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Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughtful Selection: The First Thing Speaker Should Do During Preparation

Speaking is always very much critical point to have effective communication. An expert who have effective communication skill always need to have good command over speaking skill. Effective speaking skill will always help people to build an effective communication etween people through building rapport and exchanging feedbacks. You have to work hard to improve your speaking skill as to improve your effective communication skill. In this regard, i am here discussing the phase where you need to select what you are going to deliver through your speech.

The first important decision in making a selection of material is what you are going to leave out, not what you are going to put in. Talks are not for the transfer of a mass of information from one mind to others. That job is better done by paper. They are best used to give an overview of the subject, to create interest and enthusiasm. If you are already expert in a subject, you must now decide what the audience don’t need to know; if you have to work on a new subject, as soon as you have understood it, you will have to make decisions about what is not needed in the talk.

It is a mistake to try to pad the talk out with masses of information and detail, in the belief that the audience will be impressed by your knowledge. They won’t be—they will simply go to sleep. The amount of information which can be absorbed in one session when listening is strictly limited. The listening situation is quite different from sitting down with a book at a desk, and making notes. When listening, it is not possible to do more than gain an overall impression, and perhaps a handful of facts. Hard, dense packed information, cannot be communicated in talks; it is a mistake to try.

This fact is common experience—think how many actual details you remember from the last technical talk you heard—but it is encouraging to find it supported by research. Erskine and O’Morchoe did an experiment, in which they taught one class only essential principles with little detail, and then compared their knowledge with another class which had been given a lot of details. The first class did better. Their conclusion was that too much material causes interference, and the audience remember less, not more.

Too much detail, then, is counter-productive in a talk (to use one of the familiar buzz-words of the 1970s). Factual information can only be used as illustration, or example, never as the substance of the talk. A verbal presentation communicates attitudes, enthusiasms, impressions, not facts. To try to battle against this natural situation will only alienate the audience, and reduce, not increase, the amount of information that is remembered. If you use cleverly designed visual aids, you may be able to incorporate a few figures and hard facts. But you certainly cannot expect the talk to be the source of reference for this information.

If you need to transfer a mass of solid figures, it is best to give a handout, with the figures tabulated for reference. You can then refer to a sample selection of the figures during the presentation, to illustrate the general point. But the aim of the talk should not be to learn detail. If you are talking on a technical subject, the audience should leave the talk with a desire to go further into the subject, or an impression of the range of complexity the subject embraces. They should not, and cannot, expect to walk out of the room with a mass of figures, facts, and details securely pinned inside their heads. Talks don’t do this. Detailed learning has to be done with paper at a desk; talks are for interest and general information, not the transfer of a dense mass of information.

The first task, then, is to select the material, and reduce the bulk of detail to manageable proportions. Selection, however, requires an aim, and this aim must be specific, not vague. It is impossible to make decisions about whether to reject, or leave in, a particular fact unless there is a very definite image of the audience and its aims in mind. So you must always select your material not for a general talk on the subject, but for a specific speaking task: for this audience, this task, and this amount of time. One consequence of this rule is that each talk you give must be considered separately. A general purpose talk will probably result in a vague presentation which will satisfy none of its audiences.

Another factor which must be considered when selecting information is the unloading rate, and the digestibility of what you are saying. People who are experts in a subject often fail to remember that it has taken them many years to get their minds around it all, and that what seems second nature to them now, may be confusing and alarming to a newcomer. The rate at which new information is offered is an important factor in the ability of the mind to absorb it. This factor, often not even considered, is so important that it is worth spending a little time on it.

Typically, experts assume the audience can absorb information faster than they actually can. I have rarely seen an expert making his subject too simple. So it is fairly safe to assume that you must introduce new ideas more slowly than you think necessary, and never more quickly. There are many techniques available to modify the rate at which new information is provided. You can, for example, modify the rate by repetition, example and anecdote. Simply repeating the same information in different words effectively halves the unloading rate. You can also open up more breathing space between ideas by adding new examples, which illustrate the same point, and you can provide a rest, while focusing on the same point, by including some amusing anecdote which relates to it.

One technique to ease the shock of new information is like getting into cold water by taking a wild plunge. It works by giving the audience a full list of the topics and key words at the beginning of the talk. This is the sudden plunge, and they will then need reassuring that it is not as frightening as it sounds. You can then go back to the beginning, and start again with the first point, slowly making it clear. It is worth spending rather longer on the first point, giving lots of examples and supporting information, because if the audience can be made to understand the first point, they will approach the rest with more confidence. By shocking the audience with their inability to comprehend the whole subject, and then proving to them that they can, after all, be brought to understand the first point they come to, you will boost their confidence in their ability to learn.

