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7 Tips For Oral Communication

7 Tips For Oral Communication

Improve oral communication by maintaining eye contact, using pauses, adjusting volume, practicing active listening, controlling tone, and utilizing body language effectively. Employ open-ended questions, clarify points regularly, adapt language for clarity, and actively exchange feedback.

Think Before Speaking

The technique of “thinking before speaking” is vital for all forms of oral communication. You must learn to take a moment to structure your thoughts. By doing this, you not only make your words more accurate and relevant in meaning but also orient your audience in the right manner. You will also create a good impression of yourself. For this purpose, take these steps before any oral communication event takes place, whether it is a meeting, a presentation, or a casual conversation:

Outline your message

The most time you have to think is devoted to formulating the message. What is the single most important thing you want your audience to remember after you are done? Divide this point into three to five supports. Do not make a mistake and talk about something irrelevant. Make sure that nothing takes you away from the main message. Ask yourself what they will be mainly interested in and get in touch with them:

What questions can they ask me after this information

If it is a promotion for a new product, these could be the questions about its characteristics, how much it costs, what it offers better, or who is its main group of clients.

Use the right words

The words you pronounce can sometimes play against you. However, they can also create a positive effect if used correctly. Follow these simple tips:

  • You will often want to say, “Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions” . Instead, look more conclusive and simply say, “Please contact me.”

  • You can often unconsciously use filler words, such as “um,” “like,” “you know”. They may be a habit but they can also make you look unconfident. Make it a rule to never use any of them.

Taking into account your specifics

However, do not forget to take into account your personality or mood. If you are irritated, disappointed, or distracted by something, your words will give it away. In this case, do not speak at all. The rest of the people will always understand you on a subconscious level. As you stand in front of your audience, make a self-check. Ask yourself: Is this the right time for it? Why am I saying this? Should I be the one to be giving this information? Are my words constructive? If possible, try to practice in front of the other person and professionally evaluate your words.

Clear and Concise Communication

Being clear and concise is a core aspect of effective oral communication, allowing to simplify both talking and understanding speech in various contexts. Clarity and conciseness imply that your message is reasonably simplified, avoiding unnecessary words and straightforwardly formulated to meet the point. Consider the following guideline on how to ensure clear and concise oral communication.

Plan a core message

The simplest approach to being clear and concise is to outline your core message, on which you will base further statement. For example, if you have to make a brief update about a project, focus on its current status, the background, what to do next, and possible problems. Such a focus will allow you to stay within the chosen topic without wandering into unrelated aspects.

  • Bullet point the essentials: Make a list of three most significant aspects you need to mention: status, what happens next, problems at the moment.

Use simple language

Sometimes, intricate vocabulary may confuse your audience, especially if they are not well-versed in the discussed topic. Use simple, accessible words that any person can easily understand.

  • Choose accessible words: Prefer simpler words and ordinary synonyms. For instance, instead of saying “utilize,” say “use.”

Be direct

Saying the very essence at the beginning of a statement is a way to respectfully treat your audience’s time.

  • Avoid filler words: Start directly with the most important information, even if there is no background to it. For instance, if there is a problem with a vehicle, start directly by saying, “There is a problem.”

Limit points

When you have to make more than one point, limit them to a small and easy number according to the rule of three.

  • Rule of three: People can effectively memorize three points. If you have to disclose more, group them under three broader points.

Use the power of the pause

A pause can act as a comma in your oral statement, giving time for details to be memorized before continuing with the next portion of information.

  • Pause after key points: This method allows emphasizing and signaling that the given information should be memorized before continuing.

Practice brevity

The key point of expressing a clear, concise statement is that you can say it in brief without losing the essence. Therefore, practice a limited time to communicate your idea.

  • Set a time limit: In most cases, it will be necessary to communicate a message in less than one minute. Strip it down to essentials.

Master Your Pitch

Mastering the pitch of your voice is vital for efficient oral communication. The pitch and the tone play an essential role in how your words will be heard. In the case of a well-regulated pitch, your speech becomes more attractive and can have a great effect on the hearers’ emotions.

Ways to regulate the pitch of your voice

Perception of pitch . You should know that your voice can sound assured or unsure of yourself, exhilarated or calm according to what pitch you pronounce it. However, in accordance with research, a lower pitch often suggests strength and confidence. Moreover, a higher pitch can be identified as excitement or a call, although it may be less authoritative. If you want to know your natural pitch, recored the conversation and then note how your voice is pitched and how it alters with certain points or emotions.

