3 Tips For Improving Communication Skills

February 28, 2012

Denise DiSarro, a contributing writer for the Keynote Connection blog, has been a staff member with Keynote for over 30 years.

[From time to time we’ll post about various resources we recommend. We hope you will find them helpful as you seek ways to honor God with your labor, influence, finances or expertise (L.I.F.E.).]

“Hey, I’m half Italian and I naturally talk with my hands all the time, so this shouldn’t be a problem,” I thought. I was being coached on my public speaking skills (specifically on using gestures) in front of a room full of people. Although a bit nervous, I figured I’d do fairly well since I had over a decade of public speaking experience under my belt.

I launched into my impromptu talk and did what I thought were some big, bold gestures. My coach said they needed to be BIGGER. I thought she was crazy, but at her encouragement I made them BIGGER. Imagining how foolish I must have looked doing such laughably huge motions, I went to watch my videotape (yes, this was back in the olden days of VHS camcorders). To my surprise, my coach was right! At the beginning of the exercise, my elbows looked like they were glued to my sides and my largest hand movements looked…well…medium at best. And those “laughably huge” gestures my coach made me do? They looked great!

Based on my experience with Keynote’s communication training, here are three tips that I think are helpful for anyone who needs to communicate with an audience.

  • Get Objective Feedback
    Even experienced public speakers (whether on stage, in a boardroom or a classroom) can benefit from personalized communication coaching. Though I had years of experience, it took an objective coach and video to show me how I could use gestures more effectively.

  • Everyone Has Room to Improve
    Communication skills are needed in a variety of life situations: leading a small group Bible study, meeting new people, talking with sales clerks. Regardless of who your audience is or how long you’ve been at it, everyone has room to improve.

  • Communication training teaches life lessons
    Tim Downs, author and communication trainer at Keynote’s Comm Lab, often says, “Public speaking is dying to self in front of a group of people.” In other words, it takes humility to put your audience first and do whatever it takes to help them understand your message. And I grew in humility as I accepted constructive input from others. I also developed more confidence as I learned to express my thoughts more clearly.

I would highly recommend Keynote’s Comm Lab. You will benefit from the same kind of personalized coaching I experienced and enjoy great seminars taught by gifted communicators. You can find more info on the Comm Lab at this link.

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