Communication skill is one of the most important skills that everyone should possess; a good speaker is more likely to attract a larger number of audiences.
The question is, what makes some people convey their messages effectively that sticks, while some are not able to do that, and How you can improve communication skills?
Often people think that only business personnel requires effective communication skills so that they can sell.
But that’s not true communication skill is required by everyone to convey their messages effectively to the people listening to them. Example: Answering to teacher’s question, giving a presentation in the office meeting, talking to your friends at the party and of course delivering a speech on stage.
All of the above examples require effective communication skills or people would not get your point.
In this post, I’m going to share with you 7 effective tips from one of the bestselling book TALK LIKE TED written by Carmine Gallo that will help you improve communication skills and make your ideas stick.
Unleash the master within
Every person has something extraordinary hidden within, but most people won’t realize the fact and they end up following the advice of others.
Unleashing the master within can help you improve communication skills; you can effectively convey your messages.
How to unleash the master within?
Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent.—LARRY SMITH, TEDx, NOVEMBER 2011
It’s clear from the above quote that passion leads to mastery. The author says you should dig deep inside to find a unique and meaningful connection to your presentation topic.
An inspired person can inspire others.
You can easily persuade your reader if you express a passionate and meaningful connection to your topic.
It also makes your idea sticks to people’s mind and they can remember your words for a longer time.
Master the art of storytelling
Everybody likes to listen to the story. The best speakers tell stories often that increase engagement. Stories help people to connect with the speaker at the emotional level.
Stories stick to the mind and we’re less likely to forget them, it happens because stories are surprising, unique, and interesting.
If you want to make your ideas stick to people’s minds and want them to agree with you, tell them a story, so that they can relate it with what you’re about to say.
Stories are engaging and the author suggests that in order to improve communication skills you need to learn this art.
Why stories work?
When you listen to stories your mind, creates pictures that establish a connection with your brain and you lost in imagination at the same time your brain releases dopamine that keeps you engaged in stories.
Learn More: The science behind the art of story telling
Practice, practice, and practice
The practice is the ultimate way that contributes 98% to help you improve communication skills.
You have to practice restlessly to make yourself better at conveying your message. The more you’ll practice the more you can improve and the more you’ll find it easy to connect with audiences.
Practice so much that you deliver your speech as comfortably as you have a conversation with your friend.
Amanda Palmer says, “Be authentic. But authenticity doesn’t come naturally. An authentic presentation requires hours of hard work – digging deep inside to find the words that can make your presentation incredible”
Here are three steps from Palmer to improve communication skills and presentation:
Help with planning
Palmer had a good blog. A common problem faced by every blogger is “What to write next”, but palmer had managed to solve this problem.
She used to crowdsource ideas from her audiences. The basic idea was to get help from the audience itself.
Early feedback can help improve communication skills
Palmer often used to read aloud her draft. The presentation of Palmer bores the first time listeners.
Her old theatre director and mentor gave brutal feedback on her draft. Through early feedback, it becomes easy to identify how your presentation would work.
It also helps you to brainstorm to get new ideas and change the existing one to give it life.
Rehearse, Rehearse, and Rehearse to improve communication skills
Palmer took every opportunity to speak in front of people. She has given a presentation in front of students, people, and gets feedback. It’s important that you Rehearse, Rehearse, and Rehearse so that you can improve communication skills.
It would be effective if you speak in front of small groups of people. It will not just improve your communication skill but also gives you confidence and early feedbacks.
How to say it so people listen
- Rate: Speed at which you speak
- Volume: Loudness or softness
- Pitch: High or low inflections
- Pauses: Short pauses to punch key words
Point to remember: Many studies have shown that 150 to 160 words per minute is an ideal speed to deliver a speech.
Teach something new
Teach people new things and they will stick to you. Our brain loves unfamiliar and new things. You can tell people some new ways to solve an old problem or share some totally unique facts.
Robert Ballard, deep Sea Explorer shared the following facts with his audience:
- Fifty percent of the United States of America is beneath the sea.
- Everything we’re going to talk about here is one-tenth of 1 percent because it is what we have seen.
