Communications Skills

Common Email Communication Mistakes

Email makes it easier for us to communicate with each other, but in a way it presents new challenges. An email message can’t convey the tone of your voice, your facial expression, or other types of body language. Because of this, the meaning of your message can be lost or misunderstood. Here are some tips for communicating more effectively through email.

Be Extra Polite

In usual business conversation, we try to be positive and polite. With email, you should be even more so. Bump your positivity up a notch. The reason for this is that there’s a big difference when you say something with or without a smile. Email isn’t only without a smile, it’s without any expression whatsoever.

Edit Before You Hit Send

You may be busy with many emails to write, but don’t fire them off just yet. Take a second to look over your email and make sure it comes off the way you want it to. Imagine you’re the receiver. What would you think if you received this email? Reading it back also gives you a chance to correct any spelling or grammar errors.

Not Appropriate for Email

There are some things that simply shouldn’t be communicated over email. High among these is serious or bad news. When you deliver bad news you need an extra bit of sensitivity and this is impossible to achieve over email. You also need to pick up on the nonverbal clues and nuances of what the other person says to make sure they understand completely.

Say It Face to Face

Finally, don’t let email become a substitute for face-to-face communication. Email is convenient but simply not as personal as talking in person. Whenever possible, create opportunities for your staff to communicate in person, even if it’s remotely over the Internet. The personal touch goes a long way in creating good communication.

Presentation Tips

7 Tips for Making Better Presentations

It’s hard to give presentations. Nearly everyone thinks so, and even the people you know who are great at it certainly weren’t when they first started. To learn how to give great presentations, it just takes practice and experience. With enough experience, it becomes second nature. Here are seven tips to help you along as you master public speaking.

1. Know Your Material

Know your subject matter well. When you know what you’re talking about, this translates into confidence. You can handle questions easily and improvise if needed. However, don’t memorize and simply repeat. Reading to your audience guarantees a dull presentation.

2. Prepare and Practice

Create a good outline that details what you’ll cover. Once your outline is complete, run through your presentation a few times. With just a few practices, it will be much smoother and you’ll have less to think about when you actually give the presentation.

3. Relax

Find a way to get yourself into a relaxed state before you give your presentation. Some people practice deep breathing or creative visualization. You may meditate or listen to some music that gets you into a relaxed state. Find something that puts you at ease and use it.

4. Realize They Want You to Succeed

Many people go in front of an audience terrified of it. You might imagine all of the terrible things the audience must be thinking about you. But the truth is that the audience wants you to succeed. They want a fun, informative presentation that offers them value. Keep in mind that the audience wants to see you do a good job.

5. Use appropriate Humor

A little humor goes a long way in making a presentation easier. Laughter is a great way to relieve tension. Even if your presentation is of a serious nature, approach it with a smile and an introductory joke to calm the tension.

6. Focus on the Content

It’s easy to get self-conscious when you’re giving a presentation. A good way to avoid this is to keep your mind focused on the content of the presentation, not how you look, how you’re standing, what people think, etc. Stay focused on the business at hand.

7. Start Small and Build Experience

Most of all, get out there and do it. Start gaining experience with public speaking as soon as possible. Start with small groups and gradually work your way up. You’ll find that it gets easier as you go along. Toastmasters International is a safe environment in which you can practice presenting and receive feedback.