Mix old and new Material in Your Speech

Another way of reducing the unloading rate is to ensure that there is a mixture of old and new information. Some speakers seem to think that they must retail only new facts, and can ignore the old facts. This is not so. The old facts are the foundations on which the new facts must be built. These foundations will be buried under all the other daily information the audience must cope with. You must uncover, bring to light, or remind the audience of what they already know before adding new information. It also controls the overall unloading rate. A mixture of familiar facts amongst the new reduces the total strain on memory and comprehension. It gives the audience a satisfying feeling of competence. The feeling of smugness, in the unspoken reaction ‘we know that’, will transfer to a feeling of interest and respect if it is followed by the reaction, ‘but we didn’t know that’. If, just when the feeling is becoming, ‘we can’t cope with all this’, you introduce more familiar material, the audience will feel themselves on firm ground again. By alternating familiar and strange, new and old, the audience’s comprehension is kept flexible and alert.

The technique of mixing familiar and new is supported by theorists of communication. Umberto Eco makes a technical point about the communication of information, which confirms this important principle in selecting information. The content of a presentation cannot be all new; some of it must be familiar, even repetitious, in order to orientate, and rest, the listener’s mind. Eco insists that there must be:

communication dialectic between probability and improbability (that is between the obvious and the new—and ultimately, in a more technical phraseology, between meaning and information). A high rate of improbability runs the risk of not being received, and therefore the message must be tempered in small degree with conventionalities, commonplaces, and must be reiterated…One of the problems in message-coding is the balance between the obvious and the new. How few conventionalities are necessary to communicate a piece of information (as a new thing?).

To achieve this controlled unloading rate, with a mixture of familiar and new information, you must carefully select the examples and analogies. Of course, it is not possible to give a formula for the exact unloading rate appropriate for a particular audience, or to provide an infallible rule so your presentation will be just right. But this doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have thought about the problem, and are aware that you must watch the rate at which you put out new ideas.

Judging the selection of material is more a matter of conscious awareness, than of perfect correctness. Thinking is what matters; don’t blunder on oblivious. Audiences are flexible, subjects have many different ways in which they can be presented, there is usually a willingness to learn in the audience, and an ability to figure it out for themselves. The only rules are to remain aware of audience reaction as you talk, and be prepared to modify what you are saying if blank incomprehension, or glazed stares of boredom, meet what you have said so far.

Vivid and entertaining examples are often the best way to engage an audience’s attention, and to ease the passage of new information. But this does not mean that you should load example after example onto an already satiated audience. Avoid indiscriminate use of all the examples you can think of; choose only the best ones. The examples and analogies you do use must be brief, familiar and concrete. It is often difficult to think of good examples, and one writer on the subject, Donald Bligh, admits that, ‘Personally I find that I can never think of good examples at the time of lecturing. They therefore have to be prepared in advance. In fact it is quite a good idea to collect examples at all times.’ Following the second principle of this chapter, it is a good plan to have more examples than you need, and to make a selection as you talk, depending on which type of examples seems to strike a sympathetic chord, and how much relaxation, or increase, of the unloading rate the situation requires.

There is no doubt that the best way to make the talk memorable is to use materials which are specially relevant to the audience, dramatic, or simply funny. But this can go too far. One speaker, a most distinguished man in his own field, tried to make his lectures memorable in an unusual way. Gray Walter, the famous neurologist, ‘asserted that essential ingredients of a successful lecture were humour, horror and sex. To provide for this alleged desire for sensation, in an erudite lecture on ‘Brain mechanisms and learning’ he used coloured backgrounds for tabulated data in which such outlines as bathing beauties were engraved in white.’ The problem with such tactics is that the audience can sense when they are being pandered to, and soon resent it.

To set out to entertain before anything else will not only fail to communicate the necessary information, it will probably lose the respect of the audience as well. The ideal, as in everything to do with speaking, is to provide as much change and variety as possible. So mix theory with anecdotes; and mix humour with serious points. If you have just given a dry, detailed and strenuous exposition, lighten the atmosphere with an amusing story. And if you have just told a long anecdote, take the opportunity to emphasize a complex theoretical point immediately afterwards. In this way the audience is kept alert by the ever changing demands being made on their attention.

Preparation Is Very Important for Any Speaker

Communication effectively is an art. Effective communication required a people to share his/her thoughts with audience. Speaking is the way of sharing their thoughts. So effective speaking skill is very important to achieve success in communication. And to have such success in communication, it is required that people need to develop their communication skill. Here, i will discuss about the preparation part of speaking which is very important to have success in communication.

If I were asked to give a one word explanation of the sort of confident, organized presentation we all envy, it would be preparation. The confidence comes from the speaker’s knowledge that he or she has everything ready, has thought through the whole subject, and has enough of the right material to support the presentation. The sense of organization comes from the careful arrangements and selection of what is said, so that all the points are part of a logical order. Neither of these virtues are available to the speaker who bets on his luck (or cheek) and just talks off the cuff. Good speakers are prepared.

