Communication Development

Introduction

Effective communication is always a challenge for most people when it comes to fully communicating a message to a particular audience where the message is understood fully without any personal or communication barriers in the delivery process. For one to effectively deliver the message at the right time, to the right people and with the right attitude, one has to overcome the personal barriers as well as improve on the communication skills in general (Fujimori, Shirai, Asai, Kubota, Katsumata, & Uchitomi, 2014). The following is an overview of my public speaking moments in recent time. 

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Scenario 1

The first public meeting happened at the place of work, where I was mandated to provide an orientation speech of my department’s activities as well as the day to day operations to a group of deferent investors who had intentions to invest in the company. The speech was based on providing when we close our financial year, the current wages we were paying, an average the expenses incurred as well as revenue collected, and also the taxed amount levied on the past financial years. The information was a description of the accounts department before the investors got the full brief of the financial position. Lastly, I was to introduce the financial director of the company, with a congratulatory message to everyone in the meeting. Similarly, the speech being an orientation, called for interaction between me and the audience, as well as profound and extensive explanations for the  audience to clearly understand the company’s operation (Shi, Brinthaupt, & McCree, 2015). 

Problems Encountered

The planning of the speech, which was also in hand with extensive reading to understand the company better was well achieved, only that issues such as, anxiety, tension and nervousness developed confusion in the compiling process of the speech. The challenge escalated on the message delivery as well as answering the questions posed by the investors. For example, forgetting some of the critical points and remembering them when am past that particular topic of discussion, confusion in reading some of the short points as highlighted in the speech list book (King, & Finn, 2017). Similarly, there was also abnormal sweating because on increased anxiety, as well as forgetting terminologies used in the workplace for my statement to sound more knowledgeable. The issue developed a lot of incompetence as the manager in charge disapproved my efforts terming it as unprofessional speech delivery. As a result of the challenges on the platform, it was evident that communication improvement and development was paramount for effective communication during future occasions (Russ, Rout, Sevdalis, Moorthy, Darzi, & Vincent, 2013). 

Sensational 2

 The other public speech forum was part of a marketing program where the company I work for was marketing its products and services to some of the ministerial employees in the government. I was called upon to showcase some products of the company in one of the ministries that the company attended. The purpose was to communicate the advantages of the enterprise’s product over the competitors as well as collect views from the audience on what to do in a move to improve the product as well as the services with regards to maintain customer satisfaction (Glassman, Forman, Herbert, Bradley, Foster, Izzetoglu, & Ruocco, 2016).

Problems Encountered

 At the forum, all was okay, only that as much as I knew the products and service too well delivering the message was proving difficult. This is because getting up to speak was followed by immense stage fright which was evident in my feet feeling shaky and my zeal to perform resulted to a load of information I carried in my head seemed to all want to be speaking at once. This in turn gave rise to talking too fast, in a high pitch, lacking proper punctuation and later to losing my breath mid-presentation. The pressure to give an excellent presentation with minimum to almost no mistakes, along with increased tension from the mounting anxiety were portrayed in the lack of control with regards to my body language. On the other hand, the pronunciation of words was below expectation, and also there were not enough illustrations according to the feedback I received from my colleagues. This was a result of uncontrolled tension and increased anxiety which acted as a communication barrier for the public speech (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2016). 

How to Improve On Effective Communication

In a move to develop effective communication, the following elements are to be drawn up so as to improve on the public speaking skills (Adler, Rodman, & DuPré, 2016).

Preparation 

To improve on the speech delivery, proper preparation is required, for instance, broadly thinking about the purpose of the speech as well as analyzing the audience to know the type of wording to use, what kind of illustrations would blend well for the audience to understand. The move would also help me as the speaker to fit in and actualize with the audience correctly. On the other hand practicing the speech alone to improve confidence levels and more so the gathering of enough materials for the topic of discussion in order to have a broad picture in case of any questions that would require extensive explanations (Machell, Blalock, Kashdan, & Yuen, 2016). 

