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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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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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