How do you achieve this? It is as much to do with the audience’s abilities as the speaker’s, and it is about the logic of organization, as much as the psychology of presentation. But the aim of all the advice is the same—that secure and admirable sense of being well prepared. There are two simple pieces of advice which start this process of preparation in the right way. Firstly, ask yourself what the aim of the talk is, rather than what the subject of the talk is. The first is much more specific than the second. If you plan to talk about a particular subject, you may feel the need to mention everything there is to know about that subject. But if the aim of the talk is to arouse the audience’s enthusiasm for a research project on that topic, a brief sketch of the more exciting possibilities would be more relevant. A complete catalogue of every aspect will merely bore them, and will achieve exactly the opposite result.

There are many cases where the aim may be rather different from the subject. The advantage of thinking about the aim is also that thenthe decisions include the audience, and the audience’s perceptions and needs, not just the speaker’s ideas and knowledge. In practice, a very common mistake is to prepare a presentation as a speech on, for example, ‘Heavy water reactors’, without thinking whether the audience is interested in technical details or scare stories. If the aim is to reassure a local population that the heavy water reactor being built next to them is perfectly safe, then a lot of technical details about the design will probably scare them witless! Think of all your decisions when preparing the talk in terms of what you want the talk to achieve, and not in terms of what the bare topic of the talk is.

The second piece of simple advice is to prepare more material than you need. The idea of preparing ‘just the right amount’ is foolish. Until you start talking, you won’t really know how much material you are going to get through, And if you insist on battling on to the bitter end of what you have prepared, you will almost certainly get the timing wrong, as well as turning the talk into a marathon. Talking should never be a dutiful forced march, it should always be an exploration, a discussion, a fascinating glimpse of the subject. It is an opportunity to learn about something new, which has to stop when the allotted time runs out. The best talks all end too soon, and the sense of having more to say, but having no more time, is the most satisfactory impression to leave.

The talk is also more interesting if the audience feel you are stepping smartly through the topic, summarizing far deeper knowledge and just mentioning the more interesting aspects. This impression is created if the speaker has more material than he needs at his finger tips; the need to summarize and curtail while he or she talks keeps up the level of tension, interest, and expectation. An audience should never come out of a talk feeling that the subject, like them, is exhausted. They should always be fired, rather than quenched. This happens best, if you prepare more material than you need. The habit of having extra material also allows you flexibility in timing when giving the talk, and helps you to answer questions at the end.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Etiquette's of E-mail Writing

There are some basic ground rules to observe for business e-mail. Above all, be courteous. Remember that the recipient of your message is probably extremely busy. Be respectful, but don’t sound cloying. Put simply, show consideration for the person receiving the message.

If you are writing as a representative of your firm, especially to someone you don’t know, it’s best to err on the side of a more formal tone. This includes spelling out words and limiting your use of abbreviations.

Although you should aim for precision in all your communications, language is often clipped, capitalization is sometimes neglected, and abbreviations may pop up in informal e-mails. For example, many e-mail users dispense with capitalization in e-mails to recipients they know well, since writing in lowercase is much faster and easier—especially when using a handheld device such as a Treo or a BlackBerry.

Internet shorthand—using acronyms or abbreviations for common phrases, such as “TNT” for “till next time,” “TTYL” for “talk to you later,” or “SYS” for “see you soon”—is increasingly finding its way into e-mail business communication. But this abbreviated form of writing may be too casual and even playful for some work environments, so make sure that Internet shorthand is accepted in your organization before you use it.

Use abbreviations or acronyms only in your e-mail exchanges with coworkers or others who understand the lingo, and be sure you know what the terms you use stand for. Some might be a substitute for profane language, and some recipients may find them offensive.

When responding to several people at once, be careful about using the “Reply to all” option and inadvertently passing on other people’s e-mail addresses. Few things do worse damage to your business reputation than being careless with someone’s personal information.

Finally, don’t send a time-sensitive e-mail too late in the business day for people to respond to it, or so that you can put off discussing an important matter. Also, avoid sending messages when you know recipients may not have access to their accounts or will be unable to respond in a timely fashion. Your e-mail is going to be received in a much better spirit if it doesn’t seem strategically timed to the person’s disadvantage.

Dos and Don'ts during writing Business Emails:

Set an example for your employees and peers by practicing good e-mail etiquette (or “netiquette”).
  • Do reply promptly to e-mails.
  • Do be polite, but not verbose— make your point quickly.
  • Don’t respond to chain letters.
  • Don’t type in capital letters. It’s the e-mail equivalent of SHOUTING.
  • Don’t include too many hyperlinks or elaborate formatting.
  • Do be selective when sending replies to all recipients.
  • Do use the blind carbon copy (bcc) function for an e-mail with a large distribution list to avoid publishing all the recipients’ addresses.
  • Do close with an e-mail signature.
  • Do not respond to a recipient in an e-mail on which you’ve been blind-copied.

