Saturday, January 9, 2016

"A P!ece 0f Blarney St0ne" 10 ways t0 emp0wer y0ur c0mmun!cat!0n

The Blarney St0ne !s a h!st0r!cal st0ne, 0r actually part 0f the Blarney Castle !n !reland where !t was bel!eved that k!ss!ng the st0ne can grant y0u the g!ft 0f gab. Yeah, !t seems strange !n th!s day and age, but wh0 are we t0 quest!0n trad!t!0n? !t's n0t l!ke !'m say!ng that Santa Claus d0esn't ex!st (00PS!).

There !s s0 much t0 kn0w ab0ut c0nversat!0n that any0ne, even !, c0uld ever real!ze. Y0u can g0 th0ugh watch!ng talk sh0ws; rad!0 pr0grams; clubs ded!cated t0 publ!c speak!ng; 0rd!nary c0nversat!0ns; certa!n rules st!ll apply when !t c0mes t0 !nteract!0n thr0ugh w0rds. !t may s0und ted!0us, ! kn0w, but even th0ugh !t's y0ur m0uth that's d0!ng the w0rk, y0ur bra!n w0rks tw!ce as hard t0 churn 0ut a l0t 0f th!ngs y0u kn0w. S0 what better way t0 start learn!ng t0 be an effect!ve c0mmun!cat!0n !s t0 kn0w the very pers0n cl0sest t0 y0u: y0urself.

1. What y0u kn0w.
Educat!0n !s all ab0ut learn!ng the bas!cs, but t0 be an effect!ve speaker !s t0 pract!ce what y0u've learned. My st!nt as guest at every T0astmasters' meet!ng ! g0 t0 taught me that we all have 0ur l!m!tat!0ns, but that d0esn't mean we can't learn t0 keep up and share what we kn0w.

2. L!sten!ng.
!t's just as !mp0rtant as ask!ng quest!0ns. S0met!mes l!sten!ng t0 the s0und 0f 0ur 0wn v0!ce can teach us t0 be a l!ttle b!t c0nf!dent w!th 0urselves and t0 say the th!ngs we bel!eve !n w!th c0nv!ct!0n.

3. Hum!l!ty
We all make m!stakes, and s0met!mes we tend t0 slur 0ur w0rds, stutter, and pr0bably m!spr0n0unce certa!n w0rds even th0ugh we kn0w what !t means, but rarely use !t 0nly t0 !mpress l!steners. S0 !n a gr0up, d0n't be afra!d t0 ask !f y0u're say!ng the r!ght w0rd pr0perly and !f they're unsure ab0ut !t then make a j0ke 0ut 0f !t. ! pr0m!se y0u !t'll make every0ne laugh and y0u can get away w!th !t as well.

4. Eye C0ntact
There's a l0t t0 say when !t c0mes t0 d!rect!ng y0ur attent!0n t0 y0ur aud!ence w!th an eye-catch!ng gaze. !t's !mp0rtant that y0u keep y0ur f0cus when talk!ng t0 a large gr0up !n a meet!ng 0r a gather!ng, even th0ugh he 0r she may be g0rge0us.

5. K!dd!ng ar0und
A l!ttle b!t 0f hum0r can d0 w0nders t0 l!ft the tens!0n, 0r w0rse b0red0m when mak!ng y0ur speech. That way, y0u'll get the attent!0n 0f the maj0r!ty 0f the cr0wd and they'll feel that y0u're just as appr0achable, and as human t0 th0se wh0 l!sten.

6. Be l!ke the rest 0f them
!nteract!0n !s all ab0ut m!ngl!ng w!th 0ther pe0ple. Y0u'll get a l0t 0f !deas, as well as kn0w!ng what pe0ple make them as they are.

7. Me, Myself, and !
Adm!t !t, there are t!mes y0u s!ng t0 y0urself !n the sh0wer. ! kn0w ! d0! L!sten!ng t0 the s0und 0f y0ur 0wn v0!ce wh!le y0u pract!ce y0ur speech !n fr0nt 0f a m!rr0r can help c0rrect the stress areas 0f y0ur p!tch. And wh!le y0u're at !t y0u can spruce up as well.

8. W!th a sm!le
A sm!le says !t all much l!ke eye c0ntact. There's n0 p0!nt 0n gr!mac!ng 0r fr0wn!ng !n a meet!ng 0r a gather!ng, unless !t's a wake. Y0u can better express what y0u're say!ng when y0u sm!le.

9. A R0le M0del
There must be at least 0ne 0r tw0 pe0ple !n y0ur l!fe y0u have l!stened t0 when they're at a publ!c gather!ng 0r maybe at church. Sure they read the!r l!nes, but tak!ng a mental n0te 0f h0w they emphas!ze what they say can help y0u 0nce y0u take center stage.

10. Preparat!0n
Make the best 0ut 0f preparat!0n rather than just scr!bbl!ng n0tes and 0ften !n a hurr!ed pan!c. S0me pe0ple l!ke t0 wr!te th!ngs d0wn 0n !ndex cards, wh!le 0ther res0rt t0 be!ng a l!ttle m0re s!lly as they l00k at the!r n0tes wr!tten 0n the palm 0f the!r hand (n0t f0r clammy hands, please). Just be c0mf0rtable w!th what y0u kn0w s!nce y0u enj0y y0ur w0rk.

And that ab0ut wraps !t up. These suggest!0ns are rather amateur!sh !n edgew!se, but !'ve learned t0 emp0wer myself when !t c0mes t0 publ!c 0r pr!vate speak!ng and !t never hurts t0 be w!th pe0ple t0 l!sten h0w they make c0nversat!0ns and meet!ngs far m0re enj0yable as well as educat!0nal.