Email Etiquette Tips

There are many rules when it comes to using emails to effectively communicate in your business with peers or clients. Such as not typing everything in upper case, having a useful signature that includes several ways to contact you to being polite and thankful, etc. From all the rules and protocols that exist in online communications, here are the most important ones everyone should memorize and start using now. 

Answer Swiftly: The golden rule for email is to reply within 24 hours, and preferably within the same working day. If your response email is complicated, just send an email confirming receipt and letting them know that you will get back to them.

Use a meaningful subject line: Try to use a subject that is meaningful to the recipient as well as yourself. It also makes it easier  to search for old emails when the subject line is relevant and specific to the content of the email.

Don’t abuse the “Reply to All”: Only use Reply to All if you really need your message to be seen by each person who received the original message.  Sending off irrelevant or unnecessary replies to  everyone on the list is just annoying and confusing.

Use the Bcc field:  When sending to many people, some people put all the email addresses in the  To: field. There are two drawbacks to doing that: (1) the recipient knows that you have sent the same message to a large number of recipients, and (2) you are publicizing someone else’s email address without their permission. Instead, consider using the Bcc: field. Put your mailing list group name in To: field in their email (leaving the To: field blank may look like spam). If you have Microsoft Outlook and Word you can do a mail merge so each recipient receives their own email, or create a mailing group in your email software if it has that utility.

Don’t leave out the message thread: Include the original mail in your reply, in other words click ‘Reply’, instead of ‘New Mail’. We all receive many emails and we can’t remember each individual email. Leaving the thread may take a fraction longer in download time, but it saves the recipient time looking for the related emails in their inbox.

Read your email before you send it: Treat email like any other official document.  Read it before you send it. Spelling and grammar errors are just as unfortunate in email as anywhere else in your other written communication. Look out for potential misunderstandings, the tone, and inappropriate comments; we use email because it is quick and easy but precisely that quickness may cause more trouble than you bargained for!

Don’t disclose confidential information: Email is just too risky a place to include confidential information. Ask  yourself if you would want the content of your email displayed on a bulletin board. Never make libelous,  sexist or racially discriminating comments in emails, even as a joke. Consider implementing a Disclaimer on the bottom of all corporate emails with statements on Breach of Confidentiality, Virus Liability, etc.

Avoid Abbreviations/ Acronyms & emoticons: Be careful using email abbreviations such as BTW (by the way) and LOL (laugh out loud) in business emails. The same goes for emoticons, such as the smiley :-). A lot of  people don’t know what they mean, so it’s better to drop them.

Don’t attach unnecessary files: wherever possible try to compress attachments and only send attachments when they are productive. Make sure you have good virus software in place to scan your outgoing emails – a customer would not be happy if you send them documents riddled with viruses!

Be concise:  Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Email is harder to read than printed communications.  A long email can be very discouraging and can be abandoned before the recipient gets to your final point all the way down at the bottom.  If it has to be long, consider including a synopsis at the top of the email.

Use the proper structure & layout:  Reading from a screen is more difficult than reading from paper so the structure and layout is very important for email messages. Make your paragraphs short and use blank lines between each paragraph. When making points, number them or separate each point with blank lines to keep the overview.

Do not write in CAPITALS: IF YOU WRITE IN CAPITALS IT SEEMS AS IF YOU ARE SHOUTING!! :This can be highly annoying, difficult to read and might trigger an unwanted response in the form of a  flame mail (you get yelled back at!). Therefore, try not to send email text in capitals.

Do not request delivery and read receipts: This will almost always annoy your recipient before he or she has even read your message. Besides, it usually does not work anyway since the recipient could have blocked that function, or his/her software might not support it, so what is the use of using it? If you want to know whether an email was received it is better to ask the recipient to let you know that it was received.

Do not recall a message: Chances are that your message has already been read. A recall request just looks silly then. It is better to send an email saying you have made a mistake. This will look much more honest than trying to recall a message.

Do not copy a message or attachment without permission: do not copy a message or  attachment belonging to another user without permission of the originator; you might infringe on  copyright laws.

Avoid long sentences: as mentioned earlier, email is harder to read than printed material. People don’t give email the same brain power as they do when reading for example a letter.  Try to keep  your sentences to no more than 15-20 words.

