“A Blarney Stone” 10 Ways to Improve Communication
The “Blarney Stone” 10 Ways to Improve Communication is a historic stone, or actually part of Blarney Castle, Ireland, and it is believed that kissing the stone can bestow the gift of your mouth. Yes, it may seem odd these days, but what qualifications do we have to question tradition? It’s not like I say Santa doesn’t exist (oops!).
There’s so much to know about conversations that anyone, even me, probably realizes. There are talk shows; radio shows; clubs dedicated to public speaking; general conversation; some rules still apply when interacting through text. I know, this may sound boring, but while your mouth is doing the work, your brain works extra hard to produce a lot of what you know. So, a better way to learn how to communicate effectively is to get to know the person closest to you: yourself.
1. What do you know.
Education is about learning the basics, but being an effective public speaker means practicing what you learn. Every Toastmasters conference I’ve attended as a guest has taught me that we all have our limitations, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn to keep up and share what we know.
This is just as important as asking questions. Sometimes, listening to our own voice can teach us to be a little more confident and to say what we believe firmly.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes we tend to mumble, stutter, and maybe even mispronounce certain words, even though we know what it means, but rarely use it to impress our audience. So don’t be afraid to ask in the group if you’re right, and if they’re not sure, just make a joke. I promise you this will make everyone laugh and you can get away with it too.
4. Eye contact
There’s a lot to be said for grabbing the audience’s attention with an eye-catching look. When talking to a large group of people at a meeting or party, it’s important to stay focused, even if he or she looks pretty.
A little humor can ease tension, or worse, boredom during a presentation. That way, you’ll grab the attention of the majority of the crowd, and they’ll feel that you’re approachable and human to those who are listening.
6. Like everyone else
Interaction is mingling with other people. You get a lot of ideas and know what people think about who they are.
7. Me, me and me
Admit it, sometimes you sing to yourself in the shower. I know I know! Listening to your own voice while you practice speaking in front of a mirror can help correct stress areas in your pitch. When you use it, you can spice it up too.
8. With a smile
A smile says it all, as does eye contact. There’s no use grimacing or frowning in meetings or parties unless it’s waking up. When you smile, you can better express what you’re saying.
9. Role model
You must have at least one or two people in your life who have heard them speak at a public meeting or church. Sure, they’ll read their lines, but once you’re the center of attention, it will help you to remember how they emphasize what they’re saying.
Make the most of your preparations, not just jotting down notes and often in a hasty panic. Some people like to write on index cards, while others look a little silly looking at the notes on their palms (please don’t get your hands numb). Be comfortable with what you know while enjoying your work.
And that’s it. The advice is pretty amateurish, but I’ve learned to empower myself when speaking in public or private, and it never hurts to be around and listen to people as they make conversations and meetings more enjoyable and educational.
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