Ways to stress the pitch

Often, it is effective to release the tension and sometimes even the pitch to indicate that by doing so, you are talking about something important and noteworthy.

You can learn how to use your pitch to emphasize certain points by doing the following:

  • Raise the pitch for a few tones when asking a question;

  • Go to a lower pitch at the end of your speech to sum up the argument.

Stress the modulation. For this exercise, repeat “Can you give me some sugar?” firstly with the lowest pitch you can reach or even whispering, and then with the highest pitch. It is better to start with modulating in two ways and then enrich the experience.

Modulation of pitch and its control

Modulation of the pitch may be mastered by various exercises for lowering and enhancing the pitch which often constitute singing scales.

  • Uncontrollable pitch. For this exercise, try to control the pitch when saying the word “Hello”. After becoming able to do it, increase the length of the phrase, trying to create a melody with high and low tones.

  • Controlling the pitch. Do the same exercise using the word “How do you do?”

Recording the pitch for further analysis . Listening to your recordings can help you understand how your pitch is valued by the others.

Review your recordings and analyze them. Try to remember at which points regularity is overturned, and pitch alterations can positively affect the overall effectiveness. Regular training is important, and it is better to employ your friends to analyze the results. Practicing the pitch should be done at least once a day. Use everyday conversations to try to alternate the pitch and remember that when speaking about keeping steady volumes, it is not recommended to shout.

Listen Carefully

Being a good listener is not about only hearing the words but also deciphering the messages, emotions, and intentions behind them. It is an essential skill in oral communication that helps to build relationships and facilitate clarity. The tips below will help one to hone their listening skills.

Focus Fully on the Speaker

First and foremost, it is crucial to focus all the attention on the speaker:

  • Maintain eye contact: It will not only show the speaker that one respects what they have to say but also help to process information better.

  • Minimize interruptions: Do not let the eagerness to give an answer prevent the speaker from completing their point . It is crucial to let the speaker speak without being disturbed.

Interpret Non-Verbal Language

One should remember that most of our communication is non-verbal. Pay attention to the background information conveyed by the speaker’s body language, facial expressions, and voice tone.

  • Notice body language: For example, crossed arms can be a sign that the speaker is cold or does not welcome the topic.

  • Listen for tone variations: It can tell the listener if the speaker is eager, happy, or angry, among other things, even if their words do not express these feelings directly.

Reflect and Clarify

To avoid misunderstandings and show the speaker that one is receptive, it is essential to reflect on what has been said and clarify unclear points.

  • Paraphrase the speaker’s message and say: “So, you mean that…”. It will show whether one has perceived the message correctly and give the speaker an opportunity to correct the mistakes.

  • Ask questions that encourage elaboration and engage in the conversation.

Practice Empathetic Listening

It is also essential to listen not only to the message but also to the feelings and point of view of the speaker. This is known as empathetic listening and helps to build strong and meaningful connections.

  • Use such formulations as: “I see …I can understand why you might feel…”.

  • Allow the speaker time to process and articulate the information.

Utilize Active Listening Techniques

Active listening implies not only paying attention but also having a dialogue with the speaker or the topic. It can manifest in verbal signs that the listener is processing the information .

  • Do not be afraid to respond with simple phrases to show that one pays attention: “I get that…”, “Please, go on…”.

  • Summarize the final points of the conversation .

Pay Attention to Nonverbal Communication Cues

Nonverbal communication is highly essential in expressing feelings and intentions beyond words. If you know how to recognize and use these unspoken cues, you will be able to increase the quality of your oral communication. Here is how to use them correctly.

Recognize common nonverbal signals

  • They can be different forms of facial expressions, body posture and gestures, level of eye contact, to mention a few.
  • Examples: ‘A smile indicates that a person is open and friendly, while a frown may signal disagreement or confusion’.
  • Posture: standing upright might signal self-confidence and attentiveness; whereas, slouching likely means a person is uninterested or not comfortable .

Mirror and match body language

  • Mirroring means that you subtly mimic the gestures and body language of another person. Such practice can be particularly helpful when it comes to building rapport.
  • Mirror gestures subtly: if the person you are speaking to leans forward, make sure to do the same to express interest . Otherwise, the person may feel uncomfortable .
  • Adapt your posture: match the general posture of the person you are speaking to. It will help you blend together and show mutual understanding .