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Group Discussion Skills

The reason why institutes put you through a Group discussion and an interview, after testing your technical and conceptual skills in an exam, is to get to know you as a person and gauge how well you will fit in their institute. The Group discussion tests how you function as a part of a team. As a manager, you will always be working in teams, as a member or as a leader. Therefore how you interact in a team becomes an important criterion for your selection. Managers have to work in a team and get best results out of teamwork. That is the reason why management institutes include GD as a component of the selection procedure.

Tips to Improve on GD skills

  • Tip 1 : Brushing up on your general awareness is a must. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality. Interest in one’s environment is an essential quality for a agent, as only when he is well informed about all the facets is he able to take correct decisions. Make a habit of reading newspapers like TOI and Economic Times and general interest and business magazines like Frontline, Outlook and Business India.
  • Tip 2 :  Being aware of current happenings is not enough. One must also form opinions on those happenings and issues that arise. Think about what you feel about different issues, say, terrorism .Write down your thoughts. Ask yourself why you feel that way, what are the premises underlying your thoughts and beliefs. Also question whether your point of view is based on facts, or on opinions.
  • Tip 3 : The process of opinion formation is incomplete without getting inputs from others. Get into the habit of discussing issues with your friends and family. Hear multiple points of view. Listen, question and argue. Express your opinion. If you are proven wrong, accept it with good grace. Modify your opinions as you go along. This will help you clear your own thought process plus it will get you into the habit of discussion.
  • Tip 4 : While discussing, learn to check your temper. Maybe you’ll find others holding view which are disagreeable to you. But remember that they have a right to their opinions. Everyone does. Learn to respect their points of views even if you don’t accept them. It shows maturity on your part. This will be a good training for controlling your emotions, which is of utmost importance in a GD.
  • Tip 5 : Practice: Try and mobilize other people who are interested in GDs and simulate GDs. Get someone who has been through GDs before to observe it and give you feedback on your performance. It is better if the group consists of people who you don’t know too well.

Group Discussion Etiquette

Do’s

  • Respect the contribution of other speakers.
  • Speak pleasantly and with courtesy to all members of the group
  • Listen well to the ideas of other speakers; you will learn something
  • Remember that a discussion is not a fight. Learn to disagree politely.
  • Respect that others have differing views and are not necessarily `wrong’.
  • Think about your contribution before you speak. How best can you answer the question/ contribute to the topic?
  • Try to stick to the discussion topic. Don’t introduce irrelevant information.
  • Be aware of your body language when you are speaking. Keep it `open’ and friendly.
  • Avoid gestures that appear aggressive.
  • Agree with and acknowledge what you find interesting.
  • Stay with the topic. If the discussion does waiver, bring it back on topic by saying something like this a final point about the last topic before we move on’ or `that’s an interesting point, can we come back to that later?
  • Try to speak clearly. Don’t whisper; even if you’re feeling uncertain about your ideas or language.

Don’ts

  • Don’t take offence if another speaker disagrees with you. Putting forward differing points of view is an important part of any discussion. Others may disagree with your ideas, and they are entitled to do so.
  • Never try to intimidate or insult another speaker or ridicule the contribution of others.
  • Don’t use comments like ‘that’s stupid’ or ‘you’re wrong’.
  • Take care to use a moderate tone of voice. If you sound angry or aggressive others will not want to listen to you.
  • Be aware of your body language. Gestures like finger-pointing can appear aggressive.
  • If you are a confident speaker, try not to dominate the discussion. Pause to allow quieter students a chance to contribute.
  • Avoid drawing too much on personal experience or anecdote. Although some tutors encourage students to reflection their own experience, remember not to generalize too much.
  • Don’t interrupt or talk over another speaker. Let them finish their point before you start. Listening to others earns you the right to be heard.

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Learn Assertiveness & be Assertive

Learn to say what you mean, calmly and clearly, right when you need to.

Lack of assertiveness can cause problems in all sorts of situations, not least in relationships and at work.

Assertiveness training often misses a vital ingredient – the ability to stay calm while stating your case, which often causes people to stop trying – they think being more assertive is beyond them.

Being Assertive is not just using a certain set of communication skills or behaviours. Assertiveness is, first and foremost an attitude of mind with an accompanying set of beliefs about yourself and the world around you.