7 Step Approach to Communicate with Angry People

The key then to defusing these types of situations and handling them more confidently is as follows:

  • get the right inner voice
  • use the right body language
  • apply critical listening
  • summarize what the other person has said to check that you have properly understood the situation. (This also reassures them that you have actually listened to them)
  • apologize if necessary and empathize
  • ask open questions
  • tell them what you are going to do to resolve the problem
And finally do it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Communication with Angry People

It is never very easy communicating with angry people and when we are faced with anger we often go on the defensive, understandably so because it feels like we are being attacked, verbally! Our instinct is to either lash out (fight back) or run away (flight). Sometimes flight is the best option, distancing yourself before saying something you might regret later. Or if the angry person is coming at you with a knife, for example, then running away is decidedly the best option!

Getting angry with someone who is angry with you will only escalate the situation so it is best if you can deal with this as calmly and as assertively as possible.

Your inner voice is critical here. Instead of thinking ‘How dare this person speak to me like this’, which will only make you aggressive towards them, it is far better to tell yourself to keep calm, that you can handle it.

My own response to anger is to depersonalize it by thinking, ‘Why is this person behaving like this? There must be a reason.’ You need to keep an open mind as to what is causing that anger, trying to see it from the other person’s viewpoint.

When someone is angry it is not usually you they are angry with but the situation. Something has happened to make them angry. You need to deal with it before it escalates into a personal attack.

Get the right body language and inner voice

Body language is critical here. Keep your posture as upright and open as possible, telling yourself, ‘I can handle this, I can deal with this, I can keep calm.’ Take slow breaths. Keep your eye contact on the other person and lean towards them. This takes courage. Mirror the other person’s body language if you can but obviously if they are waving a fist at you it is not advisable to mirror this! What I mean is that if they are standing you should stand too, if they are sitting then sit down.

What to do next

Once you have got your inner voice under control and your body language right, listen hard to what they are saying. When people are angry they do not always express themselves clearly, in fact they rarely do. They let off steam. Allow them to do this and don’t interrupt them. Let them have their say. You can never reason with someone until they have worked their anger out. When they have said what they needed to say then you can start asking them questions but before you do this summarize what they have said, stating the position as they see it. This enables you to check that you have fully understood the situation and shows them that you have listened. Keep your voice assertive, i.e. steady and controlled, neither shouting nor mumbling.

For example:

‘So what you’re saying, Mr. Smith, is that we promised to come and see you on Thursday and after waiting in all day, no one turned up?’

‘Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I had to take a whole day off work.’

Empathize if you need to and apologize if you or your organization is in the wrong.

‘I do apologize Mr. Smith. I recognize how irritating and inconvenient that must have been for you. Now, let me take some details and sort this out for you. What is the order number?’

Here I have apologized and empathized with him (well who wouldn’t?) and then asked him an open question to get the facts. By this time hopefully Mr. Smith is calming down.

Sometimes you can also de-escalate this situation by asking the angry person what action they would like you to take. This puts the initiative (and the solution) firmly back with them, sometimes taking them by surprise and catching them off guard.

Compliant- The Last Personality Trait Group

The Type D (compliant) likes to comply with the rules and regulations. This means that they are usually very systematic, precise, hyperefficient and bureaucratic. These people love facts and detail, the more the better.

They can often be shy and self-effacing unless they have a high degree of B in their personality. Equally they could need a great deal of assurance depending on their level of intellect. Their compliant nature means they can often be easily agreeing which makes it difficult for you to know exactly what they are really feeling and thinking. They need to feel completely sure of their position and of others’ expectations.

They can give the impression of coldness and disinterest and will use rules, authority and logical argument to influence the actions of others. They have a tendency to correct errors and inaccuracies that others might consider insignificant.

Managing a Compliant People

If you are managing a Type D then they like long-term goals fully negotiated. They like harmony and tend to avoid direct confrontation. They need a detailed brief and explanation of reasons before doing anything. They can often prevaricate and do not like taking risks. They are concerned with quality, and do not want to accept inferior work regardless of timescales so you will need to allow plenty of time for them to do things. You will also need to delegate very specifically. They can be surprisingly ambitious with lofty goals but an innate lack of assertiveness and unwillingness to become involved in confrontational situations can make it difficult for them to achieve their goals.

They are punctual and like punctuality in others. Coupled with a high intellect, these people are attracted to jobs like systems analysts, researchers, medical consultants, scientists.

Their influencing style is based on logic and facts often quoting authorities and rules and regulations. Their weakness can be rigidity and nitpicking.

Relating to a Compliant People

You will need to give them plenty of time to make up their mind but gently direct them. Be straightforward in your approach, stick to the business in hand and build credibility by listing the pros and cons to any suggestions you make. Reassure them that there won’t be any surprises. Be realistic and accurate and provide solid, tangible, practical evidence. They need time to make any decisions.

Recognising a Compliant People

With this personality type you may get lowered eye contact and fidgeting mannerisms. There will be no dominant body language, in fact the body language is much more likely to be submissive. The handshake can be perfunctory and not terribly firm. Compliant individuals can often speak quietly and can be vague. Again, as with our Type C personality the Type D will enjoy complex hobbies requiring patience and detail. There are, of course, many more complexities of personalities than I have given you here but I hope the above goes some way in helping you to understand that we are all different and because we are we need to accept that different approaches work with different people. Being aware of the different personalities, reading the body language and keeping an open mind so that you try and understand where the other person is coming from can all combine to help you relate to other people more effectively, and, hopefully, give you the ability to communicate with them more confidently.