Eye contact: the window to engagement

  • Always make sure to maintain the proper amount of eye contact with your main interlocutor. However, this amount can vary greatly depending on the country or culture. Here are some general patterns:
  • Eye contact should be between 50-70% of the time. It will allow you to keep the focus of the other person while not to become too intense .

Be aware of cultural variations

  • Nonverbal communication rules, apart from being paramount, can differ significantly between two given people of different cultures.
  • Examples: while in one culture certain grimaces can be seen as polite or positive, they can illustrate a negative open attitude in another culture ..layoutControlItem* Use nonverbal feedback to make a question or statement: for instance, nod your head up and down every now and then .

Consider the Audience Perspective

Understanding and considering the perspective of your audience is essential in all effective oral communication. Your goal isn’t just to deliver a message but to make sure that it gets received and understood as you intend it to be.

Know Your Audience

Before the fact of any communication, you must gather essential information about your audience. This information should include learners’ or listeners’ age, background, interests, and any prior knowledge or education concerning your subject.

Study demographic data: if you are going to talk at a conference, learn what the typical attendee’s age, profession, and education level are.

Survey your conference attendees: short, targeted surveys given to your audience before your presentation both provide you with vital information and make it easier to tailor your talk to your audience’s interests and knowledge.

Adapt Your Message

Having gathered this information about your audience, start adapting your message to their specific expectations and level of understanding. Simplify complicated information for beginners, and complicate simple ideas to suit experts.

Use the language: Don’t use technical jargon if you are not talking to specialists in your area.

Examples: make sure when you are using examples that you are using examples that are in line with your audience’s interests and experiences.

Engage

Without engagement, there can be no oral communication, as your talk is not reaching, not interfacing, not sticking inside your listeners’ brains. Ask questions, make jokes, and use their experience in your talk.

Ask a question that you will soon answer: since the question was asked, your audience will tend to think about your subject during their whole talk.

Tell jokes related to your audience’s experiences: for example, an accountant will find funny a tax or audit-related joke.

Solicit and Use Feedback

Finally, watch, solicit, and use feedback to understand whether your audience’s perspective was successfully considered. It also gives you time for any necessary real-time adaption. You will do better in your next oral communication next time as well.

Avoid Jargon and Confusing Phrases

When communicating orally, make sure you speak in an easily understood way. Attend to jargon and other confusing phrases , as your audience or those listening to you may not be well versed in the subject matter you discuss. This will help guarantee that your message is solemn and the listeners can understand it.

Identify Common Jargon

Every profession or group has a set of words that those involved in can immediately understand, while others do not know what it means. Before preparing your oral, you can identify such words.

Make a list of industry-specific terms: Think of a list of the most common words in your field with which you can substitute other words.

Pre-assess your speech for jargon: Before your oral, review your speech plan to ensure your discussion is not about specific words. If this is, give a clear definition of these words.

Use Simple Language

Your use of language does not cheapen your meaning but makes it easier for others to understand. The clarity of your words can greatly help your audience.

Choose direct words: Let’s say “use” instead of “utilize,” and “help” instead of “facilitate,” change your words.

Explain ideas in plain English: Avoid having to talk about complicated ideas. However, if you can’t, explain them using simple analogies.

Tailor to Your Audience

Information about the source will help you use the appropriate terms. This will help guarantee that your listeners hear and understand your message.

Information and its complexity: Use detailed or simplified concepts, depending on how your audiences are aware of them.

Provide context: If something is being mentioned for the first time, give a few supporting comments.

Practice Clarity in Your Message

When giving a message, it is not only the information but the words that matter. Speak at a reasonable speed so your audience cannot lose your thoughts.

Monitor your pace: Try not to speak habitually quickly, or too slow that your audience gets bored.

Pause before important parts: Use pauses that can help you reinforce your main points or grant your listeners time to speak.

Encourage Feedback

Pay attention to feedback, so your audience doesn’t think your words are too intricate. You can also focus on how to talk about this area in the future.

Ask for feedback from your audiences: After giving your oral, ask your audience if it was not clear what you were talking about, or if your language was complex.

Use your feedback: Improve your message and try not to repeat past mistakes in the next orals you deliver.

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