Many people go on assertiveness training courses expecting an instant personality transplant. You cannot change the message without changing the messenger, so assertiveness begins by examining the hidden beliefs we have about our worth and the worth of other people.

Following Assertive Rights will help you understand what exactly Assertiveness is.

  • I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts and emotions and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequence. The behavior of others may have an impact upon me, but I determine how I choose to react and/or deal with each situation
  • I have the right to offer neither reason nor excuse to justify my behavior. I need not rely upon others to judge whether my actions are proper or correct. Others may state disagreement or disapproval, but I have the option to disregard their preferences or to work out a compromise. I may choose to respect their preferences and consequently modify my behavior. What is important is that it is my choice.
  • I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to others’ problems. I am ultimately responsible for my own psychological well-being and happiness. I may feel concern and compassion and good will for others, but I am neither responsible for nor do I have the ability to create mental stability and happiness for others.
  • I have the right to change my mind. As a human being, nothing in my life is necessarily constant or rigid. My interests and needs may well change with the passage of time. The possibility of changing my mind is normal, healthy and conducive to self-growth. Others may try to manipulate my choice by asking that I admit error or by stating that I am irresponsible; it is nevertheless unnecessary for me to justify my decision
  • I have the right to say “I don’t know.”,  “I don’t understand” & “I don’t care.”
  • I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior.
  • I have the right to be independent of the good will of others before coping with them. It would be unrealistic for me to expect others to approve of all my actions, regardless of their merit. If I were to assume that I required others’ goodwill before being able to cope with them effectively, I would leave myself open to manipulation. It is unlikely that I require the goodwill and/or cooperation of others in order to survive. A relationship does not require 100 percent agreement.
  • I have the right to be illogical in making decisions. I sometimes employ logic as a reasoning process to assist me in making judgments. However, logic cannot predict what will happen in every situation. Logic is not much help in dealing with wants, motivations and feelings. Logic generally deals with “black or white,” “all or none” and “yes or no” issues. Logic and reasoning don’t always work well when dealing with the gray areas of the human condition.

Assertive communication means that a person respects the rights and feelings of other people but still is direct and honest, clarifying one’s needs to others. Some people are naturally assertive, but many of us are not and it is something that I think we all should learn because the skill of assertiveness helps us greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in our lives which helps us to avoid a remarkable source of stress.

 

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Body Hardly tells a Lie!

There is no specific advice on how to use your body language. What you do might be interpreted in several ways, depending on the setting and who you are talking to. You’ll probably want to use your body language differently when talking to your boss compared to when you talk to a girl/guy you’re interested in. These are some common interpretations of body language and often more effective ways to communicate with your body.

  • You are and everyone is the unique creation; neither a product of assembly line nor a sheep from the herd. Love your body language the way you feel most comfortable with it.
  • Don’t cross your arms or legs – You have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.
  • Use your both hands if you are conveying anything through hands.
  • Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.
  • While talking to a person, make your face, hands, legs and entire body directed to that person.
  • Never ever stare at head or much lower part below the neck, try to maintain parallel sight. Actually staring at head shows domination and staring at lower body parts shows servility.
  • Don’t be afraid to take up some space – Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.
  • Make your body posture friendly with the other person but always maintain a distance.
  • Relax your shoulders – When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.
  • Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.
  • Whatever you say your body must also agree with it.
  • Listen carefully and reply with the same tone of voice of the question being asked to you. It will show you have equal strength and power and the other person will regard you.
  • Try to use “we” and “you” rather using “I”.
  • You can touch your face and can rub your hair but don’t do if not needed.
  • Keep a good attitude – last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.

You can change your body language but as all new habits it takes a while. Especially things like keeping you head up might take time to correct if you have spent thousands of days looking at your feet. And if you try and change to many things at once it might become confusing and feel overwhelming.

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Stress arises from regret for the past and fear of the future.

Stress is a normal physical response to events that make you feel threatened or upset your balance in some way. When you sense danger – whether it’s real or imagined – the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response.

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life – giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

The stress response also helps you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.

But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life.

Causes of Stress

  • Threat

A perceived threat will lead a person to feel stressed. This can include physical threats, social threats, financial threat, and so on. In particular it will be worse when the person feels they have no response that can reduce the threat, as this affects the need for a sense of control. Generally speaking, any threat to needs is likely to lead to stress being experienced.