Measured- Third Group of Personality Traits

The Type C is measured and far more logical and analytical than either our A or our B personality. They are steady, often security minded and don’t like a lot of change. They can be suspicious and sceptical of new ideas and it will take some time to persuade them.

They are consistent, caring and patient. They often make good nurses particularly if their C personality is combined with the people skills of a B Personality. They don’t like taking risks and will only do so if they have weighed up all the pro’s and con’s. They are great listmakers!

Many engineers fall into this category, as they are attracted to the occupation by its analytical, methodical approach. Lawyers, accountants and professional buyers may also fall into this personality type.

Because of their cautious nature Type C’s can have a tendency to procrastinate and over-plan. They are generally warm hearted but when aggressive can be very stubborn and intransient.

Their influencing style is based on logic and facts. Fairness is paramount to a Type C personality.

Managing a Measured Personality People

If you are managing a Type C personality then it is best to set long-term goals with careful and periodic reviews. The Type C needs to be told what you want; they prefer to rely on more assertive people to take the lead.

When introducing change it is best to do it in stages, introducing an element of trial and give them time to adapt. Explain and delegate with detail. Once embarked on a task the C will want to concentrate on it, and doesn’t like interruptions and distractions, or changing the goalposts half way along. They work slowly and thoroughly. For this person to communicate more confidently they need to feel they have your support and encouragement. In informal or antagonistic situations they could clam up.

Relating to a Measured People

In order to communicate more effectively with a Type C personality you should try winning them over with a logical reasoned approach rather than appealing to ideals which would succeed with our Type B or vanity or ego which would succeed with our Type A. Once you have won them over, or got a commitment from them, they are often very loyal and reliable. You need to take time to build relationships with them, giving them time to explore their real feelings.

Your open questions are vital here. These are people who will simply give you a one-word answer if you ask a closed question. They won’t help you out like the Type B who could talk until the cows come home.

You will need to be sincere and show a genuine interest in them. Take time to find areas of common ground. Be honest and open and patiently draw them out in a non-threatening manner. Slow down, move casually and informally. Provide lots of assurances and give clear specific solutions with maximum guarantees. Give them the detail. If you don’t, they will ask for it. You can’t fob them off. Don’t rush them – they don’t like it.

For a Type A this can be very hard to deal with but if you want to communicate more effectively with someone who is a Type C then you must make this effort. Equally if you are a Type C communicating with a Type A then learn to speed up, prepare what you have to away from any meeting and when in the meeting be as direct as you can. I had a good example of this when running one of my courses. The headteacher of a school who was a Type A personality told me that he was having difficulty getting on with his deputy head. The deputy headteacher told me that she was having difficulty getting on with her headteacher. It was apparent to me that she was a Type C personality. She liked detail and he didn’t. I told her that for her next meeting with him she should prepare as thoroughly as she could outside the meeting and that when she went into the meeting she should give the headteacher short sharp answers and only the information he required, leaving out detailed explanations. This she did and reported back to me with the result that, after the meeting her headteacher said, ‘That was the best meeting we’ve had.’ He felt it was a good meeting because she had communicated with him in the style he liked, understood and could respond to.

Whereas our Type B is optimistic and enthusiastic our Type C is pessimistic and cautious. This can cause frustration between the two different personality types but equally the two can complement one another and work and live very well together if they recognize their individual personalities and strengths. Type B can encourage Type C to ‘lighten up’ and take risks and a Type C can reign a Type B back in when he or she goes ‘over the top’! Two Type C’s in a relationship will also work well. It might not be fiery but it could be a long, loyal and comfortable relationship.

Recognising a Measured personality

They are not motivated by status so the designer accessories, big cars etc. will be missing. In addition, there will be no dominant body language; the handshake can be firm or weak. Their dead giveaway though is their facial expression and body language. The Type C will be looking at you rather sceptically. They will sit well back in their chair with their arms folded, not necessarily with hostility, but they will reserve judgment on you and what you are saying until they have weighed you up and decided whether or not they like you.

Their hobbies will be those that require more detail and patience – perhaps fishing, cross stitch, cake decorating.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Do You Posses Social Personality Traits in Yourself?

Nature of Social Personality Traits People

The Type B (Social) likes people and likes to be liked. They find it much easier than any of the other personality types to mirror and match another person’s body language because they are more attuned to people needs and moods. They do it rather naturally because they want people to like them.

They are adaptable, flexible and participative. They have high energy levels and are articulate, confident and cooperative. They are enthusiastic, embracing and come up with lots of ideas and they are not afraid of change, in fact they thrive on it.