Develop a Positive Attitude.

By developing a positive attitude, one is able to lower the low self-esteem and also the aspect of fear in mind. To achieve the attitude one is required to think positive as a way to motivate one’s self. For instance, using perceived/ visualizes images of how well you will deliver a successful speech, how the audience will appreciate some of the hummer or the short stories that you have lined in between the communication process. Moreover by understanding that you have all the knowledge needed to answer any question asked would boost the confidence level and lower the anxiety factor that mostly ruins the communication process (Felnhofer, Kothgassner, Hetterle, Beutl, Hlavacs, & Kryspin-Exner, 2014). 

Being Attentive On Feedback

According to Leitenberg, (2013), by focusing on the audience during the speech, one is in a position to understand how well or bad the speech delivery is impacting. By reading the reactions of the audience it is easy to note where to improve and what to limit, to manage the communication process. By eliminating boredom through an understanding of the audience one can develop a positive and a well-understood speech to the intended levels with regards to the objectives of the speech, and by doing so, one improves on their communication skills too. This is done by engaging in eye contact. 

Improve On Body Language.

Having full control of one’s body movements during public speeches acts as an added advantage as one can monitor the body language with regards to the message being communicated (Niles, Craske, Lieberman, & Hur, 2015). This is attained by, creating a relaxed environment in one’s mind where one is able to reduce fear factor, for instance, the proximity between them and the audience and how you perceive the audience too. Also one can engage more with the audience through developing introductory messages that absorbs everyone in general. 

Learn From Previous Presentations.

According to Bergamaschi, Queiroz, Chagas, Linares, Arrais, Oliveira, & Zuardi, 2014), through watching videos and audio recordings from the past speeches, one can formulate an action plan on how to overcome the challenging problems encountered there before. On the other hand enquiring on honest feedback could also help one gauge the areas that need improvement. For example, the confusion of statements and skipping of ideas could easily be countered on recordings which provide one with an open platform to improve on future occasions with regards to public speaking and communication in general. 

Research on Others

Learning for the other people’s speech delivery could also help in monitoring one’s shortcomings in their contributions. For example, by observing how other people use body language as a tool to communicate as well as how they maintain their tone variation could provide insightful knowledge on how to improve the communication skills. Similarly, father reading could similarly work on the improvement process as it showcases all the mistakes that people commonly make and how to mend them for effective communication (Wiemers, Schultheiss, & Wolf, 2015). 

Don’t Overthink 

According to Gillis, Morris, & Ridgway, 2014). One of the best ways to eliminate anxiety and fear of the unknown during speech delivery is not to focus more on the irrelevant issues. To accomplish this one is only required to emphasis on the speech, its purpose, and the sequence to which the message is to be communicated. Other issues such as how the audience will perceive my dress code, tone, or the level of competency for the speech role would act as a barrier to effective communication. This is because, through such thoughts, factors such as fear and anxiety are developed, which later lower the personal confidence levels of the speaker.

Focus On Pauses

Effective speech and communications depend on the silent pauses between one point and the other. At this point, one is to forces on the four poses of communication that is, the Sense Pause, Emphatic Pauses, Dramatic Pause, as well as the Sentence-Completion Pause. Through the implementation of the pauses, one is able to compose themselves for the next point to communicate. On the other hand, the audience can differentiate between points, as well as have a recap moment during the speech (Jin, & Josephs, 2017). By this issues such as confusion and forgetting points is eliminated. 

Implement Audio Visual or Brief Notes 

In a move to reduce tension and the problem such as forgetting what one intended to communicate applying audiovisual technology in the speech process could assist and also help in the communication delivery mode. Additionally, having well-written notes could also improve on eliminating the problem (Chollet, Sratou, Shapiro, Morency, & Scherer, 2014). However just highlighted notes, where one should not regularly refer to the notebook for reference. 

