Verbal communication skills are necessary for many of us in order to do well – whether we are responsible for ensuring a great customer experience, motivating a team, persuading a customer, leading change, dealing with issues and difficult situations or delivering presentations.
The basic requirement in verbal communication is to be able to talk and be understood. However, beyond that we have to consider the underlying purpose of the communication. Very often we talk too much and with too little structure… or, in the case of many formal presentations with too much structure! Whatever you are doing, the way you use your verbal communication skills, sets the emotional tone and builds relationships that very often determines your success in the workplace.
In each case there is a real danger of speaking from our own perspective instead of from the listener’s. There are of course many situations that require clear verbal or spoken communication: speeches, presentations, interviews, meetings, workshops, tutorials, discussions…and many more. The potential pitfalls in verbal communication include:
- Talking too much.
- Talking too little.
- Not being able to communicate your ideas (to help the listener understand).
- Resorting to jargon.
- Not providing yourself or the listener with enough structure.
- Getting off track (and not being able to find your way back on track).
- Poor ‘bridging’ between a question and an answer.
- Failing to bring a subject to life.
- Not being able to give the listener the information they need.
Addressing the challenges
All of these challenges can be addressed with appropriate coaching and/or training. Sometimes we communicate formally, in a presentation which is why most companies offer professional presentations skills training (take a look at our course ‘Powerful Presentations’). But formal presentations account for only 10% of the time we spend communicating and trying to get our ideas across (according to HR specialists).
Find out more about our Powerful Presentations course here.
So what about the other 90%?
These are the occasions when our verbal communication is informal (across the desk, on the phone, in a meeting, handling unexpected questions from the press or public, the Q & A after a presentation or when your boss has called you in for an ad-hoc chat). These are the times when you can be caught on the spot! Build your confidence and skills with the unique ‘Think Before You Speak™ ‘ course. It teaches you how to:
- Speak spontaneously and coherently.
- Clarify, reframe and respond to questions.
- Cope with all the questions that put you on the spot!
- Anticipate challenges.
- Convey your ideas with clearly, concisely and confidently – even under pressure.