The ABCs of Dramatic and Effective Communication

February 18, 2015

ID-100168349Think back to a recent important conversation you had or presentation you viewed. Can you recall at least 50% of the information? Were you focused on the person speaking and listening the entire time?

If you answered ‘no,’ do not fret. You are not alone. Human memories are inherently complex because they are formed through associations. As we experience an exchange of information or participate in an event, our brains associate the words, sights, sounds and our own disposition into a personal perception—a memory.

The question is not so much how much can you recall, but how can you better communicate information so that the recipient has improved recall? This is particularly important when negotiating or trying to win someone to your way of thinking. Improving the delivery of the outbound message increases the likelihood that the recipient of the information will have stronger recall or a greater chance of truly considering the other person’s opinion.

Dale Carnegie said, “The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.  You have to use showmanship.  The movies do it.  The radio does it.  And you will have to do it if you want attention.” His 20th Human Relations principle is, ‘Dramatize your ideas,’ because if a person is not passionate about his/her topic, why should the audience be excited about it?

Here are the ABC’s of using drama to amplify your presentations and maximize your audience’s memory:

Attention- Humans have about 65,000 thoughts a day1. Before speaking, make sure you have your audience’s attention. Recent survey respondents said that it is inappropriate to write texts or e-mails during formal meetings, but practically everyone does it. If you do not have the person’s attention, kindly ask if they need a minute or respectfully propose meeting at another time when the person is free to discuss the matter at hand.

Body Language- Your voice inflection, facial expressions and body language can make up over 90% of your message. If a presenter is slouched over; their voice soft and meek; and their rate of speech slow, the audience will more than likely have a hard time staying focused which means information recall is minimized. Instead, stand upright, look members of your audience in the eyes and use your full range of voice to communicate information. For example, when sharing a startling statistic, raise your voice using inflection to underscore the shock value and improve information recall.

Confidence- People who lack confidence are unable to speak with conviction in front of groups both large and small. Audiences are more likely to trust speakers who are confident because people associate competence with confidence. The audience’s ability to trust the speaker increases information recall. Dale Carnegie said, “Only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident,” so get your ideas and facts straight before saying anything—most definitely before dramatizing your ideas.

If you lack confidence when communicating or want to use showmanship to become a stellar speaker, consider enrolling in the Dale Carnegie Course for Effective Communications.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @micarnegie.

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