They are usually highly persuasive individuals who manage in a democratic style but find it hard to deal with confrontation. Because of their desire to please they can often change their mind to suit the person or situation, so can appear fickle and manipulative to some people.

Their influencing style is that of the friendly helper showing concern, expressing friendliness and warmth. They try to influence by appealing to others’ emotions. Their optimism is usually a major influencing factor but they may be gullible and impractical.

Managing a Social Personal:

If you are managing a Type B individual then you will need to give them short to medium-term goals and a consistent management approach. They thrive on variety and like lots of things to do and to be involved with people. If they are not working or involved in people then they will become demotivated and unhappy. Continued rejection and disapproval will also demotivate them. They need praise and approval. They find regulations restrictive and like to work in an environment where they are allowed freedom to use their initiative. Because of their high levels of energy and enthusiasm they can sometimes come across as being overbearing. Lack of concentration at times and a tendency to disregard rules means careful management.

Relating to Social Personals:

You need to spend time building solid relationships with this person rather than simply issuing instructions. Leave plenty of time for socialising and take time to socialize at the beginning of an interview.

Appeal to their enthusiasm and their vision of things but be careful if you need to rein them in as you can dampen their enthusiasm and hurt them.

Identifying People with Social Traits:

You may still get the firm handshake but with this person you will have less dominant body language. Status is as important to the Type B as it is to the Type A so you could get the big car and the designer accessories but the essential difference between these two types of personalities is that the Type B will spend more time over the pleasantries, making you feel comfortable. They will not be so direct and forthright as the Type A. They will quickly participate in any meeting, throwing in ideas. They will be friendly, talkative and smile at you. Indeed you may have trouble shutting them up!

They enjoy team working and so their hobbies will often be people and team related, for example, football, netball and socializing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Know Better The Characteristics of People With Dominance Personality Traits

Nature of Dominant People:

Dominance personalities have dominance and superiority in their make up. This makes them rather impatient individuals. They are very direct people who ‘speak as they find’ and ‘don’t suffer fools gladly’. They are confident decision makers (although these may not always be the right decisions) but there is no pussy-footing around with these types. They are extremely time conscious and find it hard to relax. They are always doing something and even on holiday, if they take one, will want to be using the time ‘wisely’. They can be rather intolerant of others who are slower than them. They manage or lead in an authoritative and often autocratic style, have a high degree of energy, and like getting things done. They are good at ideas, and at problem solving. They often enjoy going into troubled organizations to turn them around. They also often tend to be entrepreneurs, liking start up situations, being natural risk takers. They quickly get bored with the detail and are starters rather than finishers. When they get bored they will want to move on to a new challenge. Generally speaking they are high achievers and quite driven individuals pushing themselves onwards and upwards. They can take a high degree of stress, more in fact than other types, but there is a danger here in that they might not know when to take the foot off the gas. Because they drive themselves and find it difficult to relax they are candidates for burn-out and are prone to high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Type A personalities (Dominant) do not have a high need to be liked: ‘If you don’t like me then that’s your look out’, can be their response. Or you may hear phrases like, ‘You have to be tough to do this job.’ ‘You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’, ‘Getting paid to make tough decisions is what I’m here for’. Their influencing style is that of a tough battler, pressing for results, giving orders, issuing challenges, sometimes threats even. They are enterprising and forceful but can give the impression of being dictatorial and arrogant.

Managing a Dominant personality People:

If you are managing someone who is Type A then ideally you should give them short-term goals, and projects that give them a high degree of recognition and status. Type As thrive on praise – often public, which is why many of them enter public life.

You need to ensure they have the opportunity to develop new skills and interest. Type As will often chase excitement and be thrill seeking. They don’t like to depend on others and are in fact highly independent.

They are motivated by status, often favouring the status symbols, big and powerful cars, nice house, designer clothes. But status positions will also motivate them. They are competitive but not in a team way, competing against themselves and others to be better, faster, more successful.

They like to be in control and to feel that they have control over their lives.

Relating to a Type A personality:

Two Type A’s living together or married will find it very difficult. Because relationships are about compromise, two equally dominant individuals will find it hard to give in to the other. This will also happen within an organization if you have two Type A’s vying for power.

When you talk to someone who is a Type A try and speed up the way you talk, be direct, get straight to the point and ensure that your handshake is firm and your body language positive. Don’t go into too much detail. For example, don’t go through a proposal step by step or they will quickly get bored and irritated and cut you short. Be clear, specific, brief and to the point. Use time efficiently and stick to the matter in hand.

Recognizing the People with Dominant Personality

From the description above you may already have a good idea of how to recognize a Dominant Type A personality. They will use dominant body language for a start

Their speech will be direct. They will not take time for social chitchat but will want to get right to the point. They will make flat assertions like ‘That’s rubbish.’ They will also use a lot of ‘I’ statements and be ready to give you the benefit of their wisdom and provide advice on what you should do. Put a Type A in a group and you will quickly see them take control and lead that group.

