Effective Oral Communication

Effective Oral
Some Trivia
• In a documented survey of
people’s fears, the highest (by
far) group were those who were
afraid of “speaking in front of a
group (34%) … only 8% said
they were afraid of dying!!!
• Presenting, whether to a group of
2 or 200, uses the same
communications techniques you
use effectively every day
• Groups don’t come to watch you.
They want to hear what you have
to say, how you can help them, or
be inspired or entertained.
• American audiences and groups
are very forgiving and very
• Americans are very poor listeners
• A typical listener will forget 40%
of what they have heard in a
presentation within an hour, 60%
by the end of the day, and 90%
within a week. Key points must
be made effectively and often.
Mini-course in Public Speaking
• Here is Edward R. Murrow’s
– Tell ‘em what you’re gonna’ tell ‘em
– Tell ‘em
– Tell ‘em what you told ‘em
• How do we get our message
– 7% of interpersonal communication
is traceable to words
– 55% is the result of body language
and facial expressions
– 38% is how we use our voices
(tone, inflection, pauses)
My Mini-course in Presenting
• Be prepared and be yourself
• Speak slowly, clearly and with
• Maintain eye contact, be
enthusiastic and smile
Some Favorite Quotes
• “If I don’t reach them in 5 minutes, I
won’t reach them.” Father Tom
Oemler (1989)
• “Without data, you are just another
opinion.” Jerry Schuerholz (1993)
• “You can’t stand in front of the Board
of Directors and say: ‘Hey you bunch
of dumb guys, you’re doing this all
wrong!’” Bud Knavish (1958)
Mental Preparation
• Remember, the group is not there to
watch you. They are there to learn
and be helped, guided, inspired and/or
• Don’t complicate the message. The
best speakers are easy to listen to.
• Get so absorbed in your subject or
mission that you have no time to
Build Your Confidence
• Observe your own use of
communication skills in daily life
• Give and receive positive and
constructive feedback
• Be mentally and physically
• Be prepared – practice – be
sincere –be yourself
• Dress better – you will feel better!
• Warm-ups are important.
– Exercise your voice and your body
before you speak to help relax
– Take some deep breaths
– Be Yourself!
Preparation for Delivery
• Knowing your presentation is better
than reading it or memorizing it.
• Oral language is different from written
• Writing and memorizing a presentation
“freezes” it
– You can miss important feedback clues
i.e. smiles, wrinkled brows, etc.
• Many good speakers read poorly
• American audiences and groups
prefer extemporaneous speaking.
Lectern and Platform
• Approach with confidence
• Pause and relax
• Take a deep breath, look up, and
• If you make a mistake, or have a
momentary “panic attack”
– Pause and relax
– Take a deep breath, look up, and
• Don’t be afraid to ad lib a
comment, such as “Let’s try that
again” or “Give me a moment”
• Wait for things to settle down
• Remember, you are in control
• If you try to compete with
distractions, you will invariably
Four Steps to Effective
• What do I want to communicate?
– What key points do I want the
listeners to remember?
– What do I expect them to do with
the message?
– What do I expect them to pass on to
• Who are the people receiving the
– The words, examples, how, and
when you send the message should
be determined largely by your
intended audience
– You have to send a message the
audience members will understand
• Why should they listen?
– What addresses their needs and
will help them solve their problems.
• If you want to get your message
across, you have to demonstrate that
your message is relevant to your
• Ask yourself, “How can I present my
message in a way that relates to a
problem, need, or concern they have?”
• Use only words, phrases, and
illustrations you are sure will be
– Constantly ask yourself, “How can I
simplify this point and make it more
– If the content of your message is
technical, ask yourself, “How can I
present the same information in a nontechnical way?”
Four Steps to Effective
1. Dress appropriately.
– Wear something comfortable and
conservative. Avoid bright white shirts,
large jewelry and brass buttons or
anything that could cause a distraction
2. Maintain eye contact with the
– Look for a friendly face at the center of
the room and deliver your introduction to
that person.