  • Fear

Threat can lead to fear, which again leads to stress. Fear leads to imagined outcomes, which are the real source of stress.

  • Uncertainty

When we are not certain, we are unable to predict, and hence feel we are not in control, and hence may feel fear or feel threatened by that which is causing the uncertainty.

  • Cognitive dissonance

When there is a gap between what we do and what we think, then we experience cognitive dissonance, which is felt as stress. Thus, if I think I am a nice person then do something that hurts someone else, I will experience dissonance and stress. Dissonance also occurs when we cannot meet our commitments. We believe we are honest and committed, but when circumstances prevent us from meeting our promises we are faced with the possibility of being perceived as dishonest or incapable (ie. a social threat).

  • Financial Causes

This is the number one source of stress these days. You and your family are not be able to do what you want to due to lack of money. Debts are piling up. Credit Card payments, pending mortgage installments, rising costs of education, mounting expenditure on health concerns. Financial matters top the list of stressors.

  • Workplace Stress

Stress at workplace is another of the main causes of stress. You may be worried about your next promotion. You might be facing the negative or bullying behavior of your boss. You might not be reaching your well-deserved career goals; you might be worried due to office politics. You might be stressed about some major change that is taking place in the organization, or, you might be under stress because of the prospect of losing your job.

  • Personal Relationships

Studies of children, attitude of relatives, arguments with spouse or children, change of place due to requirements of your job, illness of a family member, moving in of parents or moving out of elder children are all main causes of stress.

  • Health

Heart diseases, hypertension, problems with eye sight and sugar afflict many people becoming a major cause of life stress for them. Maintaining good health, reducing weight, increasing weight, being able to lead a healthy life-style: all of these and a few more are the main causes of stress due to health concerns.

  • Irritants

Besides the ones that I have mentioned above there are those annoyances and irritations that you encounter in your daily lives which go on to become biggest sources of stress for you. Problems in commuting to workplace, balance of work and family life, PTMs at children’s schools, workload, visit to doctor, not enough sleep, no time to relax, no time to discuss some nagging problems – who is not aware of these stresses and strains of our lives? You fight with them every day.

These main causes of stress are taking their toll on today’s urban man in the shape of stress related diseases that we mentioned at the top.

But, do you let all of these get on your nerve, getting you all stressed up and making you prone to all the stress-related diseases? – Or have you found ways to live a stress-free and full life despite many problems that beset you?

Develop resilience and never let stress get you down. It can be learnt. But, yes, you have to try.

To break yourself out of the daily stresses, start by practicing stress releasing exercises, and you will be on your way to freedom from the main causes of stress afflicting our present day lifestyle.

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Leaders aren’t born, they are made.

  • WHO ARE LEADERS?

Leaders are people who bring out the best in others by leading by example. They have a positive attitude, communicate well, get along with others, create positive work places, lead change, manage confrontation, have a sense of urgency, inspire others, mentor others, are not afraid of failure, have goals and WORK HARD. Leader get their authority from below (managers get their authority from above).  Many years of experience in Exploring have shown that good leadership is a result of the Careful application of 11 skills that any post leader or officer can learn to use. With practice, these Skills can become a part of the adult’s or youth officer’s leadership style and will prove helpful in Exploring and all other leadership situations.

  • UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE POST

A leader should understand his or her own needs and characteristics and of each participant of the group.  This understanding helps in planning the program and in getting things done. This understanding creates trust and builds confidence among group participants.

  • KNOWING AND USING THE RESOURCES OF THE GROUP

Resources include all those things necessary to do a job. Resources also include people, because people have knowledge and skills. Knowledge is what a person learns through familiarity or experience—what you know. Skill is the ability to use what you know. Attitude includes the desire to do something—motivation—and the belief that you can do it—confidence.  When the leader uses the knowledge and skills of group participants to get a job done, the participants gain experience and improve skills. They also develop a positive attitude toward using a skill.

  • COMMUNICATING

To improve your skills in getting information:

  • Pay attention and listen carefully.
  • Make notes and sketches.
  • Ask questions and repeat your understanding of what was said.