Maintain Personality

One of the most important aspects that could improve on one’s communication skills into maintaining their character in general throughout the communication process. This is because most people consider themselves as less fit for the public where they fear the public’s opinion of their personality. As a result, they end up facing someone else’s character which consequently ruins their speech. For example faking an accent, tone variation, and body movement. This is one of the contributing factors to ineffective body language in speech delivery (Lee, 2014). 

Action Plan and Its Implementation Process 

Effective communication is a vital tool in almost all areas of interaction its development is a vital for professional as well as personal life. To improve on the challenging aspects of my communication and public speaking issues the following action plan is to be implemented. 

  1. Short Courses

In order to improve on my communication skills, enrolling in a communication skills class would be the first option. This is because communication courses help one develop skills such as enhance personal and professional relationships with others, develop better listening agility as well as find my real personality and authentic voice with regards to communication. The courses also promote leadership abilities while delivering public speeches, in terms of how to manage your strengths and the engagement abilities of your audience. 

The intended training will be to attain professional communication skills at Professional Development Training (PDT), located in Australia. The reason behind the choice is because of the credit the institution has built over the years as well as its convenience because of the online training facility for the course that develops flexibility for its students. And more so the time frame that the course takes which acts as an added advantage (German, Gronbeck, Ehninger, & Monroe, 2016). 

  1. Develop Group Work Team

Becoming part of a group where we evaluate and discuss communication issues for personal development and also the team’s development. Some of the topics in the discussion could be the challenges affective effective communications, how to improve and develop public speaking and also evaluate each other and the weaknesses and strengths in the communication sector (Fallowfield, Jenkins, Farewell, & Solis-Trapala, 2003).

  1. Volunteer 

To improve and develop confidence in delivering public speeches, I would volunteer in more participative forums where I would offer to at least have a topic to address or speak about. Through such occasions, I would be in a position to apply all the knowledge learned along with implementing the recommended solutions for the previous forum or public speech. With regards to such implementations, issues such as anxiety and lack of confidence would be a thing of the past (Divan, & Mason, 2016).

  1. Develop A Personal Score Bored

In every development or progress plan, there must be a quantifying factor so as to note the improvements archived and also progress made. To archive this I will develop a personal scoreboard where I rate myself after every speech or communication delivered in public. On the score sheet, there will be a list of all the shortcomings I encountered during the speech delivery process as well as the feedback from the audience (Brownell, 2015). Through such, I will be in a position to improve on the past failures along with improving the strength developed, which in time will result in effective personal communication skills

  1. Use Of Technology Tools

 Maguire, & Pitceathly, (2002), argues that technology has impacted almost every part of human life. Similarly, I would use it to my advantage to improve the effective communication. This is to be achieved through prior recordings of my speech, that is on the practice part where can change or improve on the statement. Also, recording on-stage speech delivery so as to learn from the previous speeches. Additionally, technology would also assist in the communication process by providing audiovisual aspects of the message being communicated. As a result, issues such as talking out of topic, or lacking definite terminologies on stage would be eliminated, and more so the use of technology would also play a part in the elaboration process where the audience will be able to understand the topic of discussion even better. 

Reference

Adler, R., Rodman, G. R., & DuPré, A. (2016). Understanding human communication. Oxford University Press.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2016). Scope of practice in speech-language pathology.

Bergamaschi, M. M., Queiroz, R. H., Chagas, M. H., Linares, I. M., Arrais, K. C., Oliveira, D. C., … & Zuardi, A. W. (2014). Rimonabant effects on anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in healthy humans: a preliminary report. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 29(1), 94-99.

Brownell, J. (2015). Listening: Attitudes, principles, and skills. Routledge.

Chollet, M., Sratou, G., Shapiro, A., Morency, L. P., & Scherer, S. (2014, May). An interactive virtual audience platform for public speaking training. In Proceedings of the 2014 international conference on Autonomous agents and multi-agent systems (pp. 1657-1658). International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.

