Thursday, March 18, 2010

Moving Your Communication from Good to Great...

This week, I have found myself using the same phrase several times over. It goes something like this:

If you want to move from good to great…it’s the little things that will get you there.

Today while talking with a colleague about their website, I used this phrase. They made some really nice changes to their website and it looks good. I know this company well and know the message they want to communicate. When I noticed a few “little things” they could improve on, I asked if they would like to ramp things up and have a great website – because it’s the little things that will get them there.

Another area this phrase came into play was with the grade school speech team I coach. These are students in grades 5-8 who look to me to help them with some basic public speaking skills to gain poise and confidence. Not an easy thing to do. Quite frankly most people feel that public speaking is one of their greatest fears.

Experience has shown me that there is a group of students that bring some natural abilities to the table and have a determined attitude that propels them forward faster than others. This week, for those students just mentioned, I asked them if they would like to move from good to great. Of course everyone gave an enthusiastic ‘Yes’.

The question remains…How can we move our communication from Good to Great? Here are some “little things” for you to ponder on:

  • Pausing for Effect – when a student is delivering a serious story or poem, a good pause has the ability to grab the attention of the audience and keep them interested. Sometimes we too have to pause, take a step back and find out what we really want (or how we want our website to look). Keep in mind that you may not always be able to recognize the process on your own – having a person who is outside the forest can give you new perspective. They can see the ‘little things’ that will help you communicate more effectively.
  • Vocal Flexibility – An audience much prefers a speaker to have flexibility in their voice rather than a monotone nature. It is more pleasant to the ear and makes it easier to understand the information given. Again, in life, we can move from Good to Great communication when we learn to say things in a couple different ways until the message is understood.
  • Timing – A speech team has minimums and maximums in regard to the clock. The goal is to have the student speak long enough to see what they have learned. However, being respectful of other people’s time and not misuse their platform by taking too long is just as important. When communicating, it is always good to remember that we have one mouth and two ears - Using them in that proportion works best.
We communicate with people constantly all day long. Since it is a skill that is used so frequently, I’m suggesting that we be aware of how well we communicate. The good news?

If you want to move from good to great…it’s the little things that will get you there.

What are some ‘little things’ that you have learned to improve communication?


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