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10 Things Stellar Communicators Do Differently

10 Things Stellar Communicators Do Differently

Although we live in the Communication Age, it’s amazing how many of us struggle with how to get our message across effectively to our audience, whether a lone individual or a group of people. The sad truth is often those who are transmitting a message become so engrossed with what they are passionate about, they neglect to think about who is receiving that message and all the different ways that message can be perceived. Because they cannot control the reception of a message, communicators who want to stand out from the pack do the following:

1. They strive for ENGAGEMENT with their audience!

If they want their words to have impact, they will create a sense of involvement with the audience. If the subject matter allows, stellar communicators will call someone up out of the audience for an exercise or solicit audience participation. This establishes levity and creates an air of inclusiveness.

2. They seek to CONNECT!

They will strive to find common ground with their listeners. An audience who senses that their needs are being addressed will be far more likely to “tune in” and pay attention to what is being said.

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3. They display CLARITY IN A MESSAGE!

They will save the big flowery words for their great American novel and use language that is clear and understandable. Going overboard using big words runs the risk of losing message impact, not to mention the loss of attention of audience members if their minds start drifting because the language is over their heads!

4. They REINFORCE what they’re saying!

If their message has multiple points or there are several “take-aways” they want their audience to have, it is good practice to present material, give examples and have a strong summary at the end. Reinforcing what they have shared is a good way to ensure the message will stick in the audience’s memory!

5. They are FOCUSED!

A common pitfall speakers fall into is a tendency to roam in their thoughts and it comes out while they are speaking. If an audience senses that the speaker lacks focus, they’ll lack focus as well. Stellar communicators create an outline and stick to it as closely as possible. This not only gives a speech structure, but will help if their track of thought gets lost.

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6. They create SURPRISE or DISARM the audience!

Stellar communicators make an impact on their audience with the content of their message and find innovative ways to get the point across. If an audience comes expecting a cookie-cutter approach to a certain topic and they wind up getting surprised with a creative approach, this will go a very long way and will create a lasting impression!

7. They employ EYE CONTACT!

This is a powerful tactic that stellar communicators use. It immediately communicates to an audience that they are indeed real people and not just a backdrop that the speaker doesn’t see. When they lock eyes with someone for a fleeting moment, they are acknowledging them and silently saying, “I’m glad you’re here – you matter.”

8. They use VOICE PROJECTION!

It may seem like a no-brainer, but making sure they are heard by their audience is huge. Sometimes communicators forget to take into account the size of area they are speaking in. If an opportunity presents itself, they take a sneak peek at the venue they are speaking at. This will give them an idea how much they need to amplify their voice so their audience hears what they have to say!

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9. They are CONSCIOUS OF POSTURE!

Whether the audience is one person or a thousand, the manner in which speakers hold their body when speaking is crucial. Those who slump, have their heads hung low or are leaning against a podium/lecturn to prop themselves up automatically create a negative impression. If they can’t stand up straight and look an audience in the eye, then the audience will wonder what’s wrong or assume that the speaker has no faith in the message he or she intends to share.

10. They are AWARE THEY CAN ALWAYS IMPROVE.

Sometimes those of us who may be confident in our speaking style get too comfortable and think there is nothing else to improve upon. Complacency is not the way to go when improving speaking skills. They should read about speaking or attend a local Toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters International is an internationally recognized speaking club that fosters improvement in communication and leadership skills as well.

Without question, technology allows us to communicate with each other in ways we never dreamed of before. However, regardless of the innovations we’ve experienced, it is imperative to possess basic skills to represent our ideas or positions to others. Anyone can talk but if you truly want to be heard and want to be regarded as someone who speaks well, then there has to be a willingness to learn, a willingness to grow and a hunger to make your message matter to others!

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“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” ~ Alexander Gregg

Featured photo credit: David Michael Morris via flickr.com

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Cathy Robinson

Cathy blogs about mental strength, motivation and happiness at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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