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Effective Verbal Communication
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Effective verbal communication is crucial to being a good presenter. But before you start thinking: "Ah well, that rules me out. I'm hopeless at public speaking". Well think again. Without realizing it, you're probably already very good at verbal communication and varying your language style to suit your audience.
effective verbal communication

Think of how you talk to your boss, and then  compare it with how you talk with a loved one. Or how you talk with an old aunt compared with how you chat with your friends in the pub. We're all effective communicators and can switch styles naturally to fit the situation. Yet something happens when we come to deliver a presentation. We seem to loose that natural ability. So what can be done to bring that natural and effective verbal communication style back into your presentations?

Practice reading aloud
You may be satisfied with the notes you've made about what you'll talk about during your presentation. But that doesn't mean you're ready to give the presentation, yet. You now must read aloud those notes so you can hear what they sound like. A tip I give in the related article Good Verbal Communication, is to record yourself speaking while going over your presentation notes. How does it sound? Does it sound too formal? Are any words or phrases awkward or stilted? When writing, we tend to use more formal vocabulary rules. You're aim when presenting is for a more natural, conversational style. While listening to your recording, have your presentation notes in front of you and edit and restyle them accordingly.

"Never use a long word where a short one will do"
This was the advice George Orwell gave about good writing, and it holds true for presenting. Using uncomplicated vocabulary where possible is not dumbing down; it's simply good and effective verbal communication. That doesn't mean to say you can't use technical language and terms. But use them appropriately based on your audience analysis, and not to impress. The bulk of your presentation should be in natural, conversational language.

Keep sentences short
Research shows that the average person's attention span is only a few minutes. Long rambling sentences turn your audience off. So keep your sentences short, sharp and to the point. If you find you're running out of breath before reaching the end of a sentence, split the sentence up.

Use active verbs
Using active verbs not only shortens sentences but also makes your talk less formal. So for example, don’t say:

“The training course was developed by John”

say

“John developed the training course”

See the difference?

Effective verbal communication is all about adapting your language style to the situation. For many, giving a presentation is an unnatural situation, which shows in an unnatural and awkward language style. By applying the tips above, you’ll see (and hear) vast improvements to your communication style and presentation performance.

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Good Verbal Communication
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