If you were to ask them what sport they liked, or what their hobbies are, you will find that they enjoy single competitive sports rather than team games. Often Type A enjoys squash, golf, athletics and sometimes horseriding as handling an animal gives them a sense of control. They are unlikely to enjoy detailed pastimes.

The Best Way to Have Success in Communication- Getting on Others Wavelength

The more you have in common with someone the easier it is to get along with them.

We are more easily influenced by those we like hence the saying, ‘people buy people’, as any salesperson worth his salt should know. If we like someone we are more inclined to buy from them and to cooperate with them.

Conflict usually results from differences or perceived differences between people. So enhancing this likeability factor can reduce conflict. The more we blend with the other person the less conflict there will be.

Blending with the other person can maximize similarities and minimize conflict.

We can do this by mirroring their body language, not mimicking it but gently matching it. We do this naturally when we are with friends. Just watch people in a café, restaurant or at a bar together and see how similar their body language is, or if they are not hitting it off how distanced and different it becomes.

So when you find yourself in conflict with someone, or disliking them, stop and ask yourself why this person is behaving in the manner they are? Even if you don’t fully understand their reasons, or find them difficult to understand, this will at least prevent you from getting overemotional. Also remember that you can’t change another person so it is no good thinking, ‘I wish they would be more reasonable or compassionate, or understanding, or less hostile.’ Wishing won’t make it so.

Personality traits

So how can we get on someone’s wavelength, even those whom we find it difficult to relate to? I always say to people, ‘You think you‘re normal, but what is normal?’ Normal is different to each and every one of us. We see the world through our own eyes, we think everyone should behave, act and be like us. Well of course they don’t and they’re not like us. We are all different. We all have different personalities and understanding this and recognising this can help us to adapt our approach to another person and get on their wavelength.

In 1926 William Marston came up with a model of Personality Types that is still used today. While people are highly complex and certainly more complex than the descriptions I am going to give you, this model will, I hope, help you to see yourself and others in a different light and enable you to change tactics to communicate more effectively.

We inherit personality traits from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents … Of course this is influenced by other factors like upbringing, environment, education and levels of intellect and maturity but to make things more simple here we will look at the four basic types of personalities. Although we may contain a mixture of these traits some will be stronger than others within us. This dictates how we communicate and behave. See if you can recognize ourself from the descriptions below. Then think about how you might need to change your approach towards another person in order to influence and persuade them, and to manage them.

Now, namely the personality traits are:
  • Dominance
  • Social
  • Measured
  • Compliant
In the following blogs i will discuss about these personality traits in detail. Happy reading.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Tips To Improve Listening Skill

In below you will find some tips that help you to improve your listening skill further:
  • start listening with the first word and then listen intently
  • stop what you are doing and listen – don’t be tempted to do two things at once
  • turn off all negative thoughts you have about the speaker
  • think at the speed they’re talking, don’t jump ahead
  • do not interrupt
  • find an area of interest
  • judge the content and not the delivery
  • suspend your judgement and keep an open mind
  • actively listen for ideas
  • resist distractions if you possibly can
  • make listening noises, particularly if you are on the telephone, for example ‘uh, uh, yes’, and if face to face ensure that your body language looks as if it is listening, give good eye contact.
Exercises for improving your listening skills
  1. Take five minutes a day to sit quietly somewhere, close your eyes and listen to all the sounds around you. Become conscious of them. How many different sounds can you hear? In addition to improving your listening skills this can also be relaxing.
  2. When you are having a conversation with another person, receive what he or she has said before rushing in to make your contribution. If you feel you want to interrupt, think about pausing and breathing before you start to talk. A pause before you speak can also add significance.
  3. Listen to the radio as much as possible - talk programmes, not music. What information did you receive? Can you summarize it?
This is all for you now. Try to practice it at home and then check your improvement.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Barriers of Effective Listening

There are many things that prevent us from listening, not least of which is laziness. We simply can’t be bothered. Or maybe we’ve never been trained to listen. Our upbringing is such that no one has listened to us so why should we listen to them? No one has taught us how to listen.

The first thing we need to do is to open our minds and have the desire to learn this skill – after all it is good manners to listen. But what prevents us?

  1. different perspectives: we see things differently to the person talking and we disagree with them
  2. strong emotions: we have very strong feelings on the subject which prevents us from listening; we may also have prejudices
  3. physical tiredness or discomfort: we may be tired or hungry; we may be hot or cold; we may be under stress and feel anxious or unwell
  4. desire to talk: we love to talk most of the time, to be the centre of attention; we love the sound of our own voice and think that only our opinions really count
  5. distractions and mind wandering: we may be distracted because of a noise; or we may be thinking ahead of all the things that need to be done; we may be worried about someone or something
  6. reactions to the speaker: we may dislike the person who is talking to us; we may find them boring or opinionated

Listening- The Critical Part of Effective Communication

Listening, really listening, is the hardest thing to do and the highest form of courtesy!

