Leading and Managing People
Enhancing Oral and Written Communication Skills
It has been argued that one of the main keys to success is possessing great interpersonal skills of communication. Individuals who possess these interpersonal skills of communication have been indicated to have better chances of being successful in the current world than those without mainly because people have finally come to appreciate the advantages of having and retaining the right business connections. It is widely thought that great interpersonal skills of communication are nor inborn, although in some cases individuals are born with traits that seem to naturally and impose on them excellent ways and skills of communication, however, studies have shown that interpersonal skills of communication can be learned and nurtured for one to become a more effective communicator. Experts in the field argue that communication that is effective has to have or has to be composed of different communication methods including voice, words, non- verbal communication and tone. Of these four, non- verbal communication has been indicated to be the most effective in delivering or communicating across a message between individuals (Elgin, 1993).
According to recent surveys words are only 7 percent in effectiveness when it comes to communication, tonal voice is only 38 percent effective in passing a message across. However, non- verbal communication was found to be 55 percent effective in communicating. Non- verbal communication can be made up of a number of components. Some of these components include body language, the emotion of the receiver, as well as, of the sender and other relations or connections between the individuals communicating like friends, professionals, and enemies. Some factors that might govern these connections and relationships and affect communication include personal differences or similarities, differences and similarities in philosophy, expectations, differences in profession and attitudes. This is to mean that what individuals say is not as meaningful or important as how they say or act while saying it. For example, a message could be dull when delivered by an incompetent communicator, but seem brilliant when delivered by a speaker who is charismatic, filled with enthusiasm and energy (Don Gabor & Schuster, 1994).
Just as well, a message which is brilliant and excellent can seem dull when delivered by a speaker who is not interested or enthusiastic because such speakers usually do not have the ability to spark the interest of the audience. For one’s speech to be as effective, it has to be delivered well with the speaker incorporating into the speech some essential elements of effective communication. Some of these elements include the quality of voice, body language, intention, clothing and dressing style, eye contact, animation, visual aid, manner, self- concept, pacing and rhythm, agenda, rapport, concept of the audience and other, hearing and listening to the underlying message, how the speaker hold the message, confidence, and attitude, and energy among others (John, 1995).
Making presentations that are effective to key individuals and groups is a regular part of the job of most executives. Delivering a message or a presentation that is easy to understand and clear that gains support from the audience obviously requires some skills and expertise in speaking in public. Also, it requires that the speaker understand the audience and its perspective and be willing to adjust to the presentation on the basis of the feedback they receive during the presentation. Therefore, attaining this expertise requires individuals to be trained on the same, and practice (Berlo, 1960).
The main purpose of any kind of communication is to persuade and inform. These skills are critical for business professionals. Numerous communication skills training programs have the sole purpose of enhancing written and verbal skills of communication. Other minor reasons for holding communication skills training programs include improving the effectiveness of written and spoken communication as well as improving the quality of communication. There are three main types of communication skills training that most programs hold. These include written, verbal and face- to- face communication skills training (Barnlund, 2008).
Clear verbal or spoken communication skills are critical for many professionals. Therefore, the ability of a professional to clearly speak, with impact, and briefly have a major influence on the credibility of managers and many other professionals, as well as, their organizations. As it follows, delivering presentations that are formal and other discussions in meetings and their places always present an individual with the need to improve their presentation skills. Just as well, what and how we write presentations creates a special impression on the audience. In most cases, individuals are required to communicate through compiling reports, through emails and briefing papers and it is adamant that they do so effectively and efficiently. The writing training courses, therefore, teach individuals how to develop their communication skills in writing giving them the ability to write concisely, clearly and persuasively (Corcoran et al., 2001).
The way professionals communicate in such situations as face to face, in which they connect and interact with individuals or groups can significantly affect their effectiveness in communication and how others see or understand them. Many training programs for improving face to face communication skills are based on principles of neurolinguistic programming or NLP, but with an increased focus on the provision of practical skills and techniques that aid individuals in maximizing their personal effect (Corcoran et al., 2001).
There are number of things that I learned from the professional development experiences described above. The key learning from the above discussion had a lot to do with developing leadership skills and developing proper and effective written and spoken communication skills. After completing the first part of the assignment, I realized that I had needs when it comes to communication, as well as, in leadership. I realized that my communication skills were not effective enough to accomplish the intentions of the speech. According to a number of studies, the best and most effective communication is one where a speaker establishes a connection with the audience and where the audience remains alert and attentive throughout the speech participating and showing emotion when appropriate (Stirling et al., 2000).
With this information, I evaluated my presentation and communication skills and I found out that connecting and keeping my audience attentive was one area where I needed to improve. According to my experiences above, I learned that such challenges could be addressed through attending a professional development program whose main focus is to improve communication skills. It is, therefore, possible for me to improve my communication skills if I am able to identify and find a professional development training program that is effective enough. After identifying such a program I could attend it to learn about the appropriate communication skills. After learning these skills, I would ensure that I finesse them by practicing a bit until I get the principles right (Lee & Barr, 1989).
Another problematic area that I identified I had, had to do with my leadership skills. It was clear from the above discussions that good leaders are those who manage to accomplish and coordinate activities during both bad and good days to result to desirable outcomes. I realized that my leadership skills were not as developed because I at times relaxed during the good days, consequences of which were apparent during times of need. It is essential for a manger to be alert and to remain knowledgeable at all times of their businesses and what is going around them in the market (Board of Teacher Registration, 1997).
As a result of this, they remain successful and effective throughout the year, fruits of which are seen when the business remains successful and fruitful. It was, therefore, apparent that constant knowledge and skills development is essential for all managers as it keeps them informed of new practices and trends in the market, and enables them to become effective leaders all- round the year. As it follows, attending some of these knowledge and professional development programs several times in year would make me an efficient and effective leader in today’s fast- changing world. Attending such seminars and programs would foster in me the right knowledge and information to remain an effective leader in business (Bouldin & Wilson, 2003).
As it has been seen in the discussions above, professional development is an essential facet in many professions. This is because it keeps leaders and other professionals in touch with the most current knowledge and skills for them to remain effective and efficient professionals in their fields.
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