– Then continually move your gaze around
the room, giving each thought to a
different person.
3. Vary your tone of voice and speed of delivery.
– Show enthusiasm for your topic with your voice.
Do not speak too quietly, too slowly, too loudly or quickly.
Do not use verbal fillers such as, "um," "uh," and "you
know." Instead, pause silently.
4. Use gestures and facial expressions
– Smile at the audience.
– Use hand gestures when appropriate.
– Between gestures, rest hands at your sides or lightly
on the podium.
– Lean slightly forward.
– Move away from the podium, if possible.
Presentation Introduction
• An introduction can be informal
and usually serves to:
– Gain the groups attention
– Promote speaker acceptance
– Focus the listener attention on the
• An introduction may not be
necessary in business settings
– But you still may want to open with
an informal remark
• Reference to what has just occurred
• Comments about something familiar
• Complimenting the group or
• Making a humorous remark
• The Formal Opening, however, should
grab your listeners and make them
want to hear the rest of your talk
– Start with
• An anecdote. A story related to the material
that can be funny. Avoid jokes or comments
that can backfire
• A prop. Something tangible can create interest
and embed ideas
• The bottom line. Hit them in the heart,
pocketbook, et. A serious question or
comment for deliberation is excellent.
• Set the stage
– “Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em
• Why it is important to them
• Why they are going to enjoy what you
have to say
– Memorize the introduction and/or
• Make use of all appropriate
communications tools
• Make your point emphatically to your
Presentation Conclusion
• The ending of your presentation
should include
– A summary of all key points
– A restatement of your message
– A call for action or final reflections
on the feeling you want to leave
with your group
• The ending could be a question,
a challenge or some other form of
subtle persuasion
• Like the beginning, your ending
should be memorized.
– This is your last chance to make
your points
The Body of the Presentation
• The body contains the core of
your message, including
– Information and details
– Supporting data and statistics
– Research and findings
– Evidence of proof
• If the presentation is meant to be
entertaining or inspirational it may
– Stories
– Incidents
– Accomplishments
– Quotes
– Letters
– Etc.
• Challenges
– Keep it interesting
– Support statements with details and
– Build on the message of the
– Set up the message of the closing
• Preparation
– Brainstorm your topic for ideas
– Outline your ideas
• If you use traditional formats, leave
room for additions or notes
• Consider “Mind-Mapping” as an
Mind Mapping
• Mind map is a diagram used to
represent words, ideas, tasks or
other items linked to and
arranged radially around a central
key word or idea.
– It is used to generate, visualize,
structure and classify ideas, and as
an aid in study, organization,
problem solving, and decision
– Research your points.
• This may be as simple as referencing
personal notes, talking with
knowledgeable co-workers, etc.
– Live with your outline and evolving
• Carry a paper and pen with you
– Prepare the answers to the three
toughest questions you may be
Putting it all Together
• Composing
– Outline your talk
• Traditional or mind map
• Allow for smooth, logical flow in your own style
– Verbally begin to connect the points into
simple, cohesive messages.
• Your presentation will be skillfully connected to
messages, not a litany of points and ideas
– Read articles, or other’s speeches to see how
professionals accomplish this.
– Clarity, simplicity and repetition are key to the
• Delivery
– The use of tools is important to hold
the group’s attention and help make
your points emphatically and
– Visuals
• People remember what they see
– “Signal Words”
• “I want to underscore,” “In conclusion”
– Themes or phrases
• “We are more than just clean water”
– Grouping words in triplets
• “Of the people, by the people, for the people”,
“Good, bad or indifferent”, “Lock, stock and
– Personalize
• Use of direct forms
– “I conclude …”, “You may notice …”, “We must
realize …”
• Remember, these are your listeners!
• Don’t forget the tools we have
already learned
– Eye contact and body language
– Vocal variety
– Critical pauses
Persuasive Presentations
• Require a more focused
awareness of the listeners
– Needs
– Moods
– Feelings
• Reading your group requires eye
contact and perception.
