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Art of Communication

 

How are your communication skills?  Do you have something to say? An action you want people to take? A message to share? Well then, you probably need to brush up on  communication skills.

Good communicators:

  • use body language.
  • know their audience.
  • are good listeners.
  • craft their message.
  • make a personal connections.
  • practice their techniques.

Body language:

First, we interact both verbally and non-verbally while we communicate. Body language is non-verbal and includes; eye movements, hand gestures, facial expressions and body position (e.g. crossed arms). Successful speakers move with ease, smile genuinely, and make eye contact with the audience.

Know the audience:

Ideally, a prepared speaker knows something about their audience. When talking about “Food Labels” to a group of vegetable producers, include information about the vegetables grown in your area and labeling requirements.

Be a good listener:

Certainly, communication is a two-way process with the communicator and the listener. Hence, keep the message positive, engaging and educational. Equally important, conversations establish a connection.  As a result, an essential life skill develops with practice.  Engage in active listening practices.  Include phrases that you heard, ask open-ended questions and pay attention.

Craft the message:

Another tool speakers use is a well constructed message. Pictures are an appropriate tool for communicating.  As the speaker “paints a picture” in the mind’s eye of the listener it leaves a lasting impression.  For example, choose words and phrases evoking memories and sensations, e.g. “fresh mown grass” or “squeals of delight”.

Furthermore, successful communicators are positive, engaging, a bit spontaneous.  Often they are skilled at incorporating a variety of vocal techniques and facial expressions. Also, listeners respond to speakers that are genuine.

Practice, practice, practice:

Skilled speakers fascinate, with ease engaging audiences. bringing them to tears one minute and having them rolling on the floor in laughter the next. Then my curiosity led me to ask one day, “How did you become such a great speaker?” Of course, I was surprised by the answer. PRACTICE –PRACTICE – PRACTICE.

To learn more about 4-H projects in Citizenship and Leadership visit:

http://florida4h.org/programs/Communications_and_Public_Speaking.pdf

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