To  improve your skills in giving information:

  • Be sure others are listening before you speak.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Draw diagrams, if needed. Ask those receiving information to take notes.
  • Have the listeners repeat their understanding of what was said. Encourage questions.
  • PLANNING

Planning is an important part of everything we do in Exploring. The following is a simple process for planning:

  • Consider the task and objectives. What do you want to accomplish?
  • Consider the resources—equipment, knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  • Consider the alternatives. Brainstorm.
  • Reach a decision, evaluating each option.
  • Write the plan down and review it with the post.
  • Execute the plan.
  • Evaluate the plan.
  • CONTROLLING GROUP PERFORMANCE

A leader influences the performance of the group and individual participants through his or her actions. Why is control needed?

A group needs control as an engine needs a throttle— to keep it from running itself into the ground. A group works together best when everybody is headed in the same direction. If a plan is to be properly carried out, someone must lead the effort. Control is a function that the group assigns to the leader to get the job done. Control happens as a result of recognizing the difference between where the group is and where the group is going. The leader is responsible for developing a plan to help the group get to its goal. Setting the example is the most effective way of controlling the group.

  • EVALUATING

Evaluating helps measure the performance of a group in getting a job done and working together. It suggests ways in which the group can improve its performance. There are two basic categories of evaluation questions. After any event or activity, ask these questions:

Getting the job done—

  • Was the job done?
  • Was the job done right?
  • Was the job done on time?

Keeping the group together—

  • Were relationships between group participants helped or hurt?
  • Was participation equally distributed among group participants?
  • Did the group enjoy the activity?
  • Did the group handle conflicts well?
  • SETTING THE EXAMPLE

Setting the example is probably the most important leadership skill. It is the most effective way to show others the proper way to conduct themselves, and is even more effective than verbal communication. Without this skill, all the other skills will be useless. One way to think about setting the example is to imagine yourself as part of a group and think about how you would like your leader to act.

  • SHARING LEADERSHIP

While there are various ways to exercise leadership, the goal of Exploring leadership is exemplified in a quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu: “But of a good leader . . . When the work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ ” The Exploring leader wants to give post participants the skills he or she possesses, not to use those skills in ways that keep the post weak or dependent. He or she offers leadership opportunities to post participants and teaches them the skills they need.

  • COUNSELING

Counseling is important

  • To help people solve problems
  • To encourage or reassure
  • To help an Explorer reach his or her potential

Counseling can be effective when a person is

  • Undecided—he or she can’t make a decision
  • Confused—he or she doesn’t have enough information or has too much information
  • Locked in—he or she doesn’t know any alternatives
  • REPRESENTING THE GROUP

Where do you represent the post? Post leaders represent the post at post committee meetings, Advisors’ meetings, officers’ meetings, and planning conferences, and to the participating organization. The leader represents the post in two situations:

  • Without consultation—when he or she doesn’t have the opportunity to consult with post officers about a decision
  • With consultation—when he or she can meet with post officers about the issue
  • EFFECTIVE TEACHING

Effective teaching is a process to increase the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the group and its participants. The focus is on learning, not teaching. For teaching to be effective, learning must take place. The steps of effective teaching include

  • Choosing the learning objectives
  • Providing a discovery experience that helps the learner understand the need for the skill
  • Demonstrating or explaining the skill
  • Allowing the learner to practice the skill
  • Evaluating the process

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Public Speaking

The primary difference between a poor speech and a good one is in its delivery. The real challenge of public speaking is the actual presentation of the speech. Proper delivery techniques should be used to successfully communicate the substance of the speech to the audience. Nonverbal communication accounts for approximately 93% of the communication process. Essentially this means that how the presentation is delivered is more important than what is said. To present a speech effectively, the following skills should be developed: overcoming nerves, developing stage presence, refining vocal qualities, maximizing power of expression, making eye contact, and using presentation aids.

Preparing a Speech can be broadly divided in to two categories.