Listening is an essential part of being a good communicator but it is a skill that is perilously close to becoming extinct. As more and more of our communication becomes visual and text driven, i.e. Internet, text and computers we are forgetting how to listen. Listening involves both:

  • the ability to understand what is being said, and
  • the ability to organize and analyze the messages in order to retain them for subsequent use.

There are two types of listening:

  1. Casual listening
  2. Critical listening

Casual listening

Casual listening is what we tend to do most of the time. We are only half listening, we retain bits of the conversation, we discard other parts of it. As a result you often get the following scenario between two people: ‘

Don’t forget we’re going out tonight.’

‘Are we? You didn’t mention it.’

‘Yes, I did, I told you two days ago. You weren’t listening.’

We often switch off, particularly when we are listening to someone we know well.

Critical listening

Critical listening requires concentration and stamina. Here you are making a real effort to understand the other person’s point of view. You are listening to them, retaining what they say, storing it away and then retrieving some of it later when you need it. These skills are essential in a sales situation and rather important too in an interview. If you have listened, and I mean really listened, it is highly likely that you will come away with a headache. You have exercised your mental powers to extremes! In both the above situations you are not only trying to concentrate on what the other person is saying but you are also reading their body language, thinking about your own body language and formulating your response to their questions, plus thinking of your own questions to ask. Is it no wonder you end up with a headache?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tone, Pitch and Pace- 3 Important Aspects of Speaking

How we sound when we speak does influence others and I am not just talking about accents (although those do give out an impression) but rather the tone of your voice, its clarity, its passion and enthusiasm, its variances.

Think about how you talk to someone who is ill – gently and with compassion and understanding. Now think about how you greet an old friend across the street, or prevent a child from running out into the traffic. How do you sound when you scold someone or are short-tempered?

If you talk in a monotone you will sound dull and uninteresting; you will also lack credibility. The more credible you are the more persuasive you will be. No one is going to do anything if you ask them in a boring, quiet monotone!

So try varying the pitch and pace of your voice. Try enthusing it with some passion. A good way of practising this is to read aloud to young children because then you have to put in all the different voices or they very quickly get bored.

If you talk in a high pitched voice (mainly women) so that you sound like a little girl, you will also be less credible. Try slowing your voice down, don’t talk so quickly, take a few more breaths in between talking and lower your voice.

As a general rule speak with clarity, talk in a strong, steady voice neither shouting nor mumbling. If talking to a group of people then let your eye contact reach the person the furthest distance from you to ensure that you project it.

To build rapport with someone match the pace and tone of their voice. I don’t mean mimic them but if they speak softly and slowly then lower your voice and slow it down. If the other person speaks quickly, try and quicken up.

No matter what your message, present it in terms that are of interest to others. Think of who you are communicating with and then decide how you should pitch your voice and what sort of words to use. We are all aware of the person/people who talk jargon either to confuse us or to make us feel small, so make sure you don’t fall into this trap and if you are on the receiving end of this then don’t apologize, to them, for example: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand you’. It is their fault they are not explaining to you correctly so simply say, ‘What do you mean?’ pleasantly and not aggressively.

Believe you are worth listening to and convey that belief to others. The more passionate you are about your subject the more powerful your communication but beware you don’t get too carried away and forget your listener, you could be too enthusiastic and alienate them. Which brings us to our next chapter, listening.

Don’t be too apologetic- It Will Not Good For You As Speaker

When you need to state something keep it brief and to the point: don’t go all around the houses to make your point or over-apologize. For example try saying, ‘I’d like to get started this week’, or ‘Would you like to come over for a coffee?’ Not, ‘I wonder if you’d mind terribly if we er sort of started this next week?’ Or ‘I was wondering if you’ve got nothing else to do, that is if you’re not too busy, if you’d er like to come over for a coffee?’

Be careful too of over justifying yourself. For example, ‘I wouldn’t normally mention this but I’m without the car tomorrow, my husband’s had to take it to work because he’s got to go to London on business and the trains are on strike and I was wondering if you’d mind giving me a lift into work?’

Instead simply say, ‘Could you give me a lift into work tomorrow Alan as I’m without the car?’

If you need to apologize don’t do it profusely, simply say, ‘I’m sorry’. Or if you wish to sound more assertive, then ‘I apologize’.

Practise using ‘I’ statements, which are assertive, for example:
  • I feel
  • think
  • my idea is
  • I prefer
  • I feel
  • as I see it
  • my view is
And be careful of using phrases that put you down, for example:
  • ‘I’m hopeless at this.’
  • ‘You know me, I seem to be useless at ...’
  • ‘I can’t seem to ...’
People will believe it and so will you because your brain is telling you that you can’t do something so you won’t be able to!

Powerful and persuasive words are often those with many vowels in them, for example need and please.

‘We need to do something’ implies urgency and people respond to this rather than ‘We could do something’, which implies a question mark in its structure. We must do something sounds more like a command possibly prompting the response ‘Do I have to?’ or ‘Must I?’ While, ‘You must appreciate’ can prompt the response,‘Why must I?’