!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: A Useful Collection of Pointers

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Useful Collection of Pointers

As a follow-on to the post of a few days ago in which I complained about an unilluminating set of "business secrets" purveyed by a spiritually oriented guru, I'd like to call attention to a welcome contrast that appeared at bnet.com today.

As best I can judge from how he presents himself on his website, Sims Wyeth, a consultant specializing in oral communications, is a straightforward type. Straightforward is a style I find particularly effective in an advisor trying to help people with the specifics of skill development.

In "Five Ways to Speak Like Obama," Wyeth does a fine job of explaining practices Barack Obama follows that he (Wyeth) believes are appropriate for all public speaking by businesspeople. The practices are:
  1. Talk about the audience's concerns.

  2. Keep it simple, i.e., make sure you have a clear core message, and support your messsage with a limited number of details selected to resonate with your audience.

  3. Anticipate what your audience is thinking (something I find myself recommending frequently, and not just for speaking, but also for writing).

  4. Learn to pause. (Watch good actors — they generally don't rush through their lines.)

  5. Master the body language of leadership. You should aim to "communicate the right mix of calm and assertiveness." Rehearse in order to project this mix in a natural way.
Clearly, simply stating the recommended practices doesn't accomplish much beyond reminding people of what most have heard before. I highly recommend reading Wyeth's commentary on each practice to get the full benefit of what he has to offer.

(As a side note, I'd mention that Wyeth's article elicited comments that included some responding to the content of his recommendations, and many from people unhappy about commendation of a politician of whom they disapprove. This is an example of the unfortunate difficulty trainers have in citing controversial public figures to illustrate points the trainers are trying to bring to life as clearly and memorably as possible.)


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