- The highest mountain range on earth lies undersea.
- We discovered a profusion of life in a world that shouldn’t exist.
- Most of our planet is in eternal darkness
- It (deep sea) has more history than all the museums on earth combined.
At the end of the presentation, he showed the picture of a girl jaw-dropping she was not watching any election results or a football game. She was astonished by the unique facts.
This is what happens when you share some totally unique facts to your audience. Jaw-dropping is a condition in which people are in active mode and you can easily stick your ideas to their mind.
The 18 minutes rule can help improve communication skills
Research has shown that 18 minutes is the ideal time for giving a presentation that holds people’s attention. However, if your presentation is longer enough try breaking down into video, stories, and demonstration every 10 minutes. It will keep your audience engaged.
Dr. Paul King is an influential scholar at Texas Christian University whose research shows that not just the speaker but the listener also feel anxious when they listen for a longer time.
Giving too much information to your audience makes it impossible for them to retain all the information that makes mental load heavier and heavier.
The rule is simple, to be effective in communication keep your presentation limit to 18 minutes, and don’t drain your audience because sometimes too much information increases the level of frustration and anger in them.
Deliver jaw-dropping moments
Sharing some unique, shocking, and impressive moments with the audience is the jaw-dropping moment.
In February 2009, Bill Gates was called at Ted Talk; he wanted to solve big problems such as poverty and childhood deaths, but he alone wasn’t enough for such big work, he was looking for people to contribute.
So when he was called upon stage, he was presented with a jar full of mosquitoes. He opened the jar and freed the mosquitoes saying, “Malaria spread from mosquitoes. There’s no reason only poor people should be infected”
Later he revealed that mosquitoes were malaria-free. Delivering a jaw-dropping moment is an emotionally charged moment in which audiences are more likely to stick your message to their mind and act upon it.
Gates spoke for 18 minutes that day, a long time has passed, and still, we remember the mosquito moment of his presentation.
This story is enough to put light on the fact that the audiences are more attracted to jaw-dropping moments.
In case, you have been called for a presentation in your office, you can prepare some mind-blowing and shocking facts that could help you give a better presentation. And of course, don’t take the mosquito jar with you.
Paint a picture in the mind
Our brain ignores boring things. You can improve communication skills and make your words stick to people’s minds by painting a mental picture.
How it works?
Well, you have to include some words or phrases that could make people use more than one sense. It’s also called multisensory experience.
For instance, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 inspired Michael Pritchard to invent a portable water filter because in those events people died or became seriously ill due to lack of drinking water.
He invented a LIFESAVER filter that turns filthy water into drinking water. In 2009 Pritchard was called at TED to give a presentation regarding his invention.
He was presented with a photograph of a boy dressed in rags, scooping up rancid, dirty water from a muddy field. He said, “Now I’ve seen you have provided the water here at the conference for the past a few days. You may be assured that water was from a safe source. What if it was fetched from a source like this (shown in photograph)? Many of you might now be suffering from diarrhea”
Pritchard shared a jaw-dropping moment, which was enough to grab the attention of his audience. He didn’t stop and went near a fish tank filled about three quarters with water from the nearby river Thames.
He said, “See if we were in the middle flood zone of Bangladesh this water doesn’t look like this. It would have some more stuff.”
Pritchard begins to add more water – water from his pond, sewage runoff, and this cat turned on the emotional vividness of the demonstration.
He then poured that water into his device, gave it a few pumps, and poured some clean water into a glass. He drank it, as did curator Chris Anderson, who was sitting near the stage.
Here Pritchard used photos, demos, and statistics that made his presentation memorable. It’s an effective way to address the audience and make them remember your words.
Talk like TED
The great lessons I have shared in this post are summarized from this Book i.e. Talk Like Ted.
However, I have shared only 7 effective tips to improve communication skills. This book has two more points.
Also, Author CARMINE GALLO has shared more real examples that were used by the professional speakers at TED.
I personally love the two points:
- Master the art of storytelling
- Teaching new things to others
I recommend reading this book to you because it can definitely help you improve your communication skill.
Of course, you’re aware that effective communication means progress. You can check out the book below.
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