If you think you have excellent communication skills…

I am willing to bet that in the business world, at least, everyone puts on their CV (resumé) that they have excellent communication skills. They can’t all be right.

  1. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you put your personal details at the top of your CV (resumé), think again.
  2. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you put slides like this into your presentation, think again.
  3. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you read out loud to your audience something they could read in their own time, think again.
  4. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you don’t engage your audience at least every ten minutes, think again.
  5. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you don’t mostly listen, think again.
  6. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you haven’t bothered to rehearse your presentation, think again.
  7. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you can’t project your voice to the back of the room, think again.
  8. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you think spelling, punctuation and grammar are less important than the message itself, think again.
  9. If you think you have excellent communication skills but you think your audience is failing to grasp what you say, think again.
  1. Understanding what your audience needs to know, and in what priority, is key.
  2. Presenting heavy text in a slide show means you have no idea how people absorb information.
  3. People can read to themselves faster than you can read to them. Moreover, your voice distracts them from reading it and they can read it better in their own time. What’s more, you insult their intelligence by reading out loud to them as if they are toddlers.
  4. The human brain can only passively listen to your voice for about ten minutes. After that it starts to switch off unless you prompt it to participate somehow.
  5. Excellent communication is knowing what to say, how to say it, to whom and when. If you don’t spend most of your time listening, you cannot know those four things.
  6. If you have something important to say, practise saying it. Otherwise, you’re telling your audience you didn’t think they or your topic were worth the trouble.
  7. What? Do you want only half your audience to hear what you have to say?
  8. Persuading your audience that you are semi-literate does not strengthen your message.
  9. A failure to communicate when you have a captive audience is your failure, not theirs.

Care about your audience, not just about your message.

Kind regards,

Declan Chellar

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