– Be alert to smiles, frowns and nods,
• Group feelings during persuasive
– “ SO WHAT?”
– “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?”
• Basic Approaches:
– Speaker-Centered
• The speakers perception, ideas and
– Group-Centered
• The listeners needs, concerns and
• Benefits vs. Features
– FEATURES are tangible or nontangible characteristics that
enhance a product or service
– BENEFITS are the outputs of
features that truly answer the
groups WIIFM questions
Safety program on protective
Heightens awareness of dangerous
Exposes dangers of improper
Reduces exposure to sightthreatening incidents
Supports prevention of off-time
Minimizes risk of sight loss
Reduces chance of pain and
Saves out of pocket medical
• Final Review
– Know your group
– Put yourself in their seat
– Is your talk accurate,
understandable and interesting?
– Is it yours? Can you be yourself?
– Will it properly affect and impact
your listeners?
The Most Persuasive Words
Get Into Your Persuasive
• Tell your listeners why it is good for
– Downplay the negatives
• You may want to address them head on to
deflate opposition
– Accent the positives
• Highlight, Illustrate, Use tools
– Use facts and be specific
• Name names, places, events, statistics, etc.
– Sell the benefits
• Bridge ideas and plant seeds
– Don’t bad-mouth opponents or
• Professionalism shows confidence
• During your presentation … listen
– As a speaker, you must be a good
• With your eyes during the talk
• With your eyes, ears, and heart during
comments or Q & A
• Avoid pre-judging based on anything
• Adjust to your listeners
– Reading your listeners requires eye
contact and perception.
• Be alert to smiles, frowns, nods, etc.
• Key dimensions in a persuasive
– Oral Communications:
• The ability to verbally convey thoughts
and ideas in a clean, unambiguous
and effective manner
– Oral Defense:
• The ability to effectively define thinking
and conclusions and explain reasoning
– Social Sensitivity:
• The perception of subtle cues in the
behavior of others concerning aspects
of their needs
– Behavior Flexibility:
• The ability to modify behavior, when
motivated, to reach a goal
– Ability to Influence Others:
• The ability to affect other people’s
attitude, opinions, or behavior without
generating resentment.
Handling Questions and
• Question and Answers
– Stimulate the listeners and focus
them on you & the subject
– Allow you to re-emphasize points
and bridge to benefits
– Give you an opportunity to
introduce new material
• Pointers
– Prepare the most difficult questions
and good answers
– Turn negatives to positives and
bridge to benefits
– Refine and simplify your answers
• Should be clear, understandable and
– Pause and think before answering
• Not ready, fire, aim!
• Problem Questioners
– Several kinds of problem questioners
– Tips
• Deflate “loaded” questions
• Break multiple questions down into parts
• Decline hypothetical questions or turn into real
– If you don’t know the answer, admit it and
explain why
• Offer to follow up
Stop when you have made your
Always leave the platform on a
positive note.
Last Minute Preparations
• After your preparation and as the
date and time of the presentation
arrives, take a few precautions:
– Make sure you have arranged for
any special equipment
• Be sure you have extra bulbs,
markers, extension cord, etc.
– Confirm the date, time and location
– Arrive early and check out the room
– If the situation permits, say a few
lines and adjust to the acoustics
– Take a walk, relax, and exercise
your vocal cords
– Drink water or hot tea with lemon.
Avoid milk, ice cream, etc.
– Have some water nearby the
Don’t Forget the Basics
• Preparation breeds confidence
• Approach the lectern with
– Pause
– Relax
– Take a deep breath
– Look up
– Smile
• Don’t compete with distractions
• Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell
‘em, tell ‘em, then tell ‘em what
you told ‘em.
• Grab them with the introduction
and drive it home in the closing
• Keep the body interesting and
colorful … not a litany
• Prepare answers to the three
toughest questions you might get
• Turn negative questions to
positives and bridge into benefits
• If you feel yourself slipping,
pause. Take a deep breath. Look
up and smile.
Use the tools and techniques of
the experts …
… but be yourself!
Enjoy the experience!
Any Questions?