The experts at Decker Communications just released their annual list of the top ten best and worst communicators. I always look forward to this annual article. Not only is it interesting but it is also entertaining and sometimes a bit sad. I highly recommend spending a few minutes going through their blog post. There is a lot to be learned from the best (and the worst…).
Communication skills are more important today than ever before. There is so much noise around us. Being heard amongst all the information frenzy requires us to continuously work on our skills. In his amazing book You’ve got to be believed to be heard, Bert Decker sums that up nicely:
“The message for all of us is clear: Whatever our life goals, our career goals, or our dreams of a better world, the key to success lies in our ability to communicate. No matter how uncomfortable or ill-equipped we feel as communicators, we dare not back away from the challenge of becoming effective speakers.”
Over the past few years, I have attended more conferences than I can remember. Unfortunately, there are always a few people who deliver extremely poor presentations. Some of them simply do not care. Others are extremely nervous. And some of them simply have nothing to say. But the result is always the same: a lot of wasted time (think about the audience loosing 45 minutes of their lives) and the speaker’s reputation is often damaged (would you purchase expensive software or services from the arrogant person who could not articulate a clear message?).
Presentation coach Jerry Weissman states:
“If any one presentation fails, there may be no tomorrow. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS
2011 is almost over. Towards year-end, most of us sit down to make goals for the next year. Working on communication skills is always on my personal list. So, what can you do? Here are a few ideas:
Pick up a good presentation book and work through the materials. There are a few recommendations on this blog.
- Attend a class. If you happen to live in North America, I can highly recommend the Decker training. Their classes are amazing!
- Volunteer to deliver presentations at the next meeting or conference. We can only improve with practice.
- Learn from the best and watch a great presentation. Try to figure out what makes them so awesome. Ted is always a great resource for that.
- Watch the movie ‘The King’s speech’. Great stuff.
- Read some of the stories on this blog
- Pay attention to all things related to communication.
P.S.: I was very pleasantly surprised that IBM’s future CEO Ginni Rometty is on the list! Check it out.