For women, either a pants suit or skirt suit in a dark, neutral color is appropriate. For a slightly softer look, try navy instead of black as it tends to provide less contrast between the suit and your skin.

2. The Blouse A good blouse can be hard to find—but the right blouse contains a hidden button that keeps your blouse fully closed so that no one is distracted—including you.

3. The Jewelry Business formal calls for little to no jewelry, but you can wear a pair of studs. Make them small and simple to show some femininity without being obtrusive.

4. The Shoes Choose a sensible heel (3” or less) with a closed toe in a neutral color. That doesn’t automatically mean it has to be boring—try a low-heel which has cutout sides, for a little jolt of femininity on your feet.

5. The Pants Go with a trouser instead of a crop or a skinny pant, unless your office is super casual. Make sure that the pants fit correctly and are hemmed to the appropriate length (they shouldn’t touch the floor). Pants can be worn creased or uncreased.

6. The Cardigan Instead of a jacket, try a shot of springy color in a softly shaped cardigan that will create a great contrast against crisp pants. Go for a longer cardigan that hits at the hips to help elongate your shape and create a more polished look.

The choice of clothes depends from person to person. Some may feel that a white coat looks more classy and professional with a standard, while others may feel that black looks more elegant. Other colors like blue or brown are also accepted for presentations but the idea is to sport an attire that can do justice to the topic of the presentation.

Appropriate dressing for Men in Presentations

Presentations aren’t a fashion show–nobody cares if your suit is Armani or from Men’s Warehouse–but your appearance can help sway your audience more than you’d think. Investors, for instance, will feel more comfortable investing in a well-groomed individual than a disheveled one any day. So straighten your tie, dust off your shoes and pay attention to the following advice on how to improve your appearance.

Dress for your audience. Investors and buyers want to know their money is going to good use, so play the part of the conservative business person. The following tips for looking professional:

  • Wear a well-tailored suit of high-quality fabrics.
  • Keep it simple, but not boring. Wear neutral colors. Women can wear a few well-placed accessories.
  • Make-up should be as neutral as possible. Try to look healthy and rested.

Pay attention to details.  If you’re asking for money or looking to create a business relationship with these individuals, show them that you’ll be as meticulous with their time and money as you are with yourself.  Check the following before leaving the house:

  • Pant hems should be secure.
  • Shoes are polished.  There’s nothing worse than noisy shoes in a quiet room.
  • Men should have a recent haircut and trimmed facial hair.

Avoid distractions. You want your audience to be paying attention to your presentation–not your clothes. The following advice to keep it simple:

  • If you wear glasses, keep the lines clean; don’t wear funky-colored frames. If contacts are an option, wear them instead.
  • Keep your documents and personal items in one bag that’s clean and simple.

Be comfortable.  Make sure you’re comfortable in your outfit.  A polished appearance is the perfect complement to a polished presentation.

Always dress as well as or slightly better than the audience.  Dress as well as the audience, or slightly better, but the emphasis is on slightly.  You don’t want a big mismatch.  If you dress worse than the audience, of course, you’ll simply look like you shouldn’t be there.

Dress in something that allows you to move.  A speaker needs to be able to move on stage, and some fashions restrict movement so severely that you’ll look ridiculous when you try to walk.  That won’t work.  You have to be able to get on and off – and around – the stage.

Dress strategically.  Think about the audience.  The accessory you can wear, or slight change that you can make,  will allow you to stand out from the crowd, without looking freakish.   The costume you wear sends a message; figure out what you want to say with your style.

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