Whether you’re holding a presentation at work, explaining what you do at a networking event, or selling yourself to a potential employer, you’re conveying a message. If that message isn’t conveyed clearly and effectively, your time is wasted and your message is lost. Are you focusing 100% of your preparation time on the CONTENT of your message? If so, you’re not alone, but you’re not doing yourself a service. Only 7% of your message is received through your content. The other 93% is through your tone and message. If you’re completely ignoring these things, you’re hurting your message. “Your tone and your body language are important,” said Doug Melder, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. “So important [that] it can either enhance or betray your message.” So, does that mean you should spend 93% of your time on tone and body language and only 7% of your time on content? Absolutely not. Content is still king, and without good content, your message is sure to fail. Instead of going to that extreme, bring your content preparation time down from 100% to 80%, before your next presentation, introduction, or meeting, according to Melder. This should give you plenty of time to focus on your tone and body language. You always have enough content, he said. Spend that extra time focusing on your tone and your message. That will help ensure that your message is enhanced, not betrayed. Your message is important, no matter what you're trying to convey to someone. If you don't articulate it effectively, your message will get lost. Are you making this mistake with your message? What have you done to overcome it? Will you implement this strategy?
Even if you're not an official leader at your company, chances are you'll have to hold a meeting or present an idea to your team at some point in your career. But are you sabotaging your ability to engage your team during meetings or presentations? Embracing your creativity, spontaneity, and flavor can seem inappropriate in the “real world.” For years, you were told that, in order to be a professional, you had to ACT professional. But what does that mean exactly? Most people think “acting professional” means leaving your personality at the door when you walk into the office. But that’s the worst thing you can do if you want to engage your team during meetings or presentations. In fact, if you DON’T share a little personality in your voice, you’ll put them right to sleep. According to Dan Moriarty, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company, voice modulation is a key skill that presenters need to leverage in order to connect with an audience. Voice modulation, the ability to a change the pitch, volume, tone, or inflection of your voice, will allow you to convey important information in a way that engages your audience. Next time you have to hold a meeting or present an idea, think about how your words are coming across to your audience. Are you monotone or are you changing the tone, pitch, volume, and inflection of your voice as you get excited, frustrated, or thoughtful? Being able to do this will allow you to get and hold your team’s attention. Showing this kind of emotion when you speak might seem strange at first, but that’s okay, according to Moriarty. “Have courage to step outside yourself, to feel uncomfortable, to feel awkward,” said Moriarty, “because when you do that, when you’re awkward, when you’re vulnerable, you allow those around you permission to go there with you.” So, if you’re struggling to engage your team during meetings or presentations, allow yourself to show emotion and personality when you speak. You might be surprised at the response!
Have you ever lead a meeting or a discussion at work? If so, you've probably encountered that person who's not paying attention to what you're saying. He or she might be on the phone, staring off into space, or writing emails on the computer. This behavior is distracting and disrespectful, but how can you stop it from happening? Here are a few ways you can deal with a rude colleague during meetings:
I’ve given a lot of bad presentations in the past, but there was one that was particularly painful. I was in college and I had to share a presentation on an assignment we had. I hated presentations. But there I stood, in front of a packed class of students, ready to speak. I was nervous. In fact, I had to set down my notes because I was shaking so badly. I didn’t want to sound stupid. Out of desperation, I started reading off my slides. The same slides everyone else was reading. They weren’t that impressive. Just a few points and some data to back up my findings. Nothing crazy. I glanced across the room at the rest of the students. Some were on their phones. Some were looking off into space. Others were doodling in their notebooks. But no one was listening to what I had to say. No one cared. So, what did I do wrong? I didn’t create an emotional connection with my audience. There are so many presentations out there that just focus on the data. While data is important, it doesn’t necessarily make an emotional connection with an audience. But what does? Storytelling. “Human beings are hardwired to love stories,” said Robin Amos Kahn, a presentation coach at Own The Room, a communication skills training company. “. . . We need stories. We need to share our stories. Stories move us.” Telling powerful stories is an artform. It allows you to connect with your audience emotionally and draw them into what you’re saying. But when was the last time you started a presentation with a story? The next time you give a presentation, start with a compelling story that relates to your topic and moves your audience. Want to increase your communication skills? Check out our course “How To Improve Your Communication Skills At Work” to become a better communicator and learn how to work with others more effectively.
Unproductive meetings are the WORST. Ain’t nobody got time for that! And ain’t nobody got money for that, either. An estimated $37 billion is lost every year to unproductive meetings, according to this article in Business Insider. YIKES. Communicating well with your colleagues, partners, and clients can be a struggle sometimes... ESPECIALLY when you feel like there have been a lot of meetings that haven’t amounted to anything. We’re all busy. Time is precious. Money is scarce. Want to be better at meetings? With a little structure and better communication habits in the office, you can transform your inefficient meetings into productive gatherings. Here are some habits that will completely destroy those boring, unproductive meetings we all hate.