38. Communication Tips for Public Speaking or Negotiating
Description and Purpose:
Tips on verbal communication.
Consider the following communication tips for public speaking and negotiation, and try to incorporate any approaches that are suitable for your national situation.
Voice and Delivery
- Voice: Speak clearly and project your voice. Speak with enthusiasm and conviction. Don’t talk too quickly, or too slowly.
- Language: Avoid the use of abbreviations, jargon or complex language. Simple, expressive speech is more effective.
- Humor: Humor can increase interest, but ensure that it is used appropriately.
- Statistics: The use of statistics or figures can be effective if they are used sparingly and for impact (e.g. 91% of all children around the world are now in school. But that still leaves 72 million children missing out.). But beware as too many statistics can be boring!
- Respect: Avoid using derogatory remarks relating to race, creed, sex, age or color, as these can offend and alienate.
- Speak in short, direct sentences
- Use phrases such as “I think,” “I believe,” and “in my opinion” to show that you assume responsibility for your thoughts.
- Ask others to clarify what they are saying when you are not certain you understand them.
- Describe events objectively rather than exaggerating or embellishing.
- Maintain eye contact (as this helps to build up a relationship). Switch eye contact between people when talking with a group.
- Avoid overt body language and mannerisms. Be relaxed and confident. Have an open posture and gestures. Don’t be rigid, but don’t fidget or gesticulate too much.
- Stand upright, with a relaxed stance. Place your feet comfortably apart, and arms hanging loosely by your side (when not in use).
- Smile at those you are talking to (when appropriate). Convey charisma and warmth.
- Maintain an easy spatial distance. Try to get close to those you are talking to, but not too close as to crowd them.
- Don’t be afraid of silence or pauses. Some space and time is sometimes needed for the person you are with to think and reflect.
- Watch for non-verbal signals
- Lean forward and look interested
- Pay attention: do not let your mind wander on to what you are going to say next!
- Show empathy
- Summarize to show understanding
- Use encouraging contact words (e.g. "I see") or nod in agreement
- Ask non-threatening, open questions (to build understanding and dialogue)
- Do not fiddle, look bored or look at your watch
- Do not interrupt, change the subject or bring in your own viewpoints when the target is talking