Preparation

  • Topic and Purpose – Make sure the topic you choose overlaps with their knowledge and interests with the interests and information needs of the audience. Presentations on general topics are more difficult to prepare and present than presentations on narrower topics. The immediate purpose of the Public speaking is to communicate your idea, thought & view point across to the audience. For this to happen, the speaker should be effective in persuading or informing the audience.
  • Audience Analysis – Speakers should also perform an “audience analysis.” Sometimes this involves gathering new information about an audience; sometimes it just requires taking account of information they already have as they plan and develop a presentation. Common aspects of audience analysis include: typical age, gender, group affiliations, education, type of employment, knowledge of the topic, attitudes about the speaker and the topic, and personal or professional interests that might be relevant to the topic.
  • Content – We think content should receive significant time and attention during preparation. After all, it’s the content that contains the message! Good public speaking presentations also include examples, illustrations and supporting stories that show how the information presented applies to the lives of the audience members. Most good speakers can tell a few jokes or give an enjoyable after-dinner speech. But the real work of public speaking is to inform or persuade. Therefore, it is important to present real information to their audiences, provide new insights for them, and convince them that the message rests on solid evidence. Simply testifying to the strength and sincerity of our own beliefs does not guarantee that anyone else will accept them.
  • Structure – The speaker must decide whether he or she is talking about steps in a process, problems and solutions, general categories of a broader topic, a historical sequence, case examples, and so on. Strong presentations are built around a logical structure that works for the topic and helps the audience follow the speech. The structure helps the speaker decide which main point to address first and the order of the points that follow. If a presentation is just a jumble of everything we know about a topic, it can confuse the audience. If people get confused, they assume it s the speaker s fault and tend to quit listening.
  • Developing the Introduction – The introduction is a vital part of the presentation because it sets the tone for what is to follow. A good introduction does the following:
  • Gets attention
  • Discloses the purpose
  • Identifies the speaker
  • Establishes Rapport
  • Gives an advance summary
  • Developing a Strong Conclusion – The conclusion should bring the presentation to closure. It should close the “loop” opened by the introduction. Where the introduction gives an advance notification of what will follow, the conclusion should review and reiterate the main points that have been covered. Where the introduction tells the audience how the presentation will benefit them, the conclusion should specifically tell them how and under what circumstances to apply the information provided. The conclusion should also touch again on the audience interests served by the material provided. This motivates them to remember and use the information.

Delivery

Most competitors work very hard on their speech mechanics, so delivery is generally strong. Thorough preparation and rehearsal, focused on good standards of performance, is the key

  • Notes vs. Memorization – Each speaker should do what he or she can do best. It’s certainly reasonable to memorize presentations when preparing for competition. Speakers want to be prepared so they don t forget anything important. But to memorize a speech, you have to write it out first. It turns out that we don t write the way we usually speak. In writing we use longer words, more formal phrasing and longer, more complex sentences. So, when speakers recite written material from memory it can sound a little stiff, as though they are reading from a book instead of speaking to an audience. Many good speakers use a keyword outline of their main points and any essential information like statistics and direct quotations. Since they aren’t following a script, they’re able to speak with personal pronouns, shorter words, shorter sentences and even sentence fragments. It just makes sense that this kind of speech is easier to remember and deliver effectively.
  • Wording – Good public speaking is only slightly more formal than ordinary conversational speech. Long words may sound important, but they don t necessarily communicate better. Some good rules to follow are:
  • don’t use any words you don t think your audience will understand,
  • don’t use any words you aren’t sure you know how to pronounce correctly,
  • don’t use any words you wouldn’t care to define in response to a judge’s question,
  • don t use any long words if you know short words that will do just as well,
  • never use two or more words when one word will do the job.
  • Movement – Many effective speakers stay at the podium, others prefer to move around. From my experience, I suggest that neither approach is automatically superior. There have been “movers” and winning “podium standers” speeches. The key is what works for the speaker. If the movement seems spontaneous and it emphasizes and supports the presentation, then it can be very effective. On the other hand, movement can also appear mechanical, detracting from the immediacy of a presentation. Also, if the movement seems random or nervous, it will only detract from the speech.
  • Gesture – Gestures and movements, like many other nonverbal communications, can either tremendously reinforce and clarify the speech, or distract the audience from the message. In order to eliminate nervous habits, the speaker must first identify any tendencies that may be exhibited. The best way to do this is by videotaping a practice delivery and analyzing the tape. It often helps to have someone else assist with the tape analysis since speakers tend to focus more on how they sound than on their mannerisms. Another benefit of movement is that it helps to engage the audience. They pay more attention, especially if the speaker is moving towards them. As speakers learn to read the audience’s feedback, they can use movement to respond. However, one of the most important factors of movement is that it looks natural. Movement that looks rehearsed takes away from the speech; unnatural movements do not help the speaker feel more at ease. Also, care should be taken to not go overboard. Pacing and overuse of gestures and movements distracts from the presentation.
  • Vocal Delivery – Some people are born with better voices than others. However, just about everyone can learn effective vocal delivery. The keys are comfort and variety. As speakers gain experience, they will discover the vocal pitch and volume that are most comfortable for them most of the time. Pitch means how high or low a voice sounds within its own range. Never try to “sound like an orator,” our natural voice will always sound better. Then, to add emphasis or help the audience interpret the meaning of the presentation, competitors should punctuate with changes in pitch, rate, and/or volume. Use a fairly conversational delivery for most of the presentation and save the extra volume and emphasis for when they are needed. Finally, effective delivery requires correct pronunciation. If a word is too hard to pronounce, choose a simpler word.
  • Interaction with Audience – The best presentations seem more like conversations than lectures or sermons. That’s because the best speakers know that audiences like to participate, to be involved. One way to do this is with the rhetorical question. (“What would life be like without agriculture?” or, “Who wants their children to live in a world without clean water?”) Speakers don’t ask these questions because they want the audience to answer out loud. Instead, the speaker wants them to answer in their own minds. When they do, they are participating in the presentation, even though they aren’t saying anything. Another way to involve the audience is to acknowledge their reactions and opinions (“When I say agriculture, I know that most of you are thinking ‘cows and tractors,’ or, “If you re like most people our age you ve never even thought about problems with the local landfill.”) These techniques allow a speaker to talk with an audience, as he or she would in a conversation, as opposed to merely talking in front of them.