Divan, A., & Mason, S. (2016). A programme-wide training framework to facilitate scientific communication skills development amongst biological sciences Masters students. Journal of Fujimori, M., Shirai, Y., Asai, M., Kubota, K., Katsumata, N., & Uchitomi, Y. (2014). Effect of communication skills training program for oncologists based on patient preferences for communication when receiving bad news: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of clinical oncology, 32(20), 2166-2172.Further and Higher Education, 40(4), 543-567.

Fallowfield, L., Jenkins, V., Farewell, V., & Solis-Trapala, I. (2003). Enduring impact of communication skills training: results of a 12-month follow-up. British journal of cancer, 89(8), 1445.

Felnhofer, A., Kothgassner, O. D., Hetterle, T., Beutl, L., Hlavacs, H., & Kryspin-Exner, I. (2014). Afraid to be there? Evaluating the relation between presence, self-reported anxiety, and heart rate in a virtual public speaking task. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(5), 310-316.

Fujimori, M., Shirai, Y., Asai, M., Kubota, K., Katsumata, N., & Uchitomi, Y. (2014). Effect of communication skills training program for oncologists based on patient preferences for communication when receiving bad news: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of clinical oncology, 32(20), 2166-2172.

German, K. M., Gronbeck, B. E., Ehninger, D., & Monroe, A. H. (2016). Principles of public speaking. Routledge.

Gillis, A. E., Morris, M. C., & Ridgway, P. F. (2014). Communication skills assessment in the final postgraduate years to established practice: a systematic review. Postgraduate medical journal, postgradmedj-2014.

Glassman, L. H., Forman, E. M., Herbert, J. D., Bradley, L. E., Foster, E. E., Izzetoglu, M., & Ruocco, A. C. (2016). The effects of a brief acceptance-based behavioral treatment versus traditional cognitive-behavioral treatment for public speaking anxiety: an exploratory trial examining differential effects on performance and neurophysiology. Behavior modification, 40(5), 748-776.

Jin, E. S., & Josephs, R. A. (2017). Greater testosterone reactivity associated with lower subjective anxiety in response to social stressor. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 83, 12.

King, P. E., & Finn, A. N. (2017). A test of attention control theory in public speaking: cognitive load influences the relationship between state anxiety and verbal production. Communication Education, 66(2), 168-182.

Lee, J. Y. J. (2014). Implementing Applied Theatre Practice to Reduce EFL Public Speaking Anxiety: A Controlled Trial. Hwa Kang English Journal, 20, 1-25.

Leitenberg, H. (Ed.). (2013). Handbook of social and evaluation anxiety. Springer Science & Business Media.

Machell, K. A., Blalock, D. V., Kashdan, T. B., & Yuen, M. (2016). Academic achievement at the cost of ambition: The mixed results of a supportive, interactive environment on socially anxious teenagers. Personality and Individual Differences, 89, 166-171.

Maguire, P., & Pitceathly, C. (2002). Key communication skills and how to acquire them. Bmj, 325(7366), 697-700.

Niles, A. N., Craske, M. G., Lieberman, M. D., & Hur, C. (2015). Affect labeling enhances exposure effectiveness for public speaking anxiety. Behaviour research and therapy, 68, 27-36.

Russ, S., Rout, S., Sevdalis, N., Moorthy, K., Darzi, A., & Vincent, C. (2013). Do safety checklists improve teamwork and communication in the operating room? A systematic review. Annals of surgery, 258(6), 856-871.

Shi, X., Brinthaupt, T. M., & McCree, M. (2015). The relationship of self-talk frequency to communication apprehension and public speaking anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 125-129.

Wiemers, U. S., Schultheiss, O. C., & Wolf, O. T. (2015). Public speaking in front of an unreceptive audience increases implicit power motivation and its endocrine arousal signature. Hormones and behavior, 71, 69-74.

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