What is Having the Greatest Impact on Oral Communication?

Effective oral communication has been impacted in recent years by the proliferation of texting. It wasn’t that long ago if we wanted to communicate with someone the preferred method was oral communication. Quite frequently, in today’s world, the preference is to text.

This creates a couple of problems. First the written word is frequently misinterpreted. There is a tendency to use short cuts and emoticons to convey messages. Often the wrong word is automatically substituted and we have hit send before we realize the difference. Secondly, because we are not using oral communication as frequently as we used to we, as a society, are losing some of our skills.

Texting is a great tool and used in the appropriate way it can be very effective. I think the problem is that we revert to texting when oral communication is clearly the better alternative.

Oral communication is like any skill, it needs to be practiced in order to be refined and effective.
 
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Does Being Grateful Make a Difference?

The short answer is ‘Yes!’

This post is inspired by a good friend and colleague, Steve Foran. Steve has studied gratitude for several years. He has known for a long time the impact it can have at a personal level.

A few years ago he took it to a new level when he started studying the impact of gratitude in the workplace. How it can make a difference on things like complacency, entitlement and low productivity.

In July of 2016 Steve challenged me to start up a personal gratitude journal. I confess to missing a few days. Not that many when I look back over the months. One of the things I am impressed with is how easily I can now come up with three things to be grateful for each day.

The other thing I have discovered is that you can find things to be grateful for even in things that we would typically think of as negative. It could be a life event, a challenge or a workplace problem. It all comes down to how we look at the situation and ask ourself what can we glean out of it? What character traits can be positively impacted? What learning can I carry forward?

I encourage you to check out Steve’s website www.gratitudeatwork.ca
 
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What’s in a Brand?

I recently viewed a video by Jeff Walker on branding. I am a huge fan of Jeff and have been following him for several years. I also attended one of his PLF Live events in Scottsdale, Arizona a couple of years ago.

Jeff’s video resonated with me. He made some great points and inspired me to share a bit of my own perspective on branding.

Many of us are solo-entrepreneurs. We have an expertise, a product, a message, etc that we feel is beneficial to our target market. How we engage and market our target audience and how we deliver our product and service are part of our brand. How we present ourselves is also part of our brand.

In this video blog I share a few of thoughts on the importance of ensuring that we are being true to our brand in everything we do. In order to do that we have to recognize that our brand is much more than some marketing materials.
 
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The Apple Has Dropped – Now What?

In my last Joel’s Minute I posted on this cliche. Unfortunately you can’t say much in the span of a minute.

This phrase really resonated with me and I wanted to expand on it more. So I have decided to deviate from my usual focus on speaking/communications related content to share with you some additional thoughts on this topic.

Having said that the message here is very applicable to how we handle setbacks in our quest to be better speakers, presenters and communicators.

The core message is that we can’t undo what has happened. We can only take the lessons learned from it and look for the ‘silver lining’. Spending time lamenting about what has happened achieves nothing.

It really comes down to our attitude. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react.

How are you reacting?
 
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Are There Different Types of Speaking Anxiety?

I was asked this question a couple of weeks ago. My initial reaction was to say ‘no’. I have since given it some thought and I still think there are not different types. However there are different levels of anxiety that are generated by different situations.

A good example would be doing a presentation to our peers. For many this can be quite daunting and can cause increased anxiety. Another example could be audience size. Some people might be comfortable speaking to an audience of 30 or less yet will experience heightened anxiety when speaking to a much larger audience.

The importance of the occasion can also trigger increased anxiety. It is a prime reason why people are so nervous talking at the wedding of a friend or family member. Peer impact is also a part of this.

Speaking to a different audience can cause anxiety to climb. I have seen this quite frequently with teachers. They speak every day to a group of 30 or more students. They don’t think twice about it. It is part of their job. Yet many teachers are intimidated when called upon to speak to a similar sized group of non-students. It could be at parent assemblies.

So while I still believe there are not different types of anxiety, there clearly are different levels of anxiety that are the result of a variety of speaking situations.

Check out my December 2016 video posts for ideas on how to manage your speaking anxiety, regardless of the situation.
 
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Because I Can

I have entitled this video ‘Because I Can’.

This is an unscheduled video. We had a beautiful snowfall her today and I wanted to share its beauty. There is a little bit of a message about goal setting, Mostly it is about the beautiful backdrop.

I hope you enjoy it.
 
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2017 Has Arrived!

I hope that you had an enjoyable holiday and that you got to experience quality time with family and friends. For me it was a tremendous opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate.

A popular activity for this time of year is to set New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had a lot of success achieving my past New Year’s resolutions. I like to set goals instead.

Resolutions seem to be linked specifically to the start of the New Year. Goals however can be made anytime through the year. Whether you call them resolutions or goals there are still a couple of things you have to consider.

The first thing you need is a strategy. It can be a strategy for your professional life, your personal life or both. Your strategy becomes your vision. It gives you a big picture to navigate against. Once you have your strategy created you can then set goals for achieving it.

The second one is that your goals/resolutions need to have plans for how you are going to achieve them. A goal without a plan is just a dream. You have to take action in order to make them happen.

As you progress towards your goals it is important to assess them against your strategy. Are they still supporting the strategy? You may need to make some adjustments. At the same time you should check your strategy. The new knowledge you gained while working towards your goals may inspire you to make tweaks to your strategy.

I wish you much prosperity and success as you strive to achieve your goals/resolutions for 2017.
 
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Merry Christmas!!

Thank you for your interest in 2016. I hope you found the video blog and Joel’s Minute helpful and informative.

I hope that you have a wonderful Holiday and that you get to experience quality time with family and friends.

I wish you much success in the New Year.

I look forward to serving you in 2017 and to continuing to help you Make Your Voice Heard!




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It’s Not a Secret Pill

No, it’s not a secret pill, but I think this third instalment on how to effectively handle speaking speaking anxiety is as close as it gets.

In the first post I spoke about the importance of preparation. If you are not prepared it is almost impossible to be confident and comfortable speaking. Remember that preparation includes proper rehearsal of your delivery.

In the second post I talked about converting the negative energy that goes into being anxious and converting it to positive energy by focusing on something constructive like eye contact, vocal variety, facial expression, etc.

In this post I share the power of breathing. I have often heard it said that you should take a few deep breaths before you start to calm yourself down. I agree with the concept and have taken it even further. About two months ago I viewed a short video on meditation done by a monk. He advised that we can meditate anytime, anywhere. He spoke about how we all have monkey brains that are constantly chattering. In order to quiet the chatter he suggested that we give our monkey brain a task. The task he suggested was to pay attention to our breath; “breathing in, breathing out”. We only need to do it 2-3 times to reap benefits from it. Using this technique just before we speak can be very effective at managing our anxieties.

Yes, breathing is good but focusing on our breathing is even more powerful.
 
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Are You Still Looking for a Secret Pill?

In a previous post I identified preparation as the most important consideration for managing your speaking anxiety.

In this post I speak about how converting negative energy to positive energy can have a significant impact on your anxiety levels. You only have so much energy. When you are anxious about public speaking most of that energy is channelled in a negative way. You become keenly aware of your anxiety that it is your focus of attention.

Shifting that focus to something constructive can convert that energy in a positive way. If you put emphasis on eye contact when you speak you peel away some of the negative energy. The same is true if you focus on other aspects such as vocal variety, facial expression, gestures and body language. All of these are positive uses of your energy and leave less energy for being anxious.

When you focus on your audience and how you deliver your message you shift your energy to something constructive and reduce your speaking anxiety.
 
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