Finally, smiling, making lots of eye contact and using personal pronouns such as you, we, us, and our help increase interaction and a sense of identification between speaker and audience.

Develop and deliver your presentation using these five key concepts and you’ll be a successful speaker.

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Improve your Pronunciation

The first thing you should know is that everyone can speak English with a clear pronunciation; everybody has a mouth, a tongue and lips. Everyone can speak every language because there is no difference between human; we are all born with the same mechanism.

Pronouncing every word correctly leads to poor pronunciation! Good pronunciation comes from stressing the right words – this is because English is a time-stressed language. English is considered a stressed language while many other languages are considered syllabic. In other languages, such as French or Italian, each syllable receives equal importance (there is stress, but each syllable has its own length). English pronunciation focuses on specific stressed words while quickly gliding over the other, non-stressed, words.

  • English environment

If you really want to improve your English pronunciation, you should be surrounded by English everyday, which means the best thing is to be in a place where we talk only in English. If you can’t have this situation, you can do it by listening to English every day, you can listen to English radio, or TV, you can also have some CDs in English.

  • Listen and don’t speak

When someone talks to you or to someone else in English you should not speak at the same time, you should listen, focus on his speaking, his English intonation, which words he stress, which words he doesn’t stress etc.
Never speak when listening to English, always focus on listening first, speaking will come later!

  • Learn English subconsciously

Never try to learn English in a short time, listen always to English and be sure that you will speak it one day, you don’t know exactly when but you will learn it.
Always listen to English and don’t try anything else, you will learn English subconsciously, believe me!

  • Speak slowly

Never try to speak fast, always try to speak English slowly at the first time, you will get faster subconsciously without doing anything, you should pronounce each word correctly, that’s the goal!

  • Practice English

Always practice your English, read out loud, speak English with your friends, practice English every day, this will help you to know the correct way to stress syllables.

  • Speak out loud

Never be quiet, always speak out loud, this helps you a lot if you are shy when you speak English.

  • Record yourself speaking English

And compare your speaking with a native speaker, you will see the mistakes you’ve done, you will improve your English pronunciation.

  • Have some English friends

You should have some friends with the same goal as you, friends trying to learn English, you should practice your English with them, tell them if you find something useful to improve your English or if you find a new method, they will also tell you, they help you when you get bored, it’s really one of the best things to improve your English.

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Improving Spoken English

English is considered one of most well-used language in the world. Ranking third most widely-spoken native language after Mandarin and Spanish, English is considered as the second language of most countries.

Having good spoken English gives one the advantage to go global. Improved spoken and written English grammar open doors to numerous possibilities especially in the workforce. Industries like outsourcing, the entertainment particularly in film, music and books, information technology, law and finance all require good spoken English as these require excellent interpersonal communication. Usage of proper grammar ensures proper communication and good form of communication gets your message across better.

People with improved English skills are more confident in conversing with others regardless of their stature. Good conversational English makes you feel relaxed and happy. It helps you convey your ideas and thoughts to more people. You earn respect when you speak good English. People are nevertheless amazed with those people who have a good grasp in spoken and written English.

  • Read all the English Materials that you can get your hands on.

There are a variety of English materials available to you. There are books and downloadable items on English for beginners readily found online. Take English classes if you must and gain friends who are also learning how to improve spoken English as well.

  • Use the language more often

Take every opportunity you can to talk to people using the language. Knowing the correct meaning of each English word in the vocabulary adds our desire to use it more. Try to speak English to anyone and urge them to respond to you in same language. Learning the English accent is fun especially if you’re in the company of your friends.

  • Make an effort to learn the English Grammar

Having the proper dictions and pronunciation may sound great for some but misuse of the English grammar can be a huge turn-off. There are online courses to teach you how to use the English grammar properly. Nothing beats flawless English conversations between friends!

  • Watch the television, listen to English music and start singing!

Some people learn their English accent through the television. Watch American television shows which depict typical English conversations and keep your ears peeled for their accent. Watch news and movies in English if you have the time. You can also start grooving and listening to English music. Start listening and singing pop music as it offers simpler use of words that is easier to understand. Singing helps you mimic the diction and it is good for your memory. It helps if you record yourself so you can pinpoint your mistakes along the way.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask and commit mistakes

Learning English is never easy. Get over your fear of making mistakes in the pronunciation and usage. Don’t be afraid to ask help on correct English word pronunciations.

It may get a bit frustrating at first but learning how to improve spoken English is one of the best things you can do to gain your self-confidence and improve your over-all personality.

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“Communication works for those who work at it”

Good communication skills are skills that facilitate people to communicate effectively with one another. Effectual communication engages the choice of the best communications channel, the technical know-how to use the channel, the presentation of information to the target audience, and the skill to understand responses received from others. Self development, interpersonal skills, mutual understanding, mutual cooperation and trust is also important to set a complete channel of most effective and winning communication skills.

There are mainly three types of communication skills, expressive skills, listening skills and skills for managing the overall process of communication. The basic fundamental of all these types of communication is emotional skills.
Expressive skills are required to convey message to others through words, facial expressions and body language. Listening skills are skills that are used to obtain messages or information from others. These help to clearly understand what a person feels and thinks about you or understand the other person closely. Skills for managing the overall process of communication help to recognize the required information and develop a strong hold on the existing rules of communication and interaction.

Importance of communication skills can never be ignored or neglected. These skills are the key to executing good management skills. With good management skills, you can have a team of members who together create an ambience of open communication, concise messages, probe for clarifications, recognize nonverbal signals, and mutual understanding. Good communication involves a set of complex skills.
Here are some tips to good communication skills :

  • Maintain eye contact with the audience: This is vital as it keeps all those present involved in the conversation. It keeps them interested and on the alert, during the course of the conversation.
  • Body awareness: One needs to be aware of all that their body is conveying to them, as well as others. For instance, if there is anxiety rising during the course of a conversation then one feels thirsty and there maybe a slight body tremor. At that point one needs to pause and let someone else speak. A few deep breaths and some water works as the magic portion at this point
  • Gestures and expressions: One needs to be aware of how to effectively use hand gestures and the way they need to posture their body to convey their messages effectively. Sometimes it may happen that they verbally convey something, but their gestures and facial expressions have another story to tell.
  • Convey one’s thoughts: It is important for one to courageously convey what they think. This is because when things are left unsaid, then what is being spoken is not as convincing as it should be. Then a lack of confidence develops.
  • Practice effective communication skills: One should practice speaking and listening skills as often as possible.

The way one communicates does not only have an impact on their own profession and personal relations, but also an effect on others. Those who do not have appropriate communication skills are usually ignored or simply kept at bay. Where are those with good communication skills are looked upon and well respected. After all a good listener and a good orator are popular in their groups – professional and personal.
When you take the time to acquire and hone good communication skills you open yourself up to better relationships, more career opportunities, and increased self-confidence. Moreover, you reach higher levels of mutual understanding and cooperation while